Black Belt

Within the context of Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma, the term ‘Black Belt’ refers to one of the roles within a (Lean) Six Sigma organization. This role implies extensive training and experience in the application of (Lean) Six Sigma. Black Belts are full-time (Lean) Six Sigma practitioners whose projects and activities span across the entirety of their organization.

The term ‘Black Belt’ originates from the earliest Motorola days of Six Sigma. This terminology is based on the belt ranking system from traditional martial arts. However, in comparison to martial arts, the (Lean) Six Sigma Belts are not just ranks, but also roles, each coming with specific tasks and responsibilities within the (Lean) Six Sigma organization.

A Black Belt is expected to be able to identify and quantify opportunities for improvement within the organization. They need to be able to lead both small and large scale (Lean) Six Sigma projects. They should be able to organize multidisciplinary teams and manage improvement projects on a fulltime basis. Most of the time they do not have to be directly involved in the daily activities. Black Belts should be able to coach, train and mentor Green Belts in (Lean) Six Sigma methods and tools.

Black Belts must be able to participate in tollgate reviews regarding (Lean) Six Sigma projects. In their participation their emphasis should lie on the reviewing of the accomplishments to date.

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