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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
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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.

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    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.

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      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.

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        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

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            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.

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              More by this author

              Dr. Jamie Schwandt

              Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt & Red Team Critical Thinker

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              Last Updated on June 1, 2021

              10 Effective Ways To Make You a Fast Learner

              10 Effective Ways To Make You a Fast Learner
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              The importance of learning cannot be underestimated. Learning empowers us to fulfill our ideas and realize our full potential. The speed of gaining new knowledge is practically as important as its volume. Who wouldn’t love to remember tons of information as quickly as possible?

              If you want to start learning faster, you need a new approach towards the process which would enable you to comprehend the essence of the matter and relate it with new concepts you encounter.

              The following 10 tips will help you become a fast learner:

              1. Analyze Your Learning Style

              Before you can start experimenting with different studying methods, you need to understand what type of learner you are:

              Is your memory associated to sound?

              Maybe you can remember what you were reading when a particular song was playing? If this is your case, then you fall into the category of auditory learners.

              If you want to start studying more efficiently, then it would be wise to record the lectures and listen to them instead of reading textbooks.

              Do you relate information to visual content?

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              If you are a visual learner, you should implement images, graphs, charts, infographics, colorful lists, flashcards, and other types of visual content when you study.

              Are you a physical learner?

              If your learning style is not auditory or visual, then you might be a physical learner. Some students have too much energy; they tap their feet or play with a pen during lectures.

              A walk before a lecture will calm your nerves down. You can try studying or listening to audio lectures during a walk. That will help you remember the information more quickly.

              2. Use the Right EdTech Tools

              Technology has the power of making everything easier. There are plenty of websites, online tools, and smartphone/tablet apps that will boost your skills of planning, writing, time management and brainstorming, etc.

              One way of improving your productivity is using flashcards. You can make your own cards, but you can also download pre-made kits online:

              • StudyBlue is one of the best online destinations when it comes to creating and discovering flashcards from all areas of study.
              • If you are looking for a tool that makes the process of brainstorming more effective, then you should try PapersGear.
              • You also need the SelfControl app, which will eliminate all distractions when you need to stay focused.
              • Quizlet is another website you should bookmark; it offers study tools that will transform the learning process into a fun activity.
              • Notella is an app that will help you take quick notes at any time.
              • Brainscape is an educational platform that makes complex subjects easy by relying on cognitive science.
              • You can also try Dragon Dictation, especially if you are an audio learner.

              3. Train Your Brain to Accept New Information

              Efficient studying is a habit. Your brain needs constant training if you want to improve your focus and complete complex tasks without taking breaks.

              One way to achieve this goal is to create a private learning space in your home. You’ll also need a specific time of day that you’ll devote to studying. That will make your brain ready to accept the information it gets, so you’ll notice you’re starting to learn much faster by the day.

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              4. Get Some Exercise

              You are aware of the fact that physical activity is good for your body, but your brain needs it too!

              Light exercise, such as yoga, can help you learn much faster. If you are inactive throughout the day, your body will want to move, so it will be difficult for you to stay focused.

              If, on the other hand, you canalize your energy through light training sessions, you will be ready to study productively.

              5. Work on the Ambiance

              If you have a noisy neighborhood or a working environment full of distractions, you won’t be able to learn or study no matter how hard you try.

              If you want to learn quickly, you need a quiet, distraction-free environment that won’t disturb the mind in any way. Such a peaceful place will set you in learning mode as soon as you find yourself in it.

              6. Take a Lot of Notes

              Only few people are capable of remembering information as they read it. If you don’t belong to this category of privileged learners, then you absolutely need to start taking notes.

              This simple learning method will force you to think about the essence of the material. It will also give you a nice framework that will help you review the things you’ve learned.

              Write down only the most important information. That will help you remember all the other things you’ve learned.

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              Here’re some tips to take notes effectively: Why Successful People Take Notes And How to Make It Your Habit

              7. Make Mind Maps

              Mind maps are among the best tools to speed up the learning process. Your mind will process information effectively if you create a visual representation of the things you’re about to learn.

              You can create a nice mind map in the old-school way: take a large sheet of paper and organize all facts and explanations. Use pictures, note-cards, and other symbols you can think of. Group similar items together and connect them with colorful pens.

              Some tips mind-mapping here: How to Mind Map: Visualize Your Cluttered Thoughts in 3 Simple Steps

              Of course, you can also use an online mind mapping tool if you want to save yourself some time.

              8. Experiment with Memorization Methods

              Memorizing is often misused in the process of studying. Some people memorize whole sentences, paragraphs and lectures without grasping their essence.

              However, memorization can be useful when you need to learn definitions and classifications really quickly. Don’t avoid this technique if you want to fill your brain with information without wasting any time.

              Try this if you want to memorize more and faster: How to Memorize More and Faster Than Other People

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              9. Find the Right Context

              Memorization works solely in times of urgency. If you want to learn in the most effective manner, then you need to have context for information.

              Find an aspect that’s interesting for you; try to research for related information, and you’ll discover the joy of learning.

              The first step? Jot down as much information and as many ideas as possible: How Simply Jotting Down Ideas Can Make You Smarter

              With time, this practice will make you a faster learner.

              10. Study Every Day

              It will take some time before you get used to a daily studying routine, but your mind will eventually grasp the habit.

              The more frequently you study, the less time it will take for you to remember the things you read.

              If you start studying as soon as possible after you have learned some new concepts, it won’t take long at all for you to get ready for an exam. Now that sounds really good, doesn’t it?

              More to Help You Learn Quicker

              Featured photo credit: Becca Tapert via unsplash.com

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