Six Sigma’s Hidden Truths, Lessons Learned, and Potential Payoffs

The Six Sigma Way, 2nd Ed


The following is an author excerpt from Pete Pande, “Introduction to the Second Edition, The Six Sigma Way“, recently published by McGraw-Hill.


To help you get the greatest possible benefit from Six Sigma, it is important to recognize some of the misunderstood truths about what it offers, how it works, and where its real value lies. The truths for the most part are constant; still, we include some “Lessons Learned” based on the much deeper experience of Six Sigma since 1999.

Hidden Truth #1

Six Sigma encompasses a broad array of business concepts, best practices, and skills (some advanced, but a lot common sense) that are essential ingredients for making improvement and change work well. Where it has shown the most impressive and lasting results, Six Sigma thinking is really more important than the tools. When it is narrowly defined as “a quality program” or “a statistical approach,” the impact is sure to be limited.

Lessons Learned: Far too many organizations and training programs have continued to emphasize tools and projects and overlooked the fundamental Six Sigma dimension of asking the right questions. Learning tools and working on projects can only go so far, whereas asking questions and responding effectively can be applied every day.

The Payoff: By balancing the tools and projects with the proactive, creative thought processes that are core to Six Sigma, you will be able to apply it much more broadly and see the impact on not just formal problem solving, but also how people, from leaders to front-line, act and respond every day.

About Pete Pande

Pete Pande, President of Pivotal Resources Inc., is a seasoned consultant in process improvement, organization change and Lean Six Sigma initiatives (he is one of the recognized "experts" in the field). He has provided senior executive training and deployment consulting services in business improvement and Six Sigma efforts for such companies as GE Capital, Sun Microsystems, Cendant, Cisco Systems, Starwood Hotels, Honeywell, Carlson Wagonlit Travel and many others. For more information, please visit
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