Benchmarking results consistently identify examples of Six Sigma success. Even so, getting “naysayers” on board is a continuous challenge. What do you tell them?

Nayism 21: If a Black Belt likes what he or she does, why rotate them back into the organization? Why not let Black Belt positions be permanent positions instead of just roles?

Most companies keep Black Belts in a full time role for 18 to 30 months and then repatriate them into the organization. Should some Black Belts be allowed to stay as ‘career’ black belts? Here’s what I say . . .

The purpose of having a full time Black Belt is so that they can dedicate 100% of their time to learning new skills and fixing problems in the organization. During the 18 to 30 month assignment, they develop expert Six Sigma skills. Rotating people through the Black Belt role (or the Master Black Belt role) and then returning them to the organization in a leadership role, creates a leadership environment where Six Sigma can flourish. (i.e., the leader really gets it).

The downside of having a career black belt position is that over time, the organization will begin to perceive Black Belt work and Six Sigma as “someone’s” job, not “everyone’s” job. Instead of Six Sigma becoming the way the organization works, it becomes the work for Black Belts. The constant rotation of people through the Black Belt role sends a clear message that the role is intended to build future leaders with expert Six Sigma knowledge and skill that can then lead the organization to excellence through Six Sigma.

Having a great Black Belt is a real asset to the organization. Having a great leader with Black Belt skills is even better!

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