My new CEO joined me just a fortnight ago. Since then she is on the move and had been meeting the heads, various functions and their members. At the same time, she is trying to acclimatize with the new environment. She is very energetic.

Today sitting in her cabin during afternoon she told me ‘You know you are so very sick’. I asked – ‘Why’?

She said – ‘You have put on so much weight as some of your functions are plump with many unwanted load. You should be Lean and thin to look good and earn benefit. And of course, to be fit and healthy you need to make your functions thinner and leaner’.

I think in my mind ‘isn’t she too fast to come to a conclusion like this? She is just a fortnight old to me’. So I said in a defending note–‘How do you say that? All my functions are being performing quite well!’

She said – ‘Really? Your functions are performing well? Did you ever try to find out what’s going on in there? How better and efficient these could have done towards your business goal?’

Now I was little hesitant to respond back as I thought she was possibly making some points. But at the same time thought let me see how far she can go on this.

She continued – ‘Also do you know how duplicative and contrasting the processes which are being followed for the similar set of work in different functions and that the quality is being suffered due to disparate defect sources? I happened to look into some of the CSS results and I must say that they are not quite impressive. Not that they are very bad too but there is so much scope of improvement.’

I was warming up little by little and said – ‘I have good managers who can handle these and in fact handling things for long; so I have no worries. They know how to solve these petty issues.’

She reverted – ‘These might look trivial at the moment. However they would take much bigger shape if not taken care of at the onset. And in case you believe the managers can handle those then I think I should talk to them and let them ‘Just do it’ and solve the issues creeping up every now and then.’

I said – ‘Please take your time to understand the ‘my culture’ first before you take a step otherwise things might be tossed back on to you.’

She smiled – ‘Of-course, I will take my time. And thanks for reinforcing this. I plan to first shortlist the critical areas where we require more focus. At the same time I would mingle with the members to understand their views of working ‘out’ better. Once things are being discussed with the function heads and the quality head, quality head can give insights as to how to execute the initiative towards a leaner, healthier system. From my past experience, I can say that there are wonderful and scientific ways to handle these with Six Sigma and/or Lean methodologies. So you need not worry at all. What do you suggest? Does this look like a plan?’

I said – ‘I think it’s too early to talk about it at the moment unless you spend some more time and understand my system. I mean to say what brought success to you in previous systems does not necessarily mean would work for me too. So I suggest you to not take any drastic step. Understand me and my functions first.’

Seems she is now thinking. Actually not her fault she is young and restless. This in a way is a good sign for me since at least some one is actively thinking about giving my functions good ‘form’ which would shape me positively.

I started opening up now and quipped – ‘Do you really think that Lean and Six Sigma are absolutely required to handle these defects? Cannot we just do this without the help of these methodologies?’

She said – ‘You are right. It is not that you really have to use six sigma and/or Lean techniques just for the sake of using. This depends all on the business criticality and the initiative that is taken up to resolve that. Most important to consider is how much the initiative can affect the health of your system. Six Sigma is mainly used for intricate issues which is backed by various methodologies and supporting data. Lean methodologies on the other hand are used for quick win situations and the techniques are mostly conceptual. Lean techniques are much useful to be used everyday for better control of your system. And together Lean and Six Sigma can do wonder to the whole body if followed systematically and structurally.

I asked cautiously- ‘Do you believe my functions and I would get rid of the weighty issues for sure?’

She said – ‘Oh yes. Absolutely, if the initiative is executed well and being controlled keeping in mind your value and business goal. Also important is, it should get full support from the sponsors, stakeholders and members. Things would start falling in place when everything is streamlined and the members start getting the flavor of the same.’

I already started feeling quite lighter literally after this conversation with her and thought ‘I should now be happy as I am finally in a lean hand who also is equipped with complete 6 levels of knowledge [read six sigma]. Ah…I could not have asked for more.’

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