Carnival of Quality Management and Articles Blog Festival – March 2013

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

We will experiment with a different format of presentation for the current edition -the hyperlinked title of the article under the broad subject category, followed by the brief synopsis , in the words picked up from the article itself.

A Macro view of the external environment

The America that works
“Regulation, innovation, infrastructure, education: each of these is crucial to competitiveness. Put together the small things happening in the states, and they become something rather big…. That is the essence of the America that works.”

Being “Good” Pays Off Big: 21st Century Values are a Winning Strategy in Business and Personal Life By Peter Georgescu – use this DOWNLOAD  link –

The first dozen years in the 21st Century demonstrated just how much harder business has become. Chances are that business will get even tougher and more competitive in the years ahead. So we’ve all got to man up for the brutally competitive world out there. Don’t we?
Well, no. To find a winning strategy for the 21st Century business world you’ll need to grasp why the world of commerce has changed so dramatically in recent decades.”


Manufacturing at the Speed of Change’ A Whitepaper with a download link therein –

In today’s challenging global economy, manufacturers must embrace change, strive for a flexible working environment, and be agile enough to respond to new opportunities and customer needs. Adapting the advanced technologies of next-generation ERP solutions is one of the most critical actions a forward-thinking manufacturer, like you, can take; one that will lead to a responsive mindset and turn speed into a powerful competitive weapon.

Management Commitment And Entrepreneurial Spirit

9 Entrepreneurs chime in on their daily struggles

Time, focus, team building and emotion are the just the tip of the iceberg – figure out what you struggle with the most and then work on optimizing processes to make your life easier.

Lean Quote: Leaders Don’t Invent Motivation In Their Followers, They Unlock It

Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we cannot improve.

Leaders don’t invent motivation in their followers, they unlock it.” — John W. Gardner

In my experience there are three things you need to learn about motivation:

  1. First, you can’t motivate anybody to do anything they don’t want to do. Motivation is an internal thing, not an external thing.
  2. The second thing is that all people are motivated. The person that stays in bed in the morning rather than getting up and going to work is more motivated to stay in bed than to work. They might be negatively motivated, but they are nonetheless motivated.
  3. The third thing is that people do things for their reasons and not for yours. The trick is to find out what their reasons are.

Motivated, committed, engaged employees care about what they do and why they do it. They get up and come to work every day because they care about it. It’s not a short-term energy surge; it’s a way of life.

Motivation comes from within. Individuals have the capacity to motivate themselves…or demotivate themselves. Help them see the way by creating and sustaining the kinds of conditions that help them bring their best selves to work every day. Respect, proactive and honest communications, capable and engaged leadership –these are the ingredients that add up to an engaged, energized workplace.

To Create Innovation, Learn How To See A Fourth Option – By Kaihan Krippendorff

When life throws an obstacle in your path you may respond in one of four ways:

  1. One option: you see yourself as a victim, forced to accept the situation.
  2. Two options: you have a binary choice, to accept the situation or give up and run away.
  3. Three options: you believe you have a full set of options to choose from, because thinking through all three takes time and effort.
  4. Four options: you think beyond the three “usual” options and see a new way, a new path.

The ability to think beyond the three options and see a fourth is the source of all competitive advantage.

Management Commitment: The Key to Getting Procedures Used

Spending little or no time focusing on an organization’s internal processes (where procedures fit in), then where do you think the members of the organization will focus?
The great mystery of how to get procedures used is revealed. We know that it is important to write procedure so that they are clear and accessible. It is important to conduct training to create awareness and buy-in. Auditing is a key follow-up activity that re-enforces the importance of following procedures. What makes all of these things happen, however, is a commitment from management.

 The Spirit of the Process – At Professional as well as Personal Levlel

Overcoming Improvement Barriers

Almost all organizational weaknesses are systems based and must, therefore, be addressed by top management.

And its related articleBarriers to Quality Improvement

Data? What is it good for? Absolutely … something

It is fashionable these days to either like big data or just malign big data. Regardless of what your personal feelings are, the question has always been and will always be – what is data good for.
With more network end-points and more digitization, it goes without saying that the amount of data in our lives and at work is only going to increase. But the size of the data isn’t the issue; instead, it’s “what you do with the data” that will be the key to the success in the emerging future economy.

Let me tell you three personal stories that will illustrate my point……………

The Problem With Opportunities   – the real risk of calling problems “opportunities.”

Karen Martin explains, in an interview with Karin Hurt, that “when a problem is labelled as an “opportunity”, the “urgency is lost.” It feels safer, like something good we are moving toward… not something bad we need to overcome as soon as possible.

Leaders in great organizations do both… they create a safe environment for surfacing today’s problems, as well identify opportunities that are likely to surface as they move toward their desired future.”

Lessons from the Road: Eliminate Waste with PurposeJamie Flinchbaugh

“Do more” are what’s core to lean: more value for the customer, more capacity to deliver that value and more capability in the organization. It’s not about less fat; it’s about more muscle.

That’s how you build an organization capable of controlling its own destiny. …

Waste elimination is not the heart of lean, but it can be powerfully effective. Just be sure that you’re eliminating waste with a purpose.

Why You Should Let Bad Ideas Fail

If you are in a stressful situation and afraid that you are digging yourself into a whole you can’t get out of ask yourself.

  • Am I Happy With My Direction In Life
  •  Where Will I End Up If I Keep Doing What I Am Doing
  • Is My Lifestyle Sustainable
  • Can I See My Life Improving If I Keep The Pattern Going

Take a step back and ask yourself these questions. If you like the answers, great you are on the right track. If you don’t like the answers it is probably time to figure out what you can change in your life to improve it.

Progress Needs Beautiful (Absurd) IdeasMax McKeown

A potentially beautiful idea may still be unpopular, viewed as ugly, pointless, unworkable, unacceptable, or plain crazy. It was Einstein who said to a colleague that if an idea wasn’t absurd there was no hope for it, and Niels Bohr, an equally brilliant physicist from Denmark who remarked that many ideas are insufficiently crazy to be true.

— To improve a situation, one that is already good or one that is unhappy and in danger of collapse, requires imagination that goes beyond the obvious. —

Progress demands non-obvious answers to obvious questions, and so instead of resisting, misunderstanding or ignoring them, the truly wise among us will embrace, or at least entertain, unacceptable wisdom so that together we may create a more beautiful future.

Performance – An Eternally discussed and debated topic

Assessing Employee Performance vs. Potential – by Beth Miller

As a leader it is your job to influence your team’s performance. If your team is not a high performing team you might implement some incentive programs to bring improve performance. However as far as a specific team member’s potential goes, you cannot do much to influence potential. As a leader it is your job to coach your team members to realize their own potential.

So once you have coached, what do you do after they recognize their opportunities and potential?

  • Allow every team member access to the 9 Box (the matrix author has discussed in this article)
  • Influence as little as possible
  • It is their own potential that they have to live up to, not the perceived one that you have for them.

Allow the Performance and Potential Matrix to help you out as much as possible, but at the same time realize that each individual reaches their potential different ways. I never want to see someone become the next big me, I tell them I want to see you become the first great you.

Are Metrics Misguided?  – by Eva  –

Some say that you can’t manage what you don’t measure. However, the danger lies in believing that the measure is the sole determinant of success.

Do KRA’s and Rewards Help in Quality?

Three C’s of quality: choice, collaboration and content.

  •  Choice means workers should participate in making decisions about what they do.
  • Collaboration means they should be able to work together in effective teams.
  • Content refers to the job’s tasks. To do a good job, people need a good job to do.


When is an Innovation an Innovation?

[Editor’s note: This post is part of a feature series “Does Innovation Need a Purpose?” Click here ]

Greg Satell and I have been talking about whether or not innovation needs a purpose. While we agree on many points, we can see two differing views on the question. I will argue that within an organisation, innovation does need a purpose.

It’s not true that you’re not innovating if it doesn’t create a new product, it is true that you need to create value with your innovations so that you can generate some sort of return.

One way to address this is to manage your innovation activities as a portfolio using a 70/20/10 split in your innovation effort. 70% goes to improving your core business with incremental innovations, so that you can continue to stay in business. 20% goes to finding adjacent markets that you can extend into. And 10% goes to blue sky ideas that might change the world, but we just don’t quite know how yet.

Core “Quality” Issues

What is Business Process Management?

Why is business process management so hard? What you need are some leading indicators of success like new customer formation, repeat business (which leads to lifetime customer value), or sales cycle closing time.

And a related article – Process Approach to Business Process Management

Add SIPOC + PDCA to make a complete set that reminds us of all of the elements that are needed to demonstrate that business processes are managed. The process approach to BPM is all about creating controlled processes using PDCA and SIPOC to define, measure, monitor and control. That is business process management in action.

Outward Signs of Unstable Process FlowLonnie Wilson

Most facilities that fail in lean implementations have weak quality systems. More specifically, they have failed to create stable process flow.

And its related article – Continuous Improvement — It’s All About FlowRalph Keller

The flow of both information and materials is critical to reducing the time elapsed in the cash-to-cash cycle.

And the monthly treat from other carnivals

Do enjoy and cherish, every day, a different one-sentence take on the world of quality, brought in by the Knowledge Center – @ Quality Quotes

I end this edition with a quote:

Vision is the art of seeing things invisibles – Jonathan Swift

Do let me know your views on the style adopted for this edition as well as for new /improved content.


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.

6 thoughts on “Carnival of Quality Management and Articles Blog Festival – March 2013”

  1. This is so full of matter that it is quite a job to catch up and read all of the articles for which the links are there.It is like, to use C. Rajgopalachari’s simile, an egg full of matter. More difficult due to the reason that there is hardly anything that can be left aside. The Economist articles concerning India were of special interest due to the urgent attention required for the problems discussed.

    1. I am a regular reader of your articles. Most of the times, I stop at liking your articles.
      I was very happy to find “Why You Should Let Bad Ideas Fail” (subtly) fit in with my idea of Quality (of Life, and so too of one’s Profession).
      I also do undertake translation , into Gujarati, of the articles that I read and like, and can faithfully translate the spirit of.
      I am privileged that I have such ‘excellent ‘company’ in my ‘The Second Innings’ – where I can devote all my -free) time to pursue what I like.
      Thanks a lot for acknowledging the post under discussion.

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