Six Sigma’s Bum Rap

Headlines shout: “Six Sigma destroys innovation!” If Six Sigma destroys innovation, how exactly does it do this? Is it because it gets the voice of the customer (including “wow” demands?) Or because it makes processes efficient at delivering value? Or because it reduces errors and quality problems?
Let’s get real, people. Companies that don’t innovate have stale cultures and burdensome procedures, leaders who lack vision, managers who micro-manage everything, and a host of other problems that have nothing whatever to do with Six Sigma. There are too many companies out there that use Six Sigma AND innovate to point a finger at Six Sigma as a root cause for failing to innovate. Academic research into the performance of TQM, Six Sigma’s immediate predecessor, show that companies who utilize the approach outperform their counterparts on nearly every financial and business performance metric out there. I’m confident that the same will prove true of Six Sigma.

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