Six Sigma is About People and Learning Not Cost - Six Sigma

Eckes (2001) identifies culture as the most important (and most often forgotten) component of successful Six Sigma implementations. One of the keys to Six Sigma success at GE was the fact that, through activities such as the ‘workout’ process, Jack welch set out to turn it into a learning organization before implementing Six Sigma. Welch himself is on record as seeing this as a vital precursor to Six Sigma, but as a much more complicated, deficit and less immediately accessible concept many consultants and organizations have air - brushed it out of the implementation process.

Without the active acceptance of the vast majority of the organization Six Sigma will never deliver its potential. Many companies fall into the trap of seeing resistance to change as problematic, rather than natural. the focus on overcoming resistance seeing those who resist as a problem in effect exacerbates the potential ‘them and us’ attitudes of the Six Sigma evangelist. If you see life in this binary fashion those outside the Six Sigma cadre will, at best, be ambivalent and at worst hostile. Inclusively is the key at both strategic and project levels.

The first thing in almost every text book or article on Six Sigma is a list of financial benefits and impressively large savings (yes, I know I have done it too!). Whilst this is great for generating enthusiasm it represents one of the dangers to successful implementation. It has led to many organization implementing Six Sigma as a cost reduction initiative; ironically, as with happiness the more single - minded you are in pursuing cost reduction the less likely you are to achieve it in the long run.


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