As Lean Six Sigma Green Belts we sometimes get frustrated by a lack of commitment from others, the time it takes for tasks to be done, poor sponsor or company engagement and how long it takes to collect data. While becoming a certified Green Belt may be your professional development journey, much of your progress can depend on the actions of others. And feeling out of control of our own journey is frustrating to everyone.

Over the years I have seen a great number of Green Belts get turned off by the number of issues outside their control. They let these things affect them, their attitude to Lean Six Sigma and Business Improvement and, ultimately, their own success. However, there are plenty of things that are in your control and if you focus on these elements then you will enhance your learning, your ability to certify and your ability to be successful. So let’s take a look at what you can do to keep your training on the right track.

Your outlook

Attitude is everything and if you have a positive outlook then you will be able to certify no matter what obstacles are put in your way. Conversely, if you instead tend to focus on all the issues, lack of time and poor support then you will quickly become demotivated which can result in a failure to get certified.

The attitude you take to learning, support and outcomes will have a big bearing on certification and success in business improvement. Positivity is self-fulfilling.

Learning Lean Six Sigma

Your own personal development

A Green Belt certification is a great asset for your CV and your career progression.

Like all training you only get out of it what you put in, so take responsibly for your own learning. Even if you only have the time to dedicate two hours a week to Lean Six Sigma training and applying the learning to a project (or case study) you can certify in no time.

Dedication to your own success, in spite of whatever other factors or issues you encounter, will ensure you certify and get ahead in your organisation.

Your own learning

Remember, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt training is only the start of your learning. The responsibility is on you to identify how and where you can apply it.

When you’re in a queue think about how you can eliminate waiting time. Consider the areas you know the least and read books, join discussions, ask questions and attend webinars to boost your understanding. These are all things that are available as part of you lifelong learning programme with 100% Effective so take advantage of it.

Your sponsor contact

You need to take the initiative with your sponsor and ensure you push to get the time you need with them. However whether or not they give you the time is beyond your control.

If you get a session booked in, don’t waste the opportunity. Make sure you are fully prepared to take advantage; have a good storyboard to show, prepare a list of questions and get your lift speech down to a T.

Make the session with your sponsor professional, effective and productive and they will give you more time. If you can’t meet them send them regular quick reports or updates so the communication from you is well documented and clear.

In the unfortunate (and unlikely) instance they are not interested in providing their time and support, remember it’s your personal development and certification so push on regardless.

Your image

You need to try and ensure that the image you project in your business – both of yourself and of Lean Six Sigma – is positive, effective and professional. This is completely within your control.

As Green Belts you are typically working on projects which can either have visibility across the company or just directly with your boss. Either way it is important how you come across. Make sure that you are seen as a person who gets things done, does things quickly and effectively, gets results, is enthusiastic and motivated.

People who complete Green Belt projects and make the best advantage of the internal PR are suddenly visible to influential people, which can be a real boost to your career. It is completely within your control to think about how you can get great internal PR and do something about it.

Your storyboard

Your storyboard is a summary of your project. It enables you to show progress, results and findings. You have complete control on keeping this up to date.

Nothing is more impressive than a Green Belt attending a meeting or talking to a manager with a concise, effective and well-presented storyboard and presentation. It is a vital part of communicating, so really put some time and effort into it.

Turning up to a sponsor or management meeting with nothing tells those attending something about you – and it isn’t good.

Angry response to set back

How you respond to set backs

You must have is a positive attitude and not let setbacks get the better of you. Shake off problems and get on with it. Redirect negative energy into forward motion – completing case studies, filling in storyboards, practising your tools. People love people who are positive.

How you set goals

When you start your Green Belt training, the first thing you need to do it set your personal goals. The first and most important should be to certify. In the long term, nothing else really matters.

However, you’ll also want to learn and develop your skills, practise tools and techniques. Set yourself goals and take every opportunity to move towards them.

Finally, write them down. It is proven that people who have written down goals are more likely to achieve them.

Your time commitment

Lots of people struggle to get time to complete a project as they are often given it to complete on top of their normal day job. Some people become negative about this, others stay positive and focus on the end-goal – it’s up to you how you respond.

Keep your goal in site. Certification is great for your personal career development. Taking extra time to complete your training will benefit you in the long-term, regardless of whether you stay with your current employer or move on.

Everyone can find an hour or two a week to work on a project or a case study. Focus on the goal and just do it. It might be that you only do one project but at least you get certified which is your personal goal.

All of these things are in your control. As a Green Belt, depending on the culture of your organisation you can face challenges. However, you must focus on the goal of certification and make the best of any situation.

Those that complete their training and certify improve their image in their companies, will improve their careers and will get great satisfaction from business improvement. I have coached hundreds of people as they run projects to try and certify. It is clear the ones that take control where they can are always more successful. I would encourage every Green Belt, no matter which company they are in, to concentrate on what they can control and not get wound up by the things they can’t.

What are your thoughts and experiences of trying to certify? We’d love to hear them so please get in touch below.

Looking to get Green Belt training? Until the end of the year we’re offering a free online Yellow Belt with every classroom Green or Black Belt course booked, helping you develop a strong Business Improvement team from day one.