White, Yellow, Green and Black Belts in Lean Six Sigma…what do they all mean and which one is right for you?
Let’s start with White Belt.
Everybody who has received an introduction to what is lean six sigma and how does it work and what results you can expect, is prepared to be a White Belt.
If you have read my 3 previous articles about Lean, Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma you are almost a White Belt already.
Test your knowledge online, achieve 80% results or higher, and receive your Lean Six Sigma White Belt Certification. This is your first step on the Lean Six Sigma ladder.
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Next level is the Yellow Belt.
This one is a bit tougher. As a Yellow Belt you participate in Lean Six Sigma improvement projects. You as a team member have to understand the objective of every project phase (DMAIC phase, stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control).
You also need to learn the function of the tools and techniques in each of those phase. You support your team with data collection, testing the measurement system, you contribute to the analysis of causes and you help to test the findings.
Although you do not run Lean Six Sigma project yourself, you still have great understanding of every aspect of Lean Six Sigma problem-solving.
Your role is essential in EVERY Lean Six Sigma program because you are the bridge between the project teams and the rest of the organization.
In my programs every team member receives a short training about the tools we are going to use during the meeting. At the end of the project period (typically 4 to 6 month) the team members receive their Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certificate.
Take the next easy step in your Lean Six Sigma career and receive your Yellow Belt Certification. Remark: you do not need to have White Belt before you go for Yellow.
Now you are going to lead a Lean Six Sigma project team to solve challenging problems next to your daily job. Think about projects like
– Reducing lead times
– Increasing capacity
– Lowering inventory and work-in-progress
– Reducing claims and irritations
Typical Green Belt project has a yearly financial benefit between $ 10,000 to $ 50,000 depending on the size of the organization and the number of years the Lean Six Sigma program has been running.
As a Green Belt you have to play different roles:
1. You coach and facilitate the project team. So you learn the “soft” or the “people” aspects of a change process.
In the online certification program, www.leansixsigmabelts.com/GreenBelt you get special training material on this subject, called Team Dynamics and Working in Project Team.
This “people” aspect is the most important element to your success as Green Belt or as a Manager and Leader in general.
I met several brilliant Lean Six Sigma Black Belts with less social skills and they felt as a Change Agent!
2. You also have to learn how to use those essential tools (only 15 required) during your project work in order to solve the problem with your team.
Sometimes you can use even less than 15 but you need to understand them according to the given stage of your project. Which one you need and when?
I have a checklist prepared for the Green Belts at www.leansixsigmabelts.com/GreenBelt
I must admit, if you hate numbers, you will have some problems. You cannot get around some number-crunching because of this: in my Lean Six Sigma program EVERY project we work on must have a quantifiable problem. So numbers are inherent part of Lean Six Sigma.
3. After running 2 or 3 Lean Six Sigma Green Belt projects you will be probably promoted in your organization. How do I know it? I have seen it many times … and that’s normal.
Just think about it for a while: as a Green Belt you are successful in managing your project team, you are a good people-manager. Besides, you are able to identify, analyze and solve problems of the organization that has never been solved before.
You have a good focus, you prioritize your work and those around you and your improvements are measurable – beyond discussions.
Which CEO, MD, CFO, Director, etc. would not give you a promotion?
Prepare this step and get your Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification at www.leansixsigmabelts.com/GreenBelt
Remark: you do not need to have White or Yellow Belt before you can have Green Belt.
You’re full-time working in Lean Six Sigma project teams as project leader and you also coach other Green Belts in the organization.
Your projects have an average financial benefit between $ 50,000 and $ 150,000 depending on the size of the company and the number of years the company is running Lean Six Sigma projects.
You as a Black Belt needs to have the same skill set like the Green Belts: good social skills, people-managers but also very good analytical skills.
You need to know more advanced problem solving techniques the Green Belts normally would not use. Furthermore, you are expected to teach and explain all the tools and techniques that the Green Belts are using.
Teaching new Green and Yellow Belts is often the task of the Black Belt just like being an internal Lean Six Sigma Consultant. Nice job!
So Black Belts are project managers, teachers, coaches and advisors of the Management / Board of Directors.
Social skills are again very important for the Black Belts because they have to communicate very easily with every level of an organization.
Of course, Black Belts are often promoted to Executive positions for the same reasons as explained by the Green Belts.
Several big companies (like GE) request all of their managers to have Black Belt Certification or they only employ new ones with proven Lean Six Sigma track record.
Do you want to increase your chance to be promoted to an executive position?
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