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Six Sigma Black Belt Candidate Qualities

Jun 28, 2008
Six Sigma Black Belts act as change agents. They are looked upon as prospective leadership material in areas other than Six Sigma also. They are knowledgeable and skilled in the use of Six Sigma tools and methods.

When you are selecting Six Sigma Black Belt candidates, you need to look broadly at some of the attributes like the personal attributes of the candidate, Six Sigma training, technical ability, experience and aptitude.

Black Belts will typically have undergone four weeks of Six Sigma training and achieved proficiency in the subject matter.

Customer Promotion

Black Belts should be able to realize the importance of the customer to the success of the Six Sigma project and the growth of the organization as well, because the customers are the final word on the product and its quality.

They should be able to understand that the CTQs and customer needs are important for process improvement. They should be able to appreciate the elimination of the process variations for business improvement. In-depth knowledge of the process is also necessary.

Personal Attributes

The most important quality of a Black Belt is being able to motivate others on the fundamentals of Six Sigma projects. They should be self-motivated, with a positive personality. Sometimes they will need to show readiness for initiating a project, as well as showing the drive to continue even in the face of adversities.

Even if Black Belts are not in management positions, they should be able to inspire the Six Sigma team to accomplish their tasks on time. They should also be able to present complex ideas and theories in a simple, understandable manner.

They should enjoy doing their job as team leader as well as team member.

Leadership Qualities

Six Sigma Black Belts are also called "change agents". They should be able to accomplish business changes and even be the initiators of changes in the existing system. They should also be able to achieve positive changes while countering resistance to change.

Black Belts are looked up to as business leaders. They should be able to display their ability to link Six Sigma projects to business growth. Black Belts also need to be able to manage Six Sigma projects from initial scope, requirements, and resources to variance viewpoints. Knowledge of project management fundamentals coming form experience is relevant.

They also have to be result driven. If Black Belts have experience in diverse fields, they will be able to appreciate most of the features of the project.

Good Communicators

The most important quality of Black Belts is being effective communicators, as they are often in the role of trainer, coach, mentor and change agent. They are also an important link between the line employees and executive management; and as such, they should have the skills to adapt themselves according to the target audience.

Six Sigma Black Belts should be able to express their ideas with the help of visual aids and they should equally be attentive to feedback from others. They should be able to motivate others to improve their skills, which is beneficial for each individual and the project as well.

Technical Aptitude

Though it is not necessary to have an engineering or statistical background, it is better to have at least some basic knowledge in these areas, because they are required to collect, analyze and determine the relevant data for further process improvement.

It is better if Black Belt candidates have some knowledge about computers, as they will be working on worksheets, databases, presentation tools and so on. They should also be able to pick up technical subject quickly.

These qualities will typically make for good Black Belts - and will lead to the success of Six Sigma implementation in any company.
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 six sigma professionals including, lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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