Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs – December 2013

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Welcome to December 2013 edition of Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs.

For the current edition, we have captured more than the usually presented quantum of information from the selected articles.

We have also experimented with the presentation format. Each of the article title appears with its hyperlink to the original article as a bullet point, followed by key idea of the article. My interventions are in italics in verdana fonts.

Firstly, let us look at ISO’s definition of quality and risk.

- Quality is the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfils requirements (ISO 9001).

- Risk is effect of uncertainty on objectives (ISO 31000).

We even could define an objective as a requirement for a specific characteristic, so as to integrate quality and risk management.
(For more information and study, do visit) Reference

- ICH (2005). Harmonised tripartite guideline quality risk management. Current step 4, 9 November 2005. Website:  http://www.ich.org/fileadmin/Public_Web_Site/ICH_Products/Guidelines/Quality/Q9/Step4/Q9_Guideline.pdf

- Popescu, Maria; Dascslu, Adina (2011). Considerations on Integrating Risk and Quality Management. Annals of “Dunarea de Jos” University of Galati. Years XVII-no 1/2011. Website: http://www.ann.ugal.ro/eco/Doc20011_1/PopescuM_DascaluM.pdf

- Van Nederpelt, Peter (2012). Object-oriented quality and riks management. New York/Alphen aan den Rijn: Lulu Press/Microdata. Website: http://www.oqrm.org/English

One of the marks of great leaders is that they ask great questions.  How did they learn those great questions and where could you learn some to ask?
Five great questionsMike Rother, at University of Michigan, has pulled together a set of five very useful questions that prove remarkably effective at helping organizations improve.  They are:

  1. What is the target condition?
  2. What is the current condition?
  3. What are the obstacles, and which ONE are we working on now?
  4. What is the next step / experiment we can do to deal with that obstacle and what do we expect? And
  5. How soon can we go and see what we have learned from that step?

Transparency is a key factor in sustaining trust in high-performing organizations. And that, in turn, helps drive innovation.

In a recent study at a manufacturing company, for example, my lab found that organizational trust had a positive association with closeness among employees. And we found that those in the top quartile of colleague closeness were 22% better at solving a difficult problem with others. They also enjoyed working on this problem 10% more than those in the lowest quartile of closeness.

The lesson: People innovate better as a group, and when they trust those in the group, creativity emerges. As Peter Drucker wrote, “Teams are based on mutual trust and mutual understanding.”

Fostering such a culture is a great way to help any organization fly high.

For many, quality suggests the superiority of design, materials, or workmanship in a product or service. You may think of high-end brands like Mercedes, Gucci, or even Apple. However, “quality” is vital to every business, even if the target customer is at the low-end or mass market.
Seven principles that provide a foundation for improving the quality:

  1. You can and must manage quality
  2. Processes, not the people, are usually the problem
  3. Find and fix the root cause of the problem.
  4. Quality must be measured
  5. Strive for continuous quality improvement
  6. Every person is responsible for quality
  7. Quality is a long term investment

Have you ever noticed how asking for feedback sometimes invites frivolous, nonsensical, and insignificant information?
A request for feedback is not an envelope that must be filled with something/anything just  to get it off your desk. A request for feedback is:

  • An invitation to engage in an important dialogue… one that you can decline if you’re not available or have nothing to offer.
  • A sacred trust… an opening from someone who values your opinion and is making him/herself vulnerable in the process.
  • A moment in time when you can make a significant difference – to a person, process, or project.

The opportunity to offer feedback in support of others is serious business. So to make sure that your feedback is focused rather than frivolous, ask yourself the following questions.
- How hard am I having to work to come up with an answer?
- How important is it?
- How much am I willing to invest in helping the person address it?
Feedback requests aren’t obligations that require you to go through the motions and check the boxes. They are an honor bestowed upon you by someone who believes that you have something to offer.

We had taken a brief look at World Quality Month in our November 2013 edition. In the present edition we will take a detailed look.

The purpose of World Quality Month is to promote the use of quality tools in businesses and communities. Quality tools, such as flowcharts and checklists, reduce mistakes and help produce superior products. Quality principles could reduce headline-making errors, like food safety, toy recalls, and financial disruptions. World Quality Month calls on people who use quality tools to share their knowledge by submitting their stories to illustrate the value of quality principles. Success Stories is about learning how and sharing your story about the use of quality to make the world more efficient and profitable, whether on job or on or in the community. Knowledge Resources has collected popular videos, research articles and blogs about quality from around the world, to help the spread the word about the quality. Quality Events lists events happening over the world.

The Chartered Quality Institute has presented 10 of the best World Quality Day events.

  • We now take a look at BMJ Quality Blog and recent posts on the blog to capture the opportunity, for a closer look at the way medical fraternity views the quality:
  1. Coordinated Care and a Hundred Reasons to Be Cheerful /
  2. How to run a Quality Improvement Project (whilst working full time as a junior doctor) /
  3. Quality Improvement: Making the leap /
  4. BMJ Quality Improvement Reports: This is just the beginning… /
  5. Compassionate Care – Whose Job is it Anyway?

We would now take up our regular subjects. We begin with a visit to a Quality Institution.

  • The Chartered Quality Institute  is the chartered body for quality management professionals. Established in 1919, it gained a Royal Charter in 2006 and became the CQI shortly afterwards.

The philosophy that came with the new name was simple… ‘through innovation and care we create quality’. This is something that we now base all our activity on and will continue to do so.

The article refers to retirement of Sachin Tendulkar from his last leg of active cricket career.
His greatest legacy lies in the long line of batsmen dedicated to following his example and countless others aspiring to follow in his footsteps.
Coinciding with the anniversary of World Quality Day, when busy minds have a chance to reflect on past achievements and future trends in quality, what better time to reflect on our quality legacy? By “our” I mean not just that of our organisations, but our personal legacy.

We agree(d) that, in the spirit of World Quality Day this year, we would each undertake to make time for the people around us – customers, colleagues, suppliers – and yes, even our families, to better understand problems and perhaps identify some opportunities for innovation and change.

  • Whilst on the subject of expanding the ambit of Quality to every other sphere of our activities, October (2013) Roundup @ A View from the Q, presents a wide spectrum of views by ASQ’s Influential Voices bloggers.

Quality can and should be used outside the traditional manufacturing sector. That’s not news to anyone who works in quality and has seen how the field has expanded beyond its industrial quality control roots. Yet the expansion of quality is not without its challenges or some disagreement as to how quality techniques can be incorporated “outside quality”.

Learn why ISO 9001:2008, one of the world’s best known standards, is being revised. Then hear about the how and why of auditing standards. Plus, tips for auditors to help them prepare. For the full interview with Auditing expert and ASQ fellow Dennis Arter, visit The How and Why of Auditing for the tips and advice for auditors and auditees.

Edwin GarroEdwin Garro is an industrial engineer and entrepreneur from Costa Rica. He is the CEO of PXS Performance Excellence Solutions, the training and consulting firm focused on organizational excellence. He is also involved in several startups. He blogs about all aspects of excellence in Spanish on PXS Global.  Visit Edwin’s Blog ›› PXS Solutions Performance Excellence.

His site contains a page on Resources, covering topics like, INNOVATION | CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT | FINANCIAL ITEMS | OTHER ARTICLES AND LINKS OF INTEREST.

To all the readers of Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs, I wish a great ending of 2013 and a very happy, momentous, “quality” 2014………

Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs – June 2013

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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 –

You Will Recover From This. – By Ollin Morales

“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.

Quantitative Versus Qualitative KPIs - By Stacey Barr

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.

Three Rules to Deliver the Best Possible Performance for as Long as Possible

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.

  1. Better Before Cheaper - Greater non-price value rather than by lower price.
  2. Revenue Before Cost. – Outperforming through higher revenue rather than lower costs.
  3. 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.”

Separate your charting and data analysis tools from your enterprise tools by Steve Daum

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.

People or Process? Paul Zak, the director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont Graduate University and the author of The Moral Molecule.

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.

8 “Be-Attitudes” of Holding People Accountable by Robert Whipple

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!

Motivating people: Getting beyond money

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 FAILLes 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 –

Six Simple Questions: A framework for change
In my work with organizations, I’m always trying to find simple questions that generate complex patterns of dialogue and shared learning.

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?

change happens by denise lee yohn

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:

  1. 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
  2. Case studies from seven unique industries written from the perspective of the sensei (teacher) who led the lean transformation
  3. 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 –

Maintaining ‘Continued Relevance’ of QualityAnshuman Tiwari

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:

Episode 1: The Customer Experience
Episode 2: Culture of Quality
Episode 3: Recalls and Quality
Episode 4: Supply Chains

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,

Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog Carnival #194

I eagerly look forward to our exciting Blog Carnival Journey together….

Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs – May 2013

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Welcome to May 2013 edition of Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs.

We would continue with our practice of putting across the excerpts from the respective post / article without any editorial intervention, so as to get the intent of the article without any dilution.

Let us open the account with some basics

New Website for The W. Edwards Deming Institute

“Some of my favourite content on the new site include the articles, photos, videos, timeline and short descriptions of some of Dr. Deming’s most famous ideas.”

Having a National Quality Award is Only Part of Sustainable Success

So why aren’t their more repeat winners?  Some theories:

For small businesses – the cost is a barrier though some state programs are starting to overcome this issue.

Changes in leadership – all quality award programs require FULL management support and MBNQA is no exception.  The leader who shepherds the organization to winning the MBNQA often does not stick around for another round.  The question becomes for the new leader, what is the ROI for being an award winner and does it generate significant revenue to continue supporting the program?

Economic Conditions – This theory particularly impact non-profit and governmental winners in that these organizations often are not revenue generators.  Budgetary efficiency is a prime driver and the same management questions above are often asked here as well.

MBNQA as a “bolt-on” – This theory is my pet peeve because we really have not addressed the essence of quality programs.  Quality works best when it involves organizational integration.  Usually, a small group is involved in developing the award packets.  “It’s their job to do MBNQA.”   This leads us down the path of “real” ROI to doing MBNQA and it opens itself up for immediate cuts in poor economic situations.

I would contend that a better guideline for a national quality award should be Deming’s 14 Points rather than the MBNQA criteria.

Quality: Ownership and Getting Better  – @ Tanmay

     Quality you deliver has everything to do with how much you own your work. Your work carries your fingerprints. It tells a story about you.

On a long run, compromising on quality of your work because of the external factors and not growing through your work can be both painful and costly!

A Culture of Quality from ASQ TV

Organizations do not survive on good products and services alone. Brien Palmer, author of Making Change Work, relates the importance of a culture of quality for any organization.

Michelin’s Obsession with Quality – To North American company president, Pete Selleck, manufacturing the ‘Michelin way’ means making quality king.  – Travis Hessman | IndustryWeek

“This is proof that process control in our industry is key,” Selleck said. “We all use the same equipment to make tire, so we know it’s not the equipment that makes the difference. It’s the interface between the equipment, the material and the person—the training and the qualification of the person—that makes the difference.”

“Respect for People” and “The Design of the System”Larry Miller

Michel Baudin, a fellow blogger and author, posted a video link of a panel discussion that included Jeffrey Liker (The Toyota Way, Toyota Leadership) in which British consultant John Seddon makes the comment that “This respect for people stuff is horse shit.” Seddon argues that, what leads to improvement is the system and not an intervention to respect or deal better with the people.

On Michel’s blog there then followed what I think was an interesting exchange on the subject between Michel, Mark Graban and myself.

You can find the entire 45 minute panel discussion here: http://vimeo.com/42297077. It is a worthwhile discussion about lean, standard work and the nature of the system.

Respect for people is the result, not only of personal patterns of communication, but also the result of the nature of the system.

Here are just a few ways you can design into your organization’s system respect for people.

  1. On-Boarding Respect – How you bring people, particularly managers, into your organization can set the pattern for the rest of their career with your company.
  2. Leader Standard Work at Gemba – Leaders at every level should spend some time at the front-line, where the work is done.  If, on the other hand, he is scanning the environment for “how can I help them and what can I learn from them?” he is demonstrating respect. Leader standard work should be reviewed at the next level, and the next.
  3. Design Decision Making for Respect
  4. Encourage Experimentation and Improvement – Most continuous improvement, and it is the intention of the PDCA cycle, is simply to cause people to think and to try some possible improvement. There should be no fear in experimenting and failing. That is inherent in the learning process. If you encourage and reward experimentation, you are demonstrating respect for people.

Committing to a cycle of honest communication – Seth Godin

The inability to say the thing that will make everything better (because of fear of shifting the status quo) is a project killer.

The Best Decision You’ll Make Today: Read This Post

Peter Drucker studied decision-making closely and wrote a lot about it, breaking down the process into a series of seven steps. They include:

  • Determine whether a decision is even necessary.
  • Classify the problem. Is it common or unique?
  • Define the problem. What is this situation really all about?
  • Decide on what is right. That is, make the right kind of compromise.
  • Get others to buy the decision.
  • Convert the decision into action—that is, make it somebody’s work assignment and responsibility.

When it came to helping people see if they’d made wrong decisions, however, Drucker advocated a quite straightforward approach. It’s embodied in the seventh of his seven steps: Test the decision against actual results.

“Systematic decision review” was Drucker’s term for it.  “Checking the results of a decision against its expectation shows executives what their strengths are, where they need to improve and where they lack knowledge or information,” Drucker wrote in a 2004 essay for Harvard Business Review. “It shows them their biases.”

How a Manufacturer Improved Communication in Every Department 

How did Nation Pizza and Foods increase efficiency by more than 10%? Take one 190,000 square foot facility, six high-speed lines, over 600 employees and add downtime into the mix, and you have a recipe for improving efficiency. In this free white paper, get the inside story on what this award-winning food products manufacturer did to slice downtime, speed up response time, enhance safety and improve communication in every department — in and outside the plant.  Click here to download.

And, now, a couple of articles on the timeless subject of Qualities of a Leader:

Do You Have a Bad Boss?

The top ten qualities that make a good boss:

  1. Communicates with their boss.
  2. Prevents problems before they occur.
  3. Matches employee skills to the job.
  4. Deals with bad employees.
  5. Shows respect and values every employee.
  6. Focuses on getting the job done and not the time clock.
  7. Is consistent, predictable, and tells the truth.
  8. Communicates with their employees, often.
  9. Coaches and trains others.
  10. Praises employees and rewards good work.

Ariens: Seven Skills of a Lean Leader .- Jill Jusko | IndustryWeek
Ariens CEO outlines qualities needed to sustain the lean journey

1. Servant Leader – A coach and a player

2. Relentless Change – “The journey never ends, and we must be learning forever,

      3.  The Disciplined Chaos – the ability to recognize where you want to go and remain focused on that goal without letting chaos throw you off.

      4. The Benevolent Dictator – dictates of benevolence

  • Be honest.
  • Be fair.
  • Keep our commitments.
  • Respect the individual.
  • Encourage intellectual curiosity.

     5.  Fearless Anxiety -   See challenges as speed bumps

     6.  Cultural Revolution -Ariens described a company’s core values as its “cement.” The revolution is what “goes on above, and the cement allows that to happen.”

     7.  Confident Humility – knowing we will be OK without being complacent

The journey is the destination. When we realize that, that’s when we know we have arrived.”

On that note, we change tracks to the subject of Continual Improvement:

Not every improvement has to be a breakthrough by JAMIE FLINCHBAUGH

Sometimes the best way to maximize Return on Investment is not to look for the high returns but to look for the low investments. Keep it Simple…well, you know the rest.

Transformational Change vs. Continuous Improvement – Lawrence M. Miller, author of “Getting to Lean – Transformational Change Management”

It may sound like sacrilege to hear someone say that continuous improvement may not always be the right answer. Of course, it is the core process of lean management. But, there are times when more significant and more rapid change is required – sometimes revolution rather than evolution is called for.

 The first thing to understand about transformational change is that the external environment — technology, regulation, competition, the economy — is forcing change upon your organization. Your organization is a sub-system of a larger system, and it must align its systems to the external world. Sometimes that external environment demands rapid change that may be uncomfortable for everyone.

Second thing to know is that every organization is a “whole-system.” Lean management is a whole-system. It is not 5S, teams, or process maps. It is everything from the organizational structure, the information system, the decision-making processes, the human resource systems, etc.

Third thing to know: Sub-systems of the whole must be aligned.

Transformational change is not problem-solving. It is designing the whole-system to meet the needs to customers and the future environment. It is an act of creating something, not fixing something.

Transformational change is a process designed to create significant change in the culture and work processes of an organization and produce significant improvement in performance.

Phil Buckleys article “Why don’t we do the things we know we should do?” was primarily written for the “leadership” audience, but is equally relevant for our discussion on Continual Improvement.

An excerpt:

My default behaviour is to keep working until tasks are completed, even when my resources are low.

It’s time to make a change. Here is my plan for breaking this unproductive habit:

  • Make a list each night of non-work activities I will complete on breaks during the following day (I am a list person)
  • Visually display this list beside my priority activities list (visual reminders are powerful)
  • Review my progress nightly (and make notes as I do after my runs)
  • Ask a friend to check in on my progress (I know I will never have “nothing to report”)
  • Reward the desired behaviour (schedule guilt-free play time to spend with family and friends)

And here is our round up of the current edition:

Management Improvement Blog Carnival #192

Management Improvement Blog Carnival #193

Thanks a lot for visiting this carnival… I look forward seeing you when we are here next month.. till then, I keenly look forward to your feedback………..

Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs – February 2013

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Welcome to February 2013 edition of Carnival of Quality Management and Articles Blog Festival.

Quality has any many meanings as the number of contexts and the periods in which it is used. “What is Quality?” – The Best Explanation Ever , while taking a view at definitions in the applicable ISO standards provides a refreshing view while discussing Mitra’s Model (2003), which incorporates the many implied aspects of the ISO 9000 para 3.1.5 definition of quality, which was developed by analyzing the definitions of quality in over 300 journal articles (many from the marketing literature), observes that  there were five stages of the dynamic process of achieving and improving quality:

  • Organizational antecedents – creating an organization whose capabilities can support achieving world-class quality in products and services
  • Operational antecedents – designing quality into products, managing processes to achieve quality
  • Production quality - meeting specifications for features, reliability and performance; adequately addressing aesthetics and customer taste preferences to create demand
  • Customer consequences of quality – whether and how customers perceive quality, and how this impacts retention
  • Market consequences of quality – in terms of market share, as well as the impact of quality and quality improvement on its contribution to profitability and global competitiveness

We also take in a point of view of regulatory angle to Quality Management (System) in Sarbanes-Oxley And ISO 9000. The article discusses in detail normally an underplayed and non-value adding aspect – documentation and its importance. From the legal point of view, however, documentation is a major asset of ISO 9001, providing records and internal controls. For example, a test result is a record. A signature is a control. Quality records define a trail from customer expectations to delivery and all steps in between.

This trail assumes massive importance when customer disappointment goes to court. Indeed, following the collapse of customer confidence in the aftermath of major corporate scandals, the U.S. government has gotten very interested in paper trails and controls. In law, they are not form but substance, and you can go to jail if the trail is not clear. In the past, a company might have to pay a fine for wrongdoing, but under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX), the CEO can go to prison as well.

Fortunately, internet has now many resources that can provide wide ranging options, one such being How to Create a Standard Operating Procedure Template. And this is indeed just one of many and no way, limiting the innovative ability of the implementing team to improvise and improve the documentation without being excessively bureaucratic.

Also, Quality view of managing Quality is, essentially, long term, as emphasized in 14, not 3, is a Magic Number for Dr. Deming and Toyota,  by Mark Graban.

Apart from the perspective of time as a dimension of the decision-making, ability to take decisions in the environment of ambiguity remains a “core challenge”. Leadership Caffeine puts forward 3 Situations to Quality Check Your Gut Instinct : 1. Talent Choices – be deliberate about getting beyond your gut reaction and better understanding the candidate’s behavioral approaches to situations.  2. Strategic Choices – Rethink the external factors prompting the decision-choice, and get help evaluating whether the risks from not moving might just exceed those from stepping down an unfamiliar path. 3. More Time and Money Decisions – Some situations may well merit more time and money, but repeated calls for these precious assets are a sign of trouble.

William Cohen, Ph.D., in an article – Is ignorance the most important aspect of problem solving? –  in his regular column @Process Excellence Network , shares Peter Drucker’s views on the secret of his own success as an outside consultant – for an insider, to maintain objectivity that comes in by looking at the issues from a distance of an outsider – Drucker responded, “I ask the right questions.”

“I never ask these questions or approach these assignments based on my knowledge and experience in these or other industries. It is exactly the opposite. I do not use my knowledge and past experience with the subject at all. I use my ignorance. Ignorance is the most important factor in problem solving.”

Other student hands shot up, but Peter waved them off. “Ignorance is not such a bad thing if one knows how to use it,” he continued, “and all managers must learn how to do this. You must frequently approach problems with your ignorance and not what you think you know from past experience. What you think you know is probably wrong.”

Whilst on the subject of ‘asking’ questions to manage the affairs of the organization effectively and efficiently, we also, fortunately, have  The 10 Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization .”Drucker’s own five questions—What is our mission? Who is our customer? What does the customer value? What are our results? What is our plan?—and what he labeled ‘the theory of the business.’ adding that, to extend the list to 10.” .. thanks to Lafley, the former chief executive of Procter & Gamble, and Martin, the dean of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, – What is our winning aspiration? Where will we play? How will we win? What capabilities must be in place? What management systems are required? When a company can’t seem to get its strategy straight, it’s often because of “a reluctance to make truly hard choices,” Lafley and Martin assert. “It is natural to want to keep options open as long as possible, rather than closing off possibilities by making explicit choices. But it is only through making and acting on choices that you can win. Yes, clear, tough choices force your hand and confine you to a path. But they also free you to focus on what matters.””

Peter Drucker of course was known for his knack of asking the ‘right questions’. Here are Drucker’s Enduring Questions :  The first comes from Jack Bergstrand, of the Drucker Institute’s partner consulting firm Brand Velocity, who asks, “What should we stop doing?” The second comes from Clayton Christensen, of Harvard Business School, who asks, “If we didn’t have an existing business, how could we best build a new one?”

If these questions seem to make the life a bit hazy, we should not hesitate to re-visit the classical models, like Baldrige criteria, for a rigorous evaluation of the outcomes of our decisions. How Does Baldrige Help? – Why does the Baldrige criteria work? These are some really tough questions. Large companies are complex and need someone to show them the inter-connections of the competing causes and effects.  Emphasis on results, alone, “excellence will not be achieved with one part of the organization doing well.”

The 2013-2014 Baldrige Criteria build on the 25-years’ tradition of aiming to empower the organizations “to reach their goals, improve results, and become more competitive”, and “feature a renewed focus on:

  • Innovation management, intelligent risk, and strategic priorities;
  • Social media;
  • Operational effectiveness; and
  • Work systems and core competencies.”

And, the organizations – to remain (always) quantitatively and qualitatively ‘young’ – can certainly draw quite a parallel with the individual human beings – “Laugh Loud and Live Happily; Keep Dreaming”. The maxim we probably know, but presented very differently @ How To Stay Young Forever.

Brian Gast provides another approach to the meaning of work-life balance – remedy that also can help sustained vitality and happiness – in How Executives Can Get a Work-Life Balance . He opens the subject with a question – Have you ever wondered why you keep doing something that you know is bad for you? He goes on to explain that, “the addict lives inside all of us. When it takes over, things get out of balance. You are not alone. We are all addicted to something. ..The addict operates on a core set of mistaken beliefs. These beliefs comprise part of a bubble that encases you. Your entire experience of the world is distorted because you see it all through your bubble. It’s these bubble beliefs that cause you to over-commit, under-delegate, and reach for more and more.”

We also have two articles to help draw our knowledge from the unrelated fields – detective fiction and hard-core espionage operations.

Jennifer Miller’s How To Solve Problems Like Sherlock Holmes lays out how “in exploring the thinking of Sherlock Holmes, and plumbing A Study in Scarlet, The Hound of the Baskervilles, and many other works by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Konnikova has provided a guide for greater self-awareness, stronger memory, better focus, and enhanced creativity.”
And the other one is: Work Like A Spy: An Ex-CIA Officer’s Tips For Business Success by Danielle Sacks, where J C Carleson speaks  to Fast Company about exploiting your competitors, the importance of building intelligence networks, and why you should befriend your company’s security guard.

In concluding this month’s edition, it would be most opportune to record two annual reviews of Management Improvement Carnivals –  2012 Management Improvement Carnival – Part 2 and Annual Management Improvement Blog Review: 2012.

Finally, an oft-quoted Einstein’s insight: “The significant problems that we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.”

Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs – January 2013

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I plan to primarily focus on Quality of Life and Quality of Quality as a Profession in the carnivals that I would present every month.

No one would have ever imagined that an inaugural carnival, in the year 2013, on a subject like QUALITY, so much and so widely debated, at least for more than 70 years now can open the score with taking up a discussion on the definition of Quality.

Aimee Siegler in her post Influential Voices: Defining Quality, while leading us to two more active debates – Paul Borowski’s How Do You Define Quality?  and Roberto Saco’s circuitous definition  – wide opens the scope of Quality – internalization of Quality and Embracing Sustainability.

As we then take the next step setting the stage with Vikram Karve’s Quality of Life wherein he has raised an all important question – We all know how to love, how to live and how to learn, and we do spend time and effort doing these three things, but how many of us are concerned about leaving our legacy for posterity?

The Drucker Institute has a quite business-like article, on a parallel line: The Secret of Becoming a Corporate Superhero, which states: Long-term value creation doesn’t require the powers of a superhero. It starts with putting the customer first, understanding real value drivers and thinking carefully about how to create new opportunities.

However, we would expanding our scope in these carnivals and would share an Eagle’s eye view, primarily on  – Vision(ing); Concepts and Values; Measurement Paradigms and “Reinvent Continuously”  – aspects of Quality of Life and Quality of Quality as a Profession. We may not, necessarily, cover each category in each edition of the carnivals here, but we would certainly keep on exploring the blogosphere on these roads.

So here we go:

A Jump into the Unknown Known

 

 

Open Your Mind

Simple Tom provokes us to catalyse our inherent quality of questioning to search for the meaningful understanding and realizing the true potential of world around us  in “Keys to Higher Consciousness”.  He has also laid out a well-defined challenge by asking an equally provocative question – Are You a Visionarie or a Follower? “You’ve just gotta go for  it and put one foot in front of the other!”

Jesse Lyn Stoner goes on to provide a set of realistic directions on “How to Keep Your Team Goals on Track”, to those of us who have been able to create a shared vision, but face (whether known or unknown or unaware)  threat of unaligned systems and  practices that can derail their future journey. (better be aware of those rumbling sounds!)

Zen Habits, in “Do less: A Short Guide”, strongly advocates going against the stream and stepping back. The underlying intrinsic philosophy is to ‘savor’ and ‘curate’ our tasks so as to create a day of ‘doing less’, and in turn ‘savor’ our life.

On a somewhat similar stream of thought, Socratez Online provocatively cajoles to stick our neck out of our comfort zone, in the article “Tips For Perfectionists” to achieve what we are destined to achieve, “despite (our) flaws and because of (the) courage to be imperfect.”

Over and above this qualitative future view of our world, we see highly charged and considered discussions on the future of more mundane activity – the Manufacturing – that should be of matter of concern and interest for the current and future  management and manufacturing professionals. Manufacturing the future: The next era of global growth and innovation, a major report from the McKinsey Global Institute, presents a clear view of how the manufacturing contributes to the global economy today, and how it will, probably evolve over the coming decade. Our evergreen management thinker, Peter Drucker, is quoted as “The company is insourcing the basic compounds to achieve quality control, but it is outsourcing the final” production. It is looking at the entire value chain and deciding where to place various activities.” In a satirically titled article Why This Blog Post Was Not Outsourced to China.  No doubt, the circle of outsourcing seems to have turned a full cycle. To those professionals who had had not the direct experience of the first cycle, this new phase will have its own challenges. And to those who have been part of the now-mature-paradigm of outsourcing, this new vista are going to throw open a new world, as well.

From this macro perspective, we  come down to the near-future realities and gain a perspective of  how to “Get Prepared for 2013′s Unpredictable Changes and Chances” so that “as our chances come we’ll emerge as victors rather than victims of change”

Getting out of our comfort zone is (always!?) scary. “Not of death or injury of course, but of failure”. Stacy Barr in her regular lucid style goes on say “BHAGs, stretch targets and any other kind of big goals demand that we simultaneously think about the result we’re aiming for and the adventure of getting there.” in The REAL reason for BHAGs is NOT to achieve them!
Manufacturing Innovation eXcahnge (MIX), which  operate a novel   feature, Hacks which presents boundary-pushing proposals for changing the way organizations work and leaders lead … We have a very interesting report from a hack that suggested  the idea of managing performance was itself incompatible with the 21st century notion of reinventing management that we discuss every day..which led to running a (grassroots) hackathon. The ultimate compilation of results of experience of almost 70 persons  around the world that may well define a new vision of a “performance management” ( or by whatever name it may be known in Management 20 world is a report – “Getting Performance without performance management”.

Dr. Pietro Micheli, in “The Seven Myths of Management” observes that “Too many indicators and reports, and loose connections between strategy and measures often make measurement systems very expensive pieces of furniture.” He goes on to state that “While their intentions are usually positive, our research shows that, in fact, they often encourage exactly the behaviors their organizations neither need nor want.

Obviously, any measurement system is going to result into under and overachievers as well.  We have two relevant and searching articles – What Overachievers Can Do to Save Themselves – for Shri Subrato Bagchi, wherein he proclaims that “there is no external enemy. Only ordinary people need an external enemy. The overachiever is his best friend and his worst enemy.” However, “Overachievers that run the course are conscious to disassociate themselves from their personal success” and failures if there are any.  “As much in the corporate world as outside, sustained overachievers take their success as a responsibility; as a burden, not an entitlement. Therein lies the capacity to keep the feet firm on the ground even as the eyes are set on the peak.”

In the article from strategy+business The Cult of Three Cultures”, MIT expert Edgar Schein “suggests that there are at least three separate professions creating their own cultures within every large corporation. Professor Schein calls them the “operational,” “executive,” and “engineering” cultures. Each has its own attitudes about people, work, money, time, technology, and authority. The exact names and descriptions of these professional cultures are open for debate, but the heart of the theory is the inherent conflict among them. Members of each culture consistently misunderstand each other, even when they earnestly desire to work together.”

Quality can deliver quite a serious message in a very lighter way. Mark Graban in his LeanBlog presents Dr. Deming’s wisdom with some very funny moments. He has taken pains to curate some of those funny moments from a 2-hour address to a university in Connecticut by Edwards Deming.

Before we conclude this month’s Carnival, it would not be out of place to visit an article – 5 Keys To Making Strategic Reinvention Stick – by Kaihan Krippendorff. The author pointedly shares on overcoming obstacles to self-improvement while narrating five critical elements of a defining plan from Phil Cooke’s new book – Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media.

We conclude this month’s carnival with a lively set of lessons of Business Etiquettes that “Emily Post is charging $200 – $300” but we have them “free of charge”. Here are two samples:

  • “The superior man is polite but not cringing; the common man is cringing but not polite.” Confucius
  • “A man’s hat in his hand never did him any harm.” Italian Proverb.

Acknowledgements of submission of articles to this carnival:

Brittany Martin presents “How to Evaluate Your Nanny; to bring it to the notice of all the professionals that there is no dichotomy between sound (management and technical) principles as applicable to The Profession or to The Life, so long as we have the Right Attitude of Quality.

Comments to improve and enrich the Carnival are most welcome.

Can responsibility be made commensurate with authority? – Peter Drucker’s interesting views

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Peter Drucker was of the considered views that “…it was dangerous to hand out authority without responsibility, that if we decentralize we have to make people responsible and accountable. Otherwise. . . . it would be chaos.”

For Drucker, few principles were more sacrosanct: “Whoever claims authority thereby assumes responsibility,” he wrote in Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices. “But whoever assumes responsibility thereby claims authority. The two are different sides of the same coin.”

In Concept of the Corporation, Drucker was even more blunt: “Authority without responsibility is tyranny, and responsibility without authority is impotence.”

Why Peter Drucker Distrusted Facts – Stephen Wunker – Harvard Business Review

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Why Peter Drucker Distrusted Facts – Stephen Wunker – Harvard Business Review.

One of the very valid point made in the article is that decisions are, in essence,  the human judgments. If the decisions, based on facts alone – without requite evaluation of all options and all round views- can be erroneous, the judgments are usually dubbed as ‘subjective’, because they also are prone not to consider and evaluate all options as well as thoroughly churn out  all points of -current and past – views in arriving at THE decision.

The judgement is a function of the mental conditioning. hence, it makes a great sense to cultivate habit of assimilating facts, opinions of others and history of similar vents into the process of arriving at a judgement.Initially, this may slow down the process, but more rigorously this is practiced, the process is likely to speed up.

This is the stage when intuition becomes so well tuned that one can reach the stage of rational decision-making at blink of the eyelid.

One then depends both on facts and intuition equally for a ‘confident’ decision, perfectly blending the science of decision-making into art of ‘high-speed computing though the natural “super” computer - the human brain’.

The bottom line is to transform the complicated decision-making iterative external process into the internal natural reflex-action.