Training in Lean Six Sigma provides professionals with some of the most in-demand technical skills in the business world, including the ability to help organizations reduce waste, eliminate defects and make operations more efficient. Modern organizations highly value Lean Six Sigma Black Belts trained to lead project teams that tackle these issues.

Lean Six Sigma Black Belts are recognized as leaders in the areas of change management and process improvement. They have developed expertise in the tools and techniques of Lean Six Sigma, as well as strong leadership skills. They lead teams to complete projects that help businesses meet strategic goals.

In a business world where organizations increasingly meet goals through projects, Black Belts “lead change within an organization and play a strong leadership role,” according to Investopedia.

What Is Lean Six Sigma?

Lean Six Sigma combines tools from Six Sigma and Lean, both proven quality improvement methods that focus on using quantitative rather than qualitative measurements for success. Six Sigma strategies such as DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, and control) help organizations eliminate process variation and errors. Lean takes a customer-oriented approach that calls for reducing waste in a process by eliminating anything that does not add value to the customer.

Both Lean and Six Sigma offer techniques to create consistent workflow processes that result in operational efficiency as well as better products and services. Lean Six Sigma has grown increasingly popular as organizations see the benefit of applying ideas from both methodologies.

Lean Six Sigma professionals learn valuable, transferable skills in demand among private businesses, nonprofits and government agencies.

Black Belts Role in Lean Six Sigma

Black Belts take on a leadership role in Six Sigma, directing the work of Yellow Belts (who have fundamental knowledge in Lean Six Sigma tools and techniques) and Green Belts (who have more advanced knowledge). They work particularly closely with Green Belts who often help project teams collect and analyze data.

Black Belts excel when they combine technical knowledge in Lean Six Sigma with advanced leadership skills such as communication, critical thinking and collaboration. They build successful teams through understanding team dynamics and have the ability to motivate team members and resolve inner-team conflicts.

Black Belts also must take the lead as change agents, striving to improve the organization’s efficiency, culture and the quality of products and services it creates. They understand how each project fits into the overall business strategy. During a project, they have the ability to explain complex processes to executives and stakeholders, helping teams get the resources they need for success.

How Black Belts Benefit Organizations

Many successful companies have Black Belts who work with them on solving challenges, including Amazon, 3M, Atos, Bank of America, Nike, Lockheed Martin, Dell and Caterpillar.

Black Belts offer expertise in process improvement and statistical analysis techniques and a singular focus on continuous process improvement. They bring expertise in using data analysis to solve problems and a results-oriented approach to reducing waste and mistakes in every phase of an operation.

One of the strongest attributes of Black Belts is their willingness to challenge long-standing practices and the “we have always done it this way” attitude. They also bring a number of strong qualities to the table.

  • Problem-solving: Black Belts enjoy taking on complex programs and finding solutions.
  • Customer-focused: Black Belts understand that customers are the ultimate judge of a company’s products and services and plan their actions accordingly.
  • Business acumen: They can demonstrate the link between Lean Six Sigma projects to improve customer satisfaction, operational efficiency and increased profitability.
  • Team player: Black belts can lead teams, but they also understand how to elevate the work of others and draw people together to achieve a common goal.

Because they focus on process and quality improvement, Black Belts become strong assets for organizations where most people are caught up in the business of managing day-to-day operations. With the increased use of projects to accomplish business goals, those with a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt education also help businesses by keeping projects on schedule and on budget.

For professionals with a passion for problem-solving and making data-driven decisions, SMU’s Lean Six Sigma Black Belt program prepares them to solve process improvement issues and help organizations become more efficient as well as more effective at meeting customer needs.