A Black Belt friend of mine was telling me about deployment in his company. I listened to his problems patiently and then said to him, “It looks like you have employed a ‘bunch’ of Black Belts who are brilliant at the statistics, but when it comes to facilitating a project team, who might for example have come off the night shift on the shop floor, they (the Black Belts) can’t get the team or the processes to change — thus few improvements and consequently little cash savings”. He admitted I was right.

I was generalising here, but what I meant was,process owners and team members, who might still work on site or are perhaps foreman or gang leaders promoted from the ‘shop floor’, often find it hard to relate to the type of Black Belt who is University trained and statistically minded. At school they would have been at opposite ends of the playground, one kicking a ball around the school yard and the other playing on his ‘Game Boy’ or even looking out of the window of the classroom doing extra maths or playing chess. This leads to a fundamental question: “Is Six Sigma really about Statistics or is it about process change?And in addition, ”Is a ‘good’ Black Belt someone who knows ‘Gage R and R’ or someone who can meet a group of co-workers and using the tools, make improvements and thus savings?”

Do we as Black Belts get caught up in the technical side and forget about whom we really are? I.E. change agents.

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