The Process of Six Sigma Leadership

For any endeavor in life to be successful, there has to be a sense of direction, and usually it comes down to an individual’s own determination to provide this. This is as true of Six Sigma Leadership as it is of any other kind of leadership, and understanding this is vital if you wish to be successful in this regard. Some hints on pursuing successful Six Sigma leadership are provided in the paragraphs that follow.

First, it helps to know about what the Six Sigma program involves if you are going to lead others in this process.  It is therefore necessary for any individual who wants to be a Six Sigma leader to undergo Six Sigma Training and Certification in at least the Black Belt level. The program is made up of a set of statistical methods and theories that are used to find critical weaknesses with various business processes in order to fix them. Once these issues are found and fixed, the efficiency of said business should improve considerably as a result.

There is a hierarchy of expertise within this program which is graded according to belt colors. This is similar to the way that expertise and rank in the martial arts is graded. The ranks within this program are, in ascending order of expertise: Yellow Belt; Green Belt; Black Belt; and Master Black Belt.

Yellow belts are held by employees who have had basic training within the program. This provides them with knowledge of what the program involves and allows them to understand what is happening with the company and how to work in assisting those above them in order to keep things running. Beyond that, they have little actual input into what happens with the procedures involved.

Green belts are held by employees who do most of the work when it comes to Six Sigma data collection and statistical analysis. They take care of the essential to and fro, the gathering of information and reporting of issues that are necessary for anything to get done. They answer to the Black Belts, the next step up in the chain of command.

Black belts have earned their rank through a combination of advanced training and greater experience. They assume leadership roles over the Green and Yellow belts and have decision making powers over their actions. But they often have to answer to the Master Black Belts, the uppermost rank of the hierarchy.  Six sigma Black Belts are akin to project managers while Master Black Belts are mentors that are responsible for overseeing all of the projects within a company or a large debarment within a company.

Master Black Belts have received top level training and can boast a track record of successful completion of similar programs. This level of advanced expertise is rare, and for that reason, individuals who hold this rank of expertise wield considerable authority within a Six Sigma Organization. It can take some years before one can qualify for this level of leadership.

While a ‘White Belt’ rank (one step lower than a Yellow Belt) has been introduced in recent years, its merit or necessity is questioned within the Six Sigma Community. The Yellow Belt is considered the lowest level of respected certifications within the community.

In summary, the process of Six Sigma Leadership is defined with a ranking system of individuals who hold certain color belt training certificates who then organize into teams led by individuals with higher levels of training. This system recognizes both training and experience as the defining criteria of expertise in this particular method of project management called Six Sigma.