What six-year-olds taught me about teaching Lean Six Sigma
It may seem odd that children can teach us about learning Lean Six Sigma, but it may not seem so odd after you read this blog.
About a year ago, I was in an Apple Store and my son saw a display of iPads that were set up for children. There were four or five children around the age of six who were totally engrossed and engaged with these iPads. I was curious to find out why children loved them so much, so I watched as they interacted with the games: building animated objects and then trying to use what they built to accomplish a goal and move onto the next level. The key was that these children got to build something fun using the iPad. They were tasked with accomplishing a goal, and the game used various sounds and visual cues to provide feedback on how they were doing along the way. The children relied on sight, touch, and sound to interact with the game.
Training in Lean Six Sigma
In many situations, not all, Lean Six Sigma students are taught core concepts through reading or listening to an instructor. They go on to practice what they learn and are then tested on it. Most Lean Six Sigma certification programs require students to complete a few Lean Six Sigma Projects to obtain their certification.
Think about what senses you use when learning Lean Six Sigma. You use sight to read, hearing to listen to an instructor.. Sounds pretty much the same as those six-year-olds on their iPads, right? Well it is not. When you are learning Lean Six Sigma, are you learning by building, testing, and then receiving feedback? In most instances, the answer is probably no.
A different way of training for Lean Six Sigma
When I saw the children on their iPads, I immediately thought that in my next Lean Six Sigma training session, I would get the participants to learn in very much the same way as the children did using the iPad.
So, during a session in which I was teaching how to do process and value stream mapping, this is what I did, and the results were very much like those of the children on their iPads. I had a session with about fifteen people from across the entireprocess. I started the session by talking about what process and value stream maps were. Then I explained how to map the process and went through an example of how to facilitate such a session.
Next, I broke the group into three groups of five, and every group had equal representation from the various parts of the process. I asked them to nominate a facilitator and build a value stream map. Each team then presented their maps, and we had a dialogue with employees about each one.
What happened next was incredible. I had people spending their own time with their colleagues revising the maps, even though I did not ask or even suggest it. These people were very proud of their products and were eager to present them to senior management to be implemented.
There you have it. Six-year-olds taught me the way to get adults engaged in Lean Six Sigma. Do you have a story to share?
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About the Author
Kyle Toppazzini is the president of Toppazzini and Lee (T&L) Consulting, and an international leader and consultant in lean Six Sigma. He publishes blogs and articles in Bloomberg Business Week, Digital Journal, Quality Digest Magazine and Social Media and is the author of the CFO Scorecard published in Exchange Magazine. (A global magazine produced by the Association of Financial Professionals). Kyle is currently working on a book that will bring new innovations in Lean Six Sigma and Quality Management.
Kyle is a six sigma master black belt and lean six sigma black belt receiving his training from the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College, a certified Balanced Scorecard Trainer, and a member of the Palladium Executive Group founded by David Norton founder of the Balanced Scorecard.
Kyle has conducted more than 30 performance and process improvement projects across the public and private organizations in government and health care yielding millions of dollars in cost savings and 80% improvement in performance.
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