iSixSigma

Selecting Black Belts

Benchmarking results consistently identify critical factors that are needed to increase the probability of Six Sigma success. Even so, getting “naysayers” on board is a continuous challenge. What do you tell them?

Nayism 3: When picking a Black Belt, I can’t afford to let one of my best people go.

Open any book about Six Sigma and it’s clear that Black Belt selection is critical to Six Sigma success. Behavior characteristics, attributes, call them what you will, all lead to one place . . . picking some of the best and brightest to fill the Black Belt role. The right Black Belt is a leader. One who can lead people, projects and most importantly, change in the organization. Everybody wants this person on their team because they can get things done. They’ve proven their ability to perform. If you put them in a Black Belt role, they will excel (no surprise here). They sell the process change and they sell Six Sigma as a viable pathway to doing business differently.

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So why is it so hard to get the right people in Black Belt roles? The number one response is, “I can’t afford to let one of my best people go.” This immediately triggers a reflex that makes me ga-ga. Let them go where? If someone thinks that they have to let someone “go,” then they don’t understand what it’s all about. So here’s what I say . . .

This is not about you letting someone in your group “go.” It’s about providing some of your best people with additional tools and skills so that they can help you find viable solutions to some of your toughest problems. It’s about having someone in your organization work with others from your organization to fix long-term issues that ultimately will help your group operate more efficiently and better satisfy customers. It’s all about you. So who else would you get to help you and your organization be more successful? The answer here is obvious.

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