Role of Top Management in Lean Six Sigma
The role of top management is to provide strategic direction and support for the overall deployment of the Lean Six Sigma/ Six Sigma/ Lean programme. Effective top management also recognise that Lean Six Sigma/ Six Sigma/ Lean is critical to their own success. Top management who are really passionate about Lean Six Sigma/ Six Sigma/ Lean should not underestimate the motivational effect they can have on those involved in implementing the approach. If you are a senior executive, here is a quick list of the things you need to do:
✓ Provide the initial drive and strategic direction for the programme.
✓ Articulate a clear vision of how you see the future and why this approach is so important.
✓ Appoint a deployment programme manager.
✓ Provide the budget and resources for the team as needed.
✓ Agree the scope of the programme.
✓ Make space on your leadership team-meeting agenda to review progress and keep yourself informed by getting involved.
✓ Spread the message – personally through a variety of communication channels and through your behaviour and actions.
✓ Take part in ‘showcases’ and recognition events, for example at certification and award ceremonies. Recognition is really key to success.
✓ Act as a role model – ensure you are not easily diverted off-track.
Active involvement in sponsorship is required, not passive acquiescence. As you understand more about the principles as well as the tools and techniques of Lean Six Sigma/ Six Sigma/ Lean , you will see some great opportunities for their application in and around your own office and in the management processes in your organisation.
The following are 3 simple Lean Six Sigma techniques that can be encouraged and applied by the senior executive team:
✓ Avoid jumping to solutions. When confronted by challenging and complex business problems, do you have a tendency to jump to solutions or expect the team reporting to you to do so? ‘Managing by fact’ means being informed by intelligent data. Clearly, if the solution really is obvious then don’t hold back but all too often we see situations in which quickfire (shoot from the lip!) decisions are made at senior level only to be regretted later at great cost to the organisation.
✓ Beware of the average. Understand the danger of only seeing averages in regular performance reports and the illusion that targets are being met. Discover the power of variation-based measures using control charts. Control charts provide a visual way to understand the performance of your processes or value streams. Importantly, they enable you to determine when to take action and when not to.
✓ Encourage the use of visual management. Although mostly seen at an operational level, simplifying regular reports by using visual management techniques can provide great opportunities
for senior management. The approach helps everyone to see clearly what is going on.
(Reference : Lean Six Sigma For Dummies®, 2nd Edition by John Morgan and Martin Brenig-Jones, Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd)
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