America Reacts to the Six Sigma President

Should the President of the United States be a black belt? That was the question we posed on social media forums following a recent podcast interview with Mike George, a Texas-based campaigner trying to get presidential candidates to sign up to a pledge to reduce the government deficit through the application of Lean Six Sigma. (You can listen to the original interview here.)

His group, America Now, has been recently endorsed by Republican presidential hopefuls Herman Cain, Governor Tim Pawlenty and Newt Gingrich.

In our interview, George talked about how Lean Six Sigma has already made major in roads to improving efficiency in both US health care and the military but called for greater leveraging of the discipline to all levels of government – starting right at the top with the President.

But what did others think of the idea?

Steven Bonacorsi, President, Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt Consultant at International Standard for Lean Six Sigma (ISLSS):

"Lean Six Sigma, first and foremost, is a Leadership Methodology - it is used to develop future leaders. Black Belts are those future leaders with demonstrated experience in using data driven decisions licked to customer value creation. If a future President were to have these skills, they would be leveraging the feedback data on the economy, unemployment, communication, and spending, etc... much more effectively.

Black Belts have risen to the leaders of thousands of organizations globally, and Lean Six Sigma is huge in the Federal space - it is their leadership development program too - but that is not how Presidents are selected.

I would consider it an edge on their resume but not alone. Of course they need lots of other experience too in order get this country turned around."

William Carmichael, Owner at Celtic Curves, a custom paint and auto body shop:

"You bet the President should be a black belt. It's funny, I once asked an engineer who had some Green Belt training but said he was a Green Belt on his resume if he could at least talk without his mouth matching his words like in the old Kung Fu movies. Well most politicians, including current & previous presidents (both parties) do talk with their actions not matching their words!! But in all seriousness, yes, it would help."

Michael Thompson, Manager at Wipro Consulting:

"I don't know about the President, but I would like to see some some Cabinet positions and undersecretaries who are sitting on multibillion dollar budgets be Black Belts. For that matter though, I would also like to see more of the Six Sigma and quality management principles actively taught and inculcated throughout the levels of government leadership. After having joined the private sector, I got a real appreciation for how many opportunities for improvement there really were."

Josh Ammons, CEO and President Lane Advisory:

"I believe the type of training [that politicians are being asked to sign up to] is similar to the "Champions" training course offered to senior execs in the federal space. This only familiarizes them with the terms, concepts, and process of a typical six sigma project. It allows them to be knowledgeable enough to understand a project and ask educated questions. Even though this is not rigorous, it's valuable for a federal senior or in this case politician to understand the importance of a more efficient government when politics usually overpower any situation where savings can be realized."

Matthew Weaver, Partner at American Project Management:

"How about we focus as a country on getting a President who is a leader, is competent, is engaged, and is ready for their 3 a.m. moment, follows the Constitution, and understands that there are 50 states, that we do not need to apologize to the world, and that Americans do not bow to foreign emperors and kings?"

Join the discussion – what do you think? Should elected government officials be required to undertake training in Six Sigma and Lean? To what level?