Today more than ever, organizations are faced with the challenge to reduce costs and increase capacities while delivering increasingly better products and services. Facing global competition in the marketplace, organizations are struggling to be competitive, struggling to be profitable, and most importantly, struggling to survive. Dr. W. Edwards Deming once commented, “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” With the reality of going out of business, organizations in all industries are asking, “How do we change our approach to business to keep us relevant in our industry?”
As a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, I’ve been known to think differently than others and my family has noticed. And many people have no idea what it is or what it means. “Martial arts? When did you do that? And what does Lean Six Sigma mean?” Ugh! They’ll never understand. Or, maybe this is the perfect opportunity to let them see me in action and they might just gain some insight into, “What is Six Sigma?”
In any organization, work can be broken down into two categories – operations and projects. Operations are the organization’s on-going, repetitive activities, such as manufacturing, staffing or accounting. These activities are primarily focused on keeping things running. On the other hand, project work is temporary in nature, having defined start and end dates; project work produces unique outputs. Though both categories of work have some things in common (people, resources, goals), they require different sets of skills and tools.
Can you answer yes to the following question? At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day? According the author Tom Rath in the book Strengths Finder 2.0, those who answered yes to this question are six times more likely to be engaged in their work and three times more likely to have a better quality of life in general. According to this study by the Gallup organization of over 10 million people, only a third of them “strongly agreed” with this statement.
Say the phrase, “We need to hold people more accountable” to your team and most of them will likely have a negative reaction. Why? Because for many, the connotation of the word “accountability” was created by an unpleasant experience involving blame, coercion, criticism and more work. What we say we mean versus what they perceive is often contradictory.