Green belt program builds a bench of leaders, problem solvers

The first wave of Green Belt participants.This article was featured in our September 2016 Catalyst newsletter

Carl Witte, Aaron May, Mike Milbourn and Sara Paisley are always thinking ten steps ahead. For Witte – it’s numbers. For May – it’s processes. For Milbourn and Paisley – it’s people. As a team, they are putting plans in place to continuously improve our people’s knowledge, skills and leadership mindset.

Aaron May answers questions from Chad Arens and Todd Pflanz.Together, this core team has developed an internal Green Belt program that puts Lincoln Industries ahead of the competition and in a strong position to build a team that can lead the organization in better serving our customers.

Green Belt certification requires days of training in six sigma, lean, statistics and other problem solving strategies. Many large OEMs offer this training both internally and to key suppliers.

Continuous Improvement Manager, Aaron May is a master black belt which requires 200-300 hours of classes and training. This certification makes him qualified to develop an internal Green Belt program.

“We recognized that we were in need of more high level problem solvers and leaders,” said May. “We could either send them outside or we could provide the training internally,

which would make more sense strategically and logistically. Now, we have a program that can be tailored to our processes, capabilities and customer projects.”

The Green Belt program includes 30 courses that can be taken in total, along with a final project, to receive certification. The courses can also be taken individually to develop specific skills. All departments are encouraged to participate in the program in order to learn skills that are of interest or are beneficial to their unique role.

Process Control Engineering Manager, Carl Witte also helped develop course curriculum.

“I always dreamed of doing this,” said Witte. “It allows our people to learn about other facets of the company, build new relationships and develop technical and high level problem solving skills. This means a better future for the company and for our customers.”

Unique to Lincoln Industries, this Green Belt program offers courses focused on servant leadership and life skills. Learning and Development Manager, Mike Milbourn along with Blended Learning Specialist, Sara Paisley recognized the need for a servant leadership focus because it’s a reflection of the core values of the company.Todd Juracek and Randy Kolman work through example problems in the Green Belt course curriculum.

“Servant leadership is an outward mindset,” said Milbourn. “It requires you to consider how the decisions you’re making are impacting others. This also applies to people’s home lives. It allows people to approach difficult conversations in a productive way.”

“A few people have already said how much of an impact this was having on them both at work and at home,” said May. “I give Mike all the credit in the world for what he does. He is giving people the tools to have a happier, healthier home life.”

For Lincoln Industries, the Green Belt program hits on all of the Beliefs and Drivers, the core values of the company.

“Through these courses we are building a bench of talented leaders and change agents that have the skills to take our organization to the next level,” said May. “Everything we talk about is tied back to the customer and they see how this program is impacting our ability to provide the best services possible.”


To read the full September 2016 Catalyst issue click here.