iSixSigma

where are we going?

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General where are we going?

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #36451

    simply concerned
    Member

    Good day,
     
    I’m beginning to think of Six Sigma as an formalized analytical and program management construct which through its unique terminology, structured stepwise approach, statistical basis and training duration is emerging into what I believe to be a management subculture unto itself.  Senior management in many corporations is beginning to understand that identifying variance existence, cause, and amelioration steps can derive significant opportunities for operational improvement and are funding the development and implementation of Six Sigma programs to that end.   But, as these programs are initiated and rolled-out in the organization is senior management abdicating prerequisite program oversight to the trained Six Sigma practitioners?   Are the Six Sigma practitioners themselves furthering this senior management detachment through the conscious encapsulation of projects into a terminology and analytical process that senior management is less familiar with therefore making the project a closed process in which the BB and MBB are essentially determining the project steps, gates, duration and results?  Is an appeal of the Six Sigma process the fact that it’s perceived as complex, technical, results garnering by tenfold, and an opportunity to lead projects in a manner that is not fully comprehended by many in senior management – leaving senior management to ask how’s it going, when do you expect to complete the project, how much savings do you anticipate, etc.?  Even as Six Sigma practitioners laud the contribution and importance of senior management support are you really saying fund, talk-up, and otherwise support the Six Sigma program, but get out of the way – we’ll let you know what to expect and where we need help?  Where the concern emanates from is the parallel to the emerging and burgeoning information technology programs in the 1980’s – 1990’s.   Information technology became an art, science, and management subculture unto itself and senior management, not understanding the terminology and the technology handed money to the IT teams saying in generalities, “I want a computer system capable of handling our billings process.”   Senior management would attend systems review board meetings and hear of delays, cost overruns, scope creep, and a litany of other issues that, in effect, meant the management team was at the mercy of the IT function and frequently the lowest common denominators of the function.   This has changed as of late with the presence of many more systems providers offering more in the way of configurable off-the-shelf solutions and the presence of third party integrators, but the heyday of the in-house IT function as a self-contained management subculture impervious to senior management onslaughts due to lack of technical expertise on their parties for all practical purposes behind us.   Are Six Sigma practitioners heading in the same direction?  Is there a need to educate senior management beyond a couple of day leadership or champion training – which if not practiced and used will be forgotten?  Should we be looking for ways to further expand the use of the Six Sigma terminology and analytical process so it not only permeates the shop floor and selected transactional activities and areas, but it becomes an accepted and recognized methodology used in actually developing annual reports, strategic marketing campaigns, acquisition and divestiture plans, and many of the other higher level corporate planning and execution processes?   Are your CEO’s who voice active support of your Six Sigma programs asking for training in the process sufficient to allow them of their immediate support groups to gain the wherewithal needed to truly inculcate the Six Sigma analytical process into the running of the corporation?   I say to you that if we keep Six Sigma as an encapsulated and arcane process understood by a select few and do not take steps to assure that the senior management teams in your corporations are using it themselves on a day-to-day basis, we will fall into the outsourced, vendor supplied, prepackaging conundrum that has relegated corporate information technology functions to the technical support functions that they are, for the most part, now – assuring that Six Sigma never becomes the contributing force that it has the potential of becoming.
     Concerned and desiring your thoughts on the subject.   

    0
    #105227

    Ken Feldman
    Participant

    You raise some very valid concerns but on one hand ya gotta love the concept of the SS expert being the keeper of the knowledge and Senior Leadership being in the dark.  But of course, that is short sighted.  I know of one organization where the direct reports of the CEO are becoming BB certified and starting to require the use of the tools and methodology in all interactions and meetings.  In the past, don’t know if it is still valid, GE required that Executive band managers become BB certified.  In a number of organizations, these SS practioners (BB/MBB) are taking over and running major lines of business in the hopes that the knowledge and methodology becomes organic in how the business is run.  Odds are that these are the exceptions but the more successful SS deployments do this and the rest should seriously consider this approach.  Otherwise the dark world you describe might harm SS in the near future.

    0
    #105228

    Chuck DeBusk
    Participant

    Education of senior management and truly of all management and associates is critical to the long term success of Six Sigma.  As a GE employee, we use phrases like “Six Sigma is part of our DNA”, the “Way We Work” and while at times hokie, the idea that all professionals are Green Belt trained and much of the leadership has served as Black Belts and Master Black Belts is one of the reasons that we have been successful with Six Sigma.  We have created a culture around data driven decisions and that has served us well.  As I go out and work with healthcare organizations, that are our customers, to help them implement Six Sigma, beginning with a basic education is critical. Over the course of their Black Belts doing projects, I sense cultural transformation when leadership begins to ask questions about variation and other Six Sigma concepts. 

    0
    #105242

    interesting
    Participant

    Your well-written and thoughtful response to my pompous and poorly analogized diatribe was more than a little disappointing.   I had bet (a small wager, but a wager nonetheless) that you would have come out of the water like a fat trout after a well-floated fly – there were even several misapplied words.   I suppose it just goes to show that you never know exactly what to expect when you taunt the dark prince.    

    0
    #105246

    Markert
    Participant

    Ah, a test.. How shrewd you are R-Dittwaldbert1%ReallyreallyregularguyLaFong…….Let us add Interesting to the list of screen names.
    And I fell asleep around line 7, so give Darth credit for seeing the entire post through…..You really should have broke it into more paragraphs, and used more colorful language. And perhaps puppets for the movie version.
    Perhaps someday soon, this thread will rise to the surface of the lake like that fat, bloated carp we spoke about several weeks ago. But I like your use of the fishing analogy. Until we meet again. 

    0
    #105275

    Ken Feldman
    Participant

    Sorry to disappoint and don’t make me show you the POWER OF THE DARKSIDE.

    0
    #105284

    sweettalker
    Member

    Concerned, it’s possible that SS practitioners may have at least partial responsibility for what you’re describing, but I personally think it falls mainly on senior management.
    It comes down to this: if you’re in charge, and something is important, you better take enough time to learn about it. When I hear management people talking about how they need to stay at the 30,000 foot level, it scares me. The 30,000 foot view is important, and you can hire someone to land the plane for you. However, if you don’t know a thing about landing the plane, how are you going to evaluate the qualifications of the candidates?
    IMHO, the problems you described in the IT field are the result of senior management not paying enough attention based on the importance to the organization. They chose to stay in their comfort zone instead of learning something new and different. It can be a fine line between paying enough attention and micromanaging, but executives are highly paid in part because they’re not allowed to use deference to experts as an excuse.
    The CEO doesn’t necessarily need to be able to actually apply all the tools, but s/he should know enough to ask the right questions and be able to understand the answers when the BBs show the data. (It’s ok to ask to have it explained again. It’s not ok to be too busy to get distracted by what’s important.)
    At the same time, SS practitioners should be improving their understanding of the big picture perspective of senior management, and to communicate what’s important, simply and clearly. One goal of a Six Sigma professional should be to develop others to where they can understand and apply the basic tools and methodology on their own.

    0
    #105288

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Sweet talker,
    I have some mixed emotions around your answer. I do agree with the part that Management needs to get involved and understand the program – to some extent. If anyone is working in a Fortune 500 company and feels that they do not have management support because the CEO/COB/COO/ etc hasn’t sat down and had a heart to heart over why their data is skewed or if they need to run a nested or crossed MSA then they are the problem. They have more important stuff to do.
    There is a lesson in the IT field but it certainly isn’t in empire building. More and more CIO’s do not report to CEO’s. They are frequently being moved under the CFO. I have my own feels about this but no data to back it up. Doesn’t seem to difficult to understand though.
    The danger we have to SS is pretty well described in “The Deviants Advantage.” The journey from the edge to Social Convention and dropping original content along the way. I had one of the HR guys attend a conference for SS and HR. He came back after a workshop where the facilitator went on and talked about the tyranny of data. Advocated Brainstorming-pick a solution-implement. This is where the problem is coming from. Inane diatribes on statistical tools that will have no application to anything over the next decade while the other side is taking a non math approach to SS. The authors that are all over the market ore for the most part not BB’s. Have never done a project or had never done one when they wrote the book.
    We cut our teeth on results. Certification was an ancillary effect not the objective. The people who wanted to sip their herbal tea and pontificate were welcome to do so as long as they stayed out of the way of the Belts.
    Just my opinion.
    Good luck.

    0
    #105312

    sweettalker
    Member

    Personally, I wonder if the CIO position should actually go away in most organizations. It makes about as much sense as having a Chief Mechanical Officer, a Chief Electrical Officer, a Chief Atmosphere Officer and a Chief Office Supply Officer in every business. Technology is so broad, and so ingrained in every business process, that we simply can’t function effectively with it compartmentalized into a silo where the “business” people have to go through a bunch of bureaucracy in order to get a resource or two.
    I think it’s time to think about absorbing the functions into Operations, Finance, and HR. One of the old premises was that the CIO would know what info was needed by the CFO, later be the CFO, COO, CSO, etc. As most of us in the SS field probably know, it’s up to each of these people to know what they need to know and to understand that the quality of that info is more a function of the users than of the IT processes.

    0
    #105317

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Sweettalker,
    I am not sure we can do completely without them. At Motorola Automotive we had a great Director of Quality who had a very small staff and was matrix managed into the various organizations. Worked real well with Marty Rayl who had the strong personality to make it happen. The organization chewed up and spit out the next few group of fools that tried ti fill his shoes.
    Tough way to do it. Very personality dependent.
    Good luck.

    0
    #105328

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Sweettalker,
    Just a last minute thought on this. When we were doing the Six Sigma deployment for GE we worked for Gary Reiner who is the CIO for GE. That is a big job by itself and so is the deployment. If you read Welch’s book “Straight from the Gut” you can see those were not the only two things he handled.
    I have since worked with a woman at BHP who was not only a CIO but also ran the Six Sigma deployment and headed up the corporate Shared services council.
    Both people were effect inside the organization because they were an integral part of the business. I have never heard eith make that “I have to much on my plate” type comment.
    Personality dependent?
    Good luck.

    0
Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)

The forum ‘General’ is closed to new topics and replies.