Six Sigma And MBTI

Can we combine Six Sigma and MBTI

Discussion on combining Six Sigma and MBTI

Combining Six Sigma and MBTI is totally an abstract thought, more appropriately, perhaps a crazy thought. But crazy things do happen in this world too. So let’s try to explore how this strange combination of Six Sigma and MBTI has in store for us.

First, About Six Sigma

Six Sigma is all about business process improvement with a very structured framework (or methodology) called DMAIC – Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control. 

Six Sigma claims that it can improve any process which can be measured. This is done with the help of this DMAIC framework and it may take 1 month or 6 months to improve the existing state of affairs with the help of Six Sigma, finally giving you ‘before’ and ‘after’ scenarios.

Six Sigma ‘Define’ Stage

Working on Six Sigma Define Stage

The most important stage in Six Sigma is the ‘Define’ stage.

This stage helps to develop the crystal clear clarity about ‘what is the problem’, where it is happening and how much damage it is doing to you, or to the company. In case, if you identify it wrong, then your whole project will be a big failure. So first, dig the well at the right place where there is gold underneath. Or else all of your time, money and resources may go wasted. 

The ‘Define’ stage is so much important stage but it is highly overlooked and underestimated. If given a chance, perhaps I will like to become a specialist in the ‘Define’ stage of Six Sigma. People mostly go wrong here, and I am sharing this with you from my personal and professional experiences combined. 

Never, and never underestimate the power of ‘Define’ stage.

The reason to emphasize on ‘Define’ stage is also based on this article topic, as you will see how I am going to combine Six Sigma and MBTI in the following paras.

The main ingredients of ‘Define’ stage of Six Sigma involves writing a Six Sigma Project Charter, that includes about 7 elements. 

  1. Business Case
  2. Problem Statement 
  3. Objective Statement 
  4. Project Scope 
  5. Resources
  6. Team Structure
  7. Risks and Constraints

You can also make it ‘6 elements’ by merging the last (risks & constraints) in the Project Scope.  This may be more of a logical organization. The Project Charter has to be approved by the Six Sigma Project sponsor, who may be the CEO or the divisional head of the department.

Now Let’s Understand What is MBTI

Discussing about MBTI

MBTI stands for Myers Briggs Type Indicator.  A daughter and mother combo, who researched and evolved the MBTI model in the 1950s. This model helps an individual to assess his or her personality. It provides the 16 personality types and claims that mostly and largely all people on this earth happen to belong to one of the 16 personality types. Though it may be a debatable issue from any others’ perspective and of course there may be people who may not fully fall in any category. But this is the case with any model given by other scientists. 

The strength, and reliability of the MBTI model is that it has been well researched and extensively tested repeatedly over several years now. And it became one of the most widely used model or instrument in personality assessments (though there are different schools of thoughts and some critiques by other researchers, but despite that, it is widely popular and used model).

MBTI basically helps you first to understand your own inherent God given DNA attributes in a better and practical manner. It is also a good tool for career planning and career management. Furthermore, now several corporate companies’ HR departments are using MBTI for hiring assessments too.

MBTI provides us the four-letter word-code for the personality type as mentioned below:

  1. ISTJ - The Inspector
  2. ISTP - The Crafter
  3. ISFJ - The Protector
  4. ISFP - The Artist
  5. INFJ - The Advocate
  6. INFP - The Mediator
  7. INTJ - The Architect
  8. INTP - The Thinker
  9. ESTP - The Persuader
  10. ESTJ - The Director
  11. ESFP - The Performer
  12. ESFJ - The Caregiver
  13. ENFP - The Champion
  14. ENFJ - The Giver
  15. ENTP - The Debater
  16. ENTJ - The Commander

If you are interested to know more about it, you can also check here. 

Six Sigma and MBTI

Understanding Six Sigma and MBTI

First similarity. Both Six Sigma and MBTI are well researched and tested models and frameworks. Both are based on data driven approach and are well established.

Six Sigma eventually aims to improve the business process output. It requires a lot of planning and also the extensive use of statistics to analyze the process output data and then to determine what is causing the problems. 

Now as you may understand that causes of the problems are not always equipment, machines or processes, it can be people or staff too (the human errors, negligence, delays, procrastination, absenteeism). What if these are also a part of the roots causes? 

In this context, now you can combine Six Sigma and MBTI to know more about the process owner and its team members. You can use the MBTI to determine what type of personality they have and what type of work they are doing. Whether it is compatible with their personality type. Or if they will keep on cutting corners one way or the other.

I will not go much deeper how to conduct the MBTI personality assessment in this article, however, I personally and strongly believe in the MBTI model as I fully believe in the Six Sigma framework. That is the reason I see good reason combining the Six Sigma and MBTI

The MBTI model normally may best be used in the two main stages of Six Sigma project life cycle. ‘Define’ and ‘Analyze’.

Six Sigma and MBTI in 'Define' Stage

In the ‘Define’ stage you need to select the Six Sigma project team carefully, who are going to implement the Six Sigma project for your company. It may be part of the organization’s own staff or some external six sigma trained green and black belts. But you need to see that they are well equipped with the Six Sigma knowledge and mindset and they are fully charged up for the project.

Such attributes are theoretically fine, but do you ensure that they will do the full justice with the Six Sigma project implementation and will really become the Sherlock Holmes. You can fairly combine Six Sigma and MBTI model for the selection of your Six Sigma team members.

In the four-letter word-code, you need to ensure that three letters, S,T, & J should be included as part of their personalities. Though there may be some flexibility in selecting the starting letter, whether  ‘I’ or ‘E’. Both should be ok. 

Just to provide you the brief description, ‘S’ represents the ‘Sensing’, how you take and process the information which is usually based on 5 senses and hard data. The opposite of it is ‘N’ the ‘intuitive’ who tends to rely more on intuition. 

The ‘T’ represents the ‘Thinking’, decision making style, whether he or she objectively arrives at the decision by comparing all the options or the opposite ‘F’ which represent ‘Feeling’ overtakes which makes you just feel right to take that decision. 

The last letter ‘J’ –Judging, represents that you want to keep a close follow-up of the activities with good monitoring and structure, which goes very well with the ‘Control’ stage of Six Sigma. The opposite of it is ‘P’, the ‘Perception’, who likes to take things easy and believes in no follow up and tend to remain flexible for themselves and others. 

(If all the above seems overwhelming and complex, fear not. I perfectly understand that MBTI and the personality codes need to be grasped first to understand its role for assessing the people during Six Sigma implementation. You can go to my recommended external link given above for better understanding of MBTI first)

Six Sigma ‘Analyze’ Stage


Six Sigma and MBTI in 'Analyze Stage

I think in the ‘Analyze’ stage of Six Sigma and MBTI is when you are tasked to find the root causes, you may need some reliable external tool to use in case you found out that human errors are also a cause. Similarly, in the ‘Analyze’ stage, there is extensive usage of statistics in the Six Sigma, but statistics are only limited to the non-human related problems and issues e.g. too many steps in the process creating delays, the automation system is not up to the mark, the transport is not reliable, the data entry is not timely, and many more. 

On the other hand, the human negligence, and human errors are also a part of our harsh reality. It is not always having the ‘right person for the right job’ in every company. And there may be some of the unseen and unobservable errors happening silently without noticing it.

Summing Up

Six Sigma is all about solving problems and making improvements, but certainly every problem also involves human beings. Problems do not occur in isolation. Six Sigma provides a very disciplined framework which serves as a microscope to see beneath the layers what is actually happening within the company.  For this, you need to arm yourself with the right tools and armament to combat with the problems. 

Six Sigma with its hard core technical expertise equips you enough to act like a Sherlock Holmes in any company, but when it comes about human issues, Six Sigma may prove to be limited. You may be required to seek some external help to tackle those problems in a better manner. And as per my belief and experience, one of the best models available so far is the ‘MBTI’ model. 

Therefore, Six Sigma and MBTI in collaboration can arrive at such findings that can fix your things permanently.