The Importance of Communication in Lean Six Sigma

Lean and Six Sigma both provide robust frameworks for businesses to improve their processes. Through careful planning and measurement, Lean Six Sigma makes it possible for organisations to largely eliminate waste and deliver better products and services to their customers. However, it is a common mistake for process improvement teams to focus solely on the technical aspects of their work. The culture and people of an organisation play a major role in Lean Six Sigma projects, so it is critical to include a communication plan that addresses the human element of projects. In this article we are going to explore the key reasons why communication is important to Lean Six Sigma project success.


Increasing Organisational Commitment with Communication

Clearly communicating your project’s plan, outcome and expected benefits can significantly improve the results. This is due to a rise in organisational commitment. When making large-scale changes to a business’ processes, the human element is a major component. A Lean Six Sigma team can have all the technical skills and tools they need to complete a project. But, without the commitment of other organisational members, the success of projects will be severely limited. 

A Lean Six Sigma communication plan typically includes the details of how a project will be communicated with employees. Creating transformation requires early and frequent communication with the employees who will ultimately affect the project’s outcome. Getting everyone involved increases their stake in the project and gives them a vested interest in making it a success.


Sharing the Information Teams Need

Process improvement professionals can only be successful if they are given the tools they need to complete projects. Clearly communicating a project’s vision, strategies, benefits and requirements is critical to its success. Communication and information sharing should go both ways:

  • Communicating with management ensures Lean Six Sigma teams will receive the tools, personnel and support they need.
  • Communicating with employees means they are more likely to make meaningful contributions and be champions of the project.

Sharing information with teams affected by a Lean Six Sigma project is also important for communicating their role in the strategy. The more information teams have, the better they will be able to participate in projects and contribute to their success. For instance, providing quality control teams with clear, written goals will greatly improve their performance and keep projects moving.


Communicating Between Management and Employees

Much of the waste in an organisation can be attributed to its employees lack of process awareness. As fantastic as your staff may be, it is common for them to become entrenched in inefficient processes. Shifting these processes requires more than simply undertaking projects and expecting staff to follow suit. 

Effective communication between management and employees is key to Lean Six Sigma project success. Communication is an excellent tool for overcoming organisational inertia and making real changes. Giving employees access to project information – or even Lean Six Sigma training – offers them a greater understanding of Lean Six Sigma strategies. This ultimately makes communication between management and employees more effective. Employees who understand the nature of their work and the intended outcomes are more likely to make lasting changes and contribute to process improvement.

It is also important for management to ensure their communication is clear and understood by all employees. Managers often have a greater understanding of an organisation that makes it simpler for them to champion Lean Six Sigma projects. Employees will not always share this level of understanding and may require more information than is being provided. Management and process improvement teams should regularly communicate to make sure employees have access to all the information they need.


Improve Communication with Lean Six Sigma Training from Thornley Group

Providing awareness and Lean Six Sigma training to more of your employees is key to the success of large-scale projects. Inviting employees to upskill and become invested in the nature of their work ultimately leads to better outcomes for everyone involved. Thornley Group offers a range of Lean Six Sigma training opportunities suitable for everyone from senior management to front-line employees. Our corporate training packages are designed to boost communication and improve the effectiveness of your Lean Six Sigma projects. For more information on our training or to book a course, feel free to speak to our consultants at any time.

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