THE WORLD WAS FLAT ONCE
Do you remember when the world was flat and blood letting was the ultimate cure for disease? Remember when the earth was the centre of the solar system?
No, perhaps you remember when technology meant more time and less paper.
You may not remember when a group of intelligent business people agreed that sub-prime mortgages were a good idea, but as sure as the sun is coming up tomorrow we are all still feeling the impact of that agreement aren't we?
Just because people agree on something doesn't make it right. Just because the majority of master black belt education focuses on statistics doesn't make it relevant to the changing needs of the world today.WHERE TO START
If you want to know how to develop a master black belt for the modern world, we need to rethink this for a moment and go back to what the role of a master black really is and what technology is doing to widespread capability.THE ROLE OF A MASTER BLACK BELT TODAY
I've thought long and hard about this for many years now. During research for my Lean Six Sigma books I've had conversation with many of the most respected business transformation leaders in the country and I've looked at a myriad of web sites and read the opinions of hundreds of experts in the field.
Today, a lean six sigma master black belt cannot just be a better black belt or a statistician. Training and support software has advanced so much now that advanced statistical techniques, previously only known to MBBs, can and should be learnt by black belts.
A master black belt on the other hand is required to be a change agent, a leader, a trainer, a coach, a mentor; someone who can lead and create a transformation in business through maximising the potential of the internal collaboration of people and processes.
Their principle role today is to change people's behaviour. And it is not limited to just employees for the true master black belt can create positive change all the way to the top of their organisation.
MASTER BLACK BELT SKILLS RELEVANT FOR TODAY
Will more statistical or technical process improvement training give a black belt the skills they need to perform the role of a master black belt? I think not.
The greater challenge today is not in getting better at studying variation or identifying the relationship between process variables. The greater challenge is always in changing people's beliefs and behaviours.
Now in the absence of skill in this area, people generally fall back to the technical merits of a case to try and influence behaviour. We already know how difficult it is to shift behaviour doing that don't we?
The greatest innovations in leadership have occurred in the past decade.
Over the past decade there have been tremendous innovations in what I will call the 'invisibles' of leadership.
Actions and behaviours are the visible elements, the things you can observe, the things you take a picture or movie of, the things that managers try to manage. The invisibles on the other hand are those things you cannot see that underpin all human action and behaviour. The thinking patterns, beliefs and emotions which ultimately drive all human behaviour.
These are the skills I believe separates a master black belt from a black belt in the business world today.
(a) The art of persuasive conversation to lead ones imagination in a way that generates buy in and creates rapid and permanent learning
(b) Reframing how people view certain beliefs they currently hold and beliefs they have to hold in oder for behaviour to change
(c) Rapidly and permanently altering the associations that people have with certain positive behaviours they struggle to engage in
(d) Using existing embedded patterns of the unconscious mind in order to create change and get people to respond positively to requests
(e) Shifting people's focus to new endeavours when everything else is competing for their time and attention
If you possessed these skills, on top of strong capability with the technical aspects of Lean and Six Sigma, how would that change your effectiveness as a leader?