A leader had just been picked to be the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company. This leader’s decades long career had been spent entirely in this one company creating a unique emotional attachment to the company and its people that went far beyond the normal financial and operational concerns that vie for a CEO’s attention. This leader was not blind to the company’s weaknesses and wanted to be a leader who made a difference by leaving a stronger and better company as a legacy. To leave this legacy, the leader put together a strategy. Two of the elements of the strategy were improving the quality of the company’s products and reducing costs. Thus began a search for what to do.
The leader began by meeting with other CEOs to understand how they were approaching the important improvements needed in their companies. Several of the CEOs told the story how Six Sigma was transforming their companies making them more profitable and improving products. One senior leader told how the deployment of Six Sigma had nearly doubled profitability in just a few short years. The future CEO came back from this series of discussions convinced that Six Sigma would play an important role in the strengthening of the company.
The CEO then began a remarkable journey to ensure that the company transformed by applying the disciplines of Six Sigma to the company’s biggest problems.
During a 10+ year tenure, the CEO dedicated hundreds of hours of personal time and energy to ensure that the company achieved its goals. Included among the CEO’s actions:
- Attending Green Belt training and completing a project.
- Meeting with a Master Black Belt (MBB) each month for an hour to understand the tools and how they work.
- Once projects were completed, meeting with selected Belts to review their projects and ask questions.
- Reviewing Six Sigma performance measures and 2 projects each month with the company leadership team. This continued for almost a decade.
- Allocating time on the Board of Directors annual meeting to review projects and discuss Six Sigma.
- Always taking time to meet with Belts during visits around the company.
- Conducting an annual awards ceremony to honor the best projects in the company from the prior year.
This CEO lead from the front, demonstrating to the company’s employees how important Six Sigma was to the CEO and to company success.
The result? The results were a staggering 8-times improvement in company profitability and more than doubling revenue. The CEO’s legacy was a stronger better company.