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Six Sigma & Strategic Planning

Aug 17, 2007
Strategic planning, as applied to Six Sigma, implies that the drawing down of elaborate and systematic planning of areas of concerns that have far-reaching and tactical implications at the project selection stage. The purpose of strategic planning is to have produced fundamental decisions and actions that guide successful Six Sigma implementation.

An Overview Of Strategic Six Sigma

Many CEOs are skeptical about the outcome of Six Sigma, despite huge annual spending. A critical component which helps integrate the visions of the leader with the functioning of the organization is strategic programming derived from "strategy deployment mapping". This is said to produce an entirely new direction for the organization. The skepticism about the vision of building a future begins to gain momentum with the linking of visions to action plans and when it delivers tangible results. Six Sigma takes strategic planning to a different plane of thinking by delivering on this promise.

Success Begins With Planning

It should not be forgotten that the foundation for success is proper and adequate planning. Planning is the elaborate statement of vision by the leader of the company. This is true for both large corporations and smaller start-ups. The core of transforming organizational vision into tangible gains by employees has many steps to overcome obstacles on the path to achievement. Achievements will have to be translated to customer satisfaction for Six Sigma to be successful.

Sharing Of Vision

The vision which begins its journey with upper management needs to be shared by all the stakeholders. It may be difficult to demonstrate to employees that their actions relate to customer reactions directly. Another missing link that needs to be connected is the customer himself. The emphasis of Six Sigma is on factoring in customers & engaging them in defining needs. Deploying employees actively connects these disjointed needs. The powerful tools of Six Sigma highlight and simplifies the linkage between key elements, activities, strategies and finally the vision, paving way for smooth sharing of ideas. The methodology of Six Sigma communicates company vision effectively to all concerned in a language understandable by each of them.

Critical Mass

There is also a danger of leaders getting bogged down by trivial matters of day-to-day operations and numerous details. Two of the tools of Six Sigma (metrics), key requirements and differentiators, come to the rescue. These two metrics highlight the importance or irrelevance of some data and push for excellence on those that matter. The end result is helping leaders to envision the strategic importance of activities and steering clear of trivial, mundane things.

Deployment of Six Sigma can't be disconnected from strategic planning and financial activities, either. If the decision to implement Six Sigma is a result of strategic planning, it means the leadership has recognized the need for complete retooling of the organization, no matter what phase it is in.
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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