Gary Kapanowski:  Pay Raises for Women, What’s taking so long?

Breaking down the walls takes time, but a good twitter backlash can expedite the process.  The comments from Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella displayed everything that fosters stagnation.  By emphasizing the stereotypes for women workers, we ignore the facts.  For Lean Six Sigma practitioners, this is one area we must champion for two reasons.  The first is to eliminate Muda (7 Wastes +1 resource).  It’s our responsibility to match tasks and resources, avoiding this produce wastes in the organization.  By not offering equal pay for tasks throughout the organization, organizations will experience all the symptoms that prevent continuous improvement for a Lean Six Sigma organization.  This will show in the lower metric results from the 14 steps of the Toyota production system and other metrics when compared to the best-in-class organizations.  Currently, this is slightly improving as LinkedIn confirmed that women who asked for pay raises in 2014 experienced a small increase from the previous year.

The second is to understand the measurement system.  The genders have different views of career satisfaction and what is defined as success.  Men rate salary as the top priority while women combine salary with “doing what I love,” and “being challenged” as equally important.  Another interesting fact was that women didn’t rate being the boss or CEO as important as men citing the family-work trade off.  This data does appear to be supporting the fact that only 4% of CEO positions in Fortune 1,000 companies are held by women, versus 1.4% a decade ago, and 17% of Fortune 500 board seats are occupied by women, up from about 14% a decade ago.  Even with the increase, the overall numbers do not represent the workplace profile.

LEAN SIX SIGMA TEACHING POINT:  This has the look Black Belt project.  The overall business case can be seen in the headlines, but in the Define stage of DMAIC is where you will experience the true nature of the issue.  Using DMAIC methodology for Black Belt projects, the critical deliverable is to establishing your goal and identifying the problem statement.  We will need to describe the objective to our sponsor along with our other team members to establish and maintain the project’s focus.  Items to consider when defining the project’s objective and problem statement for this project:

  • The problem exists
  • Identify the Muda (7 Wastes +1: Resources / Employee Creativity)
    • Properly utilizing resources will produce employee creativity
    • Symptoms of underutilization of resources and employee creativity
      • Underpay
      • Low morale
      • Low creativity
  • Review where the Toyota Production System – The Toyota Way is not being followed
    • Grow your own leaders
    • Develop Teams
      • Properly match employee skills-to-tasks
      • Understand this is not a zero-sum game
        • Employees leave the labor market
        • Business cycles may not produce winners
        • Employee have individual goals – life, entrepreneurship, consulting
  • Ask the question: Is Peter Drucker’s definition of the knowledge worker being utilized throughout the organization? Why not?
    • True asset of the organization
    • Foundation for creativity
    • The stronger the base or foundation, the more likelihood of the organization reaching its established goals


Article Link:

Gary Kapanowski – Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt – Excelsior

The following blog is the opinion of Gary Kapanowski and  Contact him directly at  It is the sole intent to broadcast this opinion from Gary Kapanowski and exclusively and not to reflect on any other institutions or organizations associated with Gary Kapanowski or

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