An extract from my speech at the Lean six Sigma Certification Ceremony at Vivantes Care Center
Last Monday I have certified 8 Green Belts (Lean Six Sigma project leaders), 12 Yellow Belts (team members) and 10 candidate Green Belts (those who completed the Green Belt training but did not participate yet in project work).
In less than 4 month time (typical is 6 month) these project teams achieved significant improvements.
Are you working in healthcare or other service organization? You could run these or similar projects:
- Improve care-activities per clients and adjust classification (“ZZP” in Holland) accordingly
- Increase productivity of district nurses and stimulate ownership for personal performance
- Increase (direct) nursing time for higher client satisfaction
- Reduce workload at Client Administration
The top-line result was about $235,000 just in 16 weeks!
If you want to identify key projects to improve your organization and your own performance, request free consultation in English, or in Dutch or Hungarian at
These excellent results are only the first steps in changing the organizational culture. Those Green – and Yellow Belts are writing history at Vivantes.
In my speech during the Certification Ceremony, I summarized the culture changes of this first period.
Take away these 7 tips to make your organization better – measurably better.
1 “You can do it in another way”
Working the same way for 10 to 15 years or even less doesn’t mean that there is no better way. Because with Lean Six Sigma we base the improvement of the work on facts and data, there are no preferences, therefore no exclusion of any other opportunities to change the way you work. Data has to prove it what is good. The result of the project proved this very clearly.
2 “Know what you want and be clear about it”
Especially in the Measure Phase of the Lean Six Sigma projects it is very obvious that management in general is not clear about their requirements.
Project leaders of the teams has asked their colleagues to collect certain data about the problem but they were not clear about it, therefore the data was useless. Nurses did not know exactly what to collect, how and why. They have just executed the tasks.
And this happened at each and every project. This was my intention to let it happen because it was a big eye-opener for the project team and also for the team leaders. They told me that this had happened so many times in the past wasting time, energy and motivation.
3 “Don’t be too quick with your solutions”
During the first phase of our project – called Define Phase – we start describing the problem of the project. This is where manager are very good at coming up with solutions already while the problem is not clear yet. Solutions without clear problem definition is just a waste. Read more on this here.
That’s why the Green Belts spend a lot of time defining the problem and the registering it in a project charter to be very clear about the problem and about the objectives. This had helped the project teams to keep the focus during the whole project execution.
4 “What you measure, you can manage”
This is a typical result of Lean Six Sigma program and one of the key element of its success.
I say often “you don’t have a problem until you cannot quantify it” this was a bit strange for our new Green and Yellow Belts because they used to talk about problems in general without being able to quantify the problem.
As a result you can have endless discussions without any solutions or any further actions. Quantifying the problem means that you had to measure the problem, collect the right data and analyze it as well.
5 “You can’t be clear enough” or “Don’t assume”
Whether it’s about collecting data or following new procedures, we have seen mistakes of not being “idiot proof” about what to do and how to do it. Just expecting your colleagues to understand what you want is a sure path to irritations, variation in the output and creating more waste.
So take the time, explain it like to a child, draw it out, put up a flow chart, use pictures, etc.
And even if they say they understand you, check it. Check it to see you whether they really understand you. This extra effort is really worth your investment.
6 “Everything is important but some things are more important than the others”
The cornerstone of Lean Six Sigma: Pareto-law or 80/20 law. If it’s about choosing the right project, focusing the project on the key problems, selecting the main causes of the problem or defining the improvement actions, it is all about priorities.
If you only learn this from the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification program, you place yourself in the top 5% of your peers.
Sign up now and save 25%. Payment plan available.
7 “You cannot do it alone”
In 16 weeks of hard work, spending at the least 2 hours per week in project team discussions the results were excellent ranging from 5 to 10% productivity increase up to 40%.
I could not achieve this on my own even if I am a Black Belt or a Master Black Belt or a Superhero. No way.
And even if I could have achieved it, it would not have been taken over and adopted by the organization.
So you need a team around you. The Yellow Belts are playing here an essential role because they are the bridge between the Lean Six Sigma project team and the rest of the organization.
And that’s why I was very satisfied when during the ceremony the yellow belts were sharing their very positive experience with the first projects and expressing their wishes to be part of new projects as well.
So what else can I wish as a leader of such improvement program?
Call to action
If you work in healthcare, service industry, IT, Real-Estate or manufacturing these seven points are important in your situation as well.
To find out more about this lean six Sigma program and to achieve these or even higher results within a few short months book your free consultation of 45 minutes without any further obligation at http://www.peterherku.com/free-consultation
If you want to get Lean Six Sigma Certification at Green Belt level, please enroll at
The number of participants is really limited. So act now!