Belt Mania

I’ve been having some conversations about belts with my colleagues. Officially, we have “Lean Green Belts” (learn Lean Six Sigma basics, facilitate Lean Kaizen events) and “Six Sigma Black Belts” (know both Lean & Six Sigma, facilitate Lean & Six Sigma projects, coach & mentor Green Belts).

We had “Yellow Belts” for a while – Six Sigma team members who received basic training to make them more effective in their team roles. We haven’t been using this designation for our Lean team members; they don’t receive any classroom instruction – only “on the gemba” training!

We’re throwing around someideas about whether we should change our approach. The discussion so far:

Adding color belts: Boy, it seems like everyone wants a belt so they will have a special designation of their own.We could add White Belt designation for team participants and then give them a Yellow Belt when they’ve completed 5 – or 10 – or whatever. We could add a Brown Belt designation for leaders who have passed a Lean Management course but don’t actually lead projects. Plenty of other colors left in the rainbow – we can even make up one of those neat laminated badges to wear behind our IDs to remind us of what color belt does what!

Changing criteria: Oh man, do we REALLY have to do projects in order to get Green Belt certification? Can’t I be a Black Belt while staying in my job role? There is a pretty constant push to revise our philosophy around these points. So far, we have stayed firm – Yes, and No.

Handpicked Content:   Six Sigma Proliferates CEO to CEO

Doing away with belts: What about guides, facilitators, change agents, change leaders, lean leaders, navigators, senseis, masters, etc.? We would keep the criteria – just rename everyone. My suggestion: Green Belts become Padawan Learners and Black Belts become Jedi Knights.

Sticking to just Green Belt and Black Belt: Well, it’s tried and true. Although we should always be open to new ideas, we’ve only been at this for three years, so maybe it’s too soon to be changing everything around? Let’s stay the course for a while longer.

Our organization hasn’t made any decisions to change – yet – but I thought I would write about this moment in our Lean Six Sigma journey to see if anyone else has had, or is having, similar discussions!

Would anyone like to share?

Comments 20

  1. Shaveta Datta

    I really appreciated yours point.

  2. laura

    I’ve just discovered this blog area and have been reading a few of the entries.

    I smiled when I read your Belt Mania – I’m still having the conversation "We should think about adopting Six Sigma…" to which everyone here has said "Six what…?" Encouraging, huh!

    I’m starting with my Green Belt and am most of the way though. Do I wish I had gone to Black Belt – yup, momentarily, but reality then kicks in. I seem to be the only person in this country (Kuwait) who has heard of Six Sigma, so I guess I have to start somewhere and there’s no Black Belts around to help me…

    I guess even Luke Skywalker had to spend sometime in the desert before he saved the world.

    So Green Belt, Black Belt, Jedi Knight…. its all one journey and I’ve taken the first step. May the force be with me (and keep me going, and keep me calm, and keep me repeating my Six Sigma mantra, and keep me customer focussed, and keep me sane!)

    Happy days

  3. Sue Kozlowski

    Thanks for writing, Shaveta and Laura. I was intrigued by Laura’s situation and hope that you can develop a network of fellow Lean Six Sigma professionals via the internet. Good luck to you in your endeavors!

  4. jyoti

    hi laura, my father is also in kuwait. hes given his green belt and is looking to get a black belt certification. i was actually doing some research fro him on the internet and that how i got your email address. email meand maybe i can give you his contact info.. thanks

  5. Salam Abdel-Khader

    Hello Sue,
    My name is Salam AK and been in Kuwait for 10 months working as a Black Belt.
    i’m not sure if i understand your article Belt Minia. i do not know if you are making fun of it or you do not beleive in it or what. Six Sigma Methodology is the only Methodology that stuck around through out the years. i’ve been certified Six Sigma Black Belt since 1999 from the USA and completed several successful projects with a huge cost savings to the companies that i’ve worked for.
    please contact me if you have any questions.

    Salam Khader
    Unit Head-Quality Assurance Department
    Six Sigma Black Belt

    Kharafi National
    P.O. Box: 24081 Safat-13101 Kuwait
    Tel.: +965.2259000/ ext: 2309
    Fax: +965.474.1804
    Mob: +965.934.4937
    Email: [email protected]

  6. Sue Kozlowski

    Hello Salam, thanks for reading my post. I was joking a little bit about the belt designations, with all respect to Mikel Harry and friends… Not everyone uses the belt-titles for their Lean or Six Sigma initiatives, and it was my intention to ask, in a humorous way, about other designations that companies are using for the same purposes.

    No need to defend Six Sigma as a methdology – I wouldn’t be an ASQ-certified Black Belt and the education coordinator for Lean Six Sigma at my organization if I did not "believe in it." Thanks again for your comment,
    –Sue K.

  7. Asmita

    You can do your black belt along with your job. Six sigma gives you a new prospective of looking at your analysis. you stop doing it is a common sensical way but now do it in a statistical manner by finding root causes and monitoring the end result.

  8. Salam Abdel-Khader

    hello Asmita, please allow me to make a little correction; it is very difficult to do your Black Belt along with your job. The fact is that a person suppose to do 80% – 100% Black Belt, other wise it will effect the end result or the time of completion the project.
    Salam AK

  9. Salam Abel-Khader

    hell Sue, i was enjoying all the comments above and liking the idea that

  10. Wessal

    I support Salam :) haha b7bak

  11. Girish

    Hi All

    I am Six Sigma Black Belt Trained from QAI, India. presently working in a Risk Consulting company in Kuwait.

    Wanted to create network of Black Belts and Six Sigma Professionals in Kuwait so as to share and dicuss latest updates and projects.

    Also am interested to do some BB project which would help me get certified. Pls contact me for any project . would like to do as a free lancer.


  12. Girish

    Hi all

    My email id is [email protected]

    Girish Iyer

  13. Salam Abdel-Khader

    Thank you Wessal.
    Dear Mr. Girish, I’ve only been in Kuwait for short a while and met few certified Green and Black Belts, unfortunately, they know the meaning of the methodology but did not implemented it on a real Six Sigma projects. I like the idea of creating a net work of Black Belts and 6 Sigma professionals in Kuwait as long as they have the real experience "hands on"

  14. Girish

    Hi Mr Salam

    Thanks for the revert. Creting network could facilitate discussion forums, sharing best practices of projects implemented in various industries and so on and any new developments in this feild.

    Hi All

    Interested guys , pls mail me your email addresses for the same.


  15. Salam Abdel-Khader

    Salam Khader
    Six Sigma Program Manager

    Kharafi National KSC (Closed)
    P.O. Box: 24081 Safat- 13101 Kuwait
    Tel.: +965.22259000/ ext: 2309
    Fax: +965.2474.1804
    Mob: +965.9934.4937
    Email: [email protected]

  16. A. Al

    Hello everyone!

    I’m a student at Kuwait University, Industrial Engineering Major, I’m also an officer in the Institute of Industrial Engineering – Kuwait Student Chapter – we would like to make a siminar or a short six sigma training course, just to introduce it to the students of our departments, since six sigma is highly related to Industrila Engineering, so please if anyone can help me with that, please inform me and I’ll send you my e-mail..

    Thanks a lot,

  17. salam AK

    hello A. Al
    you can call me

  18. salam Abdel-Khader

    hello A. Al
    you can call me and my address is shown above

  19. fahad

    hello salam

    I m interesting in studing lean and 6 segma and i prepare to do my master thesise in this field please if you know any company or factory in kuwait adopt these principles inform me because it will help me in my study

    thank you

    fahad from kuwait

Leave a Reply