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Common Fears of LSS Students

When I was a little girl, my family would go camping with a group from our church. I loved being outdoors, enjoying nature, and spending time with my sister. During one trip the young kids were all riding our bikes around the campground, and we came to a fork in the road. My older sister said, “Come on, let’s go left back to camp.” I said, “No, it’s back to the right.” After arguing for a minute, we both took off in separate directions. After riding my bike for a bit it became clear I had chosen the wrong direction. I was all alone in an unfamiliar environment, feeling lost and scared.

 Getting lost, spiders, heights, the dark …everyone is afraid of something. Fear is a justifiable feeling to have when entering uncertain situations. Even as adults we can get uncomfortable, uncertain, and fearful in our work, especially when tasked with new challenges and responsibilities.

  In our Lean Six Sigma (LSS) program, we train and certify all types of people. Each class has its own personality, and each student brings their own unique experience to share. While the students are all different, the fears and concerns they bring to class are quite common.

Here are four common fears held by LSS students, and how to overcome them:

  1. Test Anxiety – Let’s be honest, very few people like taking tests. There is something about a test that just stops most of us in our tracks. Passing the end of the week quizzes and the final exam is a big concern for many of our students. You’ve studied hard and your company has sponsored you through this improvement journey. You’re fearful of tests because you care about doing well. And perhaps you haven’t taken a test in years – maybe many years!
    • Overcoming this Fear – While testing is a part of our program, our instructors are here to ensure you are prepared for each quiz or exam. They use various methods to help you retain key concepts including hands-on exercises, team activities, simulations, and a daily Morning Review/Mental Gym. They also emphasize the key information for tests during class and discuss how to apply tools and methods outside of the classroom on your projects. And they spend extra time to prepare each class for the Final Exam through reviews of past quizzes and the Capstone Case Study.
  2. Math & Statistics – The math involved in LSS classes is another common concern for students. I remember getting the first welcome email for my Green Belt class and seeing the attached homework assignment. Suddenly I wished I had retained more of my knowledge from college algebra. From a Green Belt perspective, the math was nothing I couldn’t handle or understand. Our software, SigmaXL for GB or Minitab for BB really takes the brunt of the calculations for graphs and organizing data. Still, some people seem to have a general stigma against statistics which cause them fear before entering class.
    • Overcoming this Fear – Here is where I will brag on our amazing instructors for their ability to teach the methodologies and walk you through the process until you have a comfortable understanding. As noted above, they use lots of exercises and hands-on activities. One very popular exercise involves shooting catapults to collect data for analysis. Our students really enjoy this fun approach to learning. Our instructors are very patient, and willing to work with you to overcome your fears. Many students also benefit from practice problems we offer with step-by-step solutions to go with them. You don’t have to like math by the end of the class, but you will feel more comfortable using it during projects.
  3. Public Speaking – At various times in class our students are called upon to address their fellow students and instructors through a project presentation and/or teach-back. While this is where my communication degree shines, public speaking is a common fear among students. Some individuals have a LOT of anxiety about this part of their LSS training. Just keep in mind – if you want to be an effective GB or BB you will be called on to do this during your project.
    • Overcoming this Fear – First of all, TMAC offers a safe environment for you to practice presenting. That way when you go back to your organization, you are confident presenting your project to the leaders at your company. Second, always remember the instructors – and your classmates – want to see you succeed. Third, when it comes to your project presentation, YOU are the expert, and YOU know your company and your job the best. Finally, you can arrange to practice your presentation in a private setting with one of your classmates or an instructor. Two other options: Have a classmate or spouse do a video of you for later review OR practice in front of a mirror.
  4. Enjoyment – Some students come to into the class thinking it will be nothing but long lectures and boring anecdotes. The thought of sitting through tedious sessions for hours on end sounds mind-numbing. Those students have common fears that their classroom experience will be something to be endured, without a hint of enjoyment. 
    • Overcoming this Fear – While the days can be long, our instructors work hard to create a fun learning environment. They keep you engaged with entertaining stories, real-world examples, simulations, exercises, and multiple breaks to stretch your legs. In addition, as Events Coordinator it’s my job to always ensure there are good food and snacks available. We’ve also noticed many students enjoy getting to know their classmates. In fact, some students become good friends during their LSS training, and stay in touch after class is finished.  Part of the reason we missed in-person classes so much during the height of COVID was because of the interaction with students. At TMAC we love what we do, and we want to show you how it can impact your career in a positive way.

Coming into a LSS class, you might have some of these common fears and concerns. Just remember you are not alone, and many have gone before you and conquered those fears. We aim to give you a great learning experience during your time with us. The knowledge you gain can have a significant impact on your job, your company, and your career. Finally, we want to see you succeed and will stand with you to help you achieve your goals.  

Interested in one of our classes? Check out our website!

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