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    Joe Q. Public, Black Belt

    I entered the Six Sigma program with our organization in May as a BB candidate.  Since then I have encoutered a number of setbacks and frustrations.   They aren’t unique to me, either.  Many other BBs at my company are experiencing the same things.   I’m hoping for some general advice.  What can you do (as a BB) when (1) you get little or no support from your champion and/or sponsor,  (2) there are no GBs – thats right zero Green Belts, (3) Your mentor, the MBB, is too busy to talk to you and constantly misses appointments, reschedules, etc.  (4) You work in a branch office and have very little interaction with other Six Sigma personnel.  (5) Projects are given to you with the outcome already decided (ie implement this new program).  There are other problems but I dont want to ramble. 
    The way I see it, I am responsible for my success in spite of the roadblocks.  Can anyone offer some general advice for people working in Six Sigma programs that are a little screwed up ????


    Jaran S.

    You are not the only one.
    My suggestion :
    1. Do it by your own as much as possible.
    2. Keep good attitude.
    3. Be patient.
    4. If need more help you can always post your masage to this forum
         or mail to me [email protected]
    Jaran S.



    Jaran S. is right. I went through exactly the same situation — no GB’s, a champion and boss who did not have time for me, zip support from the “team” I was heading. Fortunately my quality manager did not delegate anything, so I had plenty of free time. I went ahead on my own and saved the company $250,000 on my BB project, that included a really nifty DOE, even if I say so myself.
    I added the BB project on my resume and got a new job making roughly $20,000 more a year plus bonuses. It took four weeks to get the new job. Of course, here at the new job I have zip support, too, but I get paid much more and my family loves the mountains.
    Do what you can do an do it the best you can. Good luck.


    Patrick Waddick

    I realize that there are a lot of organizations out there that claim to be “implementing” and “practicing” Six Sigma when in fact they really aren’t. Six Sigma should be the way you run your business, if your company is serious about it. I don’t know where your company fits in, but my experience has been that the relationship between the MBB and BB cannot be overemphasized. The MBB should be available to answer questions as an expert resource, provide guidance, and support (to many teams and projects). The MBB should be in the mode of mentoring, teaching, and coaching. They should be approachable and willing and able to assist BBs when their help is needed. The MBB should have their role clearly defined in the charter of your Six Sigma project. That role should be contracted out from the inception of the project. The minute the MBB breaks the contract – by neglecting to make themselves available, by not offering assistance, etc. – then your project may risk possible failure or produce suboptimal results. In that case, you’ve got to do what you can to avoid failure and preserve the integrity of the project. Perhaps you could seek out another MBB who will make themselves available, or consult with the Champion. You should bring to the attention of management any roadblocks that surface on the BB project, so that they can be overcome at the earliest possible moment.I hope this is a start for you.



    Hi Joe,
    I am sorry to hear this. I don’t know if it will give you some comfort to know that you are not alone. I have been in a similar situation!
    I carefully read the five points that you described in your message. Here’s my input:
    1) Six Sigma is an initiative/philosophy that requires top management support to achieve a successful deployment; therefore you won’t be able to do it by yourself. Do whatever you can to learn and improve your area, maybe you can work on smaller projects that don’t require much of the MBB’s support. Learn, learn, learn and get ready for the future.
    2) Offer your help/support to other departments (talk to everybody, not only the managers or directors), this will help you to identify improvement opportunities, if you identify those opportunities, talk to the Manager of that Department, he/she may have a positive reaction and a new project can result from this.
    3) Do whatever you can to cooperate and get involved. If you don’t have GBs or YBs (or other kind of support), then get ready to do all kinds of things: from writing procedures to training people, etc. When we cooperate we feel good and useful.
    4) Keep your eyes open for other opportunities! I am sure you will find something better because you really want to help and make a difference!
    If you want to e-mail me, please do so. Good luck!
    [email protected]
    MBB and Six Sigma Coordinator



    It is nice to see so many replies of support to this message.  I wonder how many others are reading these saying “that’s me!”
    I have seen similar situations,  and found a few things that will help.
    1. If you can’t get support from your MBB,  get it from other BB’s that might be able to mentor you.  IF they do,  GIVE THEM PLENTY OF ACCOLADES.  The organization should respond well to those BB’s that go above and beyond their call of duty.
    2. If you have no GB’s,  use any bit of your budget possible to get incentives for those GB’s.   Go to your site Manager (or the GM of whatever area you have responsibility for).  Use whatever it takes to get him/her to demand GB participation.  Sometimes,  the only thing that worked for me was to mention competition (another site similar,  with so many more GB’s.)  Try to get the Site to pay for GB skills.  One site had initiated an incentive.  “If you don’t complete a GB project this year,  don’t even talk to me about a raise…”  Another site heard this and wanted to use the same.
    3.  Don’t give up on your MBB.  I am hoping that it is because that MBB is spread too thin,  but he/she needs your help in proving this to his/her boss.  My MBB’s have all been more than willing to help any time. 
    4. Use any path you can to get people aware of your dire straits.  If the company really wants to succeed,  those who want to drive this will seek out the weakest links and eliminate them.  This might sound harsh,  but there should be no GB’s,  BB’s,  or MBB’s  along this Six Sigma boat for the free ride.  I’ve seen plenty of that,  too.  And your boats don’t need the dead weight…



    Joe, I can relate to almost everything you say, and it’s depressing. I am assuming all you guys live & work in the US where there are good and plenty of opportunities for BB’s. Unfortunatley here in the UK, I can’t get out. I would love to practice this with an enthusiastic & forward thinking company.
    As for MBB, we have never had one!! The company always say they are actively trying to recruit one, but this statement has lost credibility after one and a half years. I treat this forum as my MBB, when I need advice or direction.



    Well I see that there are more people out there than just me that are having the kind of problems that Joe is having.  I am a BB on my first project.  I have educated myself heavily in the following topics:  Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing and Kaizen.  It is apparent to me that my organization needs to implement these methodologies.  I have used them in my project and I proved that they produce positive results.  Further, there are several Fortune 500 companies out there that have proven these methods, as well.  I continue to run into the “Status Quo” managers.  There is a rift between the Upper Management and the Middle Management.  The UM wants to save money by implementing Six Sigma.  The MM is not buying into any of the methods.  The Black Belts are caught in the middle of an egotistical power struggle.  We are pretty much on our own on our projects.  The UM is all for us, the MM(who are our bosses) are close-minded.  I have proven that my project plans will save the company money and improve quality/customer satisfaction.  However, the friction involved in implementing my plans makes my job almost impossible.  The BBs are sticking together to help each other out.  We do not have a Master BB nor do we have GBs or WBs.  So, we are flying solo.  In conclusion, I think that all levels of an organization need to be educated on the methods I talked about.  We have to have all levels of buy-in by all personnel or this will never work.  This experience has negatively affected my opinion of my company.



    From what Joe has detailed, it appears that his organization may not be ‘ready’ for a Six Sigma methodology.  The consultants will provide some general prerequisites (not their really their fault — they are delivering to a broad base).  Some capture this as the series of the RIGHTS: the RIGHT Measures, the RIGHT Projects, the RIGHT methodology, and the RIGHT People.  If these RIGHTS are not aligned, your organization will be left with a convoluted program.
    The RIGHT Measures should be tied to the organization’s strategy.  These are the Measures that your executive and senior levels of management get excited about — in a crude sense, this is what their bonus structure is tied to.  I say crude because this bonus structure has the obvious flaw of encouraging sub-optimization.  The Measures should be prime generator (or at least check and balance) for projects.  Six Sigma is a gap closing methodology that provides breakthrough improvement.  Breakthrough CANNOT be achieved if you do not know where you want the business to go (strategy) and measures to assess where you are relative to this direction (this includes baseline performance and goals/targets).
    These gaps should provide you with the RIGHT projects.  BUT, you need to make sure that these are actionable and meaningful gaps.  Do not try and boil the ocean when you are in Iowa…  The trick is to tie these gaps to specific product/process performance.
    The RIGHT Methodology could represent an interesting spin…  for your predetermined outcome dilemma, successful completion may achieve breakthrough.  BUT, the right methodology in this case would be Project Management, not Six Sigma.  Another interesting spin… if you lack some of the RIGHTS, use a methodology that will provide you with them.  For example, if you lack the RIGHT Measures, then consider something like Balanced Scorecards or refine the Strategic Planning and Management process.  Include these methodologies within your Six Sigma program.  Be careful of some of the pet methodologies that are out there, though.  You could have too many and dilute the total efforts.  There are also some extremely left-wing methodologies.
    This ties into the RIGHT People.  Infrastructure is key.  This includes more than just Green Belts and Black Belts.  This includes the entire organization, as well as the specific and traditional Six Sigma personnel.  Make sure you have the roles and responsibilities established for the players.  If you want to get really aggressive, establish skill sets and competencies for each position within the organization.
    Now, with all this said, what can Joe do to handle his 5 dilemmas?  Chat with the other Black Belts.  Even if you are isolated, you still have e-mail, phones…  Ultimately, you folks are the talent pool for future Master Black Belts and Champions. 
    However, that future is based on the success you can achieve.  For the opportunities already assigned, address them to the best of your ability.  SHOW VALUE!  Also, aggressively look for other opportunities (including process definition and metrics).  Ask your MBB what you can do to assist (I am willing to bet that your MBB is really losing sleep in the environment that you described).  Take the initiative and schedule your own reviews with the Champion — get them excited about the opportunity as well as incremental gains.  If they are excited, they will take a more active involvement (rather than interest, which is characterized by the “Six Sigma is important” memorandum).
    I hope that this helps…  Best of Luck to all the Joe’s out there!



    My suggestion is to become an MBB and make a change. Otherwise, just make a change. I would guess that 95% of  our paychecks could be assigned to making positive change.
    As a GB you know how to measure present defect levels. So perhaps you could do a GB project to reduce those defects. It appears that an applicable category of defect/attribute/suspension is “MBB Contact”. I would guess that your attempts at contact follow a binomial distribution and that your call duration follows a Poisson distribution. In any case, your data may be non-normal. In that situation I would recommend a Weibiull analysis of your defects, and to measure your process capability/improvement in the shift of your beta, eta, and t0.
    Good Luck


    Annonymous BB

    Dear Joe Q. and George –
    You are very definately not alone in your experience of 1) no organizational support and 2) being caught between Upper and Middle management egos/ideas.  I am in both of those boats at the same time, and am currently trying to decide if this situation/organization is salvageable or if I must leave to preserve my health and sanity. 
    My advice (having done work of this sort, though not always explicitly 6 Sigma, for15 years now) is:                                                      Maintain as positive an outlook as possible.                              Celebrate every success and share the credit as widely as possible.  Manage the expectations of the people around you .  Make sure to under-promise and over-deliver, so as to maintain your personal and professional integrity and credibility.                                                 Do the right thing as you see it, and tell whoever asks that what you did was for whatever reason they will find most acceptable/desireable.      Do NOT compromise your health with worrying about it.  If you are even close to that point, get out as fast as you can, changing careers or industries if necessary.
    This forum provides a great place to get advice and to vent.  Use it as needed.



    Hello Joe,
    Wow, I would be asking you if we worked for the same company if this was 11/2 years ago!  I have experienced everything that you are talking about.  When I started there were no MBB’s.  I was one of the first BB’s for the company and the champions were barely trained and had a full plate (they were not released from their prior duties to concentrate on SS).  Projects were not true SS ones and most had solutions already with the need of data to back it or the free person to implement it.  The support from mid management was little to none. 
    Now that you know the terrible similarities, here are some things that made life a little easier.  Communication!  The BB’s that were able to spark people’s attention and desire to want to participate and make things better, succeeded quicker.  Sometimes you do not need the complete support of MM but the support from the people doing the work.  If the people believe that what you are trying to do will make their lives easier they are more willing to help.  Try and attend any management/staff meetings and report out.  If you let the SS word slip from ears and do not make yourself and the program visible it will be out of mind.  If you have boards with messages or communication stuff on it, ask for a section of it to post SS information.
    Be the educator and cheerleader of SS.  Give a presentation to everyone describing SS.  Talk on their level.  Change your presentation to suit your audience.  If people do not understand the benefit to them personaly they are less likely to help.  Involve the people who will be affected by any implementations.  If they have a hand in their own destiny they are usually more helpful.
    If projects are issued that already have outcomes decided, still go through the motions of the SS methodologies/phases.  The projects we work on are data driven.  We make decisions on data, not gut feelings.  People presented with hard, accurate data cannot argue it.  The data should point you in the right direction regardless of prior thoughts of solutions.
    Keep your head up and document everything.  When I first started, everything that was done in the project was done by me.  I have learned a great deal by going through that.  My company has come a long way since the implementation of SS.  It took some valid success stories and word of mouth on the shop floor from happier employees to get to that point.  Good luck to you and remember that, “Whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger!”    



    You are facing a “recipe for failure”.
    Does your MBB understand six sigma deployment and infrastructure?
    He may not realize that his success depends on your success.
    You and your MBB need to develop Critical Success factors for your organization and then meet with the champion. It really needs to be top-down, aligned with the strategic issues, to be successful.
    Good luck,



    Boy, I can certainly relate to your frustration.  My company rolled out its 6-sigma initiative in Aug. and there has been little, if any, support shown the selected BB candidates.  The problem we had was that middle management was not included in the roll out at all.  There was no attempt to educate them about 6-sigma or about what we would be doing.  We had to select out own projects as well.  We have only met with the six sigma council once and that was on the very first day.  Like you, we have no green belts and no white belts either.  There was supposed to be ongoing white belt classes, but none have happened yet!  I guess I have no answers for you but to keep your chin up and keep plugging away.  At least you are not alone!  Cindy


    Kim Niles

    Dear Joe Q:
    My motto is “when faced with the crazy situation, get crazy”. Here are some hypothetical thoughts:

    If you have the means to send the CEO an anonymous email or “suggestion to the CEO”, etc., then do it by praising him or her on the Six Sigma approach, how it should embed Quality into every employee which is right on track with the philosophy held by today’s best CEO’s (Motorola’s Bob Galvin, GE’s Jack Welch, and Allied Signal’s Larry Bossidy,etc). Then go on to list your problems in really general terms as “weaknesses of our current implementation” or “areas of concern” or “areas for future improvement” but don’t be really specific. So by now you’ve encouraged continued use of Six Sigma and listed the problems, you need to then spell out what he or she might do to solve the problem. Perhaps a proclamation or an edict of some sort, similar to the one Jack Welch proclaimed with regard to GE’s Six Sigma Quality initiative, “No one at GE should expect a promotion unless they are a Black Belt” should be considered to speed things up. Try to list suggestions that don’t require any new financial resources. I don’t really know your situation so this may be political suicide….only you will know.
    While green belts are handy for data collection, etc. They are also hard to keep busy when the project isn’t rolling along at full steam. My point here is that you should dig in and take your own data. You really learn the most and gain the opportunity to make the biggest difference. Just dig in and do it all yourself regardless of what is typical Six Sigma. By showing positive results you will gain support. GET THOSE POSITIVE RESULTS.
    One very much overlooked aspect of Black Belt training in my opinion is “adaptive learning”. Every project is different in almost every way. The Black Belt needs to adaptively learn what needs to be done and do it. If more resources are needed then you need to spell them out before any further expectation gaps occur. Write up a resource justification request spelling out (1) the problem, (2) all the possible options the company can use to solve the problem, and (3) your recommended option.
    TQM really has all the right stuff but due to implementation efforts such as yours with Six Sigma, it’s lost a lot of it’s steam. For the good of all quality efforts the world will ever see, don’t give up and keep us posted on your progress.



    Get Real!


    Francisco Bonanni

    I understand that there is no easy answer to your questions. Our experience was almost the same, in the beggininig the support was not too effective.
    I strongly believe that we must follow the Sis Sigma methodology, focusing the DMAIC, and the results will appear.
    If the support is still defficient, try to estimate the expected financial gains, and then i´m sure the support will “appear”.
    Good luck !


    Kim Niles

    Dear beenthere:
    If you mean the last point….ok, I’m appealing to our emotions for the fun of the post.  If you mean any other point, I’ve been there and done that for everything…..numerous times, without getting fired .  It’s worked for me.



    Welcome to the real world my friend.  My advice to you is to keep your head down and do the best you can.  Tell no one in your company about your frustruation.  Sounds to me like you are in one of three situations.  
    The best scenario is your company itself is potentially implementing 6 sigma and struggling with it.  So you have to remain calm and be patient.
    The second is that your company is just creating the “image” of being 6 sigma.  In that case you have to remain calm and try not to be perceived as trying to destroy the image. 
    The third is your branch is just going through the motions while central office is genuinely trying.  In that case you are in deep trouble and should remain calm, and be especially tight lipped.
    Try not to discuss this with anyone at your company, and do not display your frustration.  The fact that there are no green belts shows a slightly out of skew process.  However, this might be by design and according to someone’s vision.  There are other discussions on this site on the lack of standarization in implementing the 6 Sigma processes.  Yours is just another example.


    Chris Trimble

    Based on your description I would say that you are not in any type of 6 Sigma culture.  Prior to 6 Sigma being of any success at your firm your Top Management must embrace the methodology of 6 Sigma and provide the support to change the current philosophy.  Has your management been trained in the 6 Sigma mehtodology?  If not then don’t waste your time either.  To be a success they must be trained and commit to the methodology.


    Dominic Lai

    Good Morning Joe,
    Sad to hear the situation that you are put in. Not to worry too much because all is not lost.
    1)  If you have no support from your champion or sponsor, does that mean financially they do not support you with adequate resources or just keep quiet when there are meetings to attend regarding 6 sigma. If they support you on a “for show” basis, it’s really not that bad. Continue to work through the implementation of your 6 Sigma program and just keep them posted. You will need to do all the work but you still need to keep them in the loop as they are the “champions”. When your work gets going well and Top Management starts noticinig it, the champions will be “rewarded” and when they start feeling good, the support for you will slowly come.
    a)  Develop an action plan for yourself in phases on how to get the whole company to buy in the program. Make this your 6 sigma project. DMADV.
    b)  Identify the players who WILL SUPPORT your effort. Lets not talk about BB, GB yet. Just people in your company who will support you. Get them together and start forming your own small circle of 6 sigma professionals. they need not be trained because you are. Start with your lunch group. Your close friends in your company.
    c)  Develop a communications plan where you will have to show how to get the buy in you require. Since you have no management support, you will not be able to push through with fear or by brute force. YOu will have to be patient and spoonfeed the people to see the projects or ideas through. Send mass emails to everyone in the company on small sections of 6 sigma. like what is 6 sigma? Why we do 6 sigma? and so on. Give them exposure and slowly remove the fear.
    d)  Know 6 SIgma VERY VERY WELL. That is your only friend in the hostile environment you have. People will constantly challenge your knowledge coz they cant wait for you to choke. You will need answers to every bomb they throw at you.
    2)  There are no GBs. It doesnt matter. There are people right? In that case, you can start your projects with the support circle that you have working together with you. They can be your GBs. Also, since you have no GBs, it is a good time to start developing template projects and template reports so as to help the GBs out. You can do 6 sigma without being 6 sigma trained. But you cant do 6 sigma without the proper guidance. You must provide that guidance and like i said before, spoonfeed them.
    a)  Email them small sections to work on and let them reply you. Eg: Ask them to fill up:
    project title, any problems you are facing at work, what are you unahppy about, what improvements do you want to see…. When they reply you, from their, help them identify projects (easy and small) that they can start and you go from their. Your define phase is completeed in no time.
    3)  MBB Too busy. Not to worry again. Email your MBB as to what he wants to see SPECIFICALLY for a project closure. Then work your project report out to SPECIFICALLY what the MBB expects to see. KNow 6 sigma very well so that you need not consult him on the usage of tools. You be your own Mentor and you are not alone. the whole 6 sigma community is behind you and so is this forum.
    4)  You work in branch office….little interaction with other 6s pros. Are you kidding? Use the internet. There are so many news and updates out there. Keep searching the net and talk to people in these forums. Attend seminars on your own, go read a book, (tons out there).
    5)  Projects given to you…outcome deceided. That is ok. They give you a project, make it the project titel, and DMAIC or DMADV it. It is not that bad because the project has already been decided for you. In actual fact, it makes life easier because you do not need to search for projects to do. They giev it to you.
    There are many roadblocks we all face. Not only in 6 sigma implementation. But just follow the methodology , n you should be ok. Make this implementation your 6 sigma project. Should be a very good project and template once you are successful and manage to close it. Very valuabel lessons learnt and best practices that everyone would love to see once you get your project closed.
    Good Luck! Dont be stressed because there is no need to be.


    Li Huiwei

    I think there is no a envirenment for promoting six sigma program,in our company,first think is awareness training of six sigma,made more poster on the wall and package book(tools).
    I think the period you experienced that we are same,defferent is long or depend on basic of six sigma culture how is in company.
    my suggustion is to do it best,show the six sigma useful to cost first.


    Michael Wiley

    Complete a project with undeniable hard savings and you’ll get your support. 
    I’m a Black Belt in Japan and its the same bull crap(barriers like no support, etc) over here too.   My first project was a classic NON-Classic SS Project.  I did the best I could and produced soft savings.  Not a lot of respect with soft savings.  
    2nd project was much better as I used Money as my main metric, Finance numbers worked better (at convincing people and getting their support) than any other data I’ve used. 
    Its all about the money.    When upper management saw the hard savings, they supported Six Sigma that much more.  The Process Owner was a total nightmare until the project closed with decent results.  When the employees saw the hard savings on the posts of metrics I put up everywhere, they began to feel that their summer and winter bonuses might get better and not cut like the last couple of years.  My team members show more support now because they walk around saying “Hey, I helped do that”.   
    There is still a lot of bull that I have to deal with all the time, that will never change.  Maybe I should put together some data to prove it.  Either way, the more hard savings I see created, the less I care about the crap I have to deal with to make it.  Just as long as I know / believe or have faith in / there will be benefit from the projects I lead, I can be Patient with it all. 
    But It can be a real drag most of the time.  Don’t lose your cool, I do that sometimes and it is very effective in damaging project support among other things.  Enthusiasm and persuasiveness and knowing how to deal with people helps alot, plus a lot of other stuff.  But sometimes we can skip the Leadership skills and just show them the money. 
    Thanks Joe, I’m glad to know you have it tough too. 
    Nice Post  



    My advise to you is to stay focused on the task at hand, fight the battles that you think you can win and will have the biggest impact.  If you have been given specific projects, concentrate on those projects, use the 6 sigma tools and present your case to all of those that will benefit from the out come. Also remember, that at the end of the day what really matters is that you can see the results/benefits in the bottom line. Stay focused & good luck.


    Ann Hatch

    Unfortunetly I don’t have an answer for you.  The same is happening at in my buisness which is hospitality.  We have been hit very hard from the tragic events of September 11th and I just finished my training at the end of August.  I have been filling in other departments because of the shortness of staff and am finding it very hard in trying to cop with  the DAMIC process with my training project.  I can’t get focused.  The buy in is not at it’s peak by any means and my MBB says “deal with it and make it work for there are no excuses, you still have a job to do, and by the end of the day you need to reach the same results.  He also does not want to get involved in the politics as he says.  If you recieve some good thoughts from other people please pass it on to me.   I could use them.
    Ann Hatch



    It sounds like you’re in a company that wants to embrace Six Sigma to improve the bottom line, but several barriers exist.  The way it sounds to me, there are three underlying problems that need to be addressed:
    Management Communication – Management should regularly communicate the need for a continuously improving organization, and that they will support whatever it takes in the realm of providing necessary resources, training, and removing barriers to success (in this case, political quagmires that your MBB doesn’t want to deal with)  They also have to act on what they say.
    Empowerment – strong leadership is crucial in times of transition, and training and empowering employees to carry out cost saving efforts is just one element of the strong leadership needed.  Employees have to be told that they will be the drivers of improvements and be rewarded as such.  Psychological paychecks (even before success) are powerful and reinforce team members.
    Learn from Pavlov – Management must punish those whose behaviors incessantly inhibit success and/or organizational values and goals. At the same time, they should actively seek out opportunities to reward employees.
    Communicate Expectations – task descriptions should be communicated and tied to performance evaluations – this means the MBB’s duty to mentor and support your efforts, not drive fear in the team by stating hard-nosed one liners. 
    Hope this helps…



    You had some of the best suggestions for this problem. It seems as if you have the voice of reason that some of the BB’s I have encountered lack. It is encouraging to hear someone who is not going to just cry and give up or the other extreme to that: become super BB. Thanks for your realistic solutions and God Bless


    Bob Smith

    This happens in many companies, You will need to use all of your communication skills to get this sorted out, first make an appointment with your Champion preferably by telephone, or an email directly and only to the Champion with the agenda set clearly as follows,
    Lack Of Champion Support, Poorly Defined Projects, Absence or unavailability of MBB. Lack of understanding/rollout to define projects within business
    This will get his/her attention, you need then clearly and consisley explain your frustrations, beware, he/she will be defensive so you need to put your persuasive head on. You also better be whiter than white on project timing COPQ, tool use etc.
    One BB I know recently resigned from the company in frustration of similar issues, boy did that put these things on the agenda, I would not reccommend this action to anyone, but it makes the point that if you remain passive nothing will change if you are proactive in the correct way and well prepared than you can change things, remind them that you can save a lot of $
    In the end many other BB may be this position, check with others if they have the same issues then you need to raise them as above if not then look closer to home, you will have to help change it yourself by the way you work?
    People and especially BB that say at the begining “that is not a six sigma project” “maybe we need to define the problem first and see if there is something of interest here” will always become more valued. You need to do this correctly otherwise you just become a pain
    A Champion



    I am also in the Uk with a group of other Black Belts trying to implement a six sigma culture into our organisation, and there are some cultural issues between a US workforce and a UK one.
    Are there any UK specific discussion groups? if not we should start one. – calling all UK black – [email protected]



     Thanks for your words of wisdom. Making the success of Six Sigma your own personal project is an excellent idea. We have the tools, why not use them to fix our own challenges!
    It seems that many BBs are having similar problems, evidenced by the number of replies. AT least we are not alone



    How are things progressing at your company now the SS program has been running for a year and a half? Would you desribe it as a text book success? And what would you change if you could if you had to do it all over again?


    tom b

    I work for a major defense contractor and aircraft manufacturer (over 90,000 employees), and I could swear that Joe Q. is describing my last 1.5 years as a BB (we call them experts). There has not been a champion for 6 months, there are no MBB’s, GB’s are not assigned to projects, and I am at a location that is not part of the main plant. Therefore, I, and the other 3 BB’s here, are on our own.
    The main thing I’ve learned is to look for low-hanging fruit projects. These can usually be completed without much financial or personnel support, and, as a trained BB, the resources needed are within my grasp. Once you start getting several successes, albeit small, under your belt, people in the organization start to notice. Not the managers, mind you, but the line folks. They have started coming to me asking for help in setting up kanbans, doing DOE’s, etc., and, of course, I’m always glad to help. Several good reasons to become an internal consultant: 1. great experience 2. looks really good on your resume 3. you gain a lot of allies and favors 4. at review time, you can rattle off all the $$ you’ve reduced, all the hours you’ve saved, and how you ‘took control’ and made things happen. Use the aspect of being away from the main avenue of happenings to your advantage: you probably have more freedom than those that are close to the boss.
    And most importantly, if you don’t feel wanted or needed as a BB there, start using your contacts to find a company that wants to start a new six sigma or lean mfg program, and offer your services to them. Whatever your course of action, good luck.


    Dave P

    Very Nicely Said!!!!!


    Chuck Idol

    Six Sigma is an initiative/philosophy that requires top management support and funding to achieve.I would recommend the following.1) Assess your project/program and define the time and cost as well as the quantifiable Return on Investment. 2) Verify between Time, Cost and Quality that the project brings hard quantifiable value ($$) to the business. 3) Clearly present and articulate – to the right people, what if any financial impact you and this program can have to the overall business model, revenue projections, operating costs, earnings, etc.CIO, CFO’s and CEO’s – top management are or should be focused at shareholder equity and bottom line value to the company. If you are able to articulate the value to the right people you may secure more support.Lastly, always provide proposed solutions to the issues do not present just the problems. Many people have problems fewer people have solutions. Chuck Idol
    [email protected]


    Be Persistent

    Number one find out what is important to the management team (goals, financial targets, etc.).  Then find out what projects can impact those targets and goals.  Communicate with the Process Owner after developing the project charter to get them involved early.  Let them know this not about him or her but about improving results.
    I left GE to be a part of a Six Sigma initiative at another company.  The culture and misunderstanding of Six Sigma is making it difficult.  However, I’m staying optimistic and pushing to get more employees aware and onboard with the program.
    Hang in there!!!!  You are not the first or last BB to experience this. 

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