In a prior post I reflected on desirable attributes for a Black Belt. After mentoring numerous Black Belts I can tell you what makes a good one, however I am wondering if one can statistically quantify a good vs. great belt.

Sure, there are tons of metrics that can be used to measure a belt:hard project savings, time to complete project, project audit success rate, etc.; yet factors such as department, input in project selection, and project team members often make it hard for an “apples to apples” comparison of two Black Belts.

There is the perception from some of my fellow colleagues that great Black Belts are the ones who go on to management and leadership positions, however the basic law of supply and demand for human capital in the workforce makes me think that perception isn’t always true.

Another belief I’ve heard is that great Black Belts are those who can stay in their role for at least two years which gives the implication that good Black Belts are likely to be more easily discouraged and seek other opportunities sooner. Again, I find fault with this logic due to supply and demand. In fact, one could just as easily argue the opposite- great Black Belts are in their positions less than good ones because their talent is more recognized and they are easier to transition into another job.

Aside from comparison of performance review ratings (which would only work under identical management), I’m at a loss and am beginning to think that it may be statistically impossible to quantify Black Belts in terms of good vs. great. I would love to hear from other mentors, especially those involved in Human Resources, as to how one can truly quantify this measurement.

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