Let’s conclude with a simple, two-question quiz—both true/false questions.

  1. T F When it comes to implementing lean six sigma, people are your most important and valuable resource!

  2. T F When it comes to implementing lean six sigma, people are your main source of headaches and hassle!

Perhaps you’re thinking, “Yes, it’s a two-question quiz, but it isn’t so simple.” If so, you are correct! Both questions could be true, or they could be false. What makes the difference? Answer: Culture!

Simply put, as Figure 12.4 implies, culture is key to the equation we introduced earlier:

Implementation Effectiveness = Quality × Acceptance

An engaged, empowered team can leverage an industrial engineering approach to problem solving—i.e., lean six sigma—for sustained success. By contrast, resistant employees can undermine any strategic implementation, including lean six sigma. Your people’s passion and creativity make all the difference.

Figure 12.4: The Power of Culture

Now, a warning: Companies can create an enduring competitive advantage through their culture and people, but few ever do! This reality brings us back to indispensability. If you want to be indispensable, you need to remember that culture matters and do the things that create a powerful culture. Remember, Figure 12.5 summarizes your path for cultivating a powerful continuous improvement culture.

Figure 12.5: Cultivating a Continuous Improvement Culture