Lean Six Sigma increases workforce flexibility and agility as it helps businesses improve their bottom line. In fact, according to the white paper, “The Lean Workforce: Applying Lean principles to improve workforce management,” a critical component of a successful program is having a “flexible, motivated workforce.” This requires you to understand what motivates your workforce and then to accurately measure those drivers.

In the Quality Digest article, “Creating a Six Sigma Workplace,” Tej Mariyappa writes about the CREATE principle for “driving a successful Six Sigma deployment.” The six factors he chooses – Commit, Reward, Evangelize, Aspire, Train, and Empower – clearly play a critical role in motivating employees.

Mariyappa’s recommendations include:

  • Commitment in terms of time, resources, and upper-management focused over a sustained period
  • A well-thought-out structure for rewards and incentives
  • Developing a concerted communication strategy and reinforcing key messages
  • Declaring to become the best in the industry
  • Developing strong training capabilities
  • Empowering employees to do what it takes to root out inefficiency and waste

The question then becomes how to measure these drivers accurately and efficiently to further employee motivation. The most time-honored method is by developing measurable objectives. 

The goal is where we want to be. The objectives are the steps needed to get there.


Measurable objectives are the specific measures used to determine whether you’re successful in achieving your goal. In other words, the objectives are your instructions on what you want to be able to do.

The best measurable objectives contain action verbs and specific conditions, such as how many, as well as criteria for measuring success. A complementary tool that many people use is the SMART goal – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely.

For instance, if your goal is to develop rewards and incentives, your objectives may include the definition, development, approval, and introduction of new reward and incentive programs. Naturally, your goals and objectives will contain more detail.

The whole idea is that to achieve Lean Six Sigma improvements it’s important to develop a flexible, motivated workforce. Without them there is no Lean Six Sigma program.

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