Wow, this is pretty bad… allegedly about GE. Granted, any dysfunctional Lean company could end up with similar dynamics. So none of this is knock on Six Sigma… it’s about human nature and organizational dynamics.
There’s an expression that pretty much describes Six Sigma’s infiltration at GE: If your only tool is a hammer, every problem starts to look like a nail.
Again, the same would be true about Lean. The point isn’t to “implement Lean” — the point is better serving your customers or improving the business. Not everything is a Lean problem. Lean isn’t a silver bullet for any organization, nor is Six Sigma.
I explained that while I was doing this project, I had found and fixed several other processes. I was immediately admonished by one of the Black Belts for doing so. She told me I should’ve turned these into Six Sigma projects. I explained that it made more sense to me to quickly make the fixes so we could start reaping the benefits right away. Her retort was, “If you didn’t do it in Six Sigma, then it didn’t happen.” Of course, her metric of preference was dollar savings from Six Sigma projects. She couldn’t care less that what I did was the right for the business. She, like many other Six Sigma “devotees,” was only interested in managing her career.
Wow. Sad. Has anyone else seen similar dynamics with Six Sigma? With Lean? The same thing can happen with Kaizen Events… don’t fix something without first scheduling an Event (which might not be for a few months out). Don’t let Kaizen Events or Six Sigma get in the way of your improvement efforts…
Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please scroll down to post a comment. Click here to be notified about posts via email. Learn more about Mark Graban’s speaking, writing, and consulting.