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Black Belt Frustration

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  • #43498

    Whitehurst
    Participant

    Hey Everyone,
    I need to vent, so I apologize in advance for the series of approaching comments.
    I am a Black Belt for a medium Call Center company.  I have been a BB for 3 years in the automotive quality industry and just made the leap to transactional 3 months ago.
    I am the sole Black Belt in the company, with a GB reporting to me that is currently in training for a BB position as well.  I am very easily approachable and more then willing to help everyone.  My observations are as follows:
    1. The concept of my company is that a Black Belt is the personal statistical bitch of all the directors
    2. BB are considered a pain in the ass to everyone because we force you to use data rather then gut insticnt to make business decisions.
    3.Why hire  a Black Belt if you want him to be a statistician only!
    In 3 months I have identified issues from all levels of the company stemming from 90% attrition rates (previous to my analsyis, they were reported in a BS manner as 7% per month).  To variations in our forecasting process costing over 1 million dollars per year.
    When I go to the business owners to show them what they asked me to find, they get pissed of and are rude to me.  No one wants to follow past the Define phase with little to no support.
    There is no infrastructure in place to really utilize the level of deployment required to make a significant change to the company.
    It is not fun for me anymore, everything i uncover means that I am going to look bad, I love the process with all of my sould, but some one, no wonder so many Call Centers are being outsourced.
    I have identifed 2 million dollar opportunities and still recieve little or no support.  I am preparing to kick my level of confrontation up a notch to obtain more support but am not sure if this will even work.  I was very sucessful as a BB at other companies.
    People do not understand why i will not let them make a business decision before I finish the Analyze phase, or why I tell them I will not use my assest or my direct reports assets without a proven business case for ROI or Sat improvment.  I steer anything I work on with data only and my first two projects have been slamming sucess stories, yet still no momentum.  It is not fun being a Manager (Me) having to tell VP’s that they are making bad business mistakes and not supporting the company SOW and policies.
    Grrr…. Anyone else hitting these challanges in a enviroment where they want a Black belt for reasons other then DMAIC.
    I am not going anywhere since this company is the gold mine for my project sucess portfolio, I just want to make it easier for everyone.  Any ideas on your experiences and expertise.
    I have some cool projects for Call Center abandons and ASA based on a new technique of measuring that I used.
    Thanks for listening,
    Joe

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    #138011

    Heebeegeebee BB
    Participant

    Welcome to our world… Many of us truly feel your pain.
    heh heh…
    Seriously though, You might want to have a “Come to Jesus” meeting with the business Leader that brought you in and owns 6S.   In the meantime, start looking internally to address your needs.   What would make you happy?   In what type of industry would you garner more satisfaction.
    I’m not going to tell you to “stay the course”, because there appears to be no course…or buy-in.
    Time to start looking outside my friend.
    Heebee.

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    #138032

    BOAMBB
    Participant

    Joe,
    Most of us have been where you are…my guess is that several posters are currently in a similar state.  Life is too short to work for people or companies that create more stress in your life.
    My advice: Find a company where you feel you can enjoy your work.  Pick an industry and find a company with a good reputation for 6-Sigma if that is what you want to continue to do.  I deduce from your post you have worked for at least 3 companies in your 3 years as a BB – be careful about hopping companies, and make sure you’re making any future changes for the right reasons. 
    Only you can choose whether or not to “stay the course” — were you hired to be a change architect or a project monkey?  If the infrastructure isn’t available at your current company, were you hired to help build it?  If not, why did you choose to hire-on?  As Heebee said, do some “internal” searching prior to making more changes.
    Good luck.
    BOAMBB

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    #138036

    Darth
    Participant

    Boambb,
    Hope you are taking your own advice :-).

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    #138037

    Whitehurst
    Participant

    Thanks for the posts.
    I have only worked for two companies in the past 5 years.  I agree with the job hopping problem.  I do not wish to leave my current position as it is an amazing challange full of potential for my portfolio.  I just had a real bad day yesterday and needed to vent it out.
    Im looking for more of a approach that people will accept the concepts and not make decisions on “I think” type mentalities.  Regardless of my frustration, I have changed the company dramatically from an operations side, it is more getting to that point that I find difficult.  When I was employed at Ford, there was a wonderful structure in place and the culture was accepted and highly sought after, there were challanges, but the support from above was amazing.
    I will have saved the company 2 million by the end of the year if my changes hold pace and are controlled as identified and signed off upon by our CEO.  We are only a 90 million dollar company, with 10 million total profits, so 2 million is a 20% increase in our bottome line.
    I saw this as an opportunity to deploy Six Sigma in a company that needs it badly, and this is what I was promised upon  hiring.  They will pay for my MBB training since it is my contract, that is enough for me alone to stay along and fight.
    It seems my clients are the only one who appreciate me at the end of the day.  Which I guess I should cling to since they are the ones who really pay the check.  My most recent analysis uncovered alot of falacies in the company vs the statement of work (SOW) and that alone I think has proven my worth.
    Nonetheless, it is still a major challange that I must face.  The “speak when you are spoken to” comment just set me over the edge yesterday.  I think that alone was the reason I posted with such fervor.
    I am working from a deployment standpoint and maybe I need to start getting some executive overview and champion trainings in place for future ease of project adversity.  I am also piloting a white belt project to get us a ground up approach.  Because of our high turnover, a full blow greenbelt is not feasible, but if they work up slowly from white, maybe that will help, time will tell
    Thanks for the insights and if anyone has some good reccomendations on how to get some more positive visibility in the company from personal experience, I would love the comments. 
    Joe

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    #138042

    Learner
    Participant

    What a shock for me! I realized sixsigma world is an ‘heaven’, reading jobs section here, but you show me another world.

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    #138043

    BOAMBB
    Participant

    Joe,
    Glad to hear things are better today…and it helps to know you’re not alone (time and a couple of frosty beverages help as well).  Funny that you should mention the culture at Ford…from my experience there in the initial deployment, your current frustrations echo my past at Ford…glad to hear your experience was better.
    In working through your deployment, you may want to consider some core Fundamentals training.  We developed 9 modules to introduce the basic 6S and Lean concepts (and some basic tools like Pareto, C&E) to ground-level associates, with operational level examples.  Presented as “lunch-and-learn” style it was well received.  It provides a base of knowledge, begins gathering advocates at the ground level, and is a good potential source of projects.
    Take a page from Teddy Roosevelt — “speak softly (when spoken to!?) and carry a big stick”. Staying balanced at the office (especially in the face of ignorance and stupidity) will pay big dividends later…especially true when you have the CEO’s ear.
    Good Luck.
    BOAMBB

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    #138044

    BOAMBB
    Participant

    Once the mrs’s chemo treatments finish and we’re given a clean bill of health, some of the chains can be removed.  Though I must admit, I’ve found a good place with some great people.  And, Ricci is starting to do some house cleaning.  I’m really curious to see how many critters he’ll find and kill.
    Keep in touch.
     

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    #138047

    Felix
    Participant

    Well Said BOAMBB!!!
    Joe, I think we’re in the same loop.. Being myself a GB I report to a MBB and we are the only two certified people in sixsigma on a whole of 1200 employee org.
    I’ve experienced the same problem which u’re undergoing and what i’ve analysed here is that the knowledge level of the ops people in sixsigma or quality concepts are poor. So i had arranged for few sessions which helped the ops people know and understand the quality stuff (Basic Tools and the Implementation).
    Earlier ops refused to hear my strategies & analysis and that was because of the less knowledge level, now to my surprise people started coming for important decisions on various implementations.
    I work with a Financial services cny now doing a BB  Project (Just been 6 months in this cny) and im a GB from hp, Although i was in a comfort zone in hp this new cny has taught me a lot of things. I would like to more things abt ur project and it would be great if you share or shoot a mail to me.
    Cheers!!
    Felix
    [email protected]
     
     

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    #138048

    Felix
    Participant

    Well Said BOAMBB!!!
    Joe, I think we’re in the same loop.. Being myself as a GB I report to a MBB and we are the only two certified people in sixsigma on a whole of 1200 employee org.
    I’ve experienced the same problem which u’re undergoing and what i’ve analysed here is that the knowledge level of the ops people in sixsigma or quality concepts are poor. So i had arranged for few sessions which helped the ops people know and understand the quality stuff (Basic Tools and the Implementation).
    Earlier ops refused to hear my strategies & analysis and that was because of the less knowledge level, now to my surprise people started coming for important decisions on various implementations.
    I work with a Financial services cny now doing a BB  Project (Just been 6 months in this cny) and im a GB from hp, Although i was in a comfort zone in hp this new cny has taught me a lot of things. I would like to more things abt ur project and it would be great if you share or shoot a mail to me.
    Cheers!!
    Felix
    [email protected]
     
     

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    #138067

    Darth
    Participant

    Hadn’t realized.  Hope all turns out well.  If MR needs some suggestions of who to put out to pasture, let me know!!!  Maybe he will actually do what has long been known but not acted upon.  Key is how far BD will let him go given the politics.  Good luck.

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    #138242

    BOAMBB
    Participant

    Found out the same day I was up in Lyndenhurst.  Odd how fate turns directions.  Prognosis very good, length of the journey still being determined…though we’ve made some very good initial progress.
    Check your email when you get a chance for some more details on latest events.

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    #138249

    call centre guy
    Participant

    Hello Joe,
    Can i have your email id so that i would like to get some advice from you regarding my process
    Regards
    Call Centre guy

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    #138266

    G
    Participant

    Dear Joe,
    I have run across the same scenario but within my group. I am also a Black Belt and I will tell you what my Master Black Belt told me, “no one likes to hear that their ways is crap or that their mistakes or approaches are crap.” Within that said the Master Black Belt told me to continue doing what I am doing, do not let anyone tell you any different or push you away from what you are trying to do, the right thing, saving money and accomplishing a new improve methodology.
    What I did was that, I kept reporting and pushing back but the difference that I had which you don’t is the Master Black Belts to fall back on. Maybe that is what you need another Master Black Belt or Black Belt to support your findings.
    All in all do not give up and keep on pushing ultimately someone will hear and see that you and your findings are valuable after all. Let me know if you need help with anything.
     
    G

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    #138267

    G
    Participant

    Joe,
    One more thing that may help, most of the time the push back you are receiving is due to ignorance or not completely understanding what you are trying to accomplish as a Black Belt. Show them in terms they can understand.
    Most think Black Belts are here to show ways to save money by outsourcing etc. Keep pushing and climbing up the chain maybe even the person that hired you, obviously the company saw a value in hiring a black belt.
    G

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    #138269

    Rex H
    Participant

    There’s an old saying, “A prophet is never honored in his own land.” Understand much of what you do as a BB is alien and counter to most business cultures. Unless a person has a conversion experience they don’t get it. As a MBB I tell people that Six Sigma Change is like a religious experience, you either get it or you don’t and those that don’t can’t understand. In the environment of change one can not be on the fence, it doesn’t exist. In your company they will either evolve into an organization that embraces what you do or you will eventually leave. Leaving may be your decision or others but remember one other saying, “As you leave, wipe the dust of their ground from your feet,” and leave them to their fate!

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    #138270

    Be Real
    Participant

    You need to get out of dodge. You’re wasting your precious time and energy. Forget all the change management spew and influencing up.
    No one gives a damn.GE is full of BBs in the same position as you. Leave before you turn into a zombie.

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    #138272

    Esteban
    Participant

    Joe,
    I envy your position
    As you said, company is the gold mine for your project sucess portfolio… You have acces to data, you have opportunities identified, directors identified you as smart guy.
    You are above to learn how different the service industry is from the automotive.
    My advice:
    FIRST: Find the “people” pain not the process pain : From my experience, in service companies don´t have a clue about the specific requirements of their customers. We value the customer satisfaction and market share metrics more than cost reductions.
    SECOND: You are all the Quality area (director, mbb, bb, qa, etc) first act as director, define your strategy, infrastructure, processes, metrics, and so on. Then as MBB, translate all the statistical data into business information. (when a director “use” your statistics skills, always state one or two USD P&L business hypothesis) and wait for  feedback. Then as BB start and end the projects. Then as Quality Analyst insert the saving on the Company P&L statement.
    THIRD: Dont eat the world in one byte but get results. Just finish projects, no matter if you don´t get all the possible benefits. If there is not infrastructure to solve the 20% of causes producing the 80% of problems, go for the 5% of causes… and start saving money to use it to buy infrastructure you need.
    FOURTH and LAST: Buy support. Even you work alone, don’t keep all the credit, you can assign it to the most ambitious director, that who needs results to get the next level in the organization and the one can support you to obtain more valuable results. 
     
     
     
     
     
    You are just Do not wait the company blame you
    Dedicate
     
     

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    #138276

    Whitehurst
    Participant

    Thanks for the inspiration guys.   It was nice to hear others have the same struggle I do as well.  I have had the take it all, or dont bother me approach, I should probably be more flexible.  I am just afraid that if I back off of my methodology, then they will turn me into there personal statistics slut like they did past Black Belts. 
     Things are better today again.  Still I get more push back then I ever imagined was possible.  I am rolling out a infrastructure very soon, as MBB myself, and my current Green Belt is in the U of M BB training as well.
    On friday i got like 9 requests for green belt training out of the blue….
    So anyway, the main director I have a problem with I think may be close to the end of days with all the slop I am providing in projects from his responsibilities.
    and to boot the SOB is an industrial engineering and still does not get why I do what I do.  Demming would bitch smack this character.
    I have got a few projects completed from AHT analysis, Attrition Analysis, Forecasting eWorkforce capability,
    I would be willing to share reports with people if they have some reports to share back.  Let me know if you are interested.
    Joe

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    #138280

    Yand
    Member

    Joe
    Now you really know your world. I think better you keep your good experience in that company and makes theme “bussiness owners” say ; “Mr. Joe drives my company get better” with your Breakthrough Improvement like in Ford
    Don’t you ever said ” Black Belt Frustration ” again.
    Good luck

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