lean six sigma certification

Top Reasons Why Individuals do not Certify as Green and Black Belts

Certified Lean Six Sigma Green and Black Belts are valuable in business.  Individuals trained are strongly encouraged to certify as belts.  Yet, the majority of Lean Six Sigma Green and Black Belt workshop attendees, never certify. We need to look at the top reasons why individuals do not certify as green and black belts.

Certification Components and Stakeholders

Individuals attend training, obtain a pass mark for the examination, but the certification project is not done, or abandoned along the way. We should ASK WHY?  Let’s start by reviewing the factual situation in respect of all the relevant Lean Six Sigma components and stakeholders.

  • The Curriculum
    1. Lean Six Sigma curriculums are significant in volume, at least 20% of the curriculum is technically challenging, especially in regard to logical analysis and statistics.
    2. The pass rate for the examinations is good, it is therefore clear that the content can be mastered.
  • Certification process and practises
    1. Current Lean Six Sigma and certification practises originated 2 to 3 decades ago.
    2. The certification process almost resembles the “curriculum style” of some MBA programs, significant content volume, a lot of lectures, a high level examination and a research project to show application.
  • People attending
    1. The vast majority of candidates master the knowledge base.
    2. Candidates do not certify because they do not start a certification project, or they abandon a certification project.
    3. Individuals asked about certification often reply that (a) they could not source a project at work or, (b) that business decided that the project selected is no longer a priority.
    4. How people learn changed drastically in the last 10 years, modern learning habits almost look like “watching a thousand YouTube videos”.
  • The Master Black Belt Trainer and Coach
    1. Most master black belts are “technocrats”, who earned their reputation and qualification “the hard way”.
    2. Belts and Sensei regard themselves as an elite community who can, and do make a positive contribution to business improvement.
  • Lean Six Sigma providers
    1. Generally speaking lean six sigma consultancies and training providers provide quality curricula and training (there will always be outliers).
    2.  Providers advocate certification since it provides evidence of skill and knowledge acquired, and provides return on investment. 
  • Business
    1. Pays the learning bill, however, in many cases do not actively encourage and manage candidates to complete certification.
    2. Not certifying as a green or black belt, seem to have no adverse consequences for individuals in the workplace.
    3. When recruitment is done, Lean Six Sigma capability is often listed as a requirement for appointment.

Conclusions for Future Lean Six Sigma Certification

To reach conclusions about the top reasons individuals do not certify as green or black belts, a review from the perspective of each component and stakeholder is vital , and the following appears to be the most reasonable conclusions:

  • The Curriculum
    1. It is accepted that the impact of 4th Industrial Revolution and the use of Cyber-Physical Systems, increases the technical level of problem solving and process performance analysis, therefore impacts Lean Six Sigma Training and Certification.
    2. Care should be taken to align the tools and methods in curricula with the current day digital business environment.  New methods are needed to deal with digital technology and the Internet of Things.
    3. The work time spent on training and certification must be more efficient, since the speed of business increased .
  • Certification Process and Practises
    1. Current certification practises that originated 2 to 3 decades ago, can no longer effectively serve the current fast moving business environment.
  • People attending Lean Six Sigma Training
    1. Those trained on Lean Six Sigma probably do NOT regard certification as critical for career success.
    2. Individuals, unless the business assigns and manages them to complete a certification project, is less likely to do so.
    3. The way people learn has changed and these changes should be incorporated in modern models.
  • Certification Practises – The Master Black Belt Trainer and Vendors
    1. Are MBB’s and vendors (these are often the same entity) not stuck in an old paradigm?  “One way to success!, do a good project, that is the only way you will learn!”
    2. MBB’s and Vendors need to modernise the approach to certification without compromising the high standards in use, it should not “dumb down” Lean Six Sigma.
    3. A different, probably a case based certification process, could be considered.
  • Business and Lean Six Sigma
    1. Business managers drive and manage business, they are not in the “Lean Six Sigma Certification Business”. 
    2. Individuals who are good work performers may be further developed, or even be rewarded with Lean Six Sigma training, but will mostly NOT suffer adverse consequences for not certifying.