By Anne Foley, MBB, CSSBB, PMP
Director of Lean Six Sigma, IIL
I can still remember the first time I heard the term Six Sigma. Our customer invited us to a supplier meeting in the hopes of creating excitement around a new initiative they were implementing. When they announced the name of the initiative, I wasn’t even sure I heard them correctly. I thought they said Zig Zigler…as in the motivational speaker. It took me a few minutes to realize that I had misheard.
During the presentation our customer claimed that this new initiative would improve our quality, satisfy our customers, and save the company millions of dollars! I have to admit that I was skeptical and wondered if this was just the latest flavor of the month in the dramatic improvement game.
That was thirty years ago and I am here to tell you that everything I learned in that first entry level Six Sigma class (now called Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt) is programmed in my problem solving mindset. I can’t honestly recall any class that has added more value to my career than the classes that taught me about Lean Six Sigma.
Lean Six Sigma is a discipline of the mind because it prescribes a structured methodology known as DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) to make improvements and solve problems.
There are a few basic tools and techniques that will change the way you think about problems and potential solutions in the future. For me, it removed the fear of the inevitable problems by giving me confidence in finding solutions. If you don’t ever have problems, you may not need this knowledge. As for me and 99.9996% of the population… problems are a frequent part of the landscape and we need a mindset, skillset and toolset for discovering solutions.
Now what if I told you that companies are looking for it in masses. I have a friend that owns a job placement firm and he told me that Lean Six Sigma knowledge has become a highly sought after requirement. To verify that I went to his online job placement website and searched all jobs that had Lean or Six Sigma in any part of the description. There were 1242 listings in the United States alone. Imagine the number of opportunities in a global reach.
If you are looking for a way to keep yourself marketable, I recommend that you add this skillset to your resume. It will not only make you a better manager at work, it will also make you a more confident person in this chaotic world.
- Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification Program
- Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification Program
- Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certification Program
Anne F. Foley, PMP, MBB, CSSBB has been teaching Lean Six Sigma (DMAIC) and Project Management for eighteen years. Anne has served as the Director of Lean Six Sigma at IIL for the past thirteen years. She is also the author of The Passages to Peace (a novel) and a frequent contributor to Project Management, Lean Six Sigma and other various publications. Anne has a Bachelors of Science degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from Kansas State University.