Six Sigma is such a powerful strategy for process improvement for several reasons. One, it leverages a range of skills and expertise from all levels of the work hierarchy. Two, anyone and everyone can contribute to Six Sigma in the workplace, including workers and executives. We recommend utilizing a solid team work strategy if you want your process improvement project to be a success. Six Sigma is an open methodology in which anyone can participate. However, as with anything, openness has its downsides, especially when it comes to implementing Six Sigma. Remember, Six Sigma is a rigorous, highly structured system based on hard facts. As such, this data-heavy strategy can seem daunting to the novice. You must learn to speak its language, how to use its tools, and how to apply it to the workplace. Today, we explore the significance of Six Sigma training and management support. You’re never too old to learn, so read on!
What Does Inadequate Training Mean for Your Organization?
In Six Sigma, practitioners rely on their training more than just about anything else. There is a strong emphasis on Six Sigma training, per the Belt-based hierarchy. It is your training that provides you with the skills and knowledge Six Sigma requires. However, we often find that many organizations fall short of success because they fail to deliver adequate training for their project teams. Here are some of the worst training mistakes you can make in Six Sigma:
- Burdening Black Belts with Inappropriate Responsibilities. Six Sigma Black Belts have enough to deal with as it is. That’s why, in times of scarce resources, overloading Black Belts with tasks other Belts should be responsible for can lead to inefficiency. If you give them too much to do, they won’t be able to focus on their work and will start to deliver poor results. You’re not only harming the project when you do this, but you’re preventing your Black Belts from putting their expertise into Think about it. Even a brain surgeon can’t do everything. They require support from others trained in their areas of expertise. Don’t hold your Black Belts back. You’ll only be keeping proper Six Sigma at arm’s length.
- Not Practicing What You Preach. Project team members benefit not just from training on paper, but practical experience that comes with project work. By applying Six Sigma methods and tools to practical scenarios, your team is more likely to maintain and hone their skills. If you don’t reinforce what they’ve learned, they’ll soon forget.
What Does Poor Management Support Mean for Your Organization?
Training is important, but support from management is just as critical to Six Sigma success. Once your team has received training, they should have honed their skills enough to apply them to real improvement projects. It’s at this point that management support becomes important. Without it, your team’s performance is highly likely to falter. They will easily become lost without any clear measurements. Similarly, with no alignment between project goals and company priorities, whether you’re moving in the right direction or not, your successes won’t pack much punch. Management should guide and direct the project and the team towards meeting organizational objectives while supporting team members however necessary. In our experience, the best management will create workable timelines when scoping the project, as well as reviewing work and delivering constructive criticism.