What is the flavor of the month? Are you implementing Lean, Six Sigma, Lean Six Sigma, BPI, TQM, or another fancy name for a quality improvement program in your organization?

We were reading an old 2010 WSJ article titled “Where Process-Improvement Projects Go Wrong: Six Sigma and other programs typically show early progress. And then things return to the way they were.” and realized that over the years the various process improvement programs have taken a negative hit because of “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”.

The Good:

In the beginning, the enthusiasm is great. In some cases, a company will bring in fancy consultants to train the trainers. A great name will be developed for the initiatives and then voila you have a multitude of projects that are destined to save the company millions. This is communicated throughout the organization as the best program since sliced bread and everyone is onboard from the janitor to the CEO.

The Bad:

Then reality sets in. The consultants have gone home. The trainers have to now be the experts and they have to ensure the projects can deliver on the promises made to senior leaders in the organization as well as deliver on the promises made to individuals throughout the company.

The Ugly:

It is determined the trainers are not experts. The projects are not sustainable because the organization does not truly have a “culture” of process improvement. The program was viewed as the “Flavor of the month”. Projects do not deliver on their promises and now the program is seen as a bust. Unfortunately, the name of the program was called Lean, Six Sigma, BPI, TQM, or another fancy name and thus take a negative hit as a “program” that doesn’t work.


The reality is that an organization has to be ready for any process improvement program and be willing to have a continuous improvement culture regardless of the fancy name this is attached. If individuals in the organization are truly trained on any process improvement methodology, they can exhibit the mindset and apply the tools to projects as well as to day-to-day activities that improve the business processes for years to come versus in one calendar year.

Branner Consulting, LLC can help you at any stage along your journey from process documentation to implementing process improvement projects. We also provide coaching and training in Six Sigma and Lean methodologies.