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Selecting Black Belts

Aug 17, 2007
Invariably, selecting the right Black Belts is crucial for the success of Six Sigma. According to Dr. Michael Harry, one of the founders of the Six Sigma Academy Inc, "Training individuals as Black Belts gives them the skills necessary to implement, sustain, and lead a highly focused Six Sigma initiative within a target business area or unit".

The Basic Criteria For Selection Of Black Belts

The overriding benchmark for selecting Black Belts is that the candidate needs to be the best of the best from within the organization. The selection process for Black Belts begins during the project selection stage itself so that the skill sets and experience of Black Belt candidates are matched with the complexities of projects. Another consideration is finding a suitable replacement for the candidates to take over their current responsibilities so that they are able to dedicate 100% to the Six Sigma project.

The most important and outstanding trait of Black Belts is that they are a kind of dedicated workaholic who are obsessed with winning in whatever area they are assigned to and to successfully overcome practically all barriers to successful implementation. This includes obstructions so trivial and basic as lack of support from Champions and anyone else in the organization, poor project selection, etc. These candidates overcome obstacles even in the absence of sufficient data or lack of Six Sigma infrastructure. The best candidate for Black Belt training is a never say die and never complaining character.

Not surprisingly, everyone wants such candidates in their teams for their outstanding abilities. They simply excel in whatever situation they are put in and get things done. To bring about a process change, to do things differently in a viable way towards goal achievement and finally to change the fortunes of the organization you need these individuals as Black Belts.

Guidelines For Selection Of Black Belts

Here are the key points to consider while selecting black belts for successful implementation of Six Sigma:

1. Black Belts Need To Be Selected invariably from within the organization. Ideally, they are already aware of various processes and the organizational structure and its nuances.
2. There Has To Be A Replacement for the chosen candidate to take over his or her day- to-day duties.
3. Begin Selection Process At The Start of project selection phase itself. This pays off by being able to match the skills and abilities of the Black Belt with the project complexity.
4. A Black Belt Needs To Have Excellent Interpersonal Skills. He is not averse to risk-taking; he is faithful to upper management and is respected even outside his department and by peers too. Basically, he is a leader.
5. The Right Black Belt Attaches His Personal and professional growth to the success of Six Sigma and the organization.
6. You May Need To Convince The Department Head from where the Black Belt is selected that he is needed. The reluctance will basically be because these people don't want to lose their best employees.

At the end of Six Sigma training you will know whether you have selected the best candidate with a long-term perspective whose sole aim is problem solving.
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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