Generally speaking, the Six Sigma curriculum (i.e., Black Belt, Green Belt, and so on) for just about any type of service or support activity can be easily found these days – everybody has their idea of what such curriculum should consist of.  Perhaps of more concern, is the idea of “curriculum integrity,” as it is vital, vast and powerful (in terms of deployment and implementation success).  In this context, the notion of integrity does not refer to intellectual content but, rather, refers to how well each curriculum “fits and supports” specific deployment and implementation circumstances.  In this sense, it is more like the integrity of a weld holding two pieces of steel together. 

From this perspective, it is easy to see how this idea relates to: a) the installation of six sigma, b) the development of deployment plans, c) the design of global curriculum, d) the configuring of implementation plans, e) the selection of application projects, f) the assembling of localized course content, g) the delivery of that content, and h) the application of the resultant knowledge, just to mention a few.  Each of these aspects (among many others) requires a certain level of integrity, and each overlaps the others to create a larger fabric of integrity. 

Inevitably, a corporation’s values are translated into goals and objectives, the aggregate set of which reflects those values.  Subsequently, a corporation designs, employs, and modifies various “enablers” that support the attainment of its goals and objectives.  Such enablers exist on all organizational levels (business, operations, process) in many different forms throughout a corporation’s measurement systems, information infrastructure, administrative systems, financial processes, and human resources policies and practices – to name a few.  Finally, a corporation designs a  reward and recognition system that is highly capable of energizing its enablers, reinforcing its goals and objectives, and realizing its values on an ongoing basis at all organizational levels.

Owing to these larger cause-and-effect linkages, it is relatively easy to surmise what knowledge (and behaviors) must be mapped into a curriculum – and then eventually translated into supporting content – so as to ensure forward motion that is consistent with the systems of reinforcement, the enabling mechanisms, and global goals and objectives.  Naturally, any knowledge (and behaviors) that is not causally linked will eventually be extinguished. 

Only in this manner can a black belt curriculum (or any other curriculum for that matter) be made perceptively stable over time, but yet functionally robust to the inevitable adjustments that are needed to maintain strong and visible forward momentum relative to the dynamic needs of a business.  This, in short, is how we ultimately create and subsequently ensure curriculum integrity, stability, and alignment while concurrently adapting to ever-changing business, operational, and process circumstances.

Given this highly interactive understanding, the design of a black belt curriculum should be pragmatically connected to (and functionally aligned with) the principal enablers a corporation embodies to realize its underlying values – as evidenced by what it purposefully measures, reports, and rewards.  In turn, this requires a static yet flexible curriculum – capable of being adjusted and compensated over time, without losing its originating purpose, context, or branding.

About the Author