Monthly Archives: November 2013

Lean Six Sigma Lessons from the Bible

bibleMany have said that all the answers to life reside in the Bible, a view I happen to agree with, and recently while I was reading scripture thinking about how it might relate to the work we do as LSS professionals I contemplated-are there lessons to be learned from the Bible about LSS?  I believe there are lessons we can learn from the Bible, two in particular that this post will focus on.

Similar to Jesus preaching the Word of God in hopes of creating believers, we too “preach” with the hope that we will make believers out of those we share LSS with.  Starting then with the goal of creating LSS believers, we can learn from Jesus and how He worked to bring others to the Word.  Jesus used various ways of bringing others to the Word, but the two most common ways He did this was through miracles and parables.

Make Miracles Happen Using LSS

Now before you get too worked up thinking I’m going to suggest you perform a miracle to get others to buy into LSS, (however, if you could do that it would be much easier wouldn’t it?), I’m not suggesting it will take a miracle to make believers out of others, but it may require an extraordinary effort to convert the non-believers, which is where “miracle” types of projects come into play.

These are those projects that center on problems no one has been able to solve in the past using other methods.  This proposition can certainly be a double-edged sword in that if the project fails you may do more harm than good.  With that in mind, it is critical, like any LSS project for that matter, to have strong leadership support, a rock solid problem statement, clear metrics, and a sound business case for the project.

Picking a team that has a few non-believers is also helpful in this process.  I routinely tell the belts I mentor that not only are they facilitating the LSS process, they too are creating LSS “disciples” out of their team members.  Those disciples can either spread the good word when a project succeed or the bad word when it fails.

The Power in Parables

Another way Jesus spread the Gospel was through parables or what we would call stories in modern language.  All of the parables Jesus told were stories that had a theme related to what He was teaching.  The parables were easy to understand anecdotes that the common person could easily understand.

Every one, well, just about everyone, loves a good story so why not use short stories to tell others about LSS?  Your stories should come from projects that have been successful using the DMAIC process, but even more important, they need to be stories your audience can relate to.

Great stories also need to have some emotional element to them, not just the simple facts of the project.  Humor is also another great element to creating an engaging story.  You’ll know you have a great story when everyone is anticipating how it ends.

Putting it all Together

So now all you have to do is go and perform a LSS miracle and tell stories about it!  Easy-peasy right?  Sure, it’s not that easy, but if you want to truly make believers out of those who don’t believe look for challenging projects where no one has succeeded in the past, but also be mindful of their probability to succeed, and only take on those with a high chance of success.

When you succeed, capitalize on your team members and help them spread the LSS “gospel” by developing a short story to tell the success of the project with emotion and humor.  Finally, look for previous success stories and work on developing a library of LSS parables that you can put into your repertoire of LSS tools so that when you encounter a non-believer you will be ready to spread the good news!