The Strategic Role of Leadership in Six Sigma Methodology “Lead the Change”

Author Name(s): Ms.Linki Parsnani, Prof. Anant Deogaonkar
Author Email: Deogaonkara1@rknec.edu

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to provide an in depth analysis about the strategic role of Leadership in Six Sigma methodology to lead the change. This paper will explore the categories of that involvement and how it leads to either the success or failure of the projects as well as the organization. Countless literature articles have discussed how imperative it is to have Top Management support; however, the focus of this paper is to analyze the depth of the involvement and what the involvement translates to in the follow categories: Strategic Alignment, Organizational Culture and Financial Resources.

Keywords Strategic Management, Leadership, Quality, Six Sigma

Introduction

Six Sigma is a popular tool and a systematic business strategy that increases profitability by focusing on the quality of the finished product and reducing the number of defects (reduce to 3.4 parts per million opportunities). In short, Six Sigma aims to increase the efficiency of various processes so that the company can see their profitability increase through reducing waste, redundancy and costs. With the continuous growing global market, technological advancements, and the digitalization of data, it’s imperative that companies consider strategic process improvement methods to increase their chance of survival in the market place. This concept is a necessary strategy for staying competitive in today’s industry; an ever-changing environment, market, and industry. Many of the companies that have embraced Six Sigma methodologies, seeking to improve their operations, have reported significant benefits and gains. (Baumbusch et al. 2003). Companies such as, Motorola and GE were successful in implementing the Six Sigma into their methods. Both these companies were pioneers in the field seeing significant results from Six Sigma. The original goal of the manufacturing industry was to focus on the manufacturing process. However, over the last several decades the focus has shifted to include various other industries. There are several key critical success factors that are necessary for the successful implementation of any process improvement initiatives. The critical success factors that has the greatest amount of influence on successful business strategy implementation is the amount of Top Management support and involvement. The level of success in implementing change is directly related to Top Management influence, as their leadership sets the tone and is significant in the direction of a company towards an organization’s goals and vision or mission. Marzagao et al (2016) speaks of this influence by pointing to “the performance of the company’s leadership as support and strategic alignment by creating a system of roles that allow real autonomy in changes of process”. Having the right foundation through management’s alignment of process improvements, along with the company’s strategy, will ultimately set the tone for sustained success. If the foundation is not thoroughly planned out first, the other objectives (tactical and operational) will not be met. Thus as a result, the overall process will crumble and the performance initiatives will fail. Six Sigma has been proven to be a successful business strategy if properly implemented, but it will take time to bear the fruits from the investments by senior level management.

Conclusion

Six Sigma methodology can be useful and applicable throughout all aspects of a business – from customer support to management to service delivery if it is the right fit for the organization. The goal is to reduce product variation; a vital importance to business success. It is unique from other quality improvement methods as Six Sigma has: 1. Increased emphasis on strong support from management. 2. A clear focus achieving measurable and quantifiable financial returns. 3. A clear commitment to making decisions based on data and stats. Six Sigma is only one of the many business strategies available for companies to choose from, but it’s not guaranteeing a successful outcome. Support, approval and commitment by Top Management is proven to be crucial for any business strategy to sustain success. Aligning the change initiative to the business strategy and goals, creating the organizational culture and providing the necessary resources is vital to establishing the foundation for success. That’s the key many managers tend to overlook, it’s not just about success in the moment or the next year even but sustained success for years, a nd/or decades down the road. Direct involvement and support by management is the only crucial method for successful implementation. Learning by management is ongoing, necessary process for companies in an ever-changing environment. Don’t settle because even the leaders in an industry today may be struggling tomorrow!

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