SOURCE: iSixSigma Magazine

January 15, 2008 09:00 ET

Teaching Soft Skills Makes for Six Sigma Success

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, WA--(Marketwire - January 15, 2008) - Technical skills can take a back seat to soft skills when it comes to success in a Six Sigma role, according to a new survey released in the January/February 2008 issue of iSixSigma Magazine (

The survey includes responses from nearly 1,000 Six Sigma professionals from around the world and sheds some light on the rivalry between the often competing skill sets.

"There's a lot more to Six Sigma than statistics. Communication and leadership are the top two skills cited by respondents that make a successful Black Belt. Since Six Sigma is technical by nature, there's no doubt technical skills are important as well, but they fall third in line," said Michael Marx, research manager for iSixSigma Magazine.

Survey results also indicate that soft skills training correlates with successful Six Sigma programs. Just 35 percent of respondents from companies where no soft skills training is offered rated their organization's Six Sigma program as successful. That number jumps to 61 percent for respondents from companies where soft skills training is part of the Black Belt and Master Black Belt technical curriculum.

The magazine article also reports data on the degree of difficulty to learn soft skills versus technical skills, and identifies the soft skills that are most important to each Six Sigma role.

Marx concluded, "We can't ignore the soft side of Six Sigma. As long as people are one of the variables in the success of Six Sigma equation, proactively nurturing the soft stuff, while continuing to refine the technical, can only lead to better Six Sigma deployments."

About iSixSigma Magazine

Written for business professionals, iSixSigma Magazine offers a breadth of content to address all facets of Six Sigma deployments and to engage readers at all experience levels. The magazine provides practical advice to help readers stay on top in today's competitive marketplace and be more effective on the job. Articles cover the latest methodologies, strategies and tools and provide insights to help readers better satisfy customers and run their businesses more profitably. Sign up at to subscribe to iSixSigma Magazine.

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