What should I do with the Management of my company?

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    All friends:
    I have been BB for several months, recently I found the management do not support Six Sigma a lot even though the GM is under great pressure to achieve the target. After I identified projects, there are two phenominon:
    1), The GM don’t care about what is going on with the projects you identified but orally she said she support very much.
    2), The Management organizes a team to finish the job without the involvement of Black Belt.
    And now, I feel that BB is only a calculator and a paper worker in my company. What should I do to change the current situation? Anybody’s help will be greatly appreciated.


    Jim Haske

    I agree that sometimes getting management to buy into six sigma is a very difficult challenge.  Six Sigma offers a tremedous potential for cost savings, and great opportunities to better satisfy your customers.  Those are the main ideas that should be used to sell the idea to your bosses.  Also, one thing that I have found about six sigma is that it also has a tremendous ability to fire up and energize an organization.  This happens when the most basic ideas are communicated to all employees and they understand what six sigma means to their company, and what they can do to help.  One strategy that may work is to educate some of your peers first and then approach upper managment as a group.  If they can see that Six Sigma is not just for a single department but instead for the entire company they may be more willing to explore.  Or you could take an example of something that is currently hurting your company and then illustrate it as a “what if” to show the possibility of what savings can be accomplished with six sigma.  If those strategies don’t work you may have to bring in some outsiders or solicit information from companies in similar industries that are successfully using six sigma.  I know some people that would be willing to help, so please feel free to email me at [email protected];  Their initial resistence could also stem from a lack of knowledge in the subject.  There are books available that breakdown six sigma’s main concepts and help to illustrate the true potential of this initiative.  Check out for more information.  My advice to you is to remain persistent, because it takes time to initiate a project such as this, and your determination may be the convincing factor of the power of six sigma.  Good Luck!


    Jaran S.

    The problem may be complicate.
    I suggest you read a book which I am reading.
    “Making Six Sigma Last” by Gorge Eckes
    I think you may find the solution in there. 



    Sounds like a typical Six Sigma (SS) Program – out on its own without Management engagement !
    The only way for Management to get engaged is for them to get the “pat on the back” for doing Six SIgma and getting results.
    You have a number of options;
    – Get your corporate group to require the GM to provide monthly SS updates
    – Get the management Green Belt trained and certified so that they understand this stuff
    – Management are measured on achieving results – thus the whole Six Sigma program should be tiew into “gap closure” of key critical business metrics.
    – drive SS into the culture one work group/cell at a time and publish/communicate the results (create the pull)Your not on your own – this is a difficult global issue.


    V Ramaswamy

    Buy-In starts from Belief… Belief comes when we Demonstrate… So, the best way we can create buy-in is by establishing clear benefits to the organization.  This may be by winning a new engagement by applying the Six Sigma rigor in our response to the customer or it may even a cost cut in a particular operation due to the improved process rolled out within the organization.
    The Six Sigma Initiative leader has to communicate the distict differences that the Six Sigma rigor can bring and the way that can help the organization move forward… This is the key.


    Michael Young

    It has been my experience that the GM MUST be committed to transforming the organization’s processes and culture, or you will have a long, upstream swim.I suggest you facilitate a meeting with the GM and their direct reports. Get the group to agree on the strategic goals of the organization and the critical success factors. Let them identify the strategic areas for improvement, then identify projects within those areas. Force them to link projects back to the critical success factors and bottom-line results.Once they have determined their list of projects, the last step is committing the resources necessary to make the project teams successful. This will identify those committed to making you successful.



    Move on.  Why waste your skills at an organization that does not support your efforts?



    I agree. Look for another place where you have the opportunity to develop yourself. According to my experience you will face a lot of managers (including their employees) without vision to solve problems and always they will live with them.



    Change Facilitation and creating a Quality culture is difficult in any orginization that has just started the endeavor. 
    I’m facing the same challenges myself and what I’m doing is being the lone ranger.  I’ve started a couple of projects (that I pulled from CTQs) and plan on using these projects to show that a systematic problem sovling methodology to PERMANENT remove root causes is better than not using a standardized approach which typically only addresses symptoms of the problem not the root cause.
    To lead change you need to do this:
    Leading Change: find an active a public Champion (that may be you)
    Create a shared need: do this through data, demonstation, demand or diagnosis. The need for change must exceed its resistance
    Shape a vision: make the desired outcome clear and understandable and shared. Stated in behvioral terms
    Mobilize Commitment: Get agreement to stakeholders to change their actions and behaviors (in your case to slow down and use the methodologies consistently)
    Make change last:
    Monitor progress
    Changing systems and structures


    Matt Rivello

    I agree – you must establish WIIFM – What’s In It For Me. Six Sigma should be attached to your management’s business objectives and their annual performance appraisals should be tied to the success of the program in their respective areas.
    Ideally, you would want them trained as Green Belts, however, what we have found in our organization is that time constraints and business needs take precidence over the the additional training involved. Currently we are working on a concept called Team Support Training. This training is set over a narrower timeline (a couple days) and exposes the attendees to the tools of Six Sigma projects. It is hoped that these individuals from all aspects of the organization will not only use the tools are part of a project team, but also in their work locations on non-Six Sigma projects.
    Hope I have given you some ideas for increasing involvement – remember critical mass is not instantaneous… you want culture change, not culture shock!



    Dear Jack,
    I have the same problem and my frustration has reached the highest point. I am a MBB at a very big company, my team developed the SS infrastructure for a new division, we trained BB, GB and YB; selected the projects based on top level CTQs, etc, etc, etc. The Top Managers are the members of the Steering Committee. Wow! “They are involved”.
    I even did Six Sigma on how to improve Six Sigma …., applied DMAIC (sounds crazy, but it’s true); Top Management knows perfectly the root causes and main barriers to achieve continuous improvement, they know what we need to do, etc. They keep saying that they will support…., but they never have the time to initiate the change. Without their involvement, support and direction we are not going to be successful. We already started loosing our best GBs! I guess I am next.
    Good luck!



    I guess this initiative was not initiated by your GM. It must come from higher level. I believe she doesn’t understand well about the ability of 6 sigma methodology to give her sufficient saving. I am a certified black belt and faced a slight different problem from yours. Our top management is very supportive of 6 sigma project. However, the middle levels did not.
    If you were assigned to work on a project which does not belong to your area, then there will not be much support. Reason being is conflict of interest. If the responsible manager give you all his supports to work on the project which belong to his area, imagine what will happen if you successfully deliver the saving or solved the problem? He will look stupid. Credit will go to you. Ofcourse, this thinking is a little negative or destructive but in actual fact, it happens. It happenned to me and many other black belts.
    You have two choices. First, work on a project which belong to your area of responsibility. Second, you got to scream to the higher level (you may risk your job). Support from very top management is insufficient if the middle management does not honestly support them.
    If possible, 6 sigma initiative must be launched in such a way that each respective areas manager are certified first followed by their engineers.
    The manager will give 101% support on the projects because its belong to them. They have authority power to ensure their engineers (black belt) works their way to achieve bottom line.
    Good luck.

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