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INEFFICIENT BLACK BELTS?

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General INEFFICIENT BLACK BELTS?

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  • #35506

    donald jones
    Participant

    Im working with about a dozen 6 Sigma black belts with my current business, and after 2 weeks of working with them all of them have proved to be completely inefficient with returning phone calls, following up and really moving forward with common projects.
    Aren’t 6S black belts supposed to be trained in productive behavior and efficiency? Or did this group of people probably just miss that day in class?

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    #100064

    Rog
    Member

    You should ask them.
    Rog

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    #100067

    Mu Joe
    Participant

    I agree with Rog, you should ask them. I can’t speak for them, but at the company I work for, there is a shortage of Black Belts and no shortage of initiatives that require their skills. The result is, many of the Black Belts at my company are becoming overloaded with work. In that situation, the quality of work will suffer. No amount of efficiency training will solve that. The good news is that people are recognizing the power of six sigma. The bad news is, the balck belts may get a bad reputation because of getting stretched too thin to be truly effective.
    Just my opinion.
    Mu
     

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    #100068

    Bob M.
    Participant

    Perhaps they are also too busy mentoring a bunch of inefficient green belts and dealing with lack of support and spending more time reporting on projects than actually doing project work, etc. etc. Could I be perhaps speaking from experience? Hmmmm …
    Don’t jump the gun too quickly, it might go off in the holster.
     

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    #100071

    Stevo
    Member

    Every field has its weeds, I’m not going to defend the BB’s.  Some people “just aint no good”.  If you expect a call back, hold them accountable.  It’s always intertaining.
     
    Stevo

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    #100072

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Donald,
    Time management and some of the other skills you mentioned are not part of the SS BOK so they probably did not miss that day. They are also not trained in “productive behavior” but I am assuming you knew that as well. They are trained in a problem solving methodology. These people with unproductive habits were resident as a part of your company before SS.
    The real issue is that if you have people with poor organizational skills and they were put into SS training, nothing happened to change that. You basically will get out of this what you put into it. If you were asked for the “Best of the Best” and in your best rehearsed malicious complianced sent a bunch of slugs – you know have sunk cost in slugs. That was your choice. 
    Someone in your organization chose those people and it has nothing to do with SS. You’re all big boys now you get to take your own hosing.
    I hope you didn’t think there was a solution on a discussion group for poor management. If so you may have another clue what the root cause of this problem is.
    There is another option but that will require you to be very introspective and honest with yourself. Maybe you have done something that they just don’t want to talk to you?
    Good luck.

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    #100077

    billybob
    Participant

    Hello folks,
    When people tell me they are overloaded with work I see how close it is to 8am they get into the shop and how close it is to 5pm when they leave.  Then I make my judgements from there.
    Later,
    Billybob

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    #100084

    Hemant Gham
    Participant

    Donald,
    This might be true in most of the cases. As Mike said, there could be several reasons. The first and foremost could be wrong selection of the staff for Black Belt. If you really grab ‘C’ and ‘D’ level people to take up this role just because you can spare their time, you would never have high performance teams. Other side is also true sometimes. ‘A’ and ‘B’ level players are difficult to get and it is possible that half of them being “extra intelligent” would practice their own views on Six Sigma, thus deviating from the methodology. The same is true for Green Belts selection. If Black Belts are good leaders with rich ideas they will come out with solution to any problems.
    The term “Inefficient Black Belts” can be soon heard in more and more organizations that would try to catch the Six Sigma wave in pursuit of cost savings, cycle time reduction or defect prevention. They hurry up filling Six Sigma positions within the company. This is bound to happen because very few focus on building high performance teams. Careful selection of BBs and GBs determines to a large extent the future of Six Sigma program and help shape the growth of it.
    The other reasons for “Inefficiency of Black Belts” to deliver are already posted in this thread. Just need right people on right time for the right thing. The right thing (Six Sigma) could be right but people and time may not be so. For those companies that select external BBs, selection should NOT be based on certifications alone but actual project experience. How many companies do really follow this simple rule? How many companies (for in-house BBs/GBs selection) perform stakeholder analysis and pick up only those who score high on commitment scale? There is a need to tap only motivated employees for training. They are likely to produce high performance teams.
    Sometimes lukewarm management support breaks BB’s confidence level in delivering results. It may also happen when BB is not motivated and do not have good guidance and support from MBBs and Champions. These are the people who can bring change in the behavioral aspects of the BBs and screen them too during selection. BBs can be selected based on the following criteria – “Technical Knowledge”,  “Methodology Execution”,  “Leadership” and “Change Management”.
    From your post I understand that you are working along with other BBs. If that is true, and if you have MBB or Champion in the hierarchy, these questions will have to be answered by them to your satisfaction level.
    Your phrase “…completely inefficient…” should be a matter of concern for your company, especially if it is serious about true improvement and bottom-line benefits.
    Good luck to You!
     

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    #100096

    Barbara
    Participant

    Methodologies are not set in stone and it takes those “extra intelligent” people not only to create the methodoligies and publish them, but to align the methodologies with current concerns and initiatives.  All methodologies are subject to interpretation and it is only working as a team that those interpretations can be merged to one consistent statement within an organization. 
    I agree that the best level people are not always selected.  In the past the “consultants” often were well educated, highly skilled, and extensively experienced with the tasks they were hired to do.  They were the “extra intelligence” necessary to complete the projects on time with minimal errors.  They were not employees and often costly.  It is much more cost effective to develop BB from within than to hire one on a consulting basis. 

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    #100098

    Diaconu
    Participant

    Billybob,
    Do you have a life and eyes? I have worked with people who turned up regularly half and hour early and stayed an hour late. In the period of time they were at work they did about 2 hours of actual work. I have also worked with very dedicated people who put as much effort into their family and community as they did their work life. They worked their 8 till 5 and worked every hour of it. I have also worked for a manager who sspent every Saturday morning at work. He didn’t have too much work…he just didn’t want to go shopping with his wife.
    Please do a Six Sigma project that correlates working effectiveness with time spent at work and make your judgements from there.
    Mia

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    #100134

    billybob
    Participant

    Hello Folks,,and you too Mia,
    I bet with that better than thou attitude its probably your husband who goes to work every Saturday morning.  Maybe you work every Saturday to get away from your husband..maybe you’re not married..and by your post I can understand why you aren’t.
    And yes, my wife is one lucky girl!
    Later,
    Billybob

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    #100141

    Whitehurst
    Participant

    Dear Billybob,
    how many years of working experience worldwide you have ?
    Could be interesting to know, to understand the origin of your comments on this matter.
     Best Regards,
    Joe

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    #100143

    Cravies
    Participant

    In my large Corporate organisation we are plagued by;
    a) Thinking anybody could be a BB so let’s train a 100+ without thought to the requirements and skillset for a BB
    b) A Corporate bastardisation of Six Sigma so that it is losing credibility. Six Sigma Projects are now notorious for
    1:

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    #100144

    Cravies
    Participant

    In my large Corporate organisation we are plagued by;
    a) Thinking anybody could be a BB so let’s train a 100+ without thought to the requirements and skillset for a BB
    b) A Corporate bastardisation of Six Sigma so that it is losing credibility. Six Sigma Projects are now notorious for
    1: Taking 18-24 months to deliver dubious results
    2: A distinct lack of rigour around the financial benefits being delivered
    Indeed the bastardisation means that BBs do not use statistical analysis with rigour, do not do hypothesis testing and do precious little “testing”
    We have “Master BB” who are getting this status based on having completed 1 BB project.
    Quite frankly we have a BB and MBB accreditation program that is accrediting people who I know wouldn’t qualify as SS BB under outside scrutiny.
    Its very disappointing because I am a fan of SS but not what they’ve turned it into in the corporation I am employed by.

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    #100153

    Diaconu
    Participant

    Hi Billybob.
    Not sure how you work out that a genuine observation is a ‘better than thou attitude’. However I see that you do jump to conclusions in that you assume that because my pen name appears female that you think I am female. (it arose out of Missing In Action but my very first post accidentally changed it to Mia instead of MIA).
    And yes, my wife and I shop together and both she and I consider ourselves lucky.
    MIA

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    #100154

    Mikel
    Member

    Hey Billybob,
    Looks like Mia is a liberal on top of everything else.

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    #100168

    KBailey
    Participant

    In the interest of trying to identify a solution, I’m going to suggest doing what we did. Bring in someone to provide a couple days of Project Management training.
    Instead of the cookie cutter approach to BB selection so prevalent on this site, do a little KSA analysis (Knowledge, Skills, Attributes). You need to do is make sure your SS team covers all key KSA’s. BB selection is one way, effective time management and project management are skills that can be learned.
    As for expecting all BBs and BB candidates to be good project managers coming in, I suggest reading what I wrote about expecting all managers to be fluent in the language of Process Capability. https://www.isixsigma.com/forum/showmessage.asp?messageID=46028

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    #100170

    billybob
    Participant

    Hello folks..and you too MIA
    All I can say is “whoops and ouch”..How do I look with a face covered in egg?
    Did I mention my boot does taste lousy too,.,,,,,?
    Later,
    Billybob

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    #101163

    Al
    Participant

    I’m intrigued and have been entertained by the discussion trail in response to Donald’s question – there are some great insights and solutions and some sound amateur psychology out there!  What I haven’t really seen, however, except for the first respondent who suggested “ask them”, is a Six Sigma, data-based approach to Donald’s situation.
     
    My suggested approach for Donald is:
     
    1)      Gather/collate data on the number of calls not returned, delays in responding, lack of follow up, lack progress on projects etc and, probably most importantly, the impact of these defects on the business.
    2)      Take the data to the BB group and determine with them what the problem(s) is/are and how to address the issues.  By bringing facts and data to the table, then talking through the issues, very often a simple solution (or solutions) pops out.  The Hawthorn effect may even prevail!
     
    In the event the problems are due to more deep-rooted cultural or time management or expectation management issues or other causes, then more work may be required to address those underlying causes.  However, with facts and data and through talking to the BB team, Donald can:
     
    a)      assess how bad is the situation today,
    b)     get buy in from the BB group on the extent of the problems and that improvement is necessary,
    c)      set expectations for what improved performance looks like,
    d)     start identifying solutions and
    e)      evaluate the success of the improvement.
     
    Good luck.
     Al

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    #101165

    Edwards
    Participant

    In my opinion there isn´t inefficient BBs. What is inefficient is the combination of SS project, BB, GBs, Champion and Project Champion.
    In my company last year was identified a SS project called :”Improve net profit of the company”, Anybody thinks it could be successfull, in a company worlwide with more than 5000 workforce?.
    That´s the main problem we have in my company, that people think SS is a magic methodology that can solve all our problems without any support.

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    #101169

    Deanb
    Participant

     The fact that the behavior is relatively common to more than one BB suggests the answer lies in the process that exists between the BB’s and the company, and not in individualized character flaws or flaws in the BB training, as you suggest. Just asking each BB the “3-whys” will probably reveal the answers. Also, your expression of interest in their world might even improve their call return rate to you. A lot rests on your intentions. Do you wish to improve the perfromance of the process between you and the BB’s for everyone’s benefit? Or, do you just want them to return your calls, period, regardless or their needs?   

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    #101177

    QRMPI
    Participant

    Similar here, some in my organization are sure they should be facilitating these projects, because of their place in the organizational hierarchy, though they know little about six sigma.  The last fiasco I heard about was a staff meeting called because two leaders within a department have an intense disrespect for each other and refuse to work together.  This disrespect has been brewing for about a year, and has spread havoc through the whole department.. 
     
    Instead of dealing with that issue directly, a project was created, 12 people were called to the meeting, it lasted 2 1/2 hours while they listed around the room every single problem anyone could think of, (increased marketing, lunch schedules, etc.) then started down the list asking, “What could we do to make this better?”  Needless to say, everyone involved was unhappy at the end of the 2 1/2 hours, and there have been no further “meetings”.  On our reports, we list this as a success, because top leadership held the meeting and laid out the expectation that these 45 issues were discussed and resolutions were developed.  
     
    I am not a black belt, but from the outside it would look like I am inefficient, though I wasn’t even invited to this meeting.  I wasn’t invited because I would have embarrassed top leadership by bringing the disrespect issue to center stage.  And, in order to work on this disrespect issue, we are going to have to feel safe to talk about our culture of disrespect. We don’t have time for that!

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    #101182

    SSNewby
    Member

    I agree with Al.   You have a process issue, analyze and solve it using your Six Sigma tools.   You are the voice of the customer and you have a methodical approach at hand to address your concerns.    Management with facts and data versus gut feel and emotion – that’s what it’s all about.   The really bad thing about your situation is failure to address it in a productive manner creates negative opinions of Six Sigma practitioners when you could, by being more organizationally introspective, look for and correct the dysfunctional factors.    More amature psycho-babble, but it appears that your organizational issues run deeper than just inefficient Black Belts.      

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    #101184

    OLD
    Participant

    Donald:
    My BB experience has taught me to look at problems from all angles….. I have read the others’ posts and they offer good advice when assuming that the BB’s and you work for the same company. Question/clarification: Do you work (as an employee) for the same company that the BB’s do? Or, is your “current business” a separate entity that could be consulting with the BB’s company? If the later, is it possible that the BB’s view you as a threat? Your priorities not their priorities? Lack of earned respect (in just two weeks)? Just checking…..

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    #101206

    Sphynxras
    Member

    What a vague project goal you were given!!!! No wonder the BB’s seem to be having issues! Also, it is imperative to have support from management and resources. I wonder if they have been spending all their time coming up with projects, only to be told the project ideas are not right!!!???
    Sphynxras

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