As students up and down the country get their A Levels results, it got me thinking about another raft of people embarking on their degrees or entering the jobs market. It’s a regular occurrence to hear business leaders warn about major skills shortages. Graduates, they lament, lack the soft skills necessary for the workplace and don’t seem equipped with the tools they need to succeed in the workplace.
While it could be argued that now considerably more is expected of people in entry-level positions than in decades gone by, it’s true that more should be done to teach people about business fundamentals. No matter what direction your life takes, almost all of us will end up either working for a company or running one – so knowing how to identify and solve common business issues would be undeniably beneficial.
The earlier students learn a skill or understand a concept the more likely that learning is to stay with them. My three year old is learning French, meaning he is picking it up remarkably quickly. By comparison, my first French class was when I was in secondary school at the age of 13 or 14 so I had to work a lot harder to attain the same level. Now, I am not suggesting teaching Lean Six Sigma to three or four year olds (although my children have no way of avoiding it), however it would be beneficial in secondary schools and especially advantageous to undergraduates in any field.
One of my personal manifestos is that Lean Six Sigma – or Business Improvement in some form – must be understood by every single person in an organisation. By its nature, Business Improvement relies on everyone pulling together so training everyone is the only way to really embed the culture and ensure that our companies are competitive, effective and successful.
As business managers or owners imagine the power of having every new starter being able to identify and solve problems from day one; of them understanding the concepts of business improvement and being able to do something about it. Their fresh eyes on your business would be invaluable.
Instead we have to try and train, educate and convince people who have been working for years in a process to change: People who have been working on the same process and feel they know it inside out. Unintentionally and unconsciously, their minds are not as open to new ideas.
Teaching the right lessons
Educating our students in the basic concepts of business improvement is an investment in the future of our companies, our country and our futures, but even eminent MBA courses don’t cover Lean Six Sigma properly. Why is it you can be a ‘Master of Business Administration’ but not have skills that are a required qualification for a significant proportion of business roles around the world? Why don’t all MBA students leave university with their MBA and a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt? After all, it’s only another couple of weeks in training and application of learning.
Let’s get business improvement and Lean Six Sigma taught in business schools, universities and secondary schools and over the next few years see the massive improvement in our companies.
Even if we only taught our students some basic problem solving techniques, the concepts of waste and variation and give them a process to solve a problem (like DMAIC) they would instantly be a massive benefit to any company they joined. These skills, along with team working, presenting and facilitation abilities, will make students, your son, your daughter or yourself a far more marketable candidate in the increasingly competitive market place.
Lean Six Sigma and business improvement skills, to me, are vital for everyone in a business so let’s start proving it by giving them the status they deserve in our education system.
What do you think? Do you think all students could benefit from more comprehensive business training? I would welcome your thoughts below.
Enjoy this post? Why not take a look at our Top Ten Reasons your Business Improvement Deployment Failed?
Featured image courtesy of Alasdair McIntosh Photography