Reward System for Six Sigma Black Belts & Master Black Belts

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As a manager, I wonder what are the best methods for rewarding the Black Belts and Master Black Belts for their efforts in contributing to the bottom line savings for an organization? If you are a Black Belt or Master Black Belt, how does your organization reward you? What are the positives and negatives? If you had to design a reward system, how would it look like?


I am the Black Belt working in Brazil. In our case, we negociated a Goal and the Reward with my Champion. So my reward will be % of goal achieved.


I agree with Kevin. Odds are, if you are an employee of the company they paid for your training, in which case that is your reward.

If you are a consultant then your reward, if you should choose to call it that, should be figured into your quote.

In no case should anyone be paid a reward for something they were hired to do at an agreed upon price or wage.

Al Dyer

To Sam & Kevin,


We are hired and paid to do a job. If a company sends me to training, am I required to return the training money and knowledge if I quit? I think not.



You are faced with a fundmental choice in a reward system, reward effort or results. Rewarding results will motivate associates to pursue the easiest/largest improvements first. Rewarding effort will encourage attacks on sacred cows and cultural changes that can be intimidating.
Best systems attempt to balance and encourage both at the same time. That is going to mean human judgement rather than a convenient algorithm. If you only reward total lumber cut, the lumberjacks are not going to venture into forests of oak trees heavily guarded by hostiles. If you only reward total buckets of sweat, your lumberjacks will use handsaws rather than chainsaws.

Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
My contention is that rewards aren't necessary and in fact, replace motivation with movement (external in nature as with paying a bonus). Replacing Motivation with Movement is in fact, a step in the wrong direction. Reward based programs destroy intrinsic motivation.

Now many will argue that rewards are necessary compensation for mundane work, or as with the example above, where personal risk is high. I am not convinced that this is the case.



Ken K.

I tend to prefer celebration and "public" recognition for job well done - such as acheiving BB recognition. Its a lot more fun and the tax man doesn't get his slice of the pie.


Can any one spare a minute to explain to this 'beginner' what is a black/green/etc belter?


Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!

The creators of the Six Sigma method were involved in the martial arts. Mikel Harry decided to create degrees of knowledge and application using the same labels as found in the martial arts. Green belt - novice, Black Belt - master of sorts.


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