Remember the old days of cramming for mid-term exams? Maybe you were the always prepared student but for a lot of us, mid-terms always managed to take us by surprise and required all nighters. Of course, we often found that by the time finals rolled around, we had to reteach ourselves the concepts that we supposedly learned for midterms. Clearly, the problem was that we were memorizing bits and pieces, instead of using critical thinking skills to truly synthesize, digest, and apply the information.
Unfortunately, there are a number of Six Sigma and Lean courses that adopt a similar approach. They give you the ability to pound through the mechanics of the methods with a great software. At the end of the course, you may have learned how to use the software but a Belt in Six Sigma or Lean you are not.
To really learn Six Sigma, Lean, or any other transformative methodology, you’ve got to set your sights on programs centered on the ability to critically think and apply the concepts.
The Big Idea Behind Critical Thinking
These programs go beyond memorization, mechanics, and simple application of the strategies. Instead, they put a larger emphasis on understanding the fundamental concepts so that students find success and fulfillment from the application.
What is critical thinking anyway? Dictionary.com tells us that it’s a type of “disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence.” The Foundation for Critical Thinking goes a bit deeper, defining it as a mode of thought “in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully analyzing, assessing, and reconstructing.” It’s in this latter definition that we find the crux of critical thinking. Instead of merely learning, the student must use analysis, assessment, and synthesis to optimize the quality of their thinking and make deeper connections.
It’s also the secret to succeeding at Six Sigma and Lean. Many individuals and organizations have failed to truly adopt and implement these methodologies because of the lack of critical thinking. In other words, they know how it works on a surface level but they don’t know to apply it to their environment, and the fundamentals are certainly not second nature.
How You Can Develop Critical Thinking Skills
Instead, what they need are the critical thinking skills and tools to root out inefficiencies, drive continuous improvement, and weave logic into processes. Herein lies the point of difference found in NWCPE’s consulting, coaching, and certification programs. We drive home the fundamentals of Six Sigma and Lean until they’re an integral part of your mindset and framework. This style of teaching makes the very essence of the methodologies second nature, which is the true mark of a Belt, whether in martial arts, Lean, or Six Sigma.
So, as you set out to master the world of Six Sigma or Lean, let us point you in the direction of some essential courses. Register now for our fall certification programs and get ready flex those critical thinking muscles!