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The Six Sigma Cycle of Change

Jul 17, 2008
The most effective way to sustain change is by repeating it from successful experiences. Successful Black Belt and Green Belt projects will help drive change in the company's culture.

Change is not an overnight process. It happens when you drive results through Six Sigma projects. When the Six Sigma project shows results, everyone involved in the project or related to the project will realize Six Sigma as a disciplined problem-solving technique which is data driven in decision making. When you start experiencing the results, the change culture becomes a part of your life and you do not give it up until you achieve expected results.

However, the starting point of Six Sigma change implementation cycle is what is difficult. Six Sigma change process is a closed cycle. It involves experience results, culture change and change behavior.

Change Behavior

Changing behavior is the starting point of the cycle. You can decide to do things differently. It is not easy to do so, but if you decide and are resolute about going ahead with it, it is very much possible.

Equally necessary is the efforts= to sustain the change. When results are produced reasonably fast it drives a culture change. This culture change will be of a permanent nature.

Culture Change

The power of Six Sigma to create a culture of continuous improvement lies in changing the way work gets done by changing processes and educating people to understand the new process and solving problems with its help. In Six Sigma culture, the knowledge of processes and improvements is spread throughout the organization.

Companies who have succeeded in creating this Six Sigma culture also have leaders with Six Sigma experience.

Experience Results

To realize culture change, you need to experience the results. A positive experience is one where you have delivered results. Through the experiences of positive results, you will be able to start this cycle of change. The leaders with Six Sigma background have first hand experience in applying Six Sigma to problem areas effectively.

They are aware of the complex issues that may arise and the ways to handle them systematically and practically. They lead by example and motivate by influence and not by persuasion. They are aware of ambiguities of the project. They have the art of taking along people on the journey to change even when the path is not clear.

They know how to manage conflicts among the stakeholders, and are good communicators of changes and improvements in the projects. They are able to communicate them to the people concerned - team members and business leaders.

After being involved in the Six Sigma projects, these leaders - mostly Black Belts - assume line management assignments. Being involved with Six Sigma, they have a different viewpoint of the problems. This is cultural change. Leaders are the bearer of the cultural change in the organization. They lead their teams and the organization to change for the better. They can take efforts to sustain change that they have brought out in the process and the organization.

It may be difficult to get the cycle of change rolling. But once it is in motion sustaining it becomes easier. Six Sigma has the energy to build this motion or culture and keep it going.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for six sigma professionals including, lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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