Targeting Perfection

Von Tracy Mayor

"You can use statistics in degrees," echoes Sutton. "People hear 'measure' and they say, 'Oh, we gotta have a control chart.' But there are certain areas where we have no control charts. What's important is the methodology and how you apply it."

How to Sell Six Sigma

For all their enthusiasm, CIOs acknowledge that the most difficult aspect of Six Sigma may well be trying to sell its benefits to the rank and file, many of whom have lived through too many rah-rah kickoffs in the conference room to embrace any more management initiatives.

Six Sigma can certainly turn into some executive's pet leadership strategy that's launched and forgotten three months down the line. But if it's done right, practitioners say, Six Sigma stimulates a fundamental change in the way an organization conducts business and makes decisions.

So what's the best way to introduce that change? Maybe not at all. Fidelity Wide Processing's Sutton is a fan of the show-first-tell-later strategy. When Six Sigma was new to his organization, he sometimes shunned the words Six Sigma or training or quality .

"We don't come in with touchy-feely training and have [skeptics] say, 'Oh yeah, right, Six Sigma," Sutton says. "We say, let's talk about your business problems. You need to drive improvements in your business, and we're going to show you how to do it." And that, Sutton says, reels them in every time.

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