There’s a wry old episode of NBC’s “30 Rock” in which Jack Donaghy and Liz Lemon attend a seemingly fictional “Six Sigma” business conference (motto: “Retreat to Move Forward”) and immerse themselves in the ever-intense world of consulting buzzwords and team-building exercises. “There they are,” says Jack, reverently, pointing to a group of older men, “The six sigmas themselves, each of them embodying a pillar of the Six Sigma business philosophy: Teamwork. Insight. Brutality. Male Enhancement. Handshakefulness.
In spite of the U.S. Census data for the past decade showing continued job de-centralization, there is now much anecdotal evidence for the just the opposite. The Chicago Crain’s Business Journal reports that companies such as Allstate, Motorola, AT&T, GE Capital, and even Sears are re-considering their fringe suburban locations, generally in stand alone campuses, and may head back to downtown Chicago.