The Key is Leadership


The Key is Leadership

When I am asked “What is the key to a successful lean six sigma initiative?”, my answer is always

Think of the continuous improvement organization as an inverted triangle. At the top are the people we
serve, internal and external customers. Below them are the lean six sigma teams, led by green and black
belts. Below them, providing support, are the Champions, the project sponsors. Finally, at the bottom
of the triangle is leadership supporting the entire structure. If the bottom of the triangle fails, the entire
structure collapses.

If a leadership team is to successfully implement and sustain a LSS initiative, the following MUST

  • Leaders must have an aligned vision for continuous improvement and that alignment must be
    maintained. Further, it needs include the understanding the LSS is for the entire organization,
    not just a department.
  • Leadership needs to establish clear LSS goals and objectives and then hold people accountable
    for them.
  • They must correctly assess the resources needed to launch and sustain the initiative and then
    commit to providing them.
  • They must identify strong people to run LSS in the various parts of the business (e.g., business
    units, regions, etc.)
  • Finally, leaders must commit to personally monitoring and providing clear strategic direction. They must dedicate time to LSS.


If the leadership team can do the above, a transformative LSS initiative, which is sustained, is possible.

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