Since I started teaching students online a year ago I’ve encountered something new: students trying to get into Six Sigma for the first time. This obviously wasn’t a problem when I was training clients whose employers were getting them trained specifically to use the approach in their organizations. I write this for those of you who are trained in Lean Six Sigma and are in the situation that you are not working for an employer who gives you the chance to practice your newly acquired skills.

Newly trained Six Sigma Belts without experience face a situation similar to that of newly graduated college students.

However, nearly all of you have a big advantage: you have a lot of job experience. And much of your experience is closely related to Six Sigma. Many of you have led project teams, quality improvement teams, or other work teams. This is, of course, a big part of Six Sigma work. Play it up in your resumes!

You can also try finding projects where you can enhance your resumes by actually applying what you’re learning in your training. I’ve done pro bono work for community hospitals and charities such as Goodwill and Red Cross. Some of my self-study students are working with their physicians offices to reduce errors and improve efficiency. Others are working with church groups to help improve attendance at churches or church events, lower costs, or improve the satisfaction of those who attend. My guess is that few churches wouldn’t be interested in Six Sigma projects to increase collections!

The most important thing to realize is that you have an extremely useful skill set. Be bold and confident when you approach your prospective “client” for a project. Six Sigma has been proclaimed by management guru Jack Welch as the most significant management innovation in the past quarter century. You’re learning about an approach that few know and nearly everyone can benefit from. You’ll be surprised at how much fun it can be, and how productive. Finally, this stuff really works! You’ll soon find that your skills are soon in more and more demand. After all, the supply of processes that need to be improved is infinite!

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