Green Belt Sonic Boom

“We need to train as many Green Belts as fast as we can!” At first this sounds like the type of fast-track deployment that will get things moving. But training too many Green Belts too fast may fuel unnecessary resistance if not deployed properly. Listed below are a few things you may want to consider to prevent your “sounds good” idea from turning into a Green Belt “sonic boom.”

  1. Team resources (number and expertise) need to be available to support Green Belt projects and keep the business running. Green Belt trainees require projects and projects require team members. Launching too many projects in a functional area at the same time could create are source drain that may ultimately detract from the department’s ability to meet daily business needs. If this happens, employees will get frustrated about their work falling behind and will blame Six Sigma.
  2. Multiple Green Belt projects focused on the same core business process need to be coordinated and worked in the right order. A core business process may have dozens of sub-processes that need attention. The order and timing of projects related to these sub-processes must be carefully timed and coordinated which means that Green Belts who will be working on the various sub-processes should not go to training and complete their project at the same time. Having too many Green Belts working projects on sub-processes related to the same core process at the same time may create confusion and frustration because the inputs to each of their sub-processes are constantly being changed (by another GB project).
  3. “On-location” Green Belt training may initially sound like a good idea because itreduces the need for employee travel but it may also create the perfect environment for items 1 and 2 above.
  4. An adequate number of Master Black Belts and Black Belts need to be available to coach and mentor Green Belts. Without this support, even enthusiastic Green Belts may lose interest.

Fast-track enterprise-wide Green Belt training can provide a sound foundation for accelerating the integration of Six Sigma throughout the organization. Do it right and you will reap the benefits. Do it wrong, and your version of being in the “control phase” will mostly likely consist of ‘damage control.’

Comments 2

  1. Holly Hawkins

    Hi Gianna,
    Great points! One thing I would add is creating a “win-win” relationship between the organization and the employee is essential for Green Belt development. All too often because of a fast track or a quota, people are chosen for Green Belt roles before being asked if they would like the opportunity. Just because someone is a great employee does not necessarily mean they will be a great Green Belt.

    1. Make sure the Green Belt role is sold as an opportunity and not just a meeting a deliverable of the business plan. If someone feels they were chosen because they were wanted (and not forced or needed), it increases their sense of purpose and belonging within the company.
    2. Before you close the deal with the Green Belt, make sure he/she is an educated participant. That means providing an overview of what Six Sigma is. It also means having current/former Green Belts spend time with the individual, partly to provide real world testimony of what the role is like and partly for them to gauge if the employee is up for the role.
    3. Make sure you are clear with expectations. People don’t know what they don’t know. Make sure details such as time commitments, delivery value, role expectations after the trainings is completed, etc. are communicated both verbally and in writing. I have seen more than one Green Belt not make it through training with an excuse beginning with the phrase “I didn’t know…”.

  2. Six Sigma Belt

    Great posts. Our company took that approach, and trained as many as possible.

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