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Six Sigma Strategies, part 2

published on October 17, 2011

This week I want to continue helping you build a Six Sigma framework in your organization to ensure that your Six Sigma effort continues without frustration and lack of focus.

Decide your level of commitment to cross-functional teams

Much like Six Sigma itself, cross-functional teams are not appropriate for every situation. Before your Six Sigma effort begins, get the leadership together and decide if you will use cross-functional teams. If cross-functional teams are appropriate, the work is not done. Get together the people that will make up the teams and decide who will do what, who they will report to whom and how they will be measured for success or failure.

Define your transition timelines

The easiest part of Six Sigma is defining your metrics; one of the hardest parts is determining how to transition between phases. Many Six Sigma efforts become stagnant because a lot of organizations leave a lot of discretion in establishing transition timelines, I think this is a mistake. While the best strategies are fluid, there does need to be some concrete milestones and transition deadlines should be one of them. This finite point gives your team direction and the ability to gauge their progress.

Decide whether Six Sigma will be a central or decentralized function

I believe that embracing Six Sigma needs to begin with the organizational culture, having said that, it’s nuts to think that you can just walk into an organization and roll out Six Sigma. Some things have to be done incrementally, because change scares a lot of people and Six Sigma is no different. If you have an organization that readily accepts new ideas and new strategies, then I would give the go ahead to implement the changes company wide. If your organization is steeped in tradition and accepting is not how you would describe it, a decentralized approach is the route you want to go.

Taking a decentralized route does not mean that you abandon gaining acceptance, it’s quite the opposite. If you have an organization that requires a decentralized approach, you are going to have to put extra time and effort into explaining and demonstrating 6Sigma to the rest of the organization. It’s important that you get that support for your effort because that support will determine the success or failure of your effort.

Next week we will continue creating a Six Sigma framework and summarize everything we have covered.

You can continue reading along with part three in the Six Sigma Strategy Series.

published on October 17, 2011

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