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Within any industry, hospitality included, there is a little bit of self-selection involved in determining who should become a certified Black Belt or Green Belt – some interest is key. Aside from that I’ve seen wide variation in who was selected to become a certified hotel Black Belt. Any manager should be a candidate since they’ve worked with teams before, they have a sense of the overall process and possess some leadership skills. Implicit in this selection is the understanding that they would be leaving their position which must be backfilled since Black Belt is a full time job. Another tactic would be to select from below a manager level to take advantage of staff showing leadership promise.

In terms of the Green Belt certification, this would be critical to those Green Belts who were interested in progressing to the level of a full-time Black Belt. General Managers should be exposed to Lean Six Sigma in at least a 1- or 2- day overview course, so that they can properly support their Black Belts and Green Belts. All employees can benefit from some awareness workshops so they are prepared to assist the Black Belts and Green Belts in streamlining processes.

Elisabeth Swan

Elisabeth is a Managing Partner at, the co-author of The Problem-Solver’s Toolkit and co-host of the Just-in-Time Cafe. For over 25 years, she's helped leading organizations like Amazon, Charles Schwab and Starwood Hotels & Resorts build problem-solving muscles with Lean Six Sigma to achieve their goals.