"Boundarylessness" is one of Jack Welch's mantras for business success. Years before launching Six Sigma, GE's chairman was working to break down barriers and improve teamwork, up, down, and across organizational lines. The opportunities available through improved collaboration within companies and with their vendors and customers are huge. Billions of dollars are left on the table (or on the floor) every day, because of disconnects and outright competition between groups that should be working for a common cause: providing value to customers.
As noted above, Six Sigma expands opportunities for collaboration as people learn how their roles fit into the "big picture" and can recognize and measure the interdependence of activities in all parts of a process. Boundaryless collaboration in Six Sigma does not mean selfless sacrifice, but it does require an understanding of both the real needs of end users and of the flow of work through a process or a supply chain. Moreover, it demands an attitude that is committed to using customer and process knowledge to benefit all parties. Thus, the Six Sigma system can create an environment and management structures that support true teamwork.11
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