When our organization started its Six Sigma deployment back in 2004, we designed a small round pin that was given to certified Change Agents, Yellow Belts, Green Belts, and Black Belts. The pins are gold-backed and have the appropriate color (blue for Change Agents) around the outer rim, with the appropriate certification title, and our health system logo in the middle. At first people thought they were cute and some people wore them while others didn’t.

Now, a couple of years later, “the pin” has become highly valued. Associates who are awarded certification must complete training and a project for all levels; and I am receiving many inquiries about whether people are eligible for a pin. Those who receive pins tend to wear them – not only their highest certification, but all the others too!

I’m not down-hearted about people focusing on the pin, because I know they have had to demonstrate their competence in order to get one. I’m happy to tell them which classes to take and inform them of the required project. Most are eager to complete the requirements. The pins and certificate are awarded at operating unit leadership meetings for a very public recognition ceremony.

It’s a small thing, but very meaningful.

Another small thing that means a lot is our badge pulls. These are handy little devices that clip onto your collar or pocket, and have a retractable string that attaches to your ID badge. You can pull the badge away from the holder in order to swipe into a card-reader to gain access to an office or parking lot, without having to unclip the badge holder from your clothing. We ordered black pulls for our BBs and green pulls for our GBs. The shipment came in a couple of weeks ago, and we handed out the first pulls yesterday as we concluded a two-day Define session.

Today I received a lot of requests from the GBs who had formerly taken the class – “Hey I saw those green badge pulls, how come we didn’t get them and when can I get mine?!?!?” The badge pulls generated a lot of interest from everyone.

Certification pins – about $25 each. Colored badge pulls – about $1.20 each. Motivation, excitement, enthusiasm, feeling of being part of a special group…


About the Author