Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs – November, 2020

Welcome to November 2020 edition of Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs.

For the year 2020, we have chosen the core subject of Revisiting Basic Quality Concepts w.r.t. the sustained success of the organization As of now we have visited

We take up Improvements for Sustained Success: A canvas of the improvement process to individual and collective mindsets as our next core concept this month–

Continuous Improvement requires a systemic dissatisfaction with the status quo, no matter how good the organization is perceived to be. Real change management is tangible, quantifiable, and critical to driving a sustainable adoption.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better” – Maya Angelou.

There are six main reasons why organizations fail to sustain performance improvements[1]:

  • Winning. can distract an organization from the need to continuously improve.
  • Change in Leadership.
  • Impatience. The organization tires of its improvement effort and moves on before it can yield optimal results.
  • Reduction in Improvement Methods. Infrastructure isn’t maintained.
  • M&A Activity. forces an initiative’s postponement or derailment.
  • Global Macroeconomic Events. that it did not foresee or grossly underestimated.

“Creating constancy of purpose towards improving work, product and service levels is the basis of continual improvement.

“It is common to for leaders to speak of change in the same sentence with changing culture. But our own experience with culture change these past 5 years in the Henry Ford Production System across all laboratories of nearly 800 workers in Henry Ford Health System has taught us repeatedly that culture is a desirable but secondary outcome to changing structure and process that enables and expects employees to work differently.”[2]

As we scan through the vast variety of literature on sustained improvements, we see many common threads, like, involvement of people, integration of improvement initiatives into the overall change process, building the culture of improvement to measures of the improvement process over a longer time frame cycles of the changes in the context of the organization. There is also consensus that the improvement initiatives over the long terms should help build sustainable competitive advantage(s) for the business.

Here is very short list of some of the readings that I liked:

The detailed note on Improvements for Sustained Success can be accessed by clicking on the hyperlink.

We will now turn to our regular sections:

In the series the Organizational Culture, we have taken up Improving the organizational culture – The means and speed of the value creation will bring massive disruption. Therefore, the only question that any organizational culture improvement initiative should address is whether your company is going to cause it or fall victim to it.[3].

We now watch ASQ TV, wherein we refresh our viewpoints about:

  • PDCA for Improvement – The plan-do-check-act cycle, or PDCA, is a very popular tool that is used in many different sectors, in a wide variety of situations. Learn how to use-and better explain this powerful tool.

Before we take up Jim L. Smith’s Jim’s Gems this month we have picked up one article, which is relevant to our subject, when viewed in the context of improvements for the sustained success –

“Good to Go” – The three most dangerous words in quality by Ian R Lazarus – As quality managers, it is not only important to understand the difference between “good enough” and great levels of quality, these must be quantified. Fortunately, we have many tools available to quantify the quality of our processes. Probably the most robust of these approaches is to establish the capability of the process. The meaning of the term “capability” is likely intuitive, but in Six Sigma vernacular it refers to a quantitative measure reflecting the probability that a process will meet customer specifications, expressed as a Sigma level. In fact, management has no right to complain about process performance without understanding capability on some level because after all, what is more important than meeting the customer’s expectations?

      • The Voice of the Process,” in other words, the range of process performance today
      • “The Voice of the Customer,” in other words, the upper and lower specification limits that define acceptable levels of performance in the eye of the customer.
Voice Of The Process (VOP)

Once the concept of capability is understood, interventions such as error-proofing can be applied.[4]

And now we take up Jim Smith’s article that also links up the subject –

Recognition Power: Recognizing Efforts Supports Excellence : It is well accepted that when people feel appreciated and get recognized, they are more engaged, motivated, and productive.. However, more often not, it is also observed that too few organizations take advantage of this opportunity. Some organizations believe that adequate annual performs reviews and competitive compensation packages should be sufficient to enable the employee engagement. Some other organizations may see employee recognition as too difficult to manage and oversee, too hard to keep from becoming an entitlement or simply too costly. Organizations need to think of employee recognition as a strategic advantage. The five important principles that need be considered for the development of strategy for employee engagement are:

  • Choose a common strategy and deploy it uniformly across the organization.
  • Secure top management sponsorship that is fully understood and embraced by the top management in spirit.
  • Link organization’s values and strategic objectives with employee engagement strategy.
  • Create a culture which encourages participation across all levels, in a fair, transparent and proactive manner.
  • Allow for flexibility, for the form, content, and style, for natural differences for those giving and receiving recognition.

It is always vital to recognize that sustainable competitive advantage is delivered, and sustained, by the people who work for the organization.

I look forward to your views / comments / inputs to further enrich the subjects of Basics of Quality and Organizational Culture and their role in Creating and Maintaining Sustained Success.

Note: The images depicted here above are through courtesy of respective websites who have the copyrights for the respective images.

[1] Six Paths to Sustained Results—Part I – Joseph A. DeFeo

[2] Creating, Structuring and Sustaining a Culture of Continuous Improvement in Healthcare

[3] Value creation in the future

[4] Voice of Process vs. Voice of Customer


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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