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Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and COVID – Choose to Rise or Crumble...

Who’s in the mood to take control? To see some real happy and positive outcomes? To make great decisions based on real facts and data? Then buckle up and fasten your Green Belt!

Your organization is no different than any other organism. Just like our bodies, organizations have something like an immune system. That is, a network of actions that defend the organization against bad stuff. Some of us have strong immune systems and some don’t. The good news is, for those who don't, there’s Lean Six Sigma to build a great system!


Even in the best of times, organizations are constantly faced with changes and challenges that require sharpened skills to quickly identify and then solve problems. For most of us, these past couple years have brought a whole lot of unwanted and unpleasant challenges. More than ever, we are faced with broken business models, unpredictability of human resources, core functions, supply chain, costs, and customers, just to name a few. These types of challenges have always been around, just not in such a global and pervasive degree as with the recent Covid-19 Pandemic. Having the agility to handle these challenges swiftly and elegantly is exactly why Continuous Improvement or Lean Six Sigma came to be!




Implementing Lean Six Sigma in an organization means that the organization has decided to become more resilient, strong, and agile. They have taken action to rise and not to crumble! Unlike many people whose instincts are to lay low and play it safe during difficult times, a Lean Six Sigma organization will see the opportunities to get stronger when confronted with challenges.


To create a culture of Continuous Improvement and organizational resilience, an organization will commit to creating competence at different levels and then allowing the time and space for its people to learn, practice and put that competence to work. The entire workforce will have a shared vision of becoming a learning organization. They will share the language and will recognize the foundational principles and will participate in the excitement and energy of a better future. That’s what White Belt does. It’s fast and easy and extremely important first step.


The next step is Yellow Belt where the people on the front line learn critical daily problem-solving skills. This is where most problems get their start and with good Yellow Belts, they can come to a quick end. A good estimate is that 25% of the organization should be Yellow Belt Certified.


With the Yellow Belts handling the problems at the source, the really stubborn or complicated issues can be escalated to a smaller and more specialized group of Lean Six Sigma professionals, the Green Belts. Although Green Belts typically comprise ~5% of an organization, they are mighty. A disrupted Supply Chain, deteriorating quality issues, runaway expenses, dwindling profits, employee disengagement, sluggish operations, getting products quickly to market, customer satisfaction, interactions between departments are all stubborn issues that will be resolved by competent Green Belts.


And the more your Green Belts get to tackle projects, the stronger they (and your organization’s immune system) get! The human immune system keeps track of every little germ that it has ever defeated. And it recognizes and destroys that microbe if it ever enters the body again. That’s our Green Belts…and damn they’re good!

When we combine these different levels of skills – White, Yellow, Green, Blue (Sponsor/Champion), Purple (Change Leaders), Black (Advanced), Red/Black (Master)any organization will have what it takes to rise from the ashes or better yet, avoid the ashes all together!



We are coming fresh out of a time that was all about expanded possibilities and endless limits. And who knows, we may be entering a new time that will be defined by constraints and restrictions. Either way, having the skills to recognize problems and opportunities and then to change things for the better will never go out of style.


This month we are featuring our Green Belts. They may or may not wear masks and capes, but they are superheroes, if we give them the opportunity.