My Half Full Glass of Studying
Last week I began really applying myself to my studies for the ASQ CSSBB (Certified Six Sigma Black Belt) exam. On a personal level, I’m pretty opposed to doing this because I really feel like I am chasing this certification for the piece of paper and no other reason.
My first thoughts in looking at this were pure dread. I haven’t forgotten what DMAIC stands for, nor have I forgotten what the steps entail. I haven’t forgotten what the statistics mean or how to interpret them, even if I let software do most of the heavy lifting. I still remember the quotes from famous quality people in the study manual and can recite the punchline in the Dilbert that is placed in the beginning of the book. What I did forget was to send in some paperwork on time. I’ve already taken and passed the test once, but let my certification lapse out of ignorance and inattention. In that sense this is more of a personal rework loop than a doing-it-right-the-first-time kind of step.
However, once I got past my selfish whining, I realized I could look at this completely differently. Instead of just trying to cram in enough tidbits to squeak by, I could give myself a personal “Ohno Circle” to study from. What I’ve found is that I’m not really tied to having to learn the material the same way I did the first time around, so I’m free to focus and explore some of the smaller details I may not have thought through before. I can try to seek out some new knowledge out of an “old” source. I guess it’s sort of like me trying to look for new ideas for improvements after the kaizen event report out, except there really is an exam at the end.
I realize I’m stretching the metaphor a bit far, but once I switched the way I looked at my personal learning in the same way as a manufacturing process it opened some new lanes of thought for me. I am now itching to dig back through and re-read some of the books on my shelf from Ohno and the Toyota Way series and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to see what may be in there. I’m sure there are things in each book I didn’t pick up the first time or that have slipped from my mind since I first read them. I really wonder what is out there in the material I already have. It’s almost too bad I have to wait to get there until I’m done with this test!