Let’s all be friends and focus on making things better

By Ron Pereira Updated on August 15th, 2011

I’ve sensed an unusually strong disturbance in the Continuous Improvement force the past month or so.

It seemed to start with the announcement that iSixSigma was about to close their doors.  Perhaps I’m partially to blame as I wrote an article where I shared my opinions on what I feel is a very sad situation.

In any event, there seems to be more bickering than normal across various Social Media sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter.

You see, many, but not all, hard core Six Sigma practitioners will find ways to snub their noises at the lean crowd while many, but again not all, hard core lean practitioners will find a way to poke at the six sigma folks. 

With this said, I often wonder how effective the continuous improvement world could truly be if we focused less on labels (lean, six sigma, TOC, etc.) and more on learning new things and helping others.

Again, I’ll shoulder may share of the blame here… just look at the name of this blog!  I fell right into the same labels game when first starting LSS Academy.

In the end, Social Media outlets like blogs, LinkedIn, and Twitter can be very powerful when leveraged for good… but when they become ideological battle fields for people to attack others under the guise of continuous improvement… well,  I sometimes wonder if they’re helping at all.

What do you think?

  1. Mark Welch

    August 17, 2011 - 7:13 am

    I haven’t been involved, nor have I seen the Twitter or Linked-In debates, but I’m with you on these sentiments, Ron. I’m a dedicated leanster, but I think the focus ought to be more on, “What can we learn from each other? How can we contribute to one another’s success?” as opposed to a Tastes Great/Less Filling debate. Both approaches offer some very good things. Let’s pull eclectically from both for the greater value for our customers.

  2. George

    August 17, 2011 - 10:32 am

    Couldn’t agree more. I have stopped following a few people on Twitter as all they seem to do is bash other people and in one case they even bashed a company pretty good. I grow tired of negativity. Have enough of it at work and dont need more on Twitter!

  3. Andy Wagner

    August 17, 2011 - 2:52 pm

    The labels distract from the substance. I too am guilty of bias against the term “lean six sigma” simply because of a bad experience when a former employer tacked a lean chapter on the end of its Six Sigma Green Belt manual and pronounced the company “lean”.
    I wish we could do without the labels, or coin a magical all encompassing term that everybody would simultaneously embrace.
    It sure would be easier to work together using all of the resources and tools out there instead of branding ourselves and fighting about how to improve!

  4. Dale S

    August 18, 2011 - 7:08 am

    Bickering is “muda”! Waste of time and energy.

  5. Rick Foreman

    August 18, 2011 - 8:04 am

    Great observations as usual. I think at times we forget the true value of the “why” behind working to continuously improve our work environments. As a team, comprised of different focuses and expertise, we have the opportunity to improve the quality of life for our team members, companies, customers and even to some extent our communities. When the “why’ is kept in proper focus, then the realization of our piece in carrying out the mission to make a difference; makes the differences between the groups irrevelant. In addition, there is not a cookie cutter tool box that fits each and every work environment. The “whole” is stronger and more influential than the “one,” in my opinion. Kind of mushy but we all need each other. What we make happens for others will yield in a positive return for our efforts.

  6. Mark Graban

    August 22, 2011 - 5:34 pm

    I’m going to respectfully disagree and argue that organizations and society don’t benefit from everybody being friends and from it being OK to say anything.

    Personal attacks and insults are unbecoming and unproductive, I’ll grant that.

    But if we are engineers and a “community of scientists” as some might say, we have a right and an obligation to speak out against untruths. If somebody says “lean is about speed and six sigma is what you need for quality” (as I wrote about on my blog today), then there is an obligation to speak out and make an opposing case.

    Just looking the other way or going along to get along doesn’t really help anybody.

    • Ron Pereira

      August 22, 2011 - 11:36 pm

      Thanks for the comment, Mark. That’s the beauty of the Internet… people can agree to disagree. 😉

      And, no, I’m not going to argue or debate you on why I think you’re wrong since, in the end, I know your heart is in the right place and you do a lot of good work that helps a lot of people.

      So, I’m going to practice what I tried to preach in the article above and take the high road and work on some Gemba Academy projects that will definitely produce more long term fruit than a frivolous debate amongst friends would.

      Know what I mean?

      Oh yeah, we still need to grab coffee soon!

    • Ron Pereira

      August 22, 2011 - 11:37 pm

      And when are you going to get rid of that yellow background image! I KNOW you have much nicer images to choose from now. 😉

  7. Brek Allen

    August 25, 2011 - 7:14 pm

    Ron – Couldn’t agree more. And way to take the high road above.

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