I was facilitating a process-mapping session recently, and one of the team members came up to me during a break. She said, “I think it’s really interesting that you are leading us in the process mapping in a way that’s much different than I’ve seen before.” I said, “What do you mean?” She explained that she’s seen 3 or 4 Black Belts lead process-mapping sessions at various times, and we all have a very different approach. She wondered why we didn’t all do it the same way.

I answered, “Well in fact, I’ve never seen another Black Belt do mapping. I’ve only ever done it on my own, so I don’t know how anyone else does it.”

That made me stop and think. I realized that I’ve never seen another Black Belt lead a team meeting for a Six Sigma project. As soon as we all became Black Belts and attended training, we went our individual ways to lead our own projects. When we get together to talk about our work, it’s apparent that we all have different approaches, and we accept that while continuing to run our projects in our own ways.

Now, I’m all for individuality, in that we each bring our own experiences, skills, and strengths to our work. And in truth, I don’t havea lot of free time to sit in on other Black Belts’ projects. But this exchange made me wonder: Could I learn to be a better Black Belt if I sat in on other project meetings once in a while? Or is rugged individualism the way of the Black Belt?

I’d love to know your thoughts and experiences with this.

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