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Affecting Change With Six Sigma's Infrastructure

Aug 17, 2007
The Six Sigma infrastructure is comprised of management and various growth enhancing projects, involving the employees and related entities of an organization. It generates the need to create space for change within the organization. Only those professionals who are qualified to provide Six Sigma training and experience are equipped to play the role of the agents of change.

Most of these agents charge heavily for their services, which is not often feasible for a company with limited resources. Instead of hiring such agents, many companies prefer to implement the Six Sigma projects or programs with the help of their available personnel.


Companies have the option of training their employees to function independently, without the guidance of 'change agents' and make decisions on their own. This approach was explored in the 1970's, but the results were disappointing. This was due to the fact that employees at that time were new to the experience of being integrated into quality improvement projects. However, times have changed and employees now are equipped to handle additional tasks, other than those commonly assigned to them.

Many companies bear witness to the fact that quality improvement training has resulted in an increase in the efficiency and overall productivity of their staff. These companies have also reported successful management of regular operations even after reducing the number of 'change agents' that were hired initially.

Training Managers

Companies can avoid hiring 'change agents' by providing the necessary training to their business managers, who in turn can play the role of professional 'change agents' in the company. Business managers who have been with the company for a while are knowledgeable about existing business processes and are aware of the basic problems faced by the organization.

They are the best ones to identify the business areas that can benefit from the quality improvement program. Six Sigma training helps them to learn about the effective use of new tools and techniques, to improve the quality of the personnel in a particular department. Business managers are known to be very keen to co-operate with the implementation of the program, since they themselves grow professionally.

Use The Existing Talent Pool

'Change agents' may claim to be equipped with superior knowledge of Six Sigma tools and techniques, but in reality the tools they use are the same as those used by manufacturing engineers, quality technicians, systems engineers, reliability engineers, industrial engineers, industrial statisticians, ASQ-certified quality engineers and other specialists.

Some of these professionals may be more knowledgeable than a certified Six Sigma Black Belt. However, knowledge about the tools is not sufficient, the tact is in the timely and efficient implementation. This is why companies often resort to selecting a core team from this 'talent pool' and provide them with the requisite training. This helps them to sharpen their existing skills too.

Based on available resources and immediate concerns, companies can use any of these methods to avoid hiring professional change agents. However, before employing such methods, it is necessary to assess the related costs and ensure that does not exceed the amount normally paid to change agents.
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 lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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