This article is an excerpt from Alan Greenspan’s latest book, “The Map and the Territory: Risk, Human Nature, and the Future of Forecasting”. As Lean Six Sigma professionals, we also...
We have studied the 7 wastes in the Toyota Production System (TPS). The 8th waste is the use of resources or Talent. This is described as the de-motivating of the workforce by not incorporating your team members in the input phases of the process or recognizing success. The famed management consultant Peter Drucker called this the knowledge worker and management’s responsibility to align the tasks with the resources. If performed properly, the knowledge workers will be more motivated to accomplish their tasks and the organization will produce profits.
As we search the organization for deficiencies in applying this concept, we can clearly recognize the issue with equal pay for women. There have been many studies to indicate the wage gap. The only issue is really by how much, demonstrated from 2% to 4% to over 20%. The “Lean In” book by Facebooks COO Sheryl Sandberg demonstrated the issue on a hiring experiment within Facebook. There is also a study performed by Harvard Business Review titled “Coaching the Alpha Male” in which the management style of women is more favorable to produce positive results in today’s business environment due to the emphasis on teams and collaboration. Then there are the cold number driving results. Over the past 25 years, women have outpaced men in earning college degrees by 60% to 40%. However, the top management and board positions held by women are 20% and 25% respectively. Why do we see such a large variance, 20% to 60%? This is not a Lean solution but more Six Sigma study. Another study performed by the American Association of University Women and National Partnership on Women and Families indicated as of 2013, women earned 74 cents compared to every dollar by a man, the wage gap disappears in 2086 for the state of Michigan, the disparity is greater in higher paying careers, and the average loss by women in their career is over $530,000.
As lean professionals, we are chartered to identify and eliminate waste when we can. To do my part, I identified several of my continuing educational professional having a difficult time finding work even after completing classes. After placing the individuals on a spreadsheet, I realized that the segment having the trouble were women transitioning from a non-manufacturing to a manufacturing environment. The group of nine women were contacted and asked to participate in a women’s forum to discuss their issues regarding employment. During this Lean ‘Huddle’, we identified the gaps needed for employment and met the following week in a Kaizen blitz to improve each professional’s resume, LinkedIn profile, and elevator speech. This was all completed in one session with industry experts for each area. The results were impressive with seven of the nine women receiving job offers within 30 days and all nine receiving job offers within 60 days.
The conclusion from this exercise is that the elimination of the 8 wastes is a great foundation for any professional to utilize in any situation. By using the lean tools, we can accomplish many things and in a quick manner. The response received from our knowledge workers (customers) was HOPE. This change of attitude and understanding of the Lean principles really showed me that Lean is more than just the metrics but people too.
Gary Kapanowski – Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt – Excelsior
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