“I don’t work in manufacturing.”
Those five words have been used, again and again, to decry the usefulness and application of the Six Sigma methodology.
Sure, Six Sigma was created and perfected in a manufacturing environment. But it’s a process improvement methodology. We’ve looked around, and we haven’t yet found an industry that isn’t absolutely reliant on processes.
That’s why Six Sigma is industry agnostic. It doesn’t matter where you work or what you do – if there’s a need for management, then that means there’s a process. And if there’s a process, then Six Sigma can help make it more efficient.
So why don’t more managers – or executives, or entrepreneurs – pursue a Six Sigma certification? It might be because they see their jobs as soft skills-oriented instead of process-oriented.
But why not excel at both?
Six Sigma and Soft Skills
This isn’t a secret. The best project managers are those people with exceptional soft skills and technical skills. According to the Project Management Institute’s Pulse of the Profession Report, almost one-third of employees surveyed felt like great project managers needed both.
But, like anything, developing soft skills is a process. That’s what Six Sigma does best.
DMEDI is a process improvement tool that you can use, right now, to start down the path toward better communication, conflict resolution, and more.
- You first have to Define your goal. Let’s say your goal is “be friendlier.”
- How can you Measure that goal? If you’re trying to be friendlier, you can measure something like the number of casual conversations you engage in daily, or how often people laugh when they’re around you.
- Then you Explore all the options that might help you realize your goal – smiling more, asking people how their day is going, offering compliments, etc.
- Next up, Develop a plan. Set up a system to help you follow through with your new behavior.
- Finally, Implement the plan. Test it to make sure it’s working, by using the measurement you created earlier.
It sounds rote and robotic – but it works. Almost everything in life is a process, and with some careful analysis, every process can be tweaked and improved to get the results you’re looking for.
Even soft skills.
The Benefits of Six Sigma Certification
The pros of Six Sigma certification far outweigh the cons. It’s a shift in mindset, and managers of all types can benefit tremendously from any level of Six Sigma training.
The Green Belt is the most basic form of Six Sigma certification, and it is perfect for those managers or individual contributors who spend a lot of their time gathering and analyzing data.
The Black Belt is the ideal certification for individuals who consistently lead project teams and act as mentors to others. It builds on the data-focused management of the Green Belt and incorporates leadership skills like time management and decision-making.
The Master Black Belt is the highest Six Sigma certification, and it’s best suited for managers who fill an executive role, or act as a liaison with upper management. These practitioners are able to teach Six Sigma principles to both project teams and corporate executives.
If you manage others, you can’t go wrong with any of them.