Having originated the term “Black Belt” at Unisys Corporation in 1986, pioneered its development at Motorola’s Six Sigma Research Institute in 1990, focused its purpose at Asea Brown Boveri in 1993, delivered its promise at Allied Signal in 1994, and set its destiny at General Electric in 1995, it should stand without saying that this topic is very near and dear to me.
It must be recognized that Black Belt status is not a career. It can become a springboard to a new career. It can even augment an existing career. It can be a lot of things, but it is certainly not a career (in and of itself). It is however, a temporary job assignment that should be viewed as a significant career enhancement. It should be a time-bounded experience that leads to mutual benefit – short-term as well as long-term.
Being a Six Sigma specialist can assume any number of forms – black belt, green belt, champion, and so on. As most of us know, these roles interactively combine to create a very powerful force within a corporation – this business fact has been well documented. As long as this trend continues, the top management of corporations will continue to support Six Sigma and its leadership roles.
Of course, there is the ever-present danger that Six Sigma will become diluted, thereby loosing its power and momentum. How could this happen? The answer to this question is not simple. If you are truly interested, reference Harry, M. J. (2002) Six Sigma Knowledge Design.