Black Belt Chronicle: Managing to Make Things Better or Managing to Make Things Worse? You make the call! By Harry Rever, PMP - Director of Six Sigma, IIL
Bob: These key performance indicators (KPI) are unacceptable! Heads will roll.
Will: Why do you say they’re unacceptable Bob?
Bob: What? Are you some kind of idiot? They’re red Will, RED! Can’t you see? I thought you were supposed to be some kind of smart analytical guy.
Will: Thanks Bob. What makes the numbers turn Red?
Bob: Catch a clue Will. It’s time to live in the real world. Get on board. We have targets to meet. If we don’t meet those targets the KPI turns red and my butt is on the line.
Will: And just to clarify, red is bad, is that right Bob?
Bob: Aaggghh! You are driving me insane. Of course red is bad. What planet have you been living on?
Will: Just trying to understand Bob. So, when those KPI’s happen to turn red what do you do?
Bob: I kick some %&$%# is what I do.
Will: Does that seem to work?
Bob: You bet your sweet &@% it does!
Will: Question Bob; do you happen to get “red results” on most scorecards?
Bob: Well, yes; but usually on different KPI’s. What’s your point Will? Are you suggesting I don’t know how to do my job? You Black Belts are all the same.
Will: No, not at all Bob. I was just wondering, based on your actions, why any of the KPI’s would ever turn red again, you know, after your corrective action.
Bob: I’ll tell you why smart guy, it’s because people slack off and it’s my job to keep them “motivated.”
Bob: Hey, not everyone can be the boss. You gotta be tough; you’ve got to be able to read people.
Will: I hear ya. Now Bob, do you remember that article I gave you to read?
Bob: Which one? You give me stuff all the time. Unlike you, I’m a busy man Will. I’m making things happen.
Will: “Variation is the Enemy.” It’s in last month’s allpm.com newsletter.
Bob: I saw it. Didn’t read it. I’ve got red KPI’s to deal with Will, remember? Are you going to help me or are you just going to keep asking me a bunch of ridiculous questions?
Will: I am here to help Bob. I’m your man. And, I think I can help you but you have to help me help you.
Bob: What in the %&$# does that mean?
Will: It means Bob that you need to not be so reactive to these “red” numbers. You need to understand the difference between normal variation and variation that is truly unusual. Study the chart!
Bob: Here we go again with all that “Sensei” crap. What am I, your little grasshopper? Your pet project?
Will: Well, yea, kind of Bob.
Will: Listen Bob, we’ve known each other a long time. It’s time you quit beating up your employees and start making more informed decisions so you actually do improve long term results.
Bob: I know what I’m doing.
Will: I don’t think you do. As a matter of fact, I’d say you may be making things worse.
Bob: Horse &%$#! My people fear me. Don’t forget dude, I’m the boss. I’m the man!
Will: Chill Bob. Your numbers are red because that is what the process is capable of delivering. Improve the process and results will improve.
Bob: There you go with your Six Sigma riddles again. I’ll read the article Will. Then we’ll talk again. My office; be ready.
Will: I can’t wait.
Rever, W. Harry. Variation is the Enemy. www.allPM.com November, 2009 newsletter.