Hurry up and wait. Service members and veterans throughout the country are likely familiar with this popular saying about the day-to-day life in the military. Most folks that have served would also agree that our Armed Forces would benefit significantly from Lean thinking and application.
Fortunately, there are tuition assistance programs in every branch of service that allow our volunteer force to learn about Lean Six Sigma, earn professional certifications, and apply what they’ve learned to make more sense of the day-to-day operations that can drive us bonkers.
As a proud Army veteran and previous Company Commander I know all too well that a service-member’s time is the most valuable thing to them and their families. As a leader I did my best to apply common-sense and create more efficient systems in an attempt to reduce wasted time. However, it wasn’t until I transitioned out of the military that I armed myself with the knowledge and tools that would have significantly reduced the waste we muddled through every day.
As a proud Army veteran and previous Company Commander I know all too well that a service-member’s time is the most valuable thing to them and their families.
Transitioning Out of the Military
Shortly after transitioning out of the military I joined King County, Washington to assist in achieving our goal of becoming “the best run government” in the nation. I was blessed to join an organization that placed great emphasis on continuous improvement.
To assist in achieving this goal my division formed a cohort of employees that were interested in earning their Lean Six Sigma Green Belt (LSSGB) Certifications and would eventually lead our process improvement projects. I was fortunate enough to be a part of that cohort and participate in GoLeanSixSigma.com’s Green Belt training.
Building Problem-Solving Muscles
While attending the online training I learned about the different forms of waste and was challenged to identify the waste that existed in our legacy processes and systems. I was given tools, examples, and methodologies to apply critical thinking to what we do and then most importantly ask why we do it. I had access to templates, webinars, and what seemed to be endless cache of information from folks around the world to aide in my learning and later my Green Belt projects.
I had access to templates, webinars, and what seemed to be endless cache of information.
What I loved most about the course was that it encouraged me to really learn about processes and seek out the root cause(s) of the issues plaguing my organization. This model of thinking ensures that Green Belts are focused on the real problem and aren’t spending their time coming up with “Band-Aid” solutions to the symptoms of a problem that will resurface for some other sucker to deal with later.
Today, I am proud to say that I have completed my Green Belt training, have earned my Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and am currently working to earn my Black Belt certification. Had I been aware of the benefits of this training, I would have attended the training and earned my certification while on active duty and on the government’s dime. Though I am now more competent, competitive, and better able to assist my organization achieve its goals, I find myself wishing I could have applied this knowledge while leading formations in the U.S. Army.
Had I been aware of the benefits of this training, I would have attended the training and earned my certification while on active duty and on the government’s dime.
Using Military Tuition Assistance to Fund Your Career Advancement
The great news is that you don’t have to wait to transition out of the military and earn your coveted DD-214 to attend Lean Six Sigma training. Better yet, you can go through the training and earn your Green Belt/Black Belt certification(s) on the government’s dime, by virtue of your service to our nation.
Those in right now or recently separated know all too well that our military is stretched thin and has been doing more with less for several years now. There hasn’t been a better time for our military to embrace the benefits of Lean Six Sigma and what it can do to make better use of our resources and our service-members’ time.
Our formations across the globe would benefit immensely by supporting their service members to advance their education, build on their critical thinking skills, and then challenge them to apply what they learned to their organizations. The time investment made learning Lean Six Sigma will pay dividends in developing the very organizations that granted their people the opportunity to take advantage of benefits they have earned. The applications for Lean Six Sigma are endless and ever evolving. Not to mention, it would help our Armed Forces do more with less, but do it better, especially in times of financial uncertainty.
Our formations across the globe would benefit immensely by supporting their service members to advance their education, build on their critical thinking skills, and then challenge them to apply what they learned to their organizations.
While tuition assistance is still a thing, I highly encourage you to talk to your chain of command and use the benefits you earned. Learn while you can, apply it where you are, then enjoy the competitive edge you have when your time comes to transition to the civilian world as a certified Lean Six Sigma Green/Black Belt.
Then you won’t feel compelled to write about what you “coulda, woulda, shoulda” done while in the service. Hurry up and wait no longer.