I have had the privilege of teaching thousands of people to utilize the power of Lean Six Sigma to solve problems and improve customer satisfaction. Coaching hundreds of them as they have executed projects in their own work environments has convinced me that this approach is applicable in every industry and environment. When harnessed effectively, it changes the mindset and skillset of all who practice it and also affects the culture surrounding them.
Belts quickly learn through application that thorny, difficult problems which were endured for years can be described, broken down into chewable chunks and addressed with discipline and focus. I have taught groups who were made up of diverse participants as well as groups who were specifically gathered due to their focus on Sales, Sourcing, Manufacturing or Government functions. Through 20+ years of applying this methodology in many industries and environments I have concluded that the most effective way to teach people is to do so in an environment customized to their work experience.
This occurs because most students instinctively apply learning from their own perspectives. Projects implemented in an Emergency Room or other healthcare facility will have different requirements and applicable tools than will ones implemented on the shop floor. Digital processes, which are the norm in financial services, require a different approach than do manufacturing ones. Training that is customized to a work environment will ensure that examples are taught in the language of that environment. Simulations which enable participants to learn while having fun and applying tools on a real-time basis can be customized to fit the participants’ experience so application after class is intuitive. Perhaps most importantly, being surrounded by other practitioners in your industry will help you network with people who have relatable project experiences and provide the opportunity to connect after class … when the real project work sets in!
Hiring Managers are looking for people who can transition quickly from the university to the working environment. Young engineers and technical leaders who can hit the ground running with knowledge of project management, problem solving and facilitation skills will rapidly distinguish themselves from their peers. Lean Six Sigma teaches a disciplined approach to problem solving which, when mastered, enables leaders to quickly assess the right problems to tackle and assemble teams to accelerate their resolution.
Because Lean Six Sigma is focused on understanding the customer(s) first and describing their requirements, practitioners will quickly identify and document the most critical opportunities to be addressed. By using effective champions and teams, disciplined project management and scheduled reviews completed during each of the 5 project phases: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control, Lean Six Sigma practitioners rigorously assess problems, communicate clearly and execute project improvements that solve problems in a 4-6 month time period. The methodology ingrains a fast and complete problem solving approach into all aspects of the practitioner’s functions, making Lean Six Sigma experts stand out as extraordinary leaders early in their careers. In fact, many young Lean Six Sigma professionals are recognized by industry leaders as uniquely qualified leading large and important projects due to the speed and completeness of their thought and execution processes.
Recognized globally, certification is a door-opener which will distinguish the practitioner as someone who can quickly identify, document and solve organizational problems again and again. In my experience teaching thousands of Lean Six Sigma Green and Black Belts, I find that newly graduated engineers, lawyers, business and other technical graduates appreciate learning a practical methodology that works as they rapidly grasp and apply the concepts and project management discipline to their new assignments. They are some of my best students. A soon-to-retire engineer who was a recent student of mine said it best: “I wish I had learned this training in the beginning of my career. It is the best and most effective way to approach problems and its practical application, if I learned it earlier, could have helped me save countless hours, weeks and months in leading project efforts. All college graduates should learn this as they start their first job!”