I had a few interesting debates last week over whether the focus of a deployment should be on tools as opposed to desired outcomes. While I am a huge believer in both Lean and Six Sigma (or Lean Six Sigma), I struggle with the concept that the focus of an organization should be to secure adoption to a toolkit and not a goal of driving continuous process improvement leveraging the Lean Six Sigma toolkit and approach.
While the subtlety may seem trivial, it is central to a communication and implementation strategy and has translated itself into challenges for some organizations:
- A focus on finding the “right” problem to fix through a designated methodology as opposed to a business process challenge that needs to be addressed
- In a few organizations, it has manifested itself into two or more competing deployments focused on different approaches such as Lean or Six Sigma or successive programs due to prior inabilities to deliver meaningful value – contributing to a sense of “flavour of the month”
- A narrow focus on a toolkit distracting from the most appropriate path to the desired outcome
I’m certainly not advocating that any of these tools shouldn’t be shared or communicated but rather would suggest that the primary focus of a deployment should be on outcomes and on driving a culture of continuous process improvement through a holistic process improvement toolkit. One could argue that the integration of Lean Six Sigma might accomplish the same effect but, in several cases, I’d propose that many deployments haven’t yet leveraged the true opportunity and intended flexibility.
Thoughts, insights and perspectives?