Create the Environment for Transformation
Communication of the vision is the first part of making it happen. It is important to ensure, as in the previous phase that the communication is not just one way, and that the way the strategy is deployed connects it to the local area and to what people are expected to do differently.
We need to engage a wide range of people actively in the transformation to be successful and to become active in any change people need 3 things: Will, Focus and Capability (Smith and Tosey, 1999). Traditionally, Six Sigma initiatives are good at the focus and, for Black and Green belts at least, the capability; but outside the belt community the will is often addressed only by haranguing with facts and data.
The Will - Focus - Capability model
For individuals to act they need the will, This will be bound up with their personal motivations, and the culture and politics of the organization. They also need the capability; This will mean they need to have the skills, techniques and experience that allow them to deliver change. But to make it an attractive proposition to act they must perceive that this is a priority for the organization; leaders and managers must encourage and create an environment where the desired behaviors are supported by systems and procedures as well as their own actions and statements.
Many organizations try to begin Six Sigma with a campaign to win hearts and minds and lots of training. However, if there is no immediate organizational focus on action once the training has been conducted they will lose momentum. If we stir up interest with a campaign and set up appropriate systems but fail to show people how they can make a difference then we have the kind of top - down initiative which does not work because most people don’t know what action to take. Finally, unless we address changing the culture and motivating individuals, process change and training will not make much difference; they could act, but the likelihood is they will not.
Remember Peters and Waterman’s (2004) ‘system without passion and passion without system; neither deliver success. For an effective transformation, the three elements need to be kept in balance throughout the process.
Develop Improvement Projects
In chapter we noted that under the Hoshin Kanri approach there are two types of improvement which might be required to achieve strategic goals, dependent on current performance, these are:
Six Sigma projects are, in general suitable for the former and some ‘beachhead’ projects should be quickly set up to help deliver early and significant benefits to generate momentum. However, if this is all you do then the rest of the organization will feel side - lined, or that the initiative is not going anywhere as it will practically be invisible to them. Also begin to encourage lower level actions in respect of continuous improvement with a limited Six Sigma toolset and volunteer teams working on continuous improvement of their processes.
Ensure resources are provided to support all improvement projects as an early failure will prove a large barrier to moving on with the deployment. The following is a sound process for this stage:
Review, Measure and Evolve
Again, mindful of the principles of learning, measure the success of the process, look to build learning into individual projects as well as the wider initiative:
At this point it is entirely possible that it becomes apparent that Six Sigma does not really work for your organization. If this is the honest outcome (at whatever point in the deployment) it is a valid response to exit and try something else (Moosa and Sajid, 2010). Clearly tenacity is required for such a major transformation, but a head - in - the - sand approach helps no - one.
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