Our organization is starting to have a very constructive discussion about rewards and recognition for Black Belts. (Green Belts, hold on, you’re next.) We canvassed our current Black Belts and- as you might guess – the variation was wider than the mean!

Ideas started fromcertificates, pins, and belts… through public recognition at organization-wide events… through project bonuses… and ended up at preferential promotion after specified criteria were met and the person had been in the Black Belt role for a certain amount of time.

One individual felt that reporting to the hospital President was the most satisfying aspect of the job, while another said, essentially, “forget the trinkets, just give me project bonuses.”

Related to this discussion is the appropriate reward/recognition structure for Green Belts, other team participants, Process Owners, and Project Sponsors. We wonder whether there should be a series of certificates and pins, or should we use the belt structure (white, yellow, orange, etc.), or should we give gift certificates / tote bags / padfolios, and/or public recognition?

While we work to get to organizational consensus on these issues, I wonder whether any of you would like to share your thoughts on successful (or unsuccessful!) recognition programs for Lean Six Sigma project team members. Do we need to reward differently than we recognize? Or are these just two different aspects of the same issue?

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