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 10: Why can’t we just have part-time Black Belts. I can’t afford to have a full time resource dedicated to Six Sigma project work.

When someone asks this question they may be looking for a good compromise between letting their folks work projects and having them do ‘other’ things that are part of their job. If that is truly what the organization needs, then Green Belts may be the answer. But this should not be decided ‘on-the-fly’ but rather as part of the overall deployment strategy. It’s difficult for some folks to see the advantage of a full time Black Belt because they are overwhelmed by the thought of not having that person available to fight fires. So, here’s what I say . . .

Most jobs have two piles of stuff to do. One pile includes improving the business. The other, fire drills. Fire drills are defined as responding to customer complaints, stock-outs, billing errors, late orders, product defects, reliability problems, the list goes on. Resources are usually stretched thin and the ‘fire drill’ pile always seems to get them because that’s what the business needs today. Day after day, the ‘improving the business’ pile is put on the back burner. A Black Belt who is dedicated full-time has the time to address the ‘improve the business’ pile. As this happens, the fire drill pile starts to disappear because the processes that caused the fire drills were fixed.

Having full time Black Belts as part of the Six Sigma deployment strategy requires the organization as a whole to make the tough decision and commit the resources needed. Although painful at first, the long term payoff is worth it.

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