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Master Black Belt Requirements

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  • #30373

    Ranga Srinivas
    Participant

    I am trying to bench mark the industry standards for MASTER BLACK BELTs. We are planning to train some of our black belts to be Master BB’s. Can some one tell what is the Industry Standards for % of  MBB in an organization. Major tasks of MBB, Qualifications to bea MBB, MBB reporting level, How many projects can MBB mentor at a time. Please feel free to e-mail me at [email protected].
    Thanks in advance.

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    #79048

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Ranga,
    Your question created a lot of mixed emotions but I will give it my best shot. Just as an FYI – for the most part Benchmarking is this mental masturbation exercise. People seem to love to engagein this activity that in most cases only creates some piece of paper as an output but never really has to accomplish a measureable result. If you are serious about this don’t “benchmark” it. Create something quantifiable and then measure YOURSELF against it. You obviously intend to measure your MBB’s against what ever it is you intend to create. So much for the emotional side.
    When I am asked on numbers of MBB’s it is from 0.05 – 0.1% of the BB population. This number fuctuates widely with geographic distribution. If everyone is in one building then you need less. If people are on separate continents you will need more. Even if there are only a few in some other country – nobody likes have a person in the other country as there go to person. Get them there own particularly if there are different languages involved.
    There is only one major task for anyone in a company – produce results. The MBB does that through their own projects and mentoring other BB’s. In some cases they are responsible for taking what ever training material was used to launch from and customizing to fit the company (assuming you have the owners permission to do so). A full time MBB as a trainer is a waste of a resource. The measurement is results.
    You will get a ton of responses about having a degree in particular a “technical degree” to be a MBB. This is a complete self agrandizing crock. At least one of the top 5 SS consultants in the world today has no degree and 3 of the five do not have technical degrees. If you want to understand a true MBB you nned to first understand something like Blooms taxaonomy of learming and be able to ascertain if the candidate is at the top level. If not they will most likely not be able to mentor anyone effectively. The problem here is the people you typically send to determine the technical skills are in the first two maybe 3 levels and couldn’t understand someone at the top.
    How many projects (your question)? What type of projects (my question for you)? Are all projects equal? Do all your projects require the same level of expertise? So you like 5 because your “benchmark” says 5 – it didn’t qualify or quantify the projects in any way shape or form (Assumption on my part since you only asked for a number) – just do 5. After all the survey said …….”5.” In a BB situation the hypothesis is my projects = your projects and they have to prove it. our you intending to hold them to criteria generated with less rigour? Seems so. 
    So now you take the new MBB and you say the benchmark is 5 (hypothetical scenario based on your question). They get assigned 5 projects that all require some form of technology breakthrough and in the next 12 months you new MBB on drives 2 technology breakthroughs. This is a very poor MBB. They only accomplished 40% of what other MBB’s accomplish. And how many technology breakthroughs were in the data you benchmarked from? And the average person in your company drives how many technology breakthroughs?
    Since the projects should be selected by Champions – what do your metrics on your Champions look like? Any project selection quality metrics (in reference to the quality of the selection process itsself)? 
    If I want to know how many projects(BB’s & GB’s) they can mentor at a time(your question)? What is the quality level of the BB’s & GB’s you are going to supply them with? What is the quality level of the support you are going to gve them? Again what is the quality level of the projects that were selected? Do one of the new SIPOC charts for the MBB job. Where do the inputs come from? Time to get out the mirror.
    I understand there has to be a selection process and metrics. It should begin with you looking internally at what you intend to supply them. Rather than some superficial “benchmarking process.”  How about really getting involved and figuring out as a management team what type of supplier to you and your fellow managers intend to be to these MBB’s. If you really want to climb out on a limb with them and drive some change then hold them to a high standard but you had better do the same for yourself. If you just want to take criteria because this is what GE, Ford, etc. and sit back with a giant remote control and make your MBB perform at some high level in a low performance company that you may or may not comprehend or don’t hold yourself to – then please excuse yourself from a business most of us take seriously.
    Do you want to know what makes SS programs fail? People who do exactly what you are doing and then do it badly. You, right now have an opportunity to determine the success or failure of your deployment. More so than a dozen bad MBB’s will. If you screw this up you can tank everything you have done to date and everything you will do in the future. Get an expert in OD (like a Val Larson – except she is already employed), stop with the buzz word nonesense, park the BMW, put down the cup of herbal tea and get involved. It starts with what you are committing to your MBB’s (and BB’s, Lean Masters, GB’s, YB’s, etc) before you can even consider what standard to hold them to.
    I would have answered this privately on your email except this type of question is common and there are easily 10 more people out there that are in the process of screwing there program up in exactly the same way you are. If it did effect anyone but yourselves I would gladly have walked right by this question. If only one of the ten of you do something different then it was worth the effort. Unfortunately it hurts BB’s that just busted their ass to get certified get all jacked up to become a MBB and then run into some Benchmark Bull__t (I’m trying to clean this up where I can come up with an alternate word or something). 
    Remember in school when the teacher said “there is no such thing as a stupid question.” They were wrong!
    That is just my jet lagged emotional opinion. This one is not wrong.
    Good luck.
     

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    #79056

    James A
    Participant

    Amen to that.
    Thank you Mike for an excellent response.

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    #79070

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    James,
    Thanks. Still pretty badly jet lagged so I was afraid it would be completely incoherent.

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    #79076

    Hemanth
    Participant

    I didnt realise what a jet lag could do to you, but now I do (or is it just the jet lag???)…

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    #79077

    BB
    Participant

    Hi,
    Well, I am not sure if you still need more replies on this after Mike’s. But I would agree with him to the extent that you need to look at your people’s capabilities and companies requirements and then decide on the number of MBB’s. FORD india has only one MBB on 5-6 BB’s but a very strong management support so the MBB’s job becomes relatively easier. Hope this helped.

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    #79078

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Hemanth,
    Probably not just jet lag. Maybe the cummulative effect of people not comprehending that other people in an organization are a function of their environment (at least somewhat). Is a MBB’s behavior an independent event? Probably not. We have string after string of MBB’s, BB’s, & GB’s discussing their lack of effectivness due to support. Even Billybob, who really doesn’t sound like he is faint hearted, isn’t very enthusiastic given his disempowering situation. So if we disempower them by lack of support, we conversely empower them with support? If that is the case where should the metric be?
    If that is the case then peoples behavior is a dependent variable (to a large extent)? If people trained in SS should be aware of anything else it should be the relationship of dependent and independent variables. Control lies with the independent variables (Y= f (x) in case you missed the that part the x’s are the independent variables, the MBB’s performance is a Y). If that is the case then the controls should be on the environment around the MBB, BB & GB. Instead we continue to see the constant request for # of projects per BB/year, $ in savings, etc.
    Lets say we chose to benchmark off GE for performance. Jack Welch becomes the benchmark for CEO’s behavior. How many times in 1996 was he speaking about the SS deployment on the front page of the Wall Street Journal? Clear communication of his support. So that is the behavior we can expect from other CEO’s? Probably not. Most don’t even have access to the cover of the Wall Street Journal once in their career. So the input will be something less. Do we expect the same performance from a MBB in a different environment? If the CEO can’t get on the cover of the WSJ how do they communicate to the rest of the organization – effectively – what they expect. It completely circumvents all the inter organizational filters and puts it out there for everyone to hear. No mixed message. When he decided to tie bonuses to participation in the SS program where did it appear? The WSJ (not the cover). The impact hit that same day. All of a sudden the consultants had a schedule that was loaded because they wanted to see us now.
    GE placed Gary Reiner in charge of the SS deployment. Gary is the CIO (you also never heard him make the typical corporate cliches “I don’t understand how it applies to my department” or “program of the day”). We were hired by Gary to support the deployment and reported directly to him. They about killed us with the travel schedule for the year (over 200 days on the road) but we had less trouble with company alignment than on any other deployment. So if the CEO decides to have someone with less formal power than amember of their staff lead the deployment can you expect the same result as a GE? Probably not. There is very likely a clear message about the importance of the program in relation to where it reports.
    When you have reportouts, who attends? In many companies it takes devine intervention to get the Champions to attend. At GE it wasn’t unusal to see Gary in attendance. At Aircraft Engines I cannot remeber a time when at least 90% of the Sector Presidents staff wasn’t in attendance. The AE deployment was lead by Ken Meyer (retired General) and his leadership skills were absolutely impecable. Corbet Caudill attended every reportout I attended. I cannot recall a single reportout where he did not ask every BB a question at the end. What a great way to assure the BB there were actually listened to as well as making them aware they weren’t going to get off stage without a question. A much different level of preparedness from the BB’s (again a function of their environment).
    We had Jeff Heslop lead the training at AE engines. A great applied statistician. He spent absolutely zero time on inane discussions on “is it really a 1.5 sigma shift?” From a site support standpoint I spent virtually zero time explaining theory and only application because I didn’t have to rework the classroom. He stuck with them until they got it regardless of what time it was.
    The MBB’s in Greenville (Power Generation), Paul Trotochaud and Mary Rankin and Frank (sorry Frank can’t come up with the last name), were benchmarkable in terms of understanding that their technical knowledge was for generating questions to BB’s not driving their own solutions. The numbers of closed projects in the first year was huge.
    Bill Standara (probably misspelled) was a benchmark for a Plant Manager with local reviews in front of his entire staff. Not to mention well beyond the 2 day Champion training and they were all required to attend.
    If you benchmark a piece of an organization you had better understand what makes it work. Is it an x or a Y you are benchmarking.
    There are probably a lot of people rolling their eyes and going “GE again” but they got a good return on investment because they treated it as one of their priorties. If GE rubs you wrong pick someone else but you need to benchmark/measure more than your MBB’s, BB’s & GB’s. You have to understand what factors created the performance.
    I really couldn’t determine the tone of your post so I apologize if this sounds confrontational but the question has been eating at me since my first response. The dilettantish behavior of most organizations is really frustrating.
    And yes, jet lag sucks.

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    #79087

    Hemanth
    Participant

    Hi
    Its not just the jet lag, afterall. I completely agree with you. I hope you wont mind my sharing your views with others.
    Thanks
    Hemanth

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    #79096

    Ron
    Member

    Ranga,
    You are approaching the topic in a very scientific manner and that is a good thing. You will find many respondants bitter beceause they were not afforded the opportunity to achieve academic credit and grew to their positions in the “school of hard knocks”. The problem with on the job training is they usually never rise to the next level required by industry and therefore they continue to attempt to hold on to the past.
    A Six Sigma MBB should be 100% fulltime dedicated to training, mentoring, and working major projects in the organization.  The upmost characterisitic is that of change agent.
    A firm background in knowledge transfer techniques, a firm background in statistics is mandatory, a hands on knowledge of the use and abuse of chartage is critical.
    The MBB is a salesman as well as a project learder and mentor. We are constantly asked to give presentations on six sigma, lead Kaizen events across the company and perform a leadership role.
    An MBB does not need to have a technical degree depending upon the industry they work in, however, it is a definite plus as a technical degree usually indicates the mental resources are availalbe for the higher level thinking required in the position.
     
    Beware, their are many people out there that call themselves MBB’s or even BB’s but look to their training cirriculum and project experience to determine if they truly have what it takes.
    Some of the worst trainers I’ve ever witnessed hold doctorates in statistics.
    Need more infor pleae post again.

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    #79100

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    BB,
    Trading MBB support for management support would be a great deal, if you could make it. Most BB’s, provided the training program is adaquate, stand on their own pretty well.
    Benchmarking off Ford could be as dangerous as GE. There were some pretty extensive programs in place long before SS hit. How SS functions at Ford has a lot of environmental influence.
     

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    #79101

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Hemanth,
    Share away. I am already getting a mixed bag of email.
    Thanks.

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    #79110

    Cannizzo
    Participant

    Mike,
    Tremendous answer (as well as your subsequent below). Thanks for sharing your views. I find them very valuable.
    –Carol

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    #79129

    Hemanth
    Participant

    Thanks
    Hemanth

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    #79220

    André Luís Façanha
    Participant

    We are working considering this structure:
    1000 employers
    1 MBB   ( US$ 500,000 / year – nº of projects free )
    10 BB     ( US$ 200,000 / year – nº of projects free )
    100 GB ( support BB projects )
    889 WB ( support measurement )
     
     

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