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Rightsizing Lean Six Sigma Teams

Feb 26, 2008
It is quite true that more brains mean more processing power, yet the concept does not find favor when selecting team size because what is even more important is communication - something that becomes a huge problem when more than the requisite number of employees is inducted into the Lean Six Sigma implementation team.

As such, rightsizing Lean Six Sigma teams should be the first priority for businesses that want to ensure the success of "Lean" projects and realize the full potential of such projects.

How Can A Business Make Way For Rightsizing?

In their efforts to reduce the team size, many businesses often make the mistake of inducting "top-rated" employees, thinking that they will compensate for the small size of the "Lean" implementation team. Businesses fail to realize that most "top-rated" employees are individual performers and that they may not be able to give their best when asked to work as a team. Additionally, since star performers generally have big egos that can lead to conflicts and not collaboration, it makes sense not to include them in the "Lean" team.

The team size may vary depending on the complexity and vastness of the "Lean" project, but for an average project, businesses should look for a team of three to five members. When selecting members, management should look for employees who may have worked there for a minimum of five to ten years and displayed consistent performance over the years.

Since maintaining proper communications is one of the main responsibility of "Lean" implementation teams, the management should also assess the communication and interpersonal skills of potential candidates before inducting them in the team. Ability to think out of the box, solve problems, see things in the right perspective, and motivate others are some of the other qualities that the management should look for when selecting "Lean" implementation team members.

Benefits of Rightsizing Lean Six Sigma Teams

The actual benefits of rightsizing may vary depending on the type of "Lean" project and the type of organization, but some basic benefits that every organization can hope to derive by rightsizing include the following.

-Improved communications amongst implementers, management officials and other entities associated with the "Lean" project

-Better accountability on part of the team members since decisions and actions taken by the team can be traced back to individual members

-Reduced cost of operations because the lesser the numbers, the less will be the amount of resources used for performing the same tasks and duties

-Increased efficiency in solving complex problems and issues since employees would know the exact person to contact if they encounter problems during the implementation phase

-The small size will prevent the formation of sub-groups within the team

All these benefits are enough to prove the importance of rightsizing and that rightsizing is the way to go for organizations looking to become "Lean" and subsequently improve their efficiency and profitability.
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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