Operational Effectiveness: Lean Six Sigma Deployment Paradigm

  • LSS Deployment ParadigmAccidental AdversariesEroding Goals ArchetypeLimits to Growth LSS Archetype

    Lean Six Sigma Deployment Paradigm

    The LSS deployment paradigm combines four archetypes and helps understand why some effort succeed while others fail.

    Accidental Adversaries Archetype

    The Accidental Adversaries archetype demonstrates how groups with different cultures can inadvertently begin working against each other's interests., even if they're in the same organization.

    Eroding Goals Archetype

    The eroding goals archetype demonstrates how management pressure to reduce training time in LSS results in increasing failure rates of projects.

    Limits to Growth Archetype in LSS Deployment

    The limits to growth archetype is the determinant of sustainability over time of the LSS methodology.

    Operational Effectiveness: Lean Six Sigma Deployment Paradigm

    • Client: US Military Command

    • Project duration: One Year

    • Project category: Operational Effectiveness & Efficiency

    Project Overview

    A military command requested an assessment of an ongoing Lean Six Sigma deployment. We worked closely with both military and civilian personnel to identify areas of opportunity, presenting the result as system archetypes that combined to create a deployment paradigm.

    The use of systems thinking archetypes enabled participants to “see themselves” within the system they were operating in. We identified four key system archetypes: Limits-to-Growth, Accidental Adversaries, Shifting-the-Burden, and Fixes-that-Fail. For example, the Accidental Adversaries, depicting how military and civilian personnel can switch between a ‘virtuous’ and ‘vicious’ mode.  Knowledge of what provokes a switch from virtuous to vicious, and how to switch it back again, aided cultural change efforts.

    We also found that the use of Structured Systems Thinking filled a gap in Lean Six Sigma methodology. Both DoD and Marine Corps CPI guidance specifies the importance of “systems thinking” but provides little in the way of practical, light-weight tools for the pursuit of it.  As a result of the assessment we proposed adopting Structured Systems Thinking as the proper method with a robust background established in systems engineering to fill this gap; and that both Green Belts and Black belts should receive some level of training in it.


    • Persona-Analysis using system archetypes (replacing traditional stakeholder analysis)

    • Policy analysis using systems map

    • Creation of Lean Six Sigma Deployment Paradigm


    • Greater understanding of human dynamics affecting deployment efforts

    • Lean Six Sigma deployment paradigm transferable to other deployments in different environments

    • Proposal to adopt Structured Systems Thinking training for Green and Black Belts

    • Use of archetype names gave a clearer language for teams to discuss opportunities and barriers

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