A six sigma team is meant to concentrate on the solutions and not on the problems. It is for this reason that once the problem has been identified, it must be quickly turned in to a goal statement that will guide the execution of the project.
What is a Goal Statement ?
The Problem statement helps us identify and zero down to the problem at a very narrow level. The Six Sigma problem gives structure to our thinking. The details and measurements presented in the problem must be noted. The ideal state of affairs must be thought about. Then the ideal state of affairs must be written down containing the same details and measurements as in the original goal statement. Here is a method to do so.
How to Create Goal Statements from Problem Statements ?
Focus on the Numbers: The numbers in the problem are the information that remove subjectivity. For instance if it is known that 40% of the employees are reporting up to 15 minutes late, the goal statement must also be written in the same parlance. The goal must be to bring down the number of employees that report up to 15 minutes late to 10%, 5% and then 0% in three months.
Start with Action Verb: While this may sound semantic in nature, it is not so. The word that is used in the beginning of the Goal statement has profound implications. For instance if the word reduce is used in the above goal statement then it will imply that late coming employees are a part and parcel of the business and the number has to be minimised to reach a certain level. However, at the same time if the statement says gradually eliminate the number of late comers, it conveys t he message the late comers are only a temporary phenomenon and within 3 months they have to be eliminated. It sets the tone for policy making and action taking.
Completion Date: A goal without a completion date is a wish. Considering the resources at hand, the goal statement must have a reasonable goal completion date. There must also be penalties imposed on missing that date.
There is an acronym for setting goals that work. It is called SMART goals. Research has shown that goals with SMART characteristics tend to succeed more than others. Here is what it means:
Specific: This refers to the scope of the goal. A vague goal has less chance of being achieved. The more specific, the better.
Measurable: This refers to the numbers that we have illustrated earlier. Numbers make the goal measurable. They provide direction as to whether the goals are on track or not.
Actionable: There are some events which are within the control of the organization, others which are not. The goals mentioned in the goal statement must be within the organizations control and hence actionable.
Relevant: The goals must be aligned to a greater strategy and hence must be relevant
Time-Bound: As discussed earlier, the goal statement must contain goals and not mere wishes. Dates put on wishes make them goals.