Six Sigma has really become a management buzzword. A lot of people use it in very different contexts. As a result a variety of meanings have been conjured up for the very simple six sigma process. To simplify matters and to ensure that the readers have an accurate understanding of what the Six Sigma process is not, here is an article listing clearly the hypes and hyperboles that have been used to sell Six Sigma to many multi-billion dollar corporations.
Here are the most common fallacies pertaining to Six Sigma:
A Tool for Overnight Transformations: The Six Sigma effort takes a long time to take root and build. It is not common for consultants to try and sell Six Sigma as humungous savings in the next quarter concept. However any practitioner of Six Sigma knows this is nowhere near the truth. The reason this is misleading is because the true benefits of Six Sigma really sink in after the development of a Six Sigma culture. This obviously required a lot of training as well as conditioning. It is for this reason that companies that are planning to undertake Six Sigma programs must know that they are time consuming.
Not Achieved by a Small Team: Another fallacy on similar lines is to send a small team of management for a six sigma training and ensuring that the entire organization will be transformed into an epitome of efficiency. While it is true that managers are the key pillars that drive the success of six sigma initiatives at any organization, they are not the only ones that are responsible for the results. Six Sigma is consciously cultivated at various levels of the organization. There should be a planned program to ensure that the Six Sigma mindset is being passed on from manager to subordinate all the way till the shop floor. This is a time consuming process, however it is the only way to be successful.
Training Does Not Guarantee Results: There are many organizations that fall prey to consultants who sell them over-priced six sigma training for their employees. Training is an essential part of the Six Sigma transformation but Six Sigma is not a college exam. Six Sigma needs side by side implementation experience. The correct way is to have trainings that are interspersed with application. This will also ensure that only consultants that will stick for the long term partner with your organization.
Not Achieved by Expensive Consultants: Nothing has stained the holy grail of Six Sigma as much as these self-proclaimed expert consultants. Some of them charge such humungous fees that organizations have started calling Six Sigma as Sick Sigma. Six Sigma is an internal initiative, consultants can be used to train a few people. However, it requires commitment from the senior management to ensure that the organization is adhering to a Six Sigma way of life. Many suave talking consultants have fooled corporations into paying millions. Beware!