In most organizations they are referred to as Champions or Executive Champions. Typically Champions are there to remove roadblocks; defuse any issues that may arise between the leader of a project and management affected by the project; and allow the Black Belts and Green Belts the freedom to focus on the problem, not engage in some inane territorial dispute. This is the most fundamental function of the Champion.
In addition to removing obstacles, Champions must be proficient in four other areas:
1. Business and Operations Interface
Champions should know the business they are in and at least be familiar with the technology used in the process, but must constantly guard against intruding into the process and offering solutions. One of the Champion’s primary roles is to assure that operational level projects are aligned with the strategic level business objectives and project reviews are limited to assuring that the project is progressing as planned and the result aligns with the needs of the organization. It can also be an opportunity for Champions to identify other potential areas of improvement.
2. Six Sigma Project Selection
Alignment with the goals and objectives of the organization is the key. If the organization truly understands and practices alignment, project selection becomes less of a threat. Furthermore, if the alignment is augmented with process data it is an even easier task. The threatening question is defused to become a discussion of the alignment methods or the data that was used. The personal implications become a non-issue.
3. Pace Mediation
The optimum Lean Six Sigma deployment plan is derived from a combination of the Champion, as the internal expert, and the Lean Six Sigma project leader.
When a plan is constructed it should have goals, specific targets that will increase customer success/satisfaction, competitive position, technology, etc. These should have metrics. Meeting or not meeting metrics should be analyzed, and adjustments should be made to the program.
4. Results Implementation
When a project is completed it should have a calculated potential savings. The finance department of the organization should sign off on this number, but it is a metric that the Champion should be held accountable for. The Champion drives the metrics that will drive the performance. If you want accurate projections and timely implementations, you had better place a metric and accountability on them.
Champions must be integrated into the business, fully understand the Lean Six Sigma process, select projects accurately, adjust the speed of the deployment as necessary, and take responsibility for implementation.
- Item #: ExecChampion1&2