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Which methodology would you recommend learning and utilizing first Lean or Six Sigma?

If we consider Six Sigma a problem solving methodology and Lean the way to run a business, then the answer is simple – Lean. Lean thinking ensures that we are focused on creating customer value, have stable processes upon which improvement can be made and have the right people to make improvements. Six Sigma helps solve complicated problems but it is only effective after organizations have both standard processes and the discipline to follow the standard processes. In most cases, business problems are merely symptoms of a business failing to apply the four concepts discussed in November’s featured article or not having the discipline to follow standard processes. We often ask people working on Six Sigma projects, “If the people in your organization can’t follow your current processes, why are you spending time creating a new process?” Don’t take this the wrong way. Six Sigma is a great, data driven, problem-solving methodology which we strongly advocate. We just caution organizations that Six Sigma alone rarely delivers significant and sustained improvements if the organization hasn’t already embraced Lean Thinking.