As a leader, you face the ultimate challenge of driving dynamic change across your organization, resulting in the organization’s long-term success. Virtually every organization—profit versus nonprofit; manufacturing versus services—meets significantly new challenges every day. These challenges attack you from every direction, both domestically and globally. As you make your way through the "fog of war," you try to determine the actions that, if executed properly, will transform your company into a high-performing engine. In short, you have a vision of what needs to get done, but you may not know exactly how to do it.
This is the playbook for launching a Six Sigma initiative in your organization. I will present a play-by-play plan to launch Six Sigma in 90 days. I define the first 90 days as the time interval starting with the first executive training session and ending with the first day of the first training wave of Six Sigma Black Belts (Black Belts will be your future process improvement leaders). This playbook is organized into three parts: (1) Pre-launch preparation; (2) Launch; and (3) Post-launch actions.
Part I: Pre-Launch
The pre-launch preparation chapters provide you with the specific actions and milestones necessary to get to the starting line.
Chapter 2, "The True Nature of Six Sigma: The Business Model," provides you with insights into the process of focusing on money (e.g., results), finding the money, and delivering the money. I also address the business model to ensure alignment between your Six Sigma activities and your balance sheet.
Chapter 3, "Six Sigma Launch Philosophy," gives you an executive overview summarizing the nature of a typical Six Sigma deployment. My team and I have sifted through some 50 Six Sigma launches to find the best practices.
Chapter 4, "Getting Early Support: Selecting a Six Sigma Provider," supplies you with the rationale for using an external support group and a list of requisites to consider when evaluating providers. I also provide a quantitative decision matrix and a draft of a request for proposal.
Chapter 5, "Strategy: The Alignment of External Realities, Setting Measurable Goals, and Internal Actions," delineates the process by which projects are linked to the organizational strategy. This chapter describes the process by which projects are selected and prioritized to obtain a direct line of site to the strategy.
Chapter 6, "Defining the Six Sigma Program Expectations and Metrics," discusses how to measure the success of your Six Sigma launch with metrics that are directly tied to your strategic and annual operating plans. This chapter instructs you in how to develop your strategic metrics and, more importantly, how to develop aggressive but achievable goals.
Part II: The First 90 Days
This part covers the time from the initial executive training workshop to the launch of the first wave (class) of Belt training. This part provides specific actions and milestones that lead to a successful Six Sigma launch. Each chapter provides a step-by-step roadmap to accomplish a specific set of actions and provides recommended timing. Launching a Six Sigma program in 90 days is realistic. Very large companies such as Honeywell and 3M have done so, along with several smaller companies. In fact, 3M beat the 90-day timeframe by about 60 days.
Chapter 7, "Defining the Six Sigma Project Scope," helps you decide what your Six Sigma deployment will look like. The chapter recommends how you tie Six Sigma to earlier initiatives, and compares the advantages and disadvantages of pilot projects versus full-scale organization-wide deployments. I discuss approaches that consider division to division and geographic deployments. In addition, the chapter reviews the multitude of Six Sigma and Lean programs that are available to you to deploy in your organization. Depending on your strategic requirements, this chapter advises you on which programs to launch and in what order.
Chapter 8, "Defining the Six Sigma Infrastructure," outlines the roles and responsibilities of the key players in a Six Sigma launch. It will offer selection criteria and timing. Data infrastructures are also addressed.
Chapter 9, "Committing to Project Selection, Prioritization, and Chartering," is one of the most important chapters in the book. This chapter provides a step-by-step methodology by which breakthrough projects are identified, prioritized, and chartered. By following the suggested methodology, you can learn the valuable core competency of strategic project selection.
Chapter 10, "Creating Six Sigma Executive and Leadership Workshops," recommends how these very critical workshops should be developed and formatted. This chapter presents several different approaches to each workshop, along with sample agendas. I discuss best practices as well. These workshops set the stage for the next step, which is to develop an overall, long-term deployment plan.
Chapter 11, "Selecting and Training the Right People," reviews the roles of the significant Six Sigma players and details the training required to fulfill these roles. The chapter also discusses the pros and cons of hiring personnel externally and developing personnel internally. And, finally, the chapter provides insights into the process of internalizing the Six Sigma training.
Chapter 12, "Communicating the Six Sigma Program Expectations and Metrics," provides ideas for developing a comprehensive communications plan. Emphasizing the who, what, when, where, why, how, and how much, this chapter discusses the coordination of various communication channels. This chapter provides you with the essence of marketing Six Sigma throughout your organization.
Part III: Post-Launch
This part discusses the means and methods for institutionalizing your Six Sigma program for the long term. We provide a leadership roadmap, along with specific actions that must occur every year for the program to last. Milestones like compensation plans, career ladders, and software support are detailed.
Chapter 13, "Creating the Human Resources Alignment," provides guidance in aligning Human Resource systems to the Six Sigma program. This chapter discusses organization structure, succession planning, career planning, measuring Belt performance, and reward and recognition.
Chapter 14, "Defining the Software Infrastructure: Tracking the Program and Projects," provides an overview of the requirements of a project-tracking software system. The chapter also provides some examples of systems I have encountered over the years.
Chapter 15, "Leading Six Sigma for the Long Term," provides a detailed leadership roadmap that, if followed, ensures the long-term success of your Six Sigma program. This step-by-step approach is based on our work with over 40 companies over the last 15 years.
Chapter 16, "Reinvigorating Your Six Sigma Program," provides methods to assess your current deployment and reinvigorating it based on identified gaps in the deployment. Success in deploying Six Sigma provides the opportunity to launch successive change initiatives.
This playbook is designed to provide you with a turnkey method to launch a Six Sigma initiative in 90 days. By using this fast approach, you can quickly and effectively align your people to your strategy, processes, and customers. By doing it within 90 days, you ensure that you will have a different company within 12 months. These fast launches also demonstrate (require) the full commitment of your leadership team. These 90 days will be the most memorable of your career.