The Faces of Six Sigma

The Rise of Quality

The Corporate Days

The Essence of Leadership

The Days at Motorola

While Dr. Harry was still at GM, before he began his doctoral work, another major American company, Motorola, was engaged in a painful process of self-discovery. The year was 1979 when the company began to realize the extent to which it had lost market share in many key segments, including televisions, car radios and semiconductors. That same year, during a company officer's meeting, Motorola's President and CEO Bob Galvin asked the question, "What's wrong with our company?" Many officers and corporate chiefs began voicing the standard, politically correct excuses. Blame it on the Japanese, blame it on the economy in general, blame it on weak research and development.

While all this was going on, a lone voice in the back of the room spoke up loudly and clearly saying "I'll tell you what's wrong with this company... our quality stinks!" That voice was Art Sundry, a sales manager for Motorola's most profitable business at the time. Everyone thought he would be fired for this ballsy assertion. How could someone make such a statement in such horrible and turbulent times? Surely Motorola had always been and still was among the world's best manufacturers, regardless of the hard times it was facing.

Galvin listened, and he listened more to Sundry's explanation of why he said what he said. The highly credible industrial leader he was, Galvin then proceeded to validate Sundry's assertions by visiting Motorola's factories, shipping docks and other operations. He didn't go to the big muckety-muck executives because he took quality personally. He went all the way to individual end-users and, when he got there, they told him "your quality stinks."

Apparently the world had changed, and Motorola found itself in the middle of a squeeze brought on by the greatly improved quality, cost, reliability, service and warrantee programs of its competitors. It was a rude awakening for Galvin and for Motorola, which had a rich history of producing high-quality, low-cost, reliable products. After all, Motorola made the police and military radios; it had built its reputation on quality and reliability. Saying its quality stunk was like saying Hershey's chocolate was bad.

To say the least, Motorola was at a major turning point in its history. It could continue on a downward trend relative to competitors, or it could break that trend with an ambitious culture change and quality improvement initiative. Galvin believed deeply that business performance would follow quality improvement, so he instituted a goal of improving every Motorola product by lOX, or 10 times better. As a simplified example, this meant if a certain product failed ten percent of the time, the organization would have to improve that same product to the point of failing no more than one percent of the time.

Galvin planted his improvement stake in the ground, and established a hierarchical system of metrics to ensure that the efforts to enhance quality pooled up to successively higher levels of the corporation. But it wasn't long before Motorola realized it wasn't changing; like a person who keeps reiterating a problem with no solution, the do-or-die call for lOx improvement wasn't enough to get the job done. More was needed. As with any body in motion, Motorola needed a very powerful impetus to move its mass.

The Quantum Improvement

Still more humble at this stage, Motorola began to quantitatively benchmark its performance against companies (primarily in the orient) that held a much stronger competitive position. Dr. Harry remembers the huge sucking sound of deflating egos when the company discovered that a few of its competitors were not 10 times better but nearly 1,800 times better! That's the gross difference between a Four Sigma and a Six Sigma company.

All the success Motorola had in the past was not enough any more to fuel its arrogance. Like a world-class athlete who realizes he can't compete at the same level anymore, the company found itself in a sort of mid-life crisis. In many cases, Motorola's products weren't even average, never mind the best. The good news was that, unlike an aging athlete, a corporation can reinvent itself if it is willing to do what is necessary.

One of the first truths Galvin recognized was that the quality professionals at his company were not powerful and experienced enough about business to lead change. He understood that, more than any other factor, change is a function of leadership -pure business leadership unfettered by concerns that fall outside the scope of creating shareholder value. Therefore, Galvin selected a pure business leader to head up the charge for improved quality, and for improved business results.

Motorola needed a master at business, a politician, a tactician, a magician who could pull a big, fat, 1,800-times-improvement rabbit out of his hat. So Galvin recruited Jack Germaine, a highly ethical, imposing, tough-minded, cost-focused, hard-driving, take-no-names business executive. Germaine was the kind of guy you could give a dime today, and he would bring you back a dollar tomorrow. He was an all-star, the guy you would bring in when all looked hopeless. He was a magician, and Motorola needed some magic.

A magician, not a mechanic. That's what Galvin believed he his company needed. He needed to keep the entire organization focused on breakthrough, and he needed mystique to keep the idea of quality alive. Germaine was all that and more - one of the company's most respected executive business leader.

It was a strange day when Galvin announced Germaine would be heading up quality for the corporation. People just about crapped in their pants. It was known in the corporate community that if you weren't good enough to be a business leader, you would work in some other capacity. And if you couldn't make it there, you were given a job in the quality function. After that, you were out the door. This was the perception of a "quality" job at the time - it was the occupational kiss of death.

A tsunami of shock, doubt and apprehension crashed through the ranks of Motorola. Nobody took the best business executive and made him the head of quality. Nobody. People thought Galvin had been smoking something illegal, and inhaling. After 50 years with the company, had he lost his mind? Would this decision be marked as the final turning point for Galvin?

The Uncompromising Quest

Germaine began to quell the shock and settle the fears. In a very personalized way, Germaine, Galvin and other key executives took the message of quality to every pocket and corner of the global corporation. Motorola needed to improve by 2000 times in the next five years or it would become a dinosaur in the world of technology.

As only they could spin it, Galvin's and Germaine's message hit the heart of every person in the company. They communicated a very global issue in a way that could be understood at breakfast tables in the homes of Motorola's 100,000 employees. In the hallways between employees, between employee and spouse, between employees and their dad or mom who had retired from Motorola -their communication was like a conduit of electricity, a lightning bolt of clarity zapping between the clouds and the ground.

The most important objective Germaine achieved early on was to masterfully get the vision of 100,000 people uplifted , looking to the horizon and beyond. If there was a future for Motorola, everyone had the same perspective of that future. As an aggregate, Motorola began to believe again. Germaine defined a clear enemy to attack, then organized the troops in tactical formation. The Motorola senior executive team then committed precious resources to fuel the battle.

Although Germaine had set the stage from the top, he still needed a highly viable apparatus by which he could implement the quality vision from the bottom. No one disputed the need for change, yet at the same time no one knew how to truly make it happen. Like most modern corporations, Motorola was familiar with or had tried most all of the conventional programs. Germaine needed an initiative that was as mysterious as the goal itself, as mysterious as the Far East competitors - something he could sell.

Get that - something he could sell. Something people would buy into with renewed hope and fervor. All the programs of the day were dry and sterile. The shoes of QI, TQM, SPC were worn from the pavement of continuous improvement, and they were not worthy for the journey to breakthrough. Galvin and Germaine were insightful enough to recognize this, and they knew they weren't going to create drama by following the trodden path. Only a super-ordinate initiative could help them reach their seemingly impossible stretch goal.

Galvin had installed a true leader in Germaine, but he was still to install a methodology for transformation. While he didn't know what that methodology was, he knew that the company needed a very powerful impetus — much more powerful than any off-the-shelf improvement program available at the time.

It was certain knowledge Motorola now lacked — a replicable system of problem solving that had the power necessary to drive breakthrough, not just continuous improvement. Where was this knowledge? Did it even exist? If it did, how could Motorola leverage it and replicate it to the point where it could be exploited all over the globe in so many different organizational divisions, departments and factories? These were the key questions that drove Galvin to form a new corporate entity called the Motorola Education and Training Center, or MTEC for short.

The mission of MTEC, which later expanded to become Motorola University, was to scour the world as a knowledge vacuum sweeper, sucking in all ideas, principles, methods and tools that could potentially make Motorola a better corporation. In turn, this new knowledge was formed, fashioned and fused with existing knowledge to create training courses that were then disseminated throughout Motorola as widely, deeply and quickly as was feasible and appropriate.

Galvin recognized the simple power of the precept that a corporation and its people only know what they know, and that they don't know what they don't know. If performance is a function of knowledge, and if Motorola needed to improve its performance by 1,800 times, then it stood to follow that the company needed to upgrade its knowledge base by l,800x. MTEC was the vehicle for such improvement, and Galvin recruited a gentleman by the name of Bill Wiggenhorn, formerly of Xerox, to start and run the corporate training center.

This was the backdrop against which Dr. Harry entered the picture at Motorola in 1983 as a doctoral intern. At this point, MTEC had been operating for a few years, and Motorola had brought in many new ideas and ways of improving its performance. But still, none, alone or in combination with others, had proven to be powerful enough to move the needle of performance as far as was needed to recapture Motorola's reputation as one of the world's best.

Recalling that Dr. Harry was working on his Ph.D., it came time for him to do his doctoral internship. One of his committee chairpersons at ASU, Dr. Louis Pardini, introduced him to Murray Alien, a manufacturing manager and training leader in the Semiconductor division of Motorola. It wasn't but two days after Dr. Harry began his work with Alien at Motorola's 52 nd street facility in Phoenix, Arizona that Alien was asked to go over to Motorola's Government Electronics Group (GEG) in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Along with others, GEG reached out to Allen for support in establishing a technical training curriculum. GEG would become a testing ground for various courses that MTEC would develop. If successful, those courses would be taken to other divisions and areas of Motorola. When Alien accepted the transfer to GEG, he asked Dr. Harry if he would like to come along. His prior doctoral study, military background and quickly demonstrated curiosity and initiative, made Alien think Dr. Harry would be an asset to GEG. Dr. Harry accepted the offer to go with Alien because he perceived it to be an opportunity on the "cutting edge," where he would be involved in the creative intellectual work of forging and applying new knowledge.

While all this was transpiring in his line of sight, Dr. Harry was starting to interface with Dorian Shannin, one of the world's great engineering problem solvers of the day. Dr. Harry graciously acknowledges that he owes a lot to Shannin for his work in reliability engineering and problem solving, and for passing the details of that work on to Motorola through various meetings and seminars. As well, Dr. Harry was rubbing shoulders with Dr. John Rambarg, who was developing a course on design of experiments for MTEC. One of Dr. Harry's first assignments at GEG, as a doctoral intern, was to review a seminar put on by Dorian Shannin at the time when MTEC was beginning to form a course called Advanced Diagnostic Tools (ADT). The Shannin-based course was intended to help engineers and scientists solve design-, manufacturing- and reliability-related problems.

Among several others, Dr. Harry was recruited to teach the ADT class and disseminate its ( content throughout GEG. Together with a mathematician named Meridith Sleiman, Dr. Harry began to scrutinize the ADT instruction manual and content. Very quickly, it became apparent that the manual and content would not work for GEG, even though it worked for Shannin. Some of his methods were peculiar and caused problems for design engineers who were the bulk of GEG's staff. The manual simply needed more structure, as well as some different content, for it to be usable across a wide spectrum of GEG divisions, departments and functions.

For this reason, Sleiman and Dr. Harry collaborated with Rick Hanneman, another ASU doctoral student, to revise the ADT course - making it more palatable and usable by the GEG engineering population. Later, Hanneman left GEG, and Sleiman and Dr. Harry continued to shape and supplement the Shannin-based ADT course.

It wasn't just Shannin's teachings that wouldn't "stick to the wall," but others as well. Motorola had considered the work of Deming, Crosby and Taguchi. In the case of Deming, Juran and Crosby, the perception was that they all had certain principles and practices to offer, but, overall, their work was perceived to be more based in platitude than in proven systems for breakthrough.

Taguchi's work seemed to have teeth, so his methods were brought in house (GEG) for a trial run. Unfortunately, the problems at GEG involved more than one or two dependent variables and several independent variables. GEG was confronted with electrical circuit designs that had 10 or 12 different response variables, 52 different independent parameters and several active devices. Taguchi's methods were simply not scaleable to that level of sophistication.

Enter the teachings of Juran, who promoted a very methodical system, but it was devoid of guidance or application in the fields of mechanical and electrical design. Aside from this, the problem with Juran's system for process improvement was that, while fundamentally sound, it lacked some very important elements. Nevertheless, GEG bought into Juran's system and tried to apply it, but, like the others, it didn't work on the scale that was needed. The experience was a premonition about the downward fate of quality management, and a strong indication that more infrastructure, support and leadership was needed to realize improvement, especially breakthrough improvement, on a wide and pervasive scale.

The Logical Approach

Around this same time as part of his doctoral activities, Dr. Harry had been fleshing out his "logic filters," a scientific method for reducing a complex system of problems down to its root by methodically sifting through artifactual data. Dr. Harry's method allowed a problem solver to track the clues and evidence that would lead to a solution.

Following a technical review and proof-of-principle application, Alien gave Dr. Harry the license to use his logic filters as a frame for developing new materials that would replace the ADT course. The intent was to collate and integrate the best and most applicable concepts and tools. With the logic filters as a platform, certain families of tools were organized into successive stages of problem solving. So when engineers would pursue a problem, they would apply this family of tools, then that family of tools until its causes were narrowed down to the vital few.

The new approach worked so well that GEG decided to standardize it, and Dr. Harry subsequently created a new set of training manuals under the name of Advanced Diagnostic Methods (ADM). The original ADT course was dropped from the smorgasbord of training programs in favor of Dr. Harry's curriculum, with its four distinct and progressive levels of expertise.

Also during this same time period, Dr. Harry was teaching courses on organizational dynamics and influence management, working with a psychologist by the name of Dr. Thomas Ollerman . From these experiences, Dr. Harry started to develop a philosophy of management psychology that integrated various behavioral principles with those of technical problem solving. One such principle, for instance, is that behavior is a function of values. If you want to change someone's behavior (Y), you have to work on exposing them to the experiences that can change their values (X).

In developing his system of thought, Dr. Harry was greatly influenced by different psychologists, not the least of which was Dr. Morris Massey, who introduced him to the concept that what you are is where you were then. For Dr. Harry this was a profound thought that fueled his thinking about personal change. Dr. Massey helped him realize a simple principle: our behavior is a function of our values, and our values are set early in life. This notion is also true about corporate life.

Dr. Massey also successfully made the case that our values are so deeply rooted in us that it most often takes a "significant emotional event" (SEE) to unfreeze them, or change them. Here, too, the principle is simple: the alteration or modification of a value will only result when an SEE has been deliberately or unintentionally introduced into a situation. Once this is done, and the value is modified, the behavior will change.

Obviously, this has huge implications for Six Sigma. For example, many people resist learning statistics, a key element of Six Sigma reasoning. To understand such resistance, we must necessarily isolate the value that underlies it, and we must arrange an SEE of some type that will unseat or otherwise modify the value. In turn, the new value will drive the desired behavior, in this case the proper application of statistics.

On top of this, Massey introduced another, seemingly contradictory, concept that what you are is not what you have to be. Taken together, these two thoughts formed the basis of what would later become the behavioral component of Six Sigma. One again, the principle is simple: just because you hold a certain value doesn't mean it's eternal. There was a time in history, for example, when it was acceptable to purchase people (slaves), when women weren't allowed to vote, when walking on the moon was more important than anything else. But time passes, and events change the course of our values as much as they change history itself. This is true not only in societal life, but also in corporate life. Values simply tend to change when they no longer generate workable behaviors or they generate counterproductive behaviors.

With the behavioral aspects of Six Sigma in mind, still in the 1983-1984 time frame, Dr. Harry further developed his logic filters and other components of his problem-solving system to the point at which he believed the system was ready for large-scale deployment. But there was one small problem: he had completed the internship portion of his doctoral studies and, technically, his time at Motorola was up. The paved route was for him to return to the university to complete his dissertation and receive his Ph.D.

Now how do you take a person, as passionately devoted to innovation as Dr. Harry was, and remove him from the very environment in which his theories could become realities? You don't. Although his internship was over, Dr. Harry offered to stay on at GEG without pay so he could continue the applied portion of his life's work. He remembers asking Alien for a desk somewhere, and a chair - both of which they found in the corner of a room at GEG's Radar Operations facility.

Dr. Harry needed a proving ground for his methods. It was that simple. Motorola was the right company at the right time in the right circumstances. Therefore, rather than walking away, Dr. Harry told Alien he would work for free. In the ensuing months, Dr. Harry would literally hock his jewelry to put gas in his car so he could get to class, and so he could also get out to GEG to continue his work there. In this sense, he had to pay to work at Motorola - never mind getting paid.

Finally, a day came when Alien took serious note of Dr. Harry's economic predicament. He was dead broke, behind in the rent and had no money for gas, food or tuition. Alien saw his little daughter running around in worn out tennis shoes and took pity. He secured a paying job for Dr. Harry as an external consultant to teach some of the courses created by MTEC. As meager as it was, the job kept Dr. Harry and his family alive, and it also kept his work alive.

Although he was based administratively in Radar Operations, Dr. Harry worked on a variety of projects in aerospace, tactical fusing and communications. He was dead set on demonstrating his value to Motorola, adopting the career strategy that you never ask for anything. You only give to your company, align your values with those of your bosses and make people dependent on your contributions in a healthy, positive way.

The Value of a Problem Solver

This is what Dr. Harry did, so when he completed his Ph.D. in December of 1984, there were more than a few executives at GEG who wanted to hire him on as a full-time employee in engineering. Dr. Harry had demonstrated his value to the point at which a bidding war broke out between several of the GEG divisions within which he had done problem-solving and project work, and training. The bids got so high that top management stepped in and put an end to it. Needless to say, the final offer to retain Dr. Harry at GEG was well above modest.

Although Dr. Harry continued to work with the various GEG divisions - such as radar, aerospace, and tactical fuzing - he remained based in communications as a staff engineer. Although he possessed a certain job title, and was located in a designated functional area, his bosses really didn't know what to call him or quite how to write his job description. They simply couldn't fit him into one of the classical organizational boxes. They knew he didn't belong in a box, and it was better that way.

After he was hired, Dr. Harry applied, taught and propagated his methods to the extent that he was given the resources for starting the GEG-based R&D think tank called the Advanced Quantitative Research Laboratory (AQRL). While developing new theories and analytical tools in the lab, Dr. Harry continued to perfect his logic-filter-based curriculum to the point at which it became the Breakthrough Strategy®. This was the first in a compressed string of promotions that would catapult Dr. Harry from his first job at GEG to the position of corporate director and senior member of technical staff within a 5-year period of time. While he couldn't quite see it then, he would soon become a principal architect in the design of a management program (Six Sigma) that had the innards to realize Motorola's radical new vision of quality.

Converging Knowledge Streams

In parallel to this, there was an engineer at Motorola named Bill Smith who had become known for his work in studying the relationship between manufacturing defects and field reliability. His research led him to make an outlandish statement: Motorola needed to standardize on a 50 percent, not a 25 percent, design margin to ensure that its products would not fail in the field. Translated, that margin represented plus or minus six standard deviations, or an 1,800 times difference in quality when compared to existing standards - the same gap that was identified in relationship to the earlier benchmarking studies. All the while MTEC and certain technical staff from certain Motorola business units were seeking and developing process improvement methods, Smith was working the problem from a design engineering point of view.

Like Germaine, Smith understood the 1,800x quality gap, but he didn't know how to close it. That was when he began a dialogue with Dr. Harry, and when he created a class for MTEC called Design for Manufacturability. The main thrust of the course was to improve process capability to the point that no more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities would be created when mated with their respective design specifications. After some initial course development and piloting, Mr. Smith and Dr. Harry collaborated to perfect the approach. Looking back now, it's easy to say this class was the first step in formalizing what is known today as design for Six Sigma (DFSS).

To most back then, however, it was more a mystery than a science. People understood the overall message of Six Sigma quality levels, but they didn't understand the mechanics of making it happen. That's where Smith and Dr. Harry came in; they provided the technical leadership and knowledge that was missing from the recipe of global corporate change.

It was like a witches brew that boiled into a magical potion for change. Galvin had a new vision based on his global, customer- focused point of view. Germaine provided the hard-nosed, business-leader drive to implant the work of Smith and Dr. Harry, using Motorola University (formerly MTEC) as the host server. Smith Championed the Six Sigma cause and, suddenly, Galvin finally had his platform for change. In catalytic manner, the elements came together to form the system of Six Sigma. In a loose, "networky" kind of way, the matter of breakthrough had condensed, evaporated and condensed again over time. Six Sigma was now a congealing Jell-O of urgent super- ordinate vision, serious business leadership and sound technical breakthrough.

To Be or Not To Be

Several months before this witches brew began to boil, the head of GEG at the time asked Dr. Harry to come up with an analytical rationale for why Six Sigma would not work in his highly specialized, engineering-oriented business. GEG invented, designed and produced highly sophisticated defense-related electronic systems, sometimes in very small lots, even lots of one. GEG also designed prototypes that some other defense contractor might ultimately produce. Needless to say, GEG was staffed with some of the world's most talented engineers who worked on the ragged edge of physics. GEG was known and prided itself on its beyond-the-envelope innovations. Sometimes it didn't produce anything but just conducted exploratory research and development for the customer.

In their heart of hearts, the GEG leadership team truly believed that a quality initiative such as Six Sigma had no place in its low-volume, one-of-a-kind production environment. Yes, Six Sigma was fine, very fine, for manufacturing but not for a swirling vortex of scientific breakthrough. GEG's unique mission and untouchable talent pool surely excluded it from the emerging methodology called Six Sigma. The masters of invention had a right, and a responsibility, to preserve the equilibrium of their laboratories so as not to interfere with the creative process. After all, how could the notion of quality have meaning in the context of scientific innovation or the development of a prototype?

We should know that Dr. Harry was not personally attached to Six Sigma at this time in Motorola's development. It was Bill Smith's brainchild, and Dr. Harry was involved only as much as necessary to accomplish his own agenda at and for GEG. He was an intellectual vacuum sweeper who sucked up any and all material that could help him accomplish his engineering assignments.

That said, Dr. Harry helped put the why- we- can 't-do- six- sigma rationale together for GEG's group head, who then confidently carried the rationale to Galvin at Motorola's corporate headquarters in Schaumburg, Illinois. Bob (Galvin) told the GEG head that he presented a very powerful and eloquent argument for why GEG shouldn't do Six Sigma. Then he prescriptively challenged him to go back and work on a powerful and eloquent argument for why GEG could do Six Sigma in a form compatible within a defense-related business.

When this message was delivered to the GEG population, everyone was shocked. What the heck was going on, and when did Six Sigma suddenly become so important? What the hell is Six Sigma, really, anyway? Like every other business in Motorola at the time, GEG was indirectly forced to process the significance of Galvin's new quality agenda, specifically Six Sigma.

It was a significant emotional event for all of Motorola. Galvin was dead serious about Six Sigma. It wasn't going away. There was a new way of pursuing quality that all would espouse and follow. Corporate heavyweight Germaine was appointed, and anointed, as the one who would make sure there was only one quality concert going on throughout the company. The same music in every hallway and on every floor. No prima donnas, no exceptions. Just a perfect alignment of values and practices in every part and parcel of the corporation.

On top of this, some of GEG's customers were asking Dr. Harry about Six Sigma, as they had heard rumblings about it from the commercial side of Motorola's business. They were curious about what Six Sigma was and what it was supposed to do.

All of a sudden, Dr. Harry found his best interests served by dialoging more with Bill Smith, who talked about various statistical principles and dynamics that would certainly apply on the edge of the world, if it were flat. But Dr. Harry's world was round. Where he lived, if you brought up the word "quality" in an engineering meeting, you were sometimes asked to leave. Design engineers at the time thought quality-related statistics was bullshit - smoke and mirrors. It was crap they didn't need, and they believed it had no pragmatic value in the process of innovation.

The technical folks at GEG were passionately opposed to Six Sigma, even though they had been ordered to go do it. They didn't understand the language of mathematical statistics, and they didn't want to understand. It was a classic communication problem. You had a corporation that was statistically illiterate, and a corporate initiative that was grounded in the language of statistics. On top of this, there were as many definitions and perspectives of Six Sigma in the company perhaps as their were people. Even if you bought into Six Sigma, you weren't exactly sure what you purchased, or could do with it for that matter.

The Nature of Six Sigma

Dr. Harry's charge was to rethink the value of Six Sigma within GEG and within Motorola in general. Now he was specifically tasked to go back to his laboratory and create the means for realizing the seemingly impossible. Could he make the case for Six Sigma as easily as he made the case against it? Turned out he did, and he set forth his case under the title, The Nature of Six Sigma Quality, first published as a white paper in 1986 and then as an expanded booklet in 1987.

The booklet traveled all over Motorola and triggered something of a significant emotional event on a global scale. Until that point, people in all walks of the company were having trouble connecting the rubber of quality to the road of application and the destiny of business. Dr. Harry's booklet articulated Six Sigma from an engineering and statistical perspective, as well as from a pragmatic viewpoint. In addition, the booklet strongly and persuasively pointed to the applicability of Six Sigma in non-manufacturing areas such as mechanical and electrical design.

For the technical audience, The Nature of Six Sigma Quality presented performance methods, indices of capability, targets and goals. For the non-technical and leadership audience, the booklet relied on analogies to get the point across. For example, it pointed out that four sigma quality is like one room in your house still soiled after the carpet cleaner comes through, but Six Sigma quality is like being left with a pinhead of dirt after the cleaner leaves. That kind of thing.

Measurement is Everything

After preparing and disseminating his booklet, Dr. Harry discovered one very critical truth: the Breakthrough Strategy ultimately had to be modified because it didn't specifically call out the requirement to measure. If Dr. Harry has learned anything over the most recent 15 years of his career, he learned that data is the treasure chest from which you pull the gold and pearls.

Before this time, the problem-solving field had a strong emphasis on defining a problem and on analyzing the relationships among various factors, or "potential causes." It further emphasized the need to improve key product or process characteristics, and control those variables after improvements are made. But for all its scientific integrity, the discipline somehow overlooked the very bedrock upon which its thinking was based: measurement. If data is the fodder of science — and it is - then those who solve problems must understand where it comes from, how to get it, how to manufacture it and how to use it.

Dr. Harry had taken note that the majority of problems associated with the implementation of Six Sigma were due to measurement-related roadblocks. Much of the training he conducted in association with the ADT course didn't "stick to the wall" because it didn't teach a strong value for measurement. Through his experience Dr. Harry learned that, while statistics is the engine for technical change, data is the fuel for that engine. He therefore opened up his Breakthrough Strategy® and inserted the measurement phase with its related concepts, tools and techniques.

Now, with a highly replicable, robust and proven strategy for achieving breakthrough, the way to actually achieve Six Sigma quality became much clearer. Oz wasn't so far off any more because construction had been completed on the yellow brick road. The idea and statistics of Six Sigma were set firmly on a sound methodological foundation. This was the significance of what Dr. Harry had documented in The Nature of Six Sigma Quality and other publications since.

Origin of the Black Belt Concept

Sometime in the middle of all this, about 1986, a Unisys plant manager named Cliff Ames asked Dr. Harry to help him solve a chronic and very perplexing circuit board problem at his facility in Salt Lake City, Utah. After doing so, Ames expressed a desire to have Dr. Harry transfer his problem-solving knowledge to a few key engineers. This way, after Dr. Harry left, Ames would be able to continue leveraging the knowledge. Dr. Harry agreed and went about fulfilling his promise to train the engineers.

Sitting late in the office one night, Ames and Dr. Harry debated on what to call the people he was training. That's when Dr. Harry latched onto the analogy of ninjas chopping and punching, masterfully manipulating their weapons, hands and feet to silently subdue the enemy. They were humble yet powerful creatures who would slip around in the shadows of data, sift through it and torture it with tools for making it confess what it knows.

Dr. Harry proposed the term "Black Belt" and Ames became visibly excited. "That's it," he said. "That's sexy; I can sell that!" Hence, they began with Black Belts and green belts while, over time, migrating into brown belts, yellow belts and white belts. Naturally, the different distinctions reflected scope and depth of understanding and application. Eventually, the knowledge of brown and Black Belts blurred, as did the knowledge of green and yellow belts. In the end, brown and yellow belts fell out, leaving only black, green and white belts.

Shortly after writing The Nature of Six Sigma Quality, Dr. Harry wrote a paper with Motorola colleague Reigle Stewart titled Six Sigma Mechanical Design Tolerancing, which focused specifically on the application of Six Sigma in the field of mechanical design engineering. Looking back now, we can see that these works were early artifacts indicating Dr. Harry's transition from the technical and managerial ranks into the realm of Six Sigma leadership. After all, Six Sigma is as much or more about leadership than it is about methods, tools and statistics.

Meeting with Bob Galvin

One day, Dr. Harry received a personal note from Bob Galvin. There were three or four lines to the effect of how much Galvin liked The Nature of Six Sigma Quality booklet. Dr. Harry didn't even know who Bob Galvin was at the time! His boss, Dick White, brought a copy of the note down to Dr. Harry and said, "What's this?" Dr. Harry said he supposed this Bob guy, whoever he was, had read his paper and liked it quite a bit.

White said, "you idiot, look at the footer on the letterhead." Noting it said Schaumburg, Illinois, Dr. Harry said, "Yeah, so what." White informed him that it was from Bob Galvin, and Dr. Harry said he still didn't know who he was! He was a government guy, buried in a research lab, relatively isolated from the rest of the company. Dr. Harry's job was to lead and manage a think tank called the Advanced Quantitative Research Laboratory. It wasn't to familiarize himself with the names of the corporate officers.

White hammered home the point that he received a personal note from Bob Galvin, the CEO and chairman of the board. White was justifiably concerned that someone who worked under him was attracting very high-level corporate attention - a level of visibility that might or might not turn out well in the long run. It was like Dr. Harry shined a spotlight on his area for all to see. White had strongly supported Dr. Harry's work all along, and this wasn't about to change. He did, however, co-opt Dr. Harry in proceeding with caution.

That's what leadership does. It makes your boss sit up and notice who you are because his boss, his boss' boss and, in this case, the big, big boss notice who you are. Perhaps it was right at that moment when Dr. Harry recognized that Six Sigma leadership was a matter of accomplishing the extraordinary. When you do, you've earned the right to lead others, regardless of your formal standing or position in the hierarchy. As it were, in a team-player sort of way, White told Dr. Harry he wanted to be made aware of any and all communication with Galvin from that point forward, as well as with anyone else up the chain.

It wasn't but a few weeks later when Dr. Harry received a phone call from "Bob." By now, Dr. Harry was a little smarter so he asked if it was Bob Galvin. "Yes it is," came the reply. Galvin said he had distributed Dr. Harry's booklet to some of his colleagues. He told Dr. Harry the booklet was very good and asked him if there was a time when they could travel to the headquarters of Boeing and help explain Six Sigma to its CEO and chairman of the board. Now what the hell are you supposed to say to the CEO of the company for which you work? "Sorry I'm busy that week, I have a departmental review and a design meeting." Not! Dr. Harry told Galvin he could meet with him any day of the week, Monday through Sunday, any time around the 24-hour clock.

Apparently Six Sigma was a topic of interest to more than just Galvin. It wasn't only Motorola that had problems to solve. He knew it, he knew it - the paper Dr. Harry had read years earlier was right on target! Corporations needed expert problem solvers and technically oriented leaders to execute their strategies in a complex world. By the time he met with Galvin, Dr. Harry had produced another paper, A Strategic Vision for Accelerating the Implementation of Six Sigma within Motorola, If Six Sigma was the way all of Motorola would do business, then Dr. Harry's new paper would help push along that cause. Was there a better way for him to seize the future and propel himself forward in his career? None that he could figure.

As it happened, Galvin lifted Dr. Harry from the bowels of the organization and placed him on his personal corporate jet. He'd never been on a private aircraft and, most of all, he'd never been exposed to the power of Galvin's leadership and charisma.

As the jet took off down the runway, Dr. Harry recalls that he was sitting backwards to the direction it was heading. Galvin was straight across from him and, while they made conversation, Dr. Harry's tie hung out in front of him away from his shirt as the aircraft made its ascent. He kept trying to push it back against his body, but it just kept on flying back out. Galvin probably noticed Dr. Harry's display of frustration as a sign that he wasn't used to flying in a reversed seat on a private jet. But that was no matter because Galvin had spotted a talented individual in his company, and it was paramount that he bring Dr. Harry's knowledge and capability to bear on his sweeping agenda.

Once the jet leveled out, Galvin served Dr. Harry a Coke and some food, in the humble style of a great leader. Along the way, Galvin pointed out some features on the ground. Later, Galvin called Dr. Harry's attention to Mt. Saint Helens and, as they looked at the mountain together, Dr. Harry felt as though he was in never-never land. He wondered what Galvin saw, not out the window of the plane, but in his mind's eye. What does a revered businessman and industry leader like Bob Galvin think about and visualize in his silent moments?

52 locations and 15 languages

After they finished eating, Galvin pulled out Dr. Harry's The Nature of Six Sigma Quality booklet and laid it on the table. He told Dr. Harry it was a fine, fine piece of work and that "our company needs this." Then came the words that will be etched in Dr. Harry's mind forever. "My problem, I hope soon to become your problem, is how to get Six Sigma to a hundred thousand people in 52 locations around the world speaking 15 different languages, this year?"

Because of Six Sigma, Motorola had already won a Baldrige award, and the world was beginning to look Motorola's way for quality guidance and leadership. Six Sigma needed to be migrated from manufacturing into engineering, design and the non-manufacturing areas. The company needed new tools, new goals and new inspiration.

In Dr. Harry's assessment, Motorola had hit the "five-sigma wall." It rapidly improved many of its products and processes to five sigma quality, but then the rate of improvement went flat. Motorola's executives had been to the universities asking the gurus how to get past this five-sigma barrier. They were as clueless as Motorola was. The company needed a more powerful approach, and the tools and technology to go with it.

Galvin didn't know what he needed. He just knew his company had hit a big, thick wall. Feeling pretty certain that the technology didn't exist internal or external to Motorola, he believed the company would have to develop the next wave of Six Sigma itself, and he believed Dr. Harry was the man to lead that effort. After all, he wrote the first book on the subject and his superiors spoke very highly of him. You could guess that Dr. Harry accepted the opportunity, regardless of how small he felt in Galvin's presence.

You could also guess how Dr. Harry's new paper, A Strategic Vision for Accelerating the Implementation of Six Sigma within Motorola, helped him answer Galvin's billion-dollar question about the 52 locations and the 15 languages. Of course, he took the paper out of his briefcase shortly after Galvin made it clear that he hoped his problem would become Dr. Harry's problem.

Looking back, it was on the jet that Six Sigma was aimed in the direction of what it has become today. Galvin helped Dr. Harry understand that the math and statistics of Six Sigma - the technical aspects - is the easy part.

The technicals are, no doubt, absolutely necessary, but they are nowhere near sufficient for driving sustainable quantum change on a corporate-wide basis. The real problem for a corporation is not how to master the math, but how to strategically deploy and tactically implement Six Sigma in every function, location, department, plant and facility – in a consistent, aligned, effective, synergistic, efficient and short-cycled fashion.

That day Six Sigma changed, and Dr. Harry changed along with it. He realized he could speak the language of management and sell the CEO of a Fortune 100 company on his ideas of what it would take to bring about quantum change. He realized, too, that Six Sigma would have to become much more structured than it currently was, not just in its project application methodology but in how it is deployed and implemented. That day was the moment in which Dr. Harry, and Six Sigma, began the transformation from technical leadership to corporate change agent.

Fast Ascent up the Corporate Ladder

The net result of Dr. Harry's time with Galvin was a position at corporate headquarters in Chicago initiating, developing and leading an entity to be called the Six Sigma Research Institute. In the Spring of 1990, Dr. Harry turned in his lab coat for a suit, packed his bags and moved from Phoenix to Chicago to become a corporate director and senior member of technical staff. His institute would accomplish several objectives. Primarily, it would expand the scope and depth of Six Sigma by developing a deployment strategy and implementation methodology, and by developing new tools for application in design, transactional areas, software and other non-manufacturing areas.

It appeared Six Sigma was destined to be more than a simple statistical target of no more than 3.4 "defects" per million opportunities for such defects. Dr. Harry would see to that, because now he had an entire institute with which to pursue the expansion of Six Sigma. He would supercharge it, and make it understandable and doable across a wide range of operations.

Naturally, the first thing he did after arriving in Chicago was to ask Galvin for funding. One certainly doesn't run an institute on thin air, Galvin welcomed Dr. Harry's request for money and immediately directed him to speak with the company's COO, Gary Tooker. So off he went to knock on looker's door, properly introduce himself and get the money Galvin told him to get.

Gary Tooker was as receptive as he could be, although he didn't have any money for Dr. Harry. But he did direct him to go see someone else with whom he could talk about the money. The goose chase went on until Dr. Harry finally realized he wasn't going to get any money! It's easy to see how Dr. Harry might have been justified at that point in throwing a tantrum - bitching and moaning to Galvin that he couldn't get any resources to run his newly founded institute. Be sure, he thought about throwing just such a fit, but his better judgment told him to do otherwise. At that moment, he realized the ways and means for funding were left to his own ingenuity. Bob had promised the garden, but not the roses too.

Motorola had won the first Baldrige award ever given and had achieved quality levels of which many other companies only dreamed. Therefore, there was a building demand from other corporations to benchmark with Motorola - share their best practices in exchange for those of Motorola. Leveraging on its reputation, Dr. Harry invited other companies to join his institute at Motorola, to be partners in the spirit of continued quality excellence among American corporations.

In short, he figured out a way to staff his institute with some of the world's most brilliant corporate and technical minds. He also secured his funding by persuading the participating companies to sponsor the institute with a certain amount of cash. In the end, Dr. Harry had built a viable research institute with people and sponsorship from such companies as IBM, Texas Instruments, Digital Equipment, Kodak and Asea Brown Boveri.

They all wanted to learn more about the Baldrige Award, and about this newfangled initiative called Six Sigma. Dr. Harry painted a technical and managerial vision about what Six Sigma could do. He brought in his Breakthrough Strategy® and the concept of Black Belts. He articulated why and how Six Sigma could apply in non-manufacturing areas. He began a discussion about the need for a short-cycle knowledge transfer model. In general, Dr. Harry created the space in which he and his new associates could consort to make Six Sigma more powerful and pervasive within a corporation and within American business on a global scale.

Some Roadblocks to Pass

But there were barriers to progress within Motorola. Once, for example, Dr. Harry had solved an electrical design problem at a Motorola facility in Florida. There wasn't enough real estate on the circuit boards to put all of the needed components. Dr. Harry came up with a solution to account for certain variations in the crystal oscillator. Before his Six Sigma intervention, manufacturing had to manually tune the circuits during production -an unnecessary activity that ate up time, people and resources, and that resulted in poor yield.

The head of the facility, a VP, called Dr. Harry aside after he solved the problem and thanked him for his great work. Dr. Harry then asked the VP if he wanted to share this new knowledge with his engineers. He said "no thanks, I don't want my people trained in this." Turns out, he just wanted Dr. Harry to go away so he could take credit for solving the problem! Apparently, spreading the knowledge, a core Six Sigma value, was not part of the VP's agenda. At the expense of his company's greater good, he tried to keep Dr. Harry's breakthrough under the carpet.

In another instance, Dr. Harry had a problem getting the design engineers at Motorola to use an optimization algorithm he had developed at the institute. In the vacuum of acceptance at Motorola, he allowed Dr. Thomas Cheek to try the method at Texas instruments — which he did with great success. That only made Dr. Harry more angry that his own company rejected his tool based solely on its long-standing and deeply engrained belief that statistically based tools have no role in the design function.

This time he would not roll over and play dead. Dr. Harry conspired with Dr. Cheek to create a "significant emotional event" among Motorola's top-level engineering executives. He smuggled Dr. Cheek into a high-level and sensitive engineering meeting internal to Motorola. At the meeting, Cheek presented the success he had with Dr. Harry's optimization method - only he didn't refer to the fact that Dr. Harry provided him with the technology. He straight-out presented his case studies as though he was working in some part of the Motorola design engineering organization.

Everyone loved it and wanted to get the technology distributed throughout the company as quickly as possible. Naturally they wanted to know who this Dr. Cheek guy was, and when they found out he was from Texas Instruments, they just about fell over. Dr. Harry had already told his wife the previous evening that she should be ready to pack the house up and close the checkbook, because he might be getting fired from his job the next day. It was a high-risk strategy for waking up his colleagues, but it was the only one Dr. Harry could come up with to really get his point across.

Today Dr. Harry looks back and calls what he did "the embarrassment factor." He did what he had to do to make a noticeable and lasting impression. In a very direct way, he embodied the spirit and modeled the behavior of a Six Sigma leader. While Six Sigma Champions had not yet become formalized, that day Dr. Harry provided a window into what kind of people they would be. Master tacticians, birds that don't fly with the flock, people who invent, inspire, take risks, adapt, innovate and create - these are the Six Sigma leaders with the guts, and the magic, to Champion quantum change in a corporation.

By hook or by crook, through innuendo, threat, logic, demonstration - this is how Champions get Six Sigma driven through an organization. At the same time, they perform their magic with the backing of an infrastructure that supports self-teaching, the unencumbered proliferation of knowledge and independence from consultancies. Consultants are good for initiating a Six Sigma drive, configuring and supporting first-stage deployment and training master Black Belts. After this, internal master Black Belts should be capable of training subsequent waves of Black Belts and providing technical support and on-the-job mentoring.

Value-Based Negotiation

When you break down Dr. Harry's years at Motorola, you get an excellent case study into the characteristics that make a leader. Perhaps even more valuable, they provide the outline of ^process for career advancement. While such a process has general value for a career person, it also has tremendous value for a Champion or Black Belt who desires to rise up the ranks of a corporation.

Within five years at Motorola, Dr. Harry was able to rise through the ranks from reliability engineer to staff engineer to senior staff engineer to principle staff engineer to member of technical staff and, finally, to senior member of technical staff at the top of the technical ladder. As well, he was given a managerial title of corporate director, which was quite uncommon. It was a lightning fast ascent that made Dr. Harry one of the youngest senior members of technical staff in Motorola's history.

The process is simple, even if fulfilling its requirements is far from simple. First, you identify and characterize a need that connects a problem in the organization to a customer. Second, you develop a solution for that need based on what you do best. Third, you validate that solution by demonstrating success. Fourth, you proliferate and disseminate that solution to others. Fifth, after you demonstrate the solution works and has a multiplying effect, you package your value to the organization. Finally, sixth, you negotiate a higher position with the rational of further leveraging your capabilities. Then, of course, you repeat the cycle onto higher levels of promotion.

This is the witches brew from which a leader transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary, and progresses static intellectual thought into dynamic performance. It is an all-costs, win-win-win scenario between an employee, a company and that company's clients or customers. It is a process that aligns the needs of the individual worker, the needs of the company and the needs of the customer. As well, it is a process that requires the leader to expect nothing for himself or herself, but only to demonstrate value for the company and its customers. When this is accomplished, the benefits will flow back to the individual - but not before.

In other words, a person on the move never asks for resources so she can demonstrate success. She first demonstrates success, then asks for resources to increase the impact of her capability. In this sense, you always negotiate from a position of strength by leveraging the value you have provided to create additional opportunity, power, resources, autonomy, risk and reward. Only through such a value-based proposition and negotiation can a person rationally expect to climb the corporate ladder in a relatively short period of time.