Why Do Lean Six Sigma Black Belts Become Great Consutants?

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    Daniel Alberto Santillanes Loredo

    Why Lean Six Sigma Black Belts become Great Consutants?
    Is it the tools?
    Is it the Methodologies?
    Is it the experience gained by working with all areas and processes in the value chain?
    Is it the insight gained from working with all levels in the org chart?
    Whay is it that Black Belts come to become great consultants?
    I know many Great Ones, and I definitely have a pretty good idea.
    But I would love to here you all, and tell the world why.


    Chris Seider

    I don’t think it’s the color of the belt that matters. As a wise “old” person once said and I never forget….”I’d rather have one GB that knew how to work with people and manage a project than ten BB’s that knew how to do the tools” because it’s easier to assist a GB in times of need for tool than those who don’t know how to work well with folks and projects that need more intervention.

    food for thought


    Karthik Dharmalingam


    My response for Lean Six Sigma Consultants, as the belt color doesn’t really matter. While the color defines the competency, there were occasions GB’s performed well and more grounded.

    Well,LSS consultants are great Consultants for all the reasons you have mentioned above – Tools, methodologies, Exposure, insights etc.

    LSS consultants evolved over a period of time equally with the Business dynamics. Entire LSS project methodology have changed/improved to a greater extent without compromising the LSS grammar in recent past. Hence LSS consultants’ adaptability is something which makes them to be a “Great/most sought Consultants” to solve the Business issues.

    While RPA/AI are the buzz today, the automation project is successful when augmented by LSS, which is primarily due to LSS exposure. LSS consultants have a “Solution mindset”, while others dwell over with “problem mindset” (not everyone though).


    Daniel Alberto Santillanes Loredo

    Dear Chris and Karthik,
    I totally agree with both on the color of the belts, I thought of that after I put the question out.
    I do believe though that normally yellow and green belts and even most black belts focus or are assigned to solving processes and system problems, while master black belts and many black belts are also more commonly involved in redefining strategy, organization and culture.

    Karthik, I believe what you mentioned about the solutions vs the problem mindset is a key element. And also agree, problem mindset in consulting it`s gradually being eradicated, but we can still find it.
    I personally love the way DMAIC fits a Diagnose, Design, Implement, Mature model, as well as how the consulting toolbox can be incorporated to the Lean-Six Sigma toolbox to make Belts more valuable for the companies we serve to move more frequently from problem solving to Design for Six Sigma.

    What are your thoughts?


    Mike Carnell

    @dsantillanes @karthikdharmalingam @cseider Lets start with the basic question what makes a good “Belt?” We have data (Mr. Seider is part of that data set) from North and South America, Africa and Australia from a tool called Predictive Index (PI) that there is a profile that is 100% successful. Not exclusive though. That profile looks like this: High A – confidence comes from within; B – doesn’t matter although High B’s like to talk a lot so I find they can be irritating – at least for me – over extended periods of time; Low C – impatient – don’t like repetitive tasks which works well with consulting; Middle to Low D – sensitivity to criticism which translates to not being risk averse – this means they are average to don’t care on criticism. This is the same profile that in a study of 200 self made millionaires in Europe was the common profile. The width of the profile can be important as well.

    There are nuances of course like the D being higher than the A which makes then extremely risk averse, the B and the A both being high but the B is Higher than the A so they will sell you out to be part of what they perceive as the Boys Club and the Maverick profile Highest A, High B, Low C Lowest D – a straight line – absolutely no fear of risk and will risk anything for success. The Maverick isn’t a bad profile but you need to be aware of what it is. Now PI professionals will not necessarily agree with me on all of this but then their job is to sell PI. I have had to be responsible for delivering results so this works for me be cause it takes the most unpredictable of the variables (people) and can help you understand how they will react.

    All that said they do need a normal to high IQ. I am not sure how to be kind about this but as my South African friend says they cannot be dof (pronounced like it has an “r” in it – dorf). Generally speaking that means an IQ above 85 if you believe IQ scores to be normally distributed. Between DMAIC being a thought process (not a tool set) and the software that is available for tools and analysis you really do not need to be a genius to make a project achieve some level benefits.

    You see all this nonsense about difference in cultures and differences in industry. It has nothing to do with it, within reason. Obviously you need to be very aware of something such as a religious belief. These profiles are who a person is in their DNA. If you create the right environment this profile will surface and they will show you who they really are by nature.

    I am not sure SS creates the success as much as it demonstrates to a person with this profile, what they are capable of. Once they understand the power of their profile they have the confidence to drive change. I grew up inside Motorola so the DMAIC thing was not an epiphany. I left Motorola to work in a bowling ball factory. I had a whole new respect for the methodology (not a specific tool set) once I had been there a while. I had to change product type where I had zero experience, no connection to 99.9% of the people and the process technology was completely different. This is where the High A makes a difference – in your head you never consider failure because you are just confident if you are doing it then it will work.

    I think you need to be very careful when you speak about a “successful” consultant. You need to define success. Look at Linkedin. There is a guy on there that claims to have 1.5 million connections. He may or may not, I never checked because I think it is a ridiculous metric. If connections is you measure of success then he is successful. Look at what he publishes. It is obsequious dribble designed to attract people who want to read obsequious dribble. They have a very large mutual admiration society but are they as a group of any consequence? They are actually irrelevant. Reveling in misery makes you inert. (@michaelcyger you taught me that word “irrelevant” in terms of this business at that meeting in Michigan)

    My apologies for rambling but it is a rainy day, flowers are blooming and the computer is beside a window.

    Just my opinion.

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