As a Lean Six Sigma professional, are you training to get results? Unfortunately, training is one of those things people do because they have to. Taking a training course will help meet the requirements for a promotion or advancement in responsibility. The thought process sometimes is just to take the course or finish the college work to meet a standard.
Training Is Your Most Valuable Asset
Here is the way you must approach training. Training has to become a deeply ingrained and practiced habit. Studies have shown that the most highly successful people spend between $10k-$20k per year, investing in their personal and professional development. It becomes a mindset. The most successful professionals understand that time equals money. Wasting time or spending it in a manner that does not achieve the highest level of results is just like wasting money. For them, training and professional development must be repetitive and of a frequency that deeply embeds the concepts they study. This reputation makes those concepts habits. Habits produce consistent performance.
For Lean and Six Sigma professionals, that means you cannot just take one Green Belt class or learn lean concepts within a workshop, and think that is sufficient to know the material. Consider taking the course multiple times from different sources and instructors. That is where the real learning will take place, and the concepts will start to sink into your long term memory. People often forget the networking benefits of taking classes from different organizations and instructors. Hearing the experiences and observations from your classmates are often as valuable as those from the instructor.
Here are some thoughts to keep in mind when you are approaching a training objective:
- The first exposure to a training class will simply introduce a topic. Most of the content will be lost in your memory in a couple weeks.
- The second exposure will highlight topics you missed in the first session, and remind you what you learned. More of the content will be remembered, but it won’t be clear how to apply all of it.
- The third exposure starts to embed information into your mind and create relevant associations to the work you do. Most of the content will be captured in your long term memory, and you’ll be able to apply most of the concepts to your current job.
- The fourth exposure enables you align more closely with the instructor and conceptualize the information, and think about how you would teach the topic to others, using your own experiences and examples.
As a Master Black Belt, I still go back and take classes that I’ve already taken. I recently took a Green Belt online course, and found it very valuable. I know the content already, but I learned some new ways to explain the concepts, to make it easier for students to understand. It also reminded me about some tools that I often skip or forget to use. It was a valuable use of my time, even though it seems like it would not be necessary.
Too often, I hear people say “but I took Green Belt training 5 years ago, why do I have to take it again?”
Maybe you’ve heard people in your company say something similar. This is the attitude of someone looking to “check the box” and not really learn and apply the content to their work. A mindset change is needed.
Getting Results from Professional Development
As you begin a training experience with Lean Six Sigma classes, get your mindset in order. Approach things in the same way as some of the most successful people from around the globe. Treat your time in the same way as you treat your money. Invest only in training that will improve you and make the most of professional development. Understand that the more difficult training courses should be retaken multiple times (from different instructors) to get the most value from the educational opportunity. Don’t view the retaking of classes as waste, rather think about how the class can serve you in a different way each time. Everyone brings to the table their unique experience and you will get a different perspective on the training objective.
Invest your time generously, and you will build a solid professional reputation and get the highest level of results in your work.