“Repeat any task over and over to improve upon it,” Paul Ulman says to his wife, Leann, after learning it through his Six Sigma training.
“Well, if that’s the case, can you repeatedly work on shortening your time in the shower?” Leann says.
That got Ulman thinking.
Maybe people could infuse the principles of Six Sigma, traditionally used in the corporate world, to improve their personal lives. Six Sigma is a system for enhancing business processes, and Ulman completed the first level of training — earning a Yellow Belt in the program — when he was a Chrysler employee.
However, Ulman, who has lived in Noblesville nearly all his life, began to build on his belief that Six Sigma principles could have more personal uses. He developed a self-improvement system that draws on many of Six Sigma’s themes.
About eight years ago, in a job supervising inmates at the Pendleton Correctional Industrial Facility, he began to fill inmate’s downtime by giving them tips from his new, Six Sigma-inspired program. He noticed that many of them began to see positive results.
Now, after volunteering to mentor hundreds, if not thousands, of people using his Six Sigma-based approach to improving their lives, he’s written a book to share the concepts even more broadly.
“What I’m trying to get across in the book is that we need leaders in this world, but we need good, ethical leaders,” Ulman says. “And this is the kind of foundation upon which a leader is made.”
Self-published and released in December, the book outlines three overarching themes that Ulman says define your wholeness as a person — character, tasks and relationships. Each of these three basic pillars includes 10 additional areas of focus.
“The concepts should serve as guides in the process as people work to improve aspects of their lives,” says Ulman. “Do an assessment and find out where you are as a person. Define what the issue is, then measure it, then analyze it, make that improvement, and then control it.”
The approach can be useful in everything from weight loss to career advancement — or, as in Ulman’s case, in finally publishing that book everyone’s encouraged you to write. Prior to “Get Your Life on Target with 6 Sigma,” Ulman had written two children’s books, yet never published them. He then wrote about 50 pages of a novel that he, again, didn’t finish. This time, though, he applied the concepts of his own Six Sigma-inspired program to the yearlong process of finally completing and publishing a book.
Currently, he’s at work on another book, focused on finding your calling in life. As for Ulman, he believes his own calling is helping others.
“What I kept hearing time and time again is, ‘You need to write a book,’” Ulman says. “I’m a Christian, and I’m a believer in when you keep hearing something over and over again from different sources, it’s really God talking to you and calling you into doing that.”
Ulman is an Army veteran, married father of two, author, and production supervisor for Allison Transmission in Indianapolis — and he believes his willingness to help others has led to success his own life. He references physicist Isaac Newton’s Third Law to explain.
“One of the things I talk about in the book is that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction,” Ulman says. “I believe when you do good and put it out into the world, that good is going to come back to you.
“I just think the world would be a better place if people thought about how their actions impacted their fellow man.”
This even applies to the smaller things of life. When Ulman’s wife asked him to use his Six Sigma to cut down his time in the shower, he was able to reduce his time to less than five minutes — down from 15.
“Get Your Life on Target with 6 Sigma” is available from Amazon, in paperback and on Kindle. Learn more at paululman.com.