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Black Belt Selection Process

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  • #29679

    Mark A. Ahlman
    Participant

    I am looking for information on selection processes of other companies.  If you can, please give a description of your selection process and which company you represent. 
    We have gone through some rough times lately with Six Sigma and now we are really driving forward, but need a robust process to identify and train quality people as Six Sigma Black Belts.
    Please help if you can.

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    #76501

    TCJ
    Member

    There are a few characteristics every BB should have which can be transformed into the selection criteria.  BBs should be “change agents” who have the drive and will to make things happen.  Ask the question “Will this candidate break down barriers to acheive the goal”.  The candidate should have strong analytical skills or the potential to develop these skills.  Typically candidates have technical background such as engineering, which allow them to understand the basic statistics involved.  The finally characteristic is leadership.  The associate should be able work with and motivate team members on various levels to support the project. 

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    #76610

    Mark Ahlman
    Participant

    I understand the underlying qualities of a Black Belt, but what I am looking for is the actual process to go through in selecting the right ones. 
    You could have open self nomination with interviews and downselecting or you just go out and label your candidates and send them to training.  What I am looking for is an industry best practice that is working in another company.  A way of finding those people who are the best fit for the position.

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    #76627

    Mares
    Participant

    Mark,
    Why not to train Green Belts at first, and select BBs from the best GBs? That selection process is based on results, commitment and all the other qualifications mentioned in other messages. It is a  way to test them on the field at first… then make a selection.
    One question: Why do you consider only “quality people” as candidates? Do you refer to Quality Function? If Yes, you could be “biasing” the selection process and loosing the opportunity to find valuable people in other areas. In the answer is No, please forget the comment.
    Regards… Adrian

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    #76628

    Jesse Berg
    Participant

    My company uses an interview process to help make our selection.  We also give our candidates a test to see if they can comprehend the statistics portion of the job. 
    Personality is a large part of being a BB.  A BB must be able to push through barriers and work with all levels of management.  My company puts a lot of weight on this portion of the process.

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    #76630

    Mark Ahlman
    Participant

    Thanks for all the help.  Adrian ( I was meaning quality as in high calibur.)We are trying to make our selection process rigorous and robust.  This is just a little rudimentary benchmarking to see how other companies are doing it.  We have had black belts in the past get in and not turn out very well. 
    Here is a rough overview of our selection process as we have developed it so far.
    Green Belt, combination experience and education;  Masters with 4 years related experience, to no college with 10 years related experience.  We require each candidate fill out an application, essay, complete a 360 degree and submit a resume.  We have a selection board made up of senior leaders and Master BB and this group does a down select of all applications with a development need identified in the denial letter.  The remaining candidates go through an interview process and the BBs are selected from this group.  The remainders should all have high potential for becoming a BB and are given a one-on-one for their development needs with specifics on how to improve.
    Thats roughly it, but I am still looking for any other comments, comparisons, Likes Dislikes Concerns……

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    #76634

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Mark,
    I am not sure what you mean by rigorous and robust for a selection process. I would rather have effective.
    If you want a well defined process there is a thing that some of the HR types do called a vector analysis.You hire a company that does this. Basically they create a footprint of what characteristics are found in the successful BB’s and MBB’s (in your organization). When you have candidates they do the questionaire and the company tells you how they match up. Some of the better companies at this will also provide input on what you will need to do with someone who is not a match but you use them any way. This was a process used at GenCorp and Navistar did some of it. Worked well but it does cost. The other side of the cost issue is what does a failed BB cost? Use investment criteria not emotion to make the decision.
    If you don’t want to spend money you pick the informal leaders in your organization. These are the people that the employees turn to (regardless of their formal position in the company) when it hits the fan. All the other nonsense about degrees and analytical skills does not mean a thing when it comes to executing change. The informal leaders are the ones that can make change happen. Once the program gets some momentum then you can drop in a couple of the academics for window dressing. When you start you need results.
    Good luck.  

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    #76637

    Mark Ahlman
    Participant

    Mike,
    Thank you very much.  And you are right, effective is a better term.  I am one who believes the change side of what we do is more critical than anything else.  Technical ability and analytical skills, I believe, can be increased through practice and training, but the ability to move a culture and bring about change is something that an individual must have as part of who they are.  As you stated, leaders who may not have positional authority.
    Again, thank you I am going to look in to the Vector analysis.

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    #76715

    Scott
    Member

    You might be missing a key point regarding selection of the BBs, and potentially MBBs.  The key is to select individuals who are on the leadership path, the ‘high potential’ path, the folks who are critical to the organization for one reason or another, who also might possess some of the technical skills they will need to employ the methods of six sigma, but they must have the trust of the executives, need to be known and respected, have a fundamental expertise in the macro value stream and respectable levels of profound knowledge about the products and services of the company.  I wouldn’t focus so much on the education unless it will help them in the macro sense. 
    The Key is to select folks who are seriously being considered as the potential future leaders, and are being already groomed for that role.  The six sigma assignment becomes a key development role for them as well as a key payback for CI/PI and reducing COPQ for the company.  Best of luck to you in your program..

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    #76722

    Whitehurst
    Participant

    Rick,
    Perhaps I’m reading too much into your note but I have to disagree with certain points.  I agree with you that BB/MBBs should be high potential individuals BUT I don’t think they need to be “fundamental experts” and have “profound knowledge”.  In my experience (4yrs in Six Sigma), I’ve found that the established experts tend to be the weakest change agents. Their perceived “expertise” actually prevents them from being creative and from truly listening to the customer.  They simply know all the answers (or think they do).  I prefer BBs with a natural curiosity, intelligence, and energy, if they have in-depth product knowledge – that’s gravy.  BBs need to have demonstrated the ability to deliver results, that’s what executives respect.  Maybe you deal with different executives.
    The worst BB that ever worked for me was a PhD in Computer Science.  So brilliant she couldn’t be bothered with listening to her teams.  Her results were weak and always late.
    Joe

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    #76725

    Derin
    Participant

    Education is definitely one of the important parts of the selection process.  People receive their educations in various ways, but a formal education should definitely not be underestimated.  I agree that it’s not necessary that a BB or MBB have a degree in Statistics or Economics, but a quantitative background can be helpful. 
    An MBA is an especially important aspect to consider and should be heavily weighted.  A few of the advantages that come with earning an MBA are teambuilding skills, communication skills, learning to overcome differences with individuals of various backgrounds, presentation skills, strategy skills, management techniques, and invaluable exposure to different business cases.  This is also fairly representative of a driven individual.  This is not to say that these skills can’t be learned in other arenas or that all MBA’s have distinct advantages over those that don’t, however, it is an extremely valuable asset that should not be undervalued.

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    #98749

    Mark Ahlman
    Participant

    Hi, my name IS Mark Ahlman….I’m just trying to get a tally of all the Mark Ahlmans in this universe.  My email is [email protected]  Tell me where you are, who your parents and grandparents are and where they were born.  Thanks!!!!

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    #131113

    Randall
    Participant

    Before selecting our company Blackbelt candidates, they all had to take a personality test.  This test ensured us that we were picking the right people to use a 6 Sigma change agents.  Leadership skills were important, organiztional skills, and the people had to be extraverts.
    Good Luck!

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    #151003

    Olawunmi Sarumi
    Participant

    Practicality is key in training, hence it is important, that you point out problems facing the company to the training consultant, so that it does not end up as another training exercise.
    I think people who have shown substantial interst in the green belt training should be considered.
    It is also worth asking for volunteers, people tend to perform better when they do things willingly.
    Attitude, knowledge and the right people skills are qualities you should look out for in your selection process
    Good luck

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    #151012

    idiotinmath
    Participant

    Well Said

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    #151015

    TVI
    Member

    I cant stand this empty rhetoric….anything analytical can be bought or taught and assessing leadership abilities assume the evaluator properly understands the subject, which few people do. 
    Find the people that get things done. That require little instruction and push hard in terms of task accomplishment.  Get out and walk around, get on the floor, find out who people look to when they need to solve a problem…now get that guy…you wont find him in an HR interview…..analytics is the last thing i would look for….Can the person command a room and would you want to drink a beer with him at the end of the day?  You want that guy.  You lose the majority of your projects on poor project selction and CAP issues, not because you used a Moods and not an ANOVA. 

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    #183905

    Sinnicks
    Participant

    Its been a long time since i asked this question, and i have to say, TVI nailed it.  From my own experiences, it has been those who get things done and can work a room that get more done then the analytical giants.  I’m not saying you don’t need the analytics, but if you can have all the data in the world and if someone doesn’t want to do it they can still say no.  Social Capital, trust and bias for action have more to do with success then anything else that i have seen.
    My sincerest thanks for all the comments.

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    #183906

    Robert S
    Member

    Little late with your thanks there aren’t you Mark – 2 plus years.

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