Posts Tagged ‘Teamwork’

The NFL Talks Missing some Six Sigma Rigor

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

As practitioners of Six Sigma you may have caught this, but there are two important elements that the NFL talks have missed and I feel will lead to poor results or none at all. These two important elements are the concept of Customer Value, or some may say “stakeholder” value. Second is the concept of Teamwork. This second one I would think they would get since Football is a “Team” sport, but maybe not.

Customer Value

Customer or stakeholder value in solving an issue, involves insuring we know who the customer and or stakeholders are. Generally speaking you look at where the money comes from, Customers (fans). This is why in most places we talk about “customer Value”.  I also like to expand the “customer” to be all stakeholders because without all stakeholders a product can not be produced. So I define Stakeholders in three. Those three groups are:

1.      Customers – Where the income (money) comes from.

2.      Stockholders/owners – Who’s money is invested in the business and that investment is being spent to produce the value for the customer. Yon this group because in all businesses you have to spend money to make money. Customer pay for product at delivery usually not in advance.

3.      Employees/ Players – Who perform the “manufacturing of the product” for the customer.

Both the Stockholders/owners and the Employees/Players are investing time and/or money to create a value for the customer.

So where is the customer in the NFL talks? In businesses that are working similar issue this point and input would not be left out of the discussion, where clearly it is in the NFL talks. Businesses include them because the solution may not even be focus on increasing value to the customer. Which means insuring that the change will increase customer value thus increase profits.  When customers are left out ( even though they don’t know they are) they go some where else. That is what happened in the steel industry. That is also what was and may still be going on in the automotive industry.

By the way value can be defined (Seen) by asking three simple questions and you are creating value IF and only IF you answer yes to all three. They are:

  1. Does the Customer Care ( Is the customer willing to pay for this change)
  2. Did the “thing” in the process change. (With all the step you go through in changing a Flat tire ONLY removing the flat and placing the new tire on the car are value added.
  3. Last was it done right the first time. Customer do not like to pay for repairs or rework.


Teamwork in not decision making by concession or compromise it is decision making by consensus  or accord. To do that you have to pick you team members carefully. They need to come from all three stakeholder groups and each member needs to have the following qualities:

  1. Wants to make a difference by improving the process creating a better working place.
  2. Is willing to work on and support the team “project”.
  3. Is willing to take the risk of offering “Wild” ideas
  4. Is willing to withhold judgment
  5. Can “Piggyback off other’s ideas
  6. Is willing to LISTEN (no side talks)


As you can see not all the stakeholders are on the team and those that are there do not or will not agree with the 6 items above. In the six sigma world of problem solving this will only lead to disaster.

Well there you have my thoughts on the NFL talks. If, you have questions or comments please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment below, emailing me, calling me, or leaving a comment on my website.


Bersbach Consulting
Peter Bersbach
Six Sigma Master Black Belt