Advertising
Advertising

Stop Thinking Out Of The Box, It’s Time To Go High Def

Stop Thinking Out Of The Box, It’s Time To Go High Def

Whenever I hear someone say “think outside the box”, I start to wonder why there is a box in the first place. Personally, I don’t think inside the box, I don’t think outside the box, I don’t even know where the box is!

We constrain our self when we box ourselves in. When we do this, we fail to see solutions outside of the status quo. If you have boxed yourself in… simply get rid of the box. For me, Lean Six Sigma helps to remove the box.

Think of watching a movie in high definition (HD), can you recall what an image looked like prior to HD television? Similarly, looking at the world through the lens of a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt or Master Black Belt provides us a high-resolution and clear image of a problem.

    Lean Six Sigma is a skill that will not only improve our metacognitive capacity, but a skill that will improve our earning capacity as well. Some of the most successful businesses in the world use this as well. This one skill set will not only transform the way you think, but it will also make you extremely marketable to top organizations looking for change agents and problem solvers.

    Advertising

    What is Lean Six Sigma?

    Lean Six Sigma is an unconventional problem-solving approach that forces you to literally think outside the box. Some of the most successful people to walk this planet have used it. Jack Welch used it to transform General Electric and powerful companies such a Toyota and Amazon use it and similar approaches every day to radically improve their organization.

      Lean Six Sigma is a customer focused and data-driven problem-solving method with the goal of improving quality, cost, and speed. It uses the DMAIC problem-solving methodology, where you:

      • Define the problem
      • Measure the baseline
      • Analyze the process and find the root-cause of the problem
      • Improve the process and implement best solutions
      • Control the process and sustain the gains

      Lean Six Sigma not only allows us the ability to solve a problem, but it educates us on what a problem is. A problem is essentially a gap between how we view reality and what reality actually is. It is a framework for understanding our paradigm and our mental models within the world we live in.

      Now that you have a basic understanding of what it is and why you should learn it, let’s take a look at my top 4 tools and techniques within Lean Six Sigma.

      Advertising

      Learning to See by Mapping Out Your Process

      The first thing we must understand is that we must see the process and stop operating blind. You can learn to see by mapping out your process.

      By mapping out the process from point to point, we find it easier to uncover waste. Furthermore, by mapping out a process we start to see an accurate picture with a higher resolution.

      5-Why

        Are you ready for a technique you mastered at the age of five, yet you forgot how to use? Simply (and annoyingly!) ask “Why?” over and over again.

        The 5-Why technique is an extremely powerful and valuable tool allowing us the ability to peel away the layers of symptoms to get to the core of the problem.

        Advertising

        Remove Waste

          Waste in a process is whatever the customer defines it as. Once the customer defines his or her value, we must then prioritize our value-added activities.

          First, immediately eliminate all non-value added activities that do not serve a purpose. Second, look at reducing the amount of non-value added required activities. These are things that add no value, yet are required by law or regulatory guidance.

          One simple way to do this is to ask, “Why are we doing this?” and “Do we still need to do this?” Third, optimize those value-added activities, which are the things that are already working.

          Pareto Principle

          Advertising

            Using the 80/20 rule (based on the Pareto Principle), we can identify the 20% of actions causing 80% of the problem. Or looking at it from a different angle, we can identify the 20% of actions bringing in 80% of the profit. Named after Vilfredo Pareto, the Pareto Principle uses a Pareto chart, which is simply a visual aid for identifying “pain” or “opportunity” areas.

            Seeing Beyond the Problem

            Lastly, I recommend Blooms Taxonomy of Learning to determine if you are actually seeing a problem in HD. This is a good tool to use to make sure you are using your metacognitive skills and not simply regurgitating information.

              Here are some questions to ask yourself:

              • Can you define or describe the problem?
              • Do you comprehend the meaning of the problem?
              • Can you apply the information you have?
              • Are you able to break down objects into similar parts and analyze those parts?
              • Can you rearrange or assemble ideas into a new whole?
              • Are you able to evaluate and judge information based on evidence?
              • Can you solve the problem, create something new, and describe your thought process to someone with no understanding of the problem?

              I hope all these techniques I introduce to you can help you start to see a problem in HD and get rid of the box that stops you from coming up creative solutions.

              More by this author

              Dr. Jamie Schwandt

              Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt & Red Team Critical Thinker

              10 Best Brain Power Supplements That Will Supercharge Your Mind How to Upgrade Your Critical Thinking Skills and Make Smart Choices How to Reprogram Your Brain Like a Computer And Hack Your Habits 5 Proven Memorization Techniques to Make the Most of Your Memory 10 Hacks to Increase Your Brain IQ, Focus and Creativity

              Trending in Smartcut

              1 How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch 2 How to Make Going Back to School at 30 Possible (And Meaningful) 3 What to Do When Bored at Work (And Why You Feel Bored Actually) 4 30 Best Procrastination Quotes to Get You Back to Work 5 How to Set Short Term Goals for a Successful and Highly Fulfilling Life

              Read Next

              Advertising
              Advertising
              Advertising

              Last Updated on July 18, 2019

              How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

              How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

              Most people grow up with dreams to go to college and graduate with high-paying job offers waiting for them the week after graduation. Others may favor non-traditional career paths. But the desire is the same: to find a job we love where compensation is commensurate with experience.

              However, plans change. For instance, what started out as a dream to be a surgeon is cut short by a nasty injury and you’re debating how to transition into a new role. Or you might be facing being let go from your current employer and are anxious about “options out there.”

              Whatever the case may be, switching careers can be intentional or unintentional. What matters is that you’re well-prepared, and the only way to do so is to learn new skills — hone in on your transferable skills.

              Why Hone in on Your Transferable Skills?

              There are several reasons you need to develop these skills if you want to go far in life and your career. In a nutshell, honing in your your transferable skills can lead to:

              Better Job Offers

              Continuous assessment and improvement of your skills widens the pool of job offers for you to make selections from. You’re no longer tethered to one industry as you’re able to lead your career by design, not by default.

              People with transferable skills on a resume also open up opportunities for more potential employers.

              Increase in Pay and More Responsibilities

              You’ve heard the saying “with great power come great responsibility.” In your case, transferable skills make you more marketable to employers which could lead to pay raises.

              Although this isn’t an automatic process– you have to be proactive about what you want in the marketplace, there is a chance that these pay raises will come with change in titles and roles.

              A Shot at Entrepreneurship

              Yes, changing career paths also includes the possibility of working for yourself. With these skills and work experience, you could live anywhere in the world and design a life and career you want.

              We’ve talked about why you need to strengthen your transferable skills but what are some these skills, and how can you work on them?

              13 Tips to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills

              1. Update Your Resume

              You might be surprised to know this but yes, updating your resume is a skill. The very first thing you should do while thinking about switching careers is to highlight attributes that make you very desirable candidate to employers.

              Think about your volunteer experiences, freelance projects, and school projects. Although they might seem insignificant, they demonstrate your ability to deliver results that several companies are looking for.

              While you might have held several positions since college, switching careers will require you to have a different type of resume.

              There are three different types of resumes: functional, chronological, and a combination resume. However, if you are looking to switch careers you’ll want to have a functional resume. A functional resume is strengths-based that emphasizes skills that are transferable rather than a collection of dates and job titles.

              2. Brush up on Your Communication Skills

              Every attempt to get ahead in business and in life starts with the need to communicate effectively. Whether it is interpersonal, intercultural, or multi-generational, the ability to be seen and heard while respecting the boundaries of work relationship matters.

              That’s why it’s one of the top skills you need to master. Strong communication skills allows you to effectively tailor your messages to specific audiences, which will make you a stronger asset to any organization.

              To hone this skill:

              Advertising

              Pay attention to your listening skills. To communicate effectively, you need to first learn how to understand others.

              Your ability to decode overt and implied messages, no matter how nuanced they are, is key to knowing how to foster deep relationships with others.

              This article can also give you effective ways to enhance your communication skills:

              How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

              3. Learn Technical (or Business) Writing

              Another form of communication, writing, is a skill that can take you anywhere.

              Companies communicate a lot through written memos, emails, newsletters, and other audio-visual means. But at the crux of this all is someone or some people who are tasked with translating the organization’s vision into statements anyone can understand.

              To hone this skill:

              Consider taking some free or paid classes online. You can accomplish this through several community colleges or online platforms like Lynda, Udemy or edX .

              4. Practice Public Speaking and Presentation Skills

              No matter how intelligent you are, no one will take you seriously if you’re unable to pull off a decent level of persuasion through presentation skills.

              Most presentation can be done through either electronic devices or require your physical presence. Your chosen career may require you to be in front of several hundreds of people or you could be charged with developing materials for presentation.

              To hone this skill:

              Volunteer to lead projects that give you some responsibility for putting together presentations.

              Also, try taking courses that will improve your public speaking skills if you feel lacking.

              These tips on public speaking would be helpful too:

              The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

              5. Get Comfortable with Identifying Problems and Solutions

              Every organization has got its problems no matter how greener the grass is on the other side.

              How to hone this skill:

              Advertising

              Practice being resourceful.

              Do you know where to find every company policy on the intranet in less than five minutes?

              Think about a time you noticed some inefficiency at work and proposed a solution. Think about instances where you lent your voice to a cause which resulted in improved processes for your department.

              No matter how small or inadequate you might feel, you’ve got some problem-solving skills that some organizations want.

              If you look for more ways to improve your problem solving skills, take a look at this article:

              6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

              6. Recognize Your Team-Building Ability

              Your ability to smoothly switch careers also depends on how well you can energize your team, especially if you’re aiming for a leadership role. Unfortunately, team-building usually isn’t something you learn on the job in most careers unless you hold a managerial position.

              The good thing is that you possibly know one or two things about team-building. Think back to moments in college when you had group projects with colleagues and had to work with 3 to 4 other strangers for months. Were you able to get past your differences and disagreements to focus on the uniqueness of everyone at the table?

              Making a career switch might require that you work with multidisciplinary teams whether you have a deep knowledge of what the other team does or not. I can easily think of doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and social workers working closely to achieve the goals in a patient’s care plan.

              How to hone this skill:

              Look for collaborative projects and team building activities that excite you and challenge yourself with new possibilities.

              Try some of these tactics to keep your team motivated as well:

              17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

              7. Lean into Your Leadership Skills

              Although similar to the previous point, leadership skills extend far beyond building teams, managing time sheets and correcting behavior.

              What I’m referring to here is your ability to develop a vision, believe in it, and inspire buy-in from everyone involved. This isn’t about knowing how to run a particular machine; it’s about how to lead a team of people with various backgrounds, experiences, and ideas of how things should be done.

              How to hone this skill:

              Although more complex than the rest, it all starts with an introspective look into your strengths and weaknesses. Then get a mentor or a coach who can bring out your leadership qualities so you can operate from a place of strength.

              Advertising

              Learn more about the effective leadership types here:

              5 Types of Leadership that Help You Build a High Performance Team

              8. Improve Your Analytical Skills

              Are you good at taking large amount of data and interpreting them? Your skills could come in handy.

              Organizations are looking for people to make sense of the data around them, explain how it affects profitability, and make projections based on it. Best of all? You don’t need to be an accountant to be analytical.

              How to hone this skill:

              Try taking data interpretation classes online or at a community college. Learning Microsoft Excel or Access is also a plus. If you’re ambitious enough, you could consider getting additional certifications to up the ante.

              Take a look at these ways to help sharpen your analytical skills:

              What Are Analytical Skills and How to Strengthen Them For Success

              9. Don’t Discount Your Time Management and Prioritization Skills

              How good are you when it comes to deciding how important tasks are, organizing schedules, and coordinating plans?

              Should you be willing, there is a market waiting for you out there. Organizations and busy executives are always looking for talented individuals to outsource these tasks to.

              How to hone this skill:

              Although not everyone possesses secretarial superpowers, you can improve this skill by focusing on taking huge tasks and breaking them into smaller goals or steps in order to achieve a bigger goal.

              Here, you can learn to prioritize to achieve more:

              The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

              10. Embrace Your Creative and Critical Thinking Side

              Although it’s often believed that creativity is for the arts and right-brained people, I believe everyone is capable of being creative. In fact, most organizations recognize creativity as a vehicle that will drive successful inventions in the future.

              How to hone this skill:

              Try doing something fun. As simple as this sounds, you’d be surprised to learn how much. In fact, behavioral and learning scientist, Marily Oppezzo, says taking a walk might be all you need to get your creative juices flowing.[1]

              Advertising

              Anyone can be creative, you just need the right way to train your brain:

              What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

              11. Don’t Stop Learning Tech Knowledge and Skills

              Being tech-savvy is a huge plus. If you have an affinity with computers, software applications and are abreast of technological improvements, it is a transferable skill that is worth highlighting.

              You don’t have to be a young college graduate with silicon valley dreams to work

              How to hone this skill:

              All you need is the determination and the readiness to learn. This article will give you some ideas on the types of skills to learn:

              How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

              12. Build Networks and Relationships

              You aren’t free from networking. Not at the moment. With your goal to switch to a different career, your networking skills will come in handy.

              Fortunately for you, networking doesn’t have to be so hard.

              How to hone this skill:

              Attend conferences and job fairs. Chances are you already have people in your network you can move you closer to your dream career.

              To enhance your networking skills, take these steps:

              How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life

              Final Thoughts

              Although there are several people with the same qualification and degree(s) you possess, what ultimately determines hireability comes down to a myriad of things such as culture fit, how teachable you are, cultural sensitivity, inter-generational awareness, and your ability to navigate uncertainty.

              You have a chance to stand out by letting your dream companies know how these soft skills make you an invaluable asset, and how saying ‘YES’ to you is a win-win for both parties.

              Happy career switching!

              More Resources About Career Advancement

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

              Reference

              Read Next