What is a Black Belt certification?

A Black Belt certification is a certification in the Lean Six Sigma process improvement methodology. There are various levels called “Belts” with the most common ones to be Yellow Belt, Green Belt and Black Belt. This blog explains the Black Belt certification.

In a Black Belt certification course, you will learn to understand the 5 phases of the Lean Six Sigma methodology at an expert level with the use of advanced statistics. The 5 phases are called DMAIC or Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control. Black Belts tend solve more complex problems in the organization with at times the need to use advanced statistics.

What kind of complex problems? Think about challenges in your organization related to cycle times that spans multiple departments, making the need to work cross-functionally very high!  Or errors and defects in your organization whereby more in-depth (statistical) analysis is needed to understand the problem drivers. So, if you have customers complaining about slow delivery times, and/or defects in the product and services you deliver, the Black Belt course is the course to fix those!

Is a Black Belt certification worth it?

A Black Belt certification is a career game-changer because of the unique skills you will learn (see below “What new skills will I learn”). A Black Belt becomes the go-to person in the organization when it comes to solving major challenges in the organization. You will be become an all-round problem solver, learning that tools and methodology can be applied to any process both in the services and/or manufacturing industries. Becoming a Black Belt makes you invaluable for the organization because you will actually fix those “unsolvable issues” that linger on for a long time. Using data driven decision making (and at times advanced statistics) and a structured method greatly increases your chances of success in solving problems versus the traditional trial-and-error method. Many organizations are using Black Belt positions as a steppingstone and grooming process to leadership roles!

What is the key to success in a Black Belt training?

Traditionally when it comes to problem solving, we tend to be inpatient (this is normal) and want to jump to solutions right away. Often this leads to just treating symptoms and not permanently fixing problems, which means they can come back again and again. This is what makes the Black belt course and the Lean Six Sigma methodology in general so unique. The methodology forces you to find the root-causes of problem and then implement only those solutions that permanently eliminates them. The structure behind this approach is called DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control). With this framework we describe the problem in Define, quantify the problem in Measure, find root-causes in Analyze, implement solutions for the root-causes in Improve, and ensure sustainability in Control. A proven method that being used in many organizations across the world. What makes Lean Six Sigma so powerful is the use of data in our decision making. Data doesn’t lie and is the best change agent! As a Black Belt you will become an expert at using data analysis to solve problems. In addition, some problems are of such complex nature they require advanced statistics to understand the problem and root-causes. Which is why this is added to the course compared to the Green Belt course.

What new skills do I learn?

The Black Belt course is unlike many other type of training courses because of the variety of potential new skills that you will learn. To a varying degree, you will have the ability to learn the following new skills:

  • Business acumen
  • Analytical skills
  • Problem Solving
  • Project Management
  • Change Management

In some organization Black Belt roles are full-time rotational roles. Meaning you will stay in a Black Belt role for several years before being transitioned back into a potential leadership role. It is a true win-win. You are solving many problems for the organization while you are working on your personal development with powerful new skills! A win for you and a win for the organization! But even if you are not in a full-time Black Belt role the same applies. You are the change agent! You are the individual that the organization, and its leadership relies on to give them a roadmap to solving problems successfully, permanently and with impactful results! All of this means, you are learning to become much more of a business leader, using data analysis to solve problems, running successful projects whilst influencing and managing change with key stakeholders in the organization. These are lifelong skills that you will carry forward for the rest of your career!

What is the benefit for my organization?

Delivering tangible results for the organization is the ultimate goal of any Lean Six Sigma initiative. This ensures that the program builds credibility, creates early momentum and buy-in throughout the organization. It is not uncommon that completed projects deliver 4-5x Return on Investment (ROI) from the Lean Six Sigma initiative in terms of cost savings, quality improvements and/or better customer experience. Delivering breakthrough results is the power of Lean Six Sigma! Any organization has problems be it process or product related! And organizations struggle to effectively deal with this! Lean Six Sigma can often be the answer! This makes Lean Six Sigma timeless. As long as organizations have problems, Lean Six Sigma can solve them.

Who should attend the course?

A Lean Six Sigma Black Belt is any professional who wants to become an expert in optimizing processes and leading more complex projects in the manufacturing but also the services industry like healthcare, financial services, government, supply chain and others. They might also mentor Green Belts and Yellow Belts. There are no pre-requisites…you can go straight for Black Belt training! You will also embrace the use of data analysis and statistics!

Does a Black Belt certification expire?

A Black Belt certification never expires. These are unique skills that you will use for the rest of your career. If you ever get a chance at any point in your career to obtain a Lean Six Sigma certification, take it!

In fact, practicing and applying these skills never stops! Once you have done your first project and get familiar with the methodology you will see the power of Lean Six Sigma! Your next project will go many times faster and applying these tools in practice will become a way of thinking. Solving problems doesn’t have an expiration date!

Green belt vs Black belt Training?

The difference between a Green Belt and Black Belt is the use of statistics in solving problems. Green Belts tend solve problems with more hands-on, easy, and simple to use tools. Black Belts work on more complex projects with more in-depth data analysis and statistics. No prerequisites are required for both!

Where to get a Black Belt certification?

There are many providers offering Black Belt certification at various price levels. Therefore, it is important that you get your certificate from a reputable firm. Also cheaper doesn’t mean better. It is about the depth of the curriculum and the way of teaching (needs to be hands-on and practical!) that sets providers apart from each other. Also learning the theory is not enough, only by applying the tools in practice (doing a process improvement project or two) will you start to understand the principles.

Look for a provider with credentials and accreditations that proves the curriculum is of high-quality standards. For example, ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is one such accredited organization that aims to set international standards for Lean Six Sigma.

The Lean Six Sigma Company is one of few the providers in the world, that is accredited with two such important standards:

  • ISO 18404; Skills and competencies required to become a Lean Six Sigma professional
  • ISO 13053; Tools required in the Lean Six Sigma curriculum

We are one of the few providers that offers a separate Black Belt training for the Services industry and for the Manufacturing industry.

In addition, The Lean Six Sigma Company has many experienced trainers, that can also help you with coaching your project. Learn more here: https://www.theleansixsigmacompany.us/black-belt-training/

Do you want to learn more or do you have any questions?

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