Greenbelt training, anyone?

I’m not talking karate….

(is there a greenbelt in karate?)

By now you should know I’m a big fan of 6 Sigma process improvement tools/ideology.  Simply because the tools, if used with any degree of sincerity, make it nearly impossible for individuals or groups to not understand the reality of any process.

True, there are those who like to manipulate data points in order to paint the picture they want to believe exists, but for the most part, if you are diligent in your 6 Sigma assessments, you can quickly identify where problems exist and what options there are for solutions.

But the real reason I’m such a fan of Greenbelt training is because of the wonderful quotes I learned during that period of my life:

“Yes, Let’s Do It Wrong, Really Fast”

This lapse into sarcasm by our instructor was quipped when a suggestion was made by one member of the team to speed up turn-around time via more temp employees without examining why production was being slowed at the same area each time.

Mr. Blackbelt Certified  was King of highlighting  how often we miss the point of any exercise in which we are trying to better ourselves, our business or the world.

Whether we are trying to lose weight, cut down on defects in products or stop global warming, if an issue has become a problem, we tend to want to get something, anything, done –  NOW.

(Historically, I was the “I’ve got to do something…even if it’s wrong.” type individual)

Our tendency as a species to dive in and take action is probably why we humans are still here.   There are times when quick, decisive action is the only way to keep afloat or alive.

On the other hand, for the most part, diving in and trying to tackle major issues with the quickest and easiest solution often means short-term relief with long-term grief on the horizon.

I often revisit what I learned from that instructor when fear and stress are urgently screaming at me to do something, now!   Often, if I can manage to control my “Ms. Fix-It” tendencies for even 2 hours, what seemed like a huge issue has become understood and seen to be an issue that is, well, fixable.   And sometimes, during that ‘I’ll sit and do nothing until I’m sure what is best to do” phase, the issue resolves itself.

Best example of that is dealing with a teenager who has gotten angry and rebellious at the unfairness of (insert whatever).

If I try to talk it through with them, right then, well, the conversation doesn’t go too well.   If I instead ask if we can each take some time to think about what it is we each really want out of the deal and meet back at the table in say, an hour? well, those are the conversations that really get something accomplished – mainly restored household peace.

The trick is remembering to wait and do nothing.

It takes a woman 9 months to have a baby.  9 women can’t have a baby in a month.

This little gem was shared with me by Mr. Old Warhorse the First.   Where I worked, there were five individuals that received this distinguished honor – simply put, these are crusty ole farts who suffer fools not at all, but if you’re willing to put up with them pointing out how stupid you are, you can really learn a lot from these folks.

(Sorry, side story time – – Mr. OW the First told me during our first conversation, “I’ll allow you to use the word ‘paradigm‘ because I can see you actually know what it means.”  Can you believe the arrogance of telling me what vocabulary I can use?  He turned out to be my favorite coffee, lunch, smoke break, beer after work buddy.   Just goes to show what happens if you keep your indignation in check for a day or two….see first quote for further….)

The 9 women quote came when Mr. OW the First and I were having a beer after work to discuss the day’s meetings and their contents.   He was referring to several folks wanting to throw more money at an area of problems – before knowing for sure what issues were really causing the problems.

Whether it’s our money, time or other versions of energy, I’ve found throwing ‘more’ at a problem is not always the way to fix it.   A slightly different perspective, approach or technique may be all that is needed to achieve the results we aim for.


So why was I thinking about these things this morning?   I came across an RSA Animate clip I hadn’t seen before.   And it illustrates quite eloquently what happens when governments do not take the time to ponder directions and spending priorities – and calls for a return to local democracy…and constitution….

Though this is told about Britain and from a UK perspective, I think the same applies for us.  I present you with a clip from The Economic Consequences of Mr. Brown, presented by Stein Ringen.


P.S. There’s one more quote I really like, but I didn’t learn it at Greenbelt training – I learned it at the EFT Master Practitioners conference in 2007:

Every Problem Used to be a Solution

What do you think?  Applicable?


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