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Lean Wins!

The skills managers value is reflected in the way they recruit new employees. One noticeable shift last year was the widening of the gap between job postings for Lean versus Six Sigma.

The data comes from The Avery Point Group. In their first year of reporting, 2005, they showed job postings requesting Six Sigma skills outpacing Lean by nearly 50%. Last year, Lean skills were 11% more common, and this year, the gap widened to nearly 35%.

My suspicion is that this is a function of downsizing. While Lean efforts do a lot of things, Lean is commonly thought of as a way to make operations more efficient. With the changes in the job market over the last few years, it is no surprise that bosses are looking for ways to do more with less.

I also believe that Lean is much more accessible to frontline employees than Six Sigma is.

(Learn more about my book on the subject, Whaddaya Mean I Gotta Be Lean?. It addresses many of the challenges frontline employees face when asked to do more with less. Read some of its reviews to learn more.)

While individual Six Sigma projects may provide a bigger impact than Lean, there are simply fewer people driving that train. In contrast, any person can practice Lean in their daily operations, simply by focusing on small, continuous process improvements.

What do you think? Do you see this same trend towards companies placing more value in Lean than Six Sigma to make operations better? Why do you think Lean is distancing itself from the pack?


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