Monday, February 8, 2010

Six Sigma-The Project Review

I'm reading a new book that everyone should go out and buy. Its called "The Brain Advantage, Become a More Effective Business Leader using the Latest Brain Research". A friend of mine is a co-author so I got a copy from him to read through. I've made several connections to my experiences in leadership.

I'm going to share one of them with you here, then you go right out and buy the book.

All of us involved in Six Sigma, or Quality Management have participated or led a management review meeting, and all of us have experienced some that were good active discussions and others that were flat, routine, automatic. In Chapter 2 of "The Brain Advantage" the authors talk about scripting and how brain research has shown that when mastery of a subject is achieved, the brain goes on autopilot, working less to accomplish the same task than before mastery was attained, this makes sense in a very real way. The old adage "practice makes perfect" applies here. Once well practiced, an automatic script slowly takes over, and things become "second nature". However, practice makes perfect also makes people overlook when changes to the script are needed. A review meeting is one example where we should be "off-script" but typically, review meetings follow a routine agenda, which reinforces the script in the mind, inhibiting questioning behavior or "thinking outside the box" if your keeping buzzword score. Six Sigma reviews are particularly susceptable to this scripting because of the step by step nature of the six sigma process, which reinforces the script. I have observed some Master Black Belts and Black Belts who are so scripted that when they see an innovative approach used to address a step in the six sigma process, they struggle to accept it because it does not follow the script of what they expect to see in their mind. A review meeting is the best place for people to be "on" and actively thinking, rather than playing a script. When reviewers are "on" rather than "on autopilot", new and interesting approaches to problems can be discovered and project leaders can be challenged to deliver better results rather than just marching through a bunch of pages to place a check mark on a script. How I think I can practice this new learning to improve the quality of my reviews is to ask for key points from the project leader about what was learned that was surprising, insightful, or counterintuitive or to deliver those points if I am the one being reviewed. Sort of like asking "Why should I care about this information?" or "What can I do with this information?" instead of looking for something to fill a space where I expect to see a space filled.

Get a copy of The Brain Advantage here


Unknown said...

Yes, I proven this solution in a company that totally not believe in Six Sigma, it was a hard time to get management buy in but now they are convinced when they
personally witness more than 30 GB project achieve more than 50% quality improvement and secure mufti million saving for the company.This is the reason why I earn a
chance to share in Munich Six Sigma Black Belt Course

Unknown said...

Six Sigma uses a set of quality management methods, including statistical methods,
and creates a special infrastructure of people within the organization who are experts
in these methods.Each six sigma project carried
out within an organization follows a defined sequence of steps and has quantified financial targets.