Will Six Sigma help me become a better leader?

Have you ever thought about this before – Will Six Sigma help me become a better leader? Isn’t leadership a soft skill unlike Six Sigma? Six Sigma is more about playing with numbers, statistics, Minitab!!! Ask leaders of organizations that follow Six Sigma as a management philosophy, and they will disagree.

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A true practitioner of Six Sigma is a great leader. All basic principles of Six Sigma help to be a better leader:
  • Customer Centricity
  • Data or Fact Based Decision Making
  • Strong Process Orientation
  • Structured way to improve, design and sustain processes

Let’s consider 4 important dimensions of leadership that most world class organizations strive to instil in their associates.

  • Ability to grow the business
  • Capability to lead the team to deliver
  • Drive culture of execution
  • Conviction to sustain the momentum & optimism

Let us consider one at a time, and understand how Six Sigma can help focus on these 4 aspects.

Ability to grow the business

  • Deep and broad business perspective is the first and foremost pre-requisite for any leader to growth their business.  They have the ability to fragment or aggregate processes/tasks, and develop a meaningful understanding. Good leaders are quick to break complex processes into simple & small units, and manage them effectively. We call this ability as Strong Process Orientation in Six Sigma.
  • Good leaders challenge the status quo, and thereby reinvent the business. Availability of information & factual data empowers a leader to take bold decisions.
  • Businesses that are customer centric grow faster . Moreover customer requirements constantly change. Ability to choose the right method to reach out to customer, ask the right questions and present the data appropriately is the key. In other words, good leaders take additional care to establish and manage Voice of Customer programs.
  • Customer retention and repeat business is all about instilling higher internal standards and practices to make processes error-free or defect-free.

 Capability to lead the team to deliver

  • In order to retain great talent, a leader should be able to align functional goals to individual’s KPI’s. They should use data to differentiate high and poor performers rather than intuition and gut feeling.
  • A good leader’s ability to communicate crisply and candidly is only possible when they are data centric.

 Drive Culture of Execution

  • Results need to consistent. Great leaders manage variation along with averages. One of the primary goals of Six Sigma is to reduce Variation.
  • Data or fact based decisions result in high probability of success. This means more confidence about the team and better alignment.

 Conviction to sustain the momentum & optimism

  • Constantly raising the bar is possible when one understands the CTQs, key drivers of the business, and process capability very well.
  • Displaying personal courage cannot come without confidence. And confidence comes only with data.

So a good leader will not miss a single opportunity to apply the above principles of Six Sigma in their business to deliver results consistently. That is why at many world class organizations, Six Sigma is in the fabric of who they are. So, beyond doubt, Six Sigma help me become a better leader!

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