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Black Belt is a Role…NOT a certification

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  • #68787

    Jim Johnson
    Participant

    I think that you are correct.  And I am glad that you put this way you did.  I have been guilty of getting wrapped up in getting “certified” as a Black Belt.  What I need to be more focused on is functioning as a Black Belt.
    Thanks for the sanity check!
    Jim Johnson

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    #27851

    Ronald
    Participant

    Just wanted to vent, read some old postings around getting certified as a BB or MBB…some were in regards to ASQ some to BMG etc…here is my take on it all, and I will come to you as a person that hires BB’s/MBB’s and give my point of view/solicit feedback.
    I work for a fortune 100 organization that uses Six Sigma. I hire  several MBB’s and BB’s a year. I myself am a GE certified MBB and now a director of six sigma.
    One of the major problems i have with Six Sigma is that it is too often confused with TQM, ISO etc….it is unfortunately so I believe (I know not using six sigma here) because it started in manufacturing and continues to be applied primarily by those type organizations. To me Six Sigma is simply a managent methodology…lets make decisions based on data, not hunch. We can see the problem when we look at the universities that teach six sigma as a curriculum..where do they teach it?…in their TQM depts, their engineering depts. How about management depts, leadership depts for a change? So where does this lead me in regards to certification? Lets take BB for example
    Well when I look at your resume, I will ofcourse see that you are a certified BB. Where your certified will become clear when I look at your work experience….I will with out a doubt see 2 types of individuals…one will be certified by a university or another organization…he or she will have taken a test and will have done A project (maybe even 2)…I will then throw this resume in the trash, because you are NOT a Black Belt…
    The other resume will be from an individual that has been in the ROLE of BB for say 2 years…he or she has completed 5, 10 even 20 projects, has mentored many many green belts, has taught others the DMAIC or DMADV methodology and oh by the way, was certified…you my friend will receive a phone call.
    Bottom line: BB and MBB are roles, not certifications.
     
     
     

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    #68794

    Cone
    Participant

    Lee, while you are in a venting mood, think about why the champion (or corporate positions like the director of six sigma) exist. While the tools and methods taught to Black Belts are critical, they are not the private knowledge of 1 – 2% of the workforce in a truely enlightened company. They are the tools that everyone tasked with process management must possess.
    The current rage for all the cute names and titles will soon be seen for what it is — a bandaid for poor metrics, poor systems, and poorly trained leaders. Go look in the mirror and you will see that most projects were common sense and did not require sophisticated tools. Most transactional projects are solved with process maps and rational thought about how to measure the process.
    Go tell your management you need to work on the systems if you want six sigma to be more than a decade long fling now that Jack has said his last hurrays.
    Hire a few good systems thinkers while you are at it — most do not carry the title of Black Belt.

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    #68799

    Ronald
    Participant

    Gary my man…i must have touched a sweet spot. I am not at GE by the way, so jack is of little concern to me, I was however trained and mentored into where I am at today because of them, and because of his great leadership ability.
    I agree and disagree with you on one thing. Most projects are NOT the result of common sense…unless the process is so broken anyway that just about anything will work. It takes more than a process map to fix an organization. If I had a quarter for every solution I got at a project kick off, well I’d have quite a bit of pocket change. The GB BB training is invaluable for changing an organizations thinking. We don’t walk into a doctors office and say “I have a blockage in my anterior artery that is causing my heart to need more oxygen and lungs to work harder,” no we say, “man I am having trouble breathing….” the doctor then uses data and tools to identify my cause and derive a solution…yet in business we do the former rather than the later…six sigma thinking (and I agree it is a philosophy!) changes all that.
    If Gary, you were saying that you don’t have to be called a black belt to be able to do this, then I think you supported my position…it is a role, not a certification.
    By the way, to any who read this and are certified, I am not shooting down certification, it should however come along with some tenure and success rather than just training and a test.
     

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    #68805

    Ken Myers
    Participant

    Thanks to both Lee and Gary for making some key points about what Six Sigma is really about.  I think we often spend far too much time talking about certification over raw experience.  My experience is that much of the management staff in most companies have little or no understanding of how good systems are built and maintained.  Let alone, a basic understanding of process and system thinking.  If they don’t want to, or can’t, acquire this understanding, then Gary’s suggestion to hire good systems thinkers is imperative.  But, these folks need to placed close to the top to make an impact on the organization…
    In working with groups thoughout my organization, I’ve found over 75% of the observed problems have root causes traced back to poor system development and implementation(no surprise here!).   The responsibility of insuring a good system design and implementation rests squarely with the management staff(nothing new here!).  Management subordinates only follow instructions, and work to do their best job within the time alloted to them(we’ve all been here!).  Unfortunately, most members of the management staff do not have a clue how to properly scope a project to insure success(do you agree?). 
    In the final analysis, we can associate most of the sub-optimal performance to lack of knowledge and leadership in the top ranks!  To hedge this performance decline I believe a good MBB can assist/mentor  management in making better decisions more often. I believe this because an experienced MBB usually has the training and experience to view company operations as a vast network of interconnecting systems.  So, my hypothesis is:  “if you take an experienced MBB as Lee suggests, and insure they use systems thinking as Gary suggests, then team the MBB up with the Senior Management staff you should in theory have a powerful mix of decision makers with systems thinking mentor…”  Well, this seems to make sense to me anyway!
    I’m still working to implement such an alliance…  At present I’m filling in for the MBB position.  Unfortunately, I’m also trying to both promote and implement Six Sigma in my company.  Has anyone out there observed the suggested combination of a good MBB with their Senior Management staff?  If so, what successes or failures can you provide us?
    Ken

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    #68806

    Ken Myers
    Participant

    Amen, and thanks for the clarification…

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