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What Black Belts Can Learn From Employees

Apr 4, 2008
But since the success of such projects depends a lot on how well an individual understands the intricacies of the targeted business process, Black Belts, especially those hired from outside, have no other option but to get help from existing employees.

Not many Black Belts will savor this idea, obviously because the idea would transform them from teachers to students overnight; but since the thing that matters most is the successful implementation of the Six Sigma improvement projects, Black Belts should make a sincere effort to leave their egos behind and get ready to do everything that might be required to ensure the success of the project.

Explained below are some important lessons that Black Belts can learn from the seemingly naive employees.

Learning the Finer Details of Existing Processes

External Black Belts just cannot do without the support of employees obviously because until and unless they develop a thorough understanding of the targeted business process, they will not be able to chalk out the most effective improvement initiatives. This is probably more applicable in today's high-tech age, where processes have become far more complex as compared to earlier times.

The only option left for external Black Belts is to get the help of existing employees, especially older employees having years of experience who probably know the whole process inside out. However, since time is always a constraint both for the Black Belts and the employees, it becomes the primary duty of businesses to make the necessary arrangements for such an interaction.

The basic aim should be to provide an appropriate setup that allows for such critical interactions without wasting the productive time of the employees. It would however be better if some of the most experienced and talented employees were made permanent members of the implementation team.

This would certainly make things easier for Black Belts because then they will not have to run around looking for the much-needed inputs and suggestions.

Getting To Know the Spoilers

It may tantamount to gossip-mongering, but the reality is that it's only through employees that Black Belts can get to know organizational members who can act as potential party-poopers. Such members are present in every formal and informal group and often take great pleasure in making things difficult for people who might be making a sincere effort to achieve a specified goal.

If the Black Belts fail to recognize these potential hazards in time, it is highly likely that they will face grave problems during the implementations, usually in the form of continued non-cooperation and the spread of misinformation and other rumors. Getting the confidence of employees, right from the start, can help Black Belts to eliminate such problems.

For the best results, Black Belts should try developing a workable rapport with the employees and make a sincere effort to treat them as equals. However, they should try not to lose their authority in the process because that can easily bred complacency, something that is even worse than the general non-cooperative attitude of employees.

Achieving that perfect combination should thus be the main objective of Black Belts, especially those for whom losing is never an option.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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