Honor Your Progress for Lean Six Sigma

Clients tell me that it's often hard to sustain the momentum of Six Sigma. When I ask what they've done to recognize and reward teams for success, they often hesitate and then mumble something about money.

We know that you get more of what you reward and we know from HR studies that lack of money is a de-motivator, not a motivator. So what can we do to reinforce Six Sigma behaviors?

To answer this question, I'd like you to think back on the times when you felt most recognized for your contributions. What did your leaders say or do that let you know that they fully understood your accomplishments?

One thing I've noticed, monetary rewards are soon spent and quickly forgotten, but something tangible often remains long afterward to remind employees of their contribution.

My last year at the phone company, I worked on a project that helped save millions of dollars. All of the team members and I were treated to an off-site retreat and we were each given a leather jacket from Warner Brothers that had all of the Looney Tunes characters on the back. And our team members were every bit as diverse as those characters, but we'd found a way to work together to achieve outrageous results.

I've also seen teams rewarded with popcorn or pizza parties, votive candles, and just plain time with the executive team to present their story.

I think the key is to find a unique way to recognize the team that reflects their sense of values and their contribution to the success of the business. It's like picking out a gift for a friend or family member; you don't want the same old thing everybody else has, you want something special that they will remember.

What are you doing to recognize and reinforce the spread of Six Sigma in your organization?

Rights to reprint this article in company periodicals is freely given with the inclusion of the following tag line: "© 2008 Jay Arthur, the KnowWare® Man, (888) 468-1537, support@qimacros.com."

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