What do the Six Sigma Belt Levels Mean?

user Andy Trainer



What do the Six Sigma Belt Levels Mean?

Green Belts and Black Belts? Similar to martial arts, Lean Six Sigma uses a coloured belt ranking terminology to define the level and function of Six Sigma practitioners.

But what do the levels mean?

In this guide I'm going to run through the Six Sigma belt levels to explain their role and function and how you can achieve each level.

This should help you when deciding what level of Lean Six Sigma Training different team members require to successfully run Lean Six Sigma projects.

To learn more about Six Sigma including the Belt levels, download our free eBook 'What is Six Sigma?'

Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt

Yellow Belts are team members on Six Sigma projects. They need to understand the key processes and some of the basic Lean Six Sigma tools to work on a project but not to the level of Green Belt.

We run a 2-day Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt course to enable Six Sigma team members to improve their understanding and awareness of Lean Six Sigma tools and processes.

Training team members to Yellow Belt level improves performance and reduces timescales on Six Sigma projects.

Lean Six Sigma Green Belt

Six Sigma Green Belts usually work on larger projects part-time as either a team member on complex projects (Black Belt projects) or project leader on simple projects (Green Belt projects). Successful Six Sigma organisations train the majority of their managers to Green Belt level.

On a complex Six Sigma project, Green Belts work under a Six Sigma Black Belt who operates as team leader.

Simpler projects may be lead by Six Sigma Green Belts and it is their responsibility to:

  • Create or refine a project charter
  • Discuss the project charter with the project champion
  • Select team members for the project
  • Liaise with the champion, master black belt, black belt, and process
  • Facilitate the team through all phases of the project
  • Schedule meetings
  • Coordinate logistics
  • Analyse data
  • Train team members

Lean Six Sigma Green Belt training is our most popular Six Sigma course and is an intensive 5-day hands-on workshop that gives Six Sigma team members the knowledge and tools to successfully work on and run Six Sigma projects to drive continuous improvement for their organisation.

Lean Six Sigma Black Belt

Six Sigma Black Belts lead complex problem-solving projects as a full-time change agent and leader. They are responsible for driving improvements across multiple Six Sigma projects.

Black Belts train and coach project teams made up of Green Belts and Yellow Belts and are mentored by a Master Black Belt.

Our Six Sigma Black Belt courses are taught by a Master Black Belt and use real project data to make sure that all delegates gain a comprehensive working understanding of the role of a Six Sigma Black Belt. We also offer Six Sigma Black Belt accreditation.

Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt

Six Sigma Master Black Belts take a leadership role in the Six Sigma process. They advise Senior Executives as well as oversee projects led by Six Sigma Black Belts and Green Belts. They act as mentors for Black Belts

To become a Master Black Belt takes years of education, practice, mentoring and project work.

A Six Sigma Master Black Belt will have proven success leading Six Sigma projects. It is preferable, although not always possible, for organisations to develop their own Master Black Belts.

Lean Six Sigma Champions and Executives

Senior executives are responsible for bringing their organisation into alignment and instigate the necessary changes for successful Six Sigma implementation. Executives include the CEO and top management at the organisation. 

Six Sigma projects are most successful when initiated from top management. Projects can be initiated at lower levels but may not show as many benefits or changes.

Six Sigma Champions are responsible for the implementation of Six Sigma across the organisation and they act as mentors to Black Belts.

Lean Six Sigma Champions and Executives require an understanding of the key concepts and methods of Lean Six Sigma to help guide the organisation but do not need to be trained to the level of Green Belt or Black Belt.

Successful Champions and Executives training results in a clear understanding of the roles, the benefits and challenges of implementing Lean Six Sigma, and the ability to align an organisation's strategic business objectives with the Lean Six Sigma management system.

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