The leadership mode

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Source: The Six Sigma Black Belt Handbook


The Leadership Modes
This chapter is about the implementation of the Six Sigma Management System that creates the leadership structure and focus needed to run a Six Sigma campaign. The Six Sigma campaign is an initiative involving multiple team-based process improvement projects that is directed and organized from the top-down. As partof the campaign, each process improvement team will apply the most appropriate approach to its project - that may be the Six Sigma DMAIC approach, or it may be another proven team-based problem-solving approach such as Kaizen or Lean. The Six Sigma Management System is the vehicle for directing and organizing the work of all process improvement teams. The key tenet of the Six Sigma ManagementSystem is that breakthrough improvement and rapid execution occurs most effectively in those environments where the leadership team is able to achieve definitive purpose and a clear, laser sharp focus for the improvement efforts. Many leadership teams use the equation Y_= f(x1+x2+x3……) as a way of symbolizing their need to focus. At Motorola, leadership teams use the following framework to express therelationship between the "Big Y" and the "vital X's":

Results that matter


ƒ (1x , 10x


, 2x3 ... )

Which activities will enable you to achieve the Goals?
Six Sigma Project Selection

On-going Sponsorship and Review

Figure 3-1

Relationship between Big Y's and Vital X's

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The Leadership Modes 40 Chapter Three

Leadership teams that are able to align on a single "Big Y" (or a small set of "Big Y's") achieve a high level of focus, can communicate the focus areas more readily, and often create unique competitive advantage byconcentrating on a unique set of "Big Y's." Big Y's are the most important metrics that represent the results that a leadership team is driving in their organization; and Vital X's are the key activities that support those "Y's". For example, if a team decided that their key competitive weapon could be speed to market for new products, then their Big Y could be Product Introduction Cycle Times. The VitalX's would be projects that drive improvement in the New Product Introduction process such as improved requirements gathering or better handoffs between marketing, engineering and manufacturing. The Big Y and Vital X symbols become shorthand for leadership teams to express their alignment in knowing the results that they are trying to achieve, selecting projects that support those results, and thenstaying engaged with the projects to ensure that results are achieved. The Six Sigma Management System outlines four modes of leadership behavior that energize Six Sigma initiatives and enable the Big Y and Vital X symbolism to become real management practice.. Based on the experience of Motorola Consultants, this chapter will first provide an overview of those four modes, and then describe theactivities involved in each one.

Overview of Leadership Modes Implementing the Six Sigma Management System is not a discrete or onetime activity. A Six Sigma organization continuously evaluates itself and looks for opportunities for improvement, guided by the Six Sigma Management System tenet of continuous process improvement. Thus, implementing the Six Sigma Management System is a journey thatlasts for the life of the organization. As leadership implements the Six Sigma Management System, and continuously evaluates its organizational processes and results, it will move among four modes of operation:

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