Six Sigma Black Belt Jonathon Andell Gloated About Solving a Quality Problem

Six Sigma Black Belt Jonathon Andell Gloated About Solving a Quality Problem


Check out all episodes on the My Favorite Mistake main page.

My guest for Episode #174 of the My Favorite Mistake podcast is Jonathon Andell. He has been a quality professional since 1987, was one of the world’s first certified Six Sigma Black Belts in 1992, and has been a consultant since 1998, and a Fellow of the American Society for Quality since 2008.

Among Jonathon’s global clients are leading firms in such diverse industries as: aerospace, automotive, construction, design, electronics, food, healthcare, insurance, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, service, software, and telecommunications. He has published and presented extensively.

Jonathon has a BS in Metallurgical Engineering from Purdue and MS in Metallurgy from Penn State. He is an avid amateur musician and a passionate community service volunteer.

In this episode, Jonathon tells his favorite mistake story about “gloating a bit” when his younger self (a “hot shot”) solved a difficult quality problem at work. Why did that damage some relationships and how did he get helpful feedback about that?

We also talk about questions and topics including:

  • Solving problems – sometimes people don’t want to admit problems
  • Data driven… people and emotions and empathy, not just data
  • Six Sigma mistakes??  Expert driven – “elitist”
  • 30 Rock mocking Six Sigma?
  • Mistake to “rank and yank” ala Jack Welch?
  • “Huge opponent of rank and yank” — at Amazon?
  • Brian Joiner “Fourth Generation Management” book
  • Creating a culture where it’s safe to talk about mistakes — what’s necessary for this?
  • Training people but then not letting them use Six Sigma afterward
  • Working on a book with John Thacker

Scroll down to find:

  • Video of the episode
  • Quotes
  • How to subscribe
  • Full transcript

Find Jonathon on social media:

Watch the Full Episode:


"I was kind of a young, hot shot, very impressed with myself. And when we started reporting it out to management and  the engineering groups, I kind of got out a little bit "nyah nyah" about the people who hadn't listened to me in the first place."
"I think Six Sigma has good intentions, but they might've missed the mark  -- it's kind of elitist with the black belts and stuff like that."
"It was okay to make a mistake. And maybe the mistake was a stepping stone on its way to a better thing."

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Automated Transcript (Likely Contains Mistakes)

Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's upcoming book is The Mistakes That Make Us. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.