Welcome to June 2013 edition of Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs.
We begin our present edition with articles relating to Measurement of Performance.
The first article that we pick up has the message of eternal optimistic realism, so essential a trait that every quality person (or any person with a Quality Attitude) ought to ingrain –
“To fall into truth, then, the illusion must be torn away from us.
But without the tearing away, without the losing of everything, we can never know that we had everything to begin with. We can never know that it is our spirit that is the core of who we are, and that nothing can ever tarnish it.”
If nothing else: if you just allow yourself to endure the night, this courageous act of resilience will be rewarded with wisdom, strength, and clarity of purpose when the dawn arrives. (A dawn that may arrive, sooner than you think it would.)
The articles that we have in this edition pose interesting questions; provide a fresh insight, and in turn lead our focus to the underlying fundamental issues.
The distinction between quantitative and qualitative measures is often misunderstood. Technically, every measure is quantitative.
In the field of statistics, we distinguish variables as qualitative (or attribute) when those variables are not gauging an amount but rather are simply putting things into buckets. Qualitative variables aren’t performance measures. But they are used to help us analyse our measures.
In the field of statistics, we distinguish two types of quantitative variables: continuous and discrete.
Michael Raynor and Mumtaz Ahmed went looking for those companies that were good enough for long enough to be considered exceptional and to rule out luck as the primary source of their performance. What they found they have presented in The Three Rules: How Exceptional Companies Think.
- Better Before Cheaper - Greater non-price value rather than by lower price.
- Revenue Before Cost. – Outperforming through higher revenue rather than lower costs.
- There Are No Other Rules - Whatever competitive or environmental changes or challenges you might face, do not give up on the first two rules.
The Toughest Things to Measure by Stacey Barr
“‘Employee Morale, Quality of life, strength of customer relationship, business reputation’ are the items found in the list of “the toughest things to measure in business”.
“The problem is not one of measurement, but one of articulation of the results we want to improve or achieve or create. When you can evidence something, you can measure it.”
Online debate rages about whether potatoes and onions should be stored together, with the “no” side saying they both give off gases that accelerate spoilage, and the “yes” followers asserting that it makes no difference. Whether you agree or disagree, you can follow the underlying concept: some things do need to be separated in order to perform at their best. (Hence the practice of assigning twins to separate classrooms, perhaps.)
We have an interesting article that looks at Performance Measurement form a fresh, fundamental angle, linking the process to the human angle -
What happened to belief that safety is “everyone’s responsibility?” – by Jonathan Jacobi
I believe “safety is everyone’s responsibility.” That being said, I have seen “everyone’s responsibility” become no one’s responsibility when the buck gets passed. This is exactly why defined accountabilities and measures of effectiveness are required elements of leading program management standards like ANSI Z10 and OHSAS 18001.
With responsibilities clearly identified and properly distributed, we can assure and not just pay lip service to the adage that “safety is everyone’s responsibility.” What’s more, by measuring and rewarding success based on leading indicators, rather than just pinning prevention failures on scapegoats, we can help to establish a more positive, proactive safety culture.
And Leadership Thought #436 – Are You Aligned With Your Values And Priorities? By E D Robinson, also provides an excellent insight to the subject.
I’ve often heard it said that if you want to know what a person truly values, pay attention to what they do, not what they say. Actions do speak louder than words.
I encourage you to step back and reflect on where you are at this point in your life. Are you aligned with your values and priorities? Are you moving towards or away from the person you truly want to be? It’s never too late to make positive changes.
Peter Drucker (borrowing from Marshall McLuhan) wrote that “neither technology nor people determine the other, but each shapes the other.” My own view is similar—that success stems from having the right people and the right processes in place.
The key to leadership is to create an environment whereby people do the best they can because they want to do it. When employees know it is clearly in their best interest to give their maximum discretionary effort to the organization, managers don’t have to crack the whip as often. Imagine working in an environment where people do the right things not because they are expected, but because it is in their best interest. In that atmosphere, holding people accountable would nearly always be a positive occurrence rather than negative. How refreshing!
With profitability returning to some geographies and sectors, we see signs that bonuses will be making a comeback: for instance, 28 percent of our survey respondents say that their companies plan to reintroduce financial incentives in the coming year. While such rewards certainly have an important role to play, business leaders would do well to consider the lessons of the crisis and think broadly about the best ways to engage and inspire employees. A talent strategy that emphasizes the frequent use of the right non-financial motivators would benefit most companies in bleak times and fair. By acting now, they could exit the downturn stronger than they entered it.
EVERY COMPANY NEEDS PEOPLE WHO CAN REGULARLY FAIL – Les Hayman’s Blog
“I find that most companies also tend to reward those who protect the status quo rather than those who want to experiment with change, thereby creating a culture where any failure is a serious career limiter. This will then ensure that people become strongly risk averse and will then only do what has been done before (see “If you always do what you have always done” posted April 29, 2013). Building a culture that is risk averse means that managers will tend to recruit and/or promote only those people that fit the existing mould and who will be unlikely to test the existing boundaries. This protection of “the way we do things around here” will start on day one with the induction of new employees, to put into them the fear of being or thinking differently.”
Even as the title of the article does talk about the Process of Change, the underlying principles are as universal for Measurement of Performance, since change, necessarily, follows the measurement –
Here are six simple questions to help any organization
1. How can we best make sense of the challenges we are facing? (what tools or methods may give us better results)\
2. How can we best decide on what to do together? (same)
3. Who can we learn from, and how can we best adapt new knowledge to our own challenges? (same)
4. How can we best explore promising options and ideas for improvement? (same)
5. How will we sustain everyone’s commitment to improvement?
6. How will we assure that we are achieving results that are not only “better, faster, and cheaper,” but also “happier and more satisfying” for our employees, customers, and stakeholders alike?
Joni Doolin of People Report/Black Box Intelligence make an important distinction that clarified the upside of change: change is passive, but transformation presents an opportunity for you to play an active role and create a better future.
Change is like a high wind on a mountain. It is unpredictable and inevitable, and often comes on without much warning. Commitment to a clearly articulated purpose and strong brand stakeholder alignment are like the gear and protection an experienced hiker always has on hand. So, yes, change happens – but that shouldn’t stop you from summiting the highest of mountains.
Before we turn on other topics, we take look at another timeless classic – “Toyota Way” in Book Review: Toyota Way to Continuous Improvement by Tim McMahon
Building upon Jeffrey Liker’s international bestselling Toyota Way series of books, The Toyota Way to Continuous Improvement looks critically at lean deployments and identifies the root causes of why most of them fail.
The book is organized into three major sections outlining:
- Why it is critical to go beyond implementing lean tools and, instead, build a culture of continuous improvement that connects operational excellence to business strategy
- Case studies from seven unique industries written from the perspective of the sensei (teacher) who led the lean transformation
- Lessons about transforming your own vision of an ideal organization into reality
And, we have a gem of a communication tip in -
Pause for Effectiveness: 9 Powerful Times to Pause – Karin Hurt
A pause gives you time to think and helps calm the emotions. Pregnant pauses give birth to vibrant ideas.
Finally, before we take up two more topic categories as regular features in this Blog Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs, we take look at the article that has acted as catalyst for this action –
This month Paul has asked two very fundamental questions. If answered and acted upon, they could change the course of quality. Read his blog here. His questions are:
What is the most important challenge the quality community faces in ensuring that the value of quality is fully realized for the benefit of society?
And, what question does the quality community most need answered in order to advance the state of quality practice in the world?
Shri Anshuman Tiwari is one of the leading ASQ Influential Voices. “ASQ’s Influential Voices are quality professionals and online influencers who raise the voice of quality on their personal blogs. Based around the world, the Influential Voices are passionate about improvement and other key issues in the quality community. They represent countries such as India, Ecuador, China, Malaysia, Australia, and the United States, and comprise a wide range of industries.” From the next edition of the Blog Carnival, we shall, briefly, introduce ourselves to, at least, one such professional’s online “influence” contribution(s).
We shall also enlist the videos placed on ASQ TV during the previous period of the blog carnival.
Here are some very interesting videos, to begin with:
We shall also make the monthly round up on ASQ our regular feature to end our Blog Carnival edition. For the present we have May Roundup: Deming, Management & More
to accompany our constant companion,
I eagerly look forward to our exciting Blog Carnival Journey together….
- Accountability is the Willingness to Have Your Performance Measured (leadingstrategicinitiatives.com)