Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs – January 2013

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.


In July 2011, I opted to retire from my active career as a practicing management professional. In the 38 years that I pursued this career, I had opportunity to work in diverse capacities, in small-to-medium-to-large engineering companies. Whether I was setting up Greenfield projects or Brownfield projects, nurturing the new start-ups or accelerating the stabilized unit to a next phase growth, I had many more occasions to take the paths uncharted. The life then was so challenging! One of the biggest casualty in that phase was my disregards towards my hobbies - Be with The Family, Enjoy Music form Films of 1940s to mid-1970s period, write on whatever I liked to read, pursue amateur photography and indulge in solving the chess problems. So I commenced my Second Innings to focus on this area of my life as the primary occupation. At the end of four years, I am now quite a regular blogger. I have been able to build a few very strong pen-relationships. I maintain contact with 38-years of my First Innings as freelance trainer and process facilitator. And yet, The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.

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