My answer, “Probably not just yet”. I am in countless conversations with clients that either call us in to do a sophisticated Designed Experiment or Six Sigma-level analysis only to find it is not necessary. It ends up being something we can solve using much more basic problem solving methods. Similarly, I field endless inquiries for Six Sigma training but when I get into the organization, I find there is more foundational work to be done.

For business leaders who need real problem solvers, need to build a culture of problem solving, and are seeking to gain substantial ground on common problems resulting from daily firefighting, I suggest a more approachable problem solving methodology. We can start with something as basic as 5-Why Analysis and expand this to a structured methodology such as Eight Discipline (8D) or A3 Problem Solving. Jumping into Six Sigma, which requires a propensity for statistical based thinking and analysis, should be reserved for those 20% of problems that we cannot solve with the more approachable methods. Talk with a seasoned problem solver about the correct approach for your specific needs, and a plan to build problem solving into the culture by implementing methodologies and techniques that everyone in the organization can leverage at will. You will move the needle significantly. Thanks for reading!