Gregg Young
September 20, 2017

Six Sigma’s Biggest Secret: Why No One Has Ever Matched Motorola’s Results…

Screenshot 2017-09-20 20.00.45.png Six Sigma's Best-Kept Secret: Motorola & the Malcolm Baldrige Award

Six Sigma's Best-Kept Secret: Motorola & the Malcolm Baldrige Award

Motorola taught others their Strategy, but not the Tools they used to make that strategy effective. 

Motorola’s problem solving process was Convergent, using tools based on Sherlock Holmes’s logic – “Eliminate the impossible, and what remains must be the truth.” It began by observing an operation when it worked well, and when it failed. Motorola identified the consistent differences between success and failure (clues), and then it pursued these clues to converge on all the root causes of failure quickly and completely. Motorola consistently eliminated 90-100% of defects in just days to weeks. No one using Six Sigma has ever equaled these results. Why not? 

Download the Full White Paper: Six Sigma's Best-Kept Secret: Motorola & the Malcolm Baldrige Award

After Motorola received one of the initial Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards, it was required to share with other American organizations “information on their successful performance and quality strategies”. This requirement also continues with a caveat that explains why no one else has achieved Motorola’s level of success. It states, “However, recipients are not required to share proprietary information, even if such information was part of their award application.” Motorola treated its convergent tools as proprietary information. They were the basis of its competitive advantage, so it used this exception to advantage. Motorola taught its MAIC strategy, protected its convergent tools, and replaced them with slower, less effective, Divergent tools.

One of the best secrets of Lean SIx Sigma

Motorola began problem solving by observing consistent differences, and then pursuing these clues. However, it taught others to begin by forming a team that would create a list of all the possible causes they could imagine, which they would then check out one or a few at a time. This is like looking for a needle in a haystack by first adding more hay. Furthermore, the actual root cause is usually something no one has ever considered, so it isn’t even on the list. As a result, teams normally take months to find one root cause and achieve 20-50% defect reduction. They celebrate progress and move on rather than persevering through the still long list of possibilities to find more root causes. The simple change from convergence to divergence slowed everyone else’s search and assured they would only find partial solutions. 

So, what now? This paper tells this surprising story in detail. For those who are skeptical, it includes the documentation that proves the switch occurred. It also identifies exactly what tools were removed. Finally, it explains how to reintroduce the critical missing tools to any Six Sigma process so it becomes faster and more effective.

Six Sigma Case Study for Operational Excellence 


Six Sigma's Best-Kept Secret: Motorola & the Malcolm Baldrige Award

Gregg Young, CEO & Founder of Young Associates

Discover the secret OpEx tools Motorola chose not to share with their competition upon their reciept of the Malcolm Baldrige award in 1988.

Access the White Paper Now

The newest resource that teaches all the missing tools is Reasoning Backward: How Sherlock Holmes Can Make You a Better Problem Solver by this author. It also includes other best practice convergence tools for cycle time reduction and innovation. It is the newest edition of the books referenced in the attached article. To find out more about adding the convergence tools to any other system, you can contact Mr. Young at or by phone at (989) 492-2029.

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