While Six Sigma Black Belts are generally given credit for their expertise in analytical, statistical and problem solving techniques, successful Black Belts must be much more than technical experts. The advancement of an organization from a nominal 3 Sigma to Six Sigma represents a vast operational and organizational (read cultural) change. As such, Black Belts are primarily Change Agents.
Effective Change Agents are (Keller, 2001):
Many of these change-agent skills are facets of one’s personality, but they can be supported through awareness training, management policy, and coaching and mentoring by master black belts and champions. The best black belts are individuals who demonstrate a balance between these softer attributes and the technical skills discussed elsewhere in this book. Many firms expect experience with these change-agent skills, documented through work history and personal recommendations, as a prerequisite for black belt candidates. Depending on the business and functional area, a technical college degree also may be required. For example, a BS in engineering may be required for manufacturing areas, whereas a business degree may be required for sales or business development areas.
See next section Black Belt Training
Learn more about the Lean Six Sigma principles and tools for process excellence in Six Sigma Demystified (2011, McGraw-Hill) by Paul Keller, in his online Lean Six Sigma DMAIC short course ($249), or his online Green Belt certification course ($499).