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Six Sigma Breeds Effective Leadership

Six Sigma Breeds Powerful Leadership

Article by Peter Peterka

Introduction

You browse via a handful of Six Sigma books hoping to uncover a definition for leadership. Chances are you'd be tough pressed to uncover one unifying definition. Instead, you'll get a garden selection of definitions that will assist you zero in on the true essence of leadership. Given evolving company and manufacturing trends and rapidly altering technologies, leadership has taken on a multi-faceted dimension. The identical is true when speaking of leadership in Six Sigma.

Don't be discouraged. Whilst it is accurate that an individual new to Six Sigma can be puzzled by the myriad of ideas, principles, charts and metric analysis, Six Sigma is, in the finish, an approach based on pure widespread sense. And as 1 navigates via the discussions and literature on Six Sigma, one realizes that leadership boils down to applied widespread sense. As you learn much more about Six Sigma principles and leadership, you will locate that several writers will use the phrase, applied frequent sense, more than and over once again.

Six Sigma Terms Offer Clues to Leadership

Assuming even fundamental understanding of Six Sigma, what have you observed relating to the terms that are regularly raised? This question is important since if we closely examine the terms and phrases that are frequently employed by writers to describe Six Sigma processes, they can clue us into what makes an powerful leader. Establishing a link between such terms to powerful leadership is a great starting point.

To cite a couple of: top quality, speed, process flow, sustained improvement, customer satisfaction, team function, openness, factual information, expense reduction, innovation, operational efficiency, success factors • " these are only a couple of of the recurring concepts in Six Sigma leadership. There are several other people, particularly if you venture into the far more technical aspects of Six Sigma, but for the moment, we are focusing on leadership.

Taking those terms therefore, how do we come up with a operating and realistic definition of leadership in Six Sigma?

In its simplest form, we'll adopt the definition given by Peter S. Pande in his book, The Six Sigma Leader (McGraw Hill, 2007). Pande says that the essence of Six Sigma leadership is balance and flexibility. The interesting point he makes is that leadership is not about absolutes nor a defined set of steps. It is a set of principles that can be applied for higher success and sustained outcomes for an organization. He explains, "It's based on the idea that outstanding leadership is an artful, but learnable, combination of abilities that combine balance and flexibility to drive objectives and efficiency."

In reading Pande's definition, our 1st reaction was, how can balance and flexibility be chopped into smaller segments to arrive at a clearer understanding of leadership? To say that a leader must be balanced and flexible is a rather sweeping broad statement.

Let's see if we can take these two terms and tie them up with the terms we mentioned earlier. This is what we propose: a Six Sigma leader knows how to use factual information about the company's mission and objectives, its workers and their functions and utilizes this information to come up with the critical good results variables for the organization so that the business delights its consumers with low costs. So leadership in Six Sigma presupposes that these four important ingredients constitute the guiding principles for enhancing: factual information, essential good results factors, clients and low costs.

A Six Sigma leader is also an individual who can balance the high top quality low expense ratio for the firm to continually improve by taking members of his team to buy in to his brand of leadership. When there is a get-in on the part of ALL members in a team, the chances for success are higher and the risks for poor operational outcomes are significantly diminished.

Quantum Leaders

We'll now go into a greater realm of leadership in Six Sigma. This time, we'll refer to what David H. Treichler and Ronald D. Carmicheal (The Six Sigma Path to Leadership, American Society for Good quality, 2004) call the Quantum Leader.

Six Sigma is a model for leadership training where managers and executives are trained to be outcomes-oriented. Treichler and Carmichael ask, "but how numerous leaders in fact obtain quantum results?" Quantum results, they say, are those outcomes that take an organization to greater levels of performance.

If we compare Treichler's definition of leadership to that of Pande's, it isn't that all different, despite the fact that Treichler goes one step further. He says quantum leaders are capable of creating dispassionate decisions based on information that has been systematically gathered and analyzed, ensuring that the political realities of an organization and fear factor are managed and controlled effectively.

Treichler and Carmichael says that management need to tell workers that it does not shoot messengers and that a company's leaders need to not only supply lip service to Six Sigma practices but actually offer the resources, coaching and opportunities so that workers are empowered to do their jobs and take responsibility - not out of personal gains, but to contribute to business gains.

As Treichler so aptly put it, "leadership can not get it at the conceptual or intellectual level. That is mere lip service to Six Sigma. Rather, leadership ought to live Six Sigma, lead by Six Sigma, and infuse Six Sigma into every company choice."

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