Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs – July 2013

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

We commence our present edition with Quality of Personal Improvement.

Dan McCarthy @ The Great Leadership, presents 20 Questions to Assess the Quality of an Individual Development Plan. The article also has further cascaded links to the earlier articles on the subject – How to Write a Great Individual Development Plan (IDP)  @ November 24, 2008; The Power of a Written Individual Development Plan  @ October 29, 2008 and  Eight Step Guide to Developing Your Leadership Skills @ November 23, 2007.
How To Align Yourself to Your Work and Achieve More – details following keys –

1)     Either find work that you love, or find things you love about your work

2)     Listen to your body~ Take care of yourself

3)     Align yourself to solutions ~ not to the challenges you are facing

4)     If getting specific is stressing you out, get general first.

The test and the clues to the alignment of us to our work lies in James Lawther’s article How are you Organised?

The modern day professional life has n-number of occupation stress hazards. Shaun Rosenberg presents us – 7 Extremely Obvious Reasons to Become an Optimist : “History is created by optimists who decide to give it one more try. Being optimistic allows you to create new things and helps humanity as a whole grow. While you may be able to dismiss new ideas with seemingly logical doubt, it is those who seek out new answers and look for possibilities that create growth, and it is with the optimists that all hope for the human race rests.”

Now let us shift our gaze from personal improvement to Process Improvement Tutorials, so exhaustively presented @ Squawk Point. This is a mine of information.

The process of improvement is closely linked to the process of measurements.

We have a quite telling article by Paul Zak – Measurement Myopia, and this what he has to say:

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”- This maxim ranks high on the list of quotations attributed to Peter Drucker. There’s just one problem: He never actually said it.
The fact is, Drucker’s take on measurement was quite nuanced. .. Drucker also knew that not everything could be held to this standard. “Your first role . . . is the personal one,” “It is the relationship with people, the development of mutual confidence, the identification of people, the creation of a community. This is something only you can do.” Drucker went on: “It cannot be measured or easily defined. But it is not only a key function. It is one only you can perform.”
This is why Drucker believed—and so do I — that conversations with colleagues are essential. The science backs this up. Expansive conversations and socializing can induce the brain to synthesize oxytocin, the “social engagement” molecule. When the brain releases oxytocin, we are motivated and internally rewarded to cooperate with others for a common purpose.
The goal of conversations (including, as I’ve written, during the annual-review process) is not only to understand the employee next to you, but the human being next to you.
So, measurement, yes. Only measurement, no.

Peter Wyss @ SUMMSO presents 3 Key Elements for Top Project Management Performance:
Completing a project on time, within the budget and with the quality which the customer or end-user expects can be a challenge and will be an even bigger challenge in the future due to growing expectations, smaller budgets and short time-spans to market…..We experience these challenges on a daily basis and find the following items as the key elements for excellent Project Management Performance:

1) Have a plan
2) Focus on your time
3) Be prepared
Measurements and Analysis can lead to the sustained improvement only on the back of a sound decision-making process.

SqawckPoint shares Can You Make the Right Decisions? : When it comes to making decisions, there are invariably only a very few factors that are important.  If you can find what they are and write down the decision making logic then you could make those decisions far more effectively.

ASQ TV Episode 5: The State of the Quality Profession : In this episode ASQ World Conference on Quality and Improvement attendees talk about the quality profession today, and what the future holds. A new ASQ research initiative gives us a current global state of quality. Become reacquainted with control charts. And, a Quality Progress character makes his first TV appearance. To learn more about control charts and find a template, visit

There are a few related videos on control charts and SQC techniques, viz. Welcome, Mr. Pareto Head and Control Chart

ASQ has another excellent section – Ask The Experts, for active networking with other professionals. One may easily maintain contact by e-mail subscription to the blog,

Now we start our special section of visiting ASQ Influential Voices, in the alphabetical order in which they appear.

Guy BigwoodOur first destination is Guy Bigwood. Based in Spain, Guy Bigwood is the sustainability director of MCI, an association management company. He is responsible implementing corporate social responsibility throughout MCI’s 48 global offices, and manages a global consulting practice that provides strategic guidance to businesses, associations, governments, and the United Nations. His blog is Less Conversation More Action, which has a tagline- Dispatches from the frontline of sustainability in the meetings industry.
This blog is written by Roger Simons and Guy Bigwood, with help from a few invited guests.   Michael Luehrs provided some great content.

Named as meeting industry “Green Leaders”, the blog was created to share experiences, opinions, best practices and mistakes from the front line of sustainability and the meetings industry.

Before we take up a brief detail on Green, let us complete the tour of Less Conversation More Action.

In one of the recent posts, Sustainability and quality – lets have a group hug, the author lines up the biggest challenge to Quality is to “to get the quality peStrong Teamople talking to the sustainability people and vice-versa. Many of us are focused on the same thing: i.e. Zero

  • Quality: zero defects, zero customer complaints
  • Sustainability: zero waste, zero water usage, zero human rights violations.

And for Quality professionals to embrace the sustainability, the blog has Our Work, which outlines “a few good case studies from some of our clients, to whom we provided a helping hand with strategic consulting, training, coaching, reporting and/or measurement services”; Recommended Reading, which recommends the books to help on the journey of creating more sustainable organisations, and Articles on authors; interviews and what they write for magazines and newspapers.
A brief note on Sustainability would indeed be in order at this stage.

“Sustainability, and the demands it places on our society to achieve it, requires us all to be part of the solution, rather than contributing to any of the number of challenges we face. Sustainability, and sustainable development, requires that we plan strategically to avoid the burning of fossil fuels, the mining of rare metals and the use of chemicals which persist in nature.

As a baseline, sustainability requires that we source the raw materials which fuel our society in ways which are both ecologically and socially responsible. To achieve sustainability, … real leadership and a passionate effort to share knowledge will result in the increased profits, improved brand values, healthier communities, productive environment.. and the gift of a good conscience for all.(Courtesy: GMIC).
And here is somewhat easily understandable way to appreciate the concept of sustainability: Sustainability explained through animation.
The June Roundup questions that Paul Borawasi has posed,

  • 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?

, presents a wide diversity of answers, from a variety of industries.

And we finally round up our present edition with –

Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog Carnival #195
Curious Cat Management Improvement Carnival #196
Management Improvement Carnival #197

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

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.

Who Killed CHANGE? By Ken Blanchard, John Britt, Pat Zigarmi, and Judd Hoekstra

I just finished reading this book -‘Who Killed Change?’

The story features a Columbo-style detective, Agent Mike McNally, who’s investigating the murder of yet another change. One by one, Agent McNally interviews thirteen prime suspects, including a myopic leader named Victoria Vision; a chronically tardy manager named Ernest Urgency; an executive named Clair Communication, whose laryngitis makes communication all but impossible; and several other dubious characters.

Here is introduction to this book:

John Britt, Pat Zigarmi, and Judd Hoekstra, coauthors of the new book “Who Killed Change?” with Ken Blanchard, talk about the book and what they think people will learn by reading this new and exciting murder-mystery:

Pat Zigarmi on Leading the CHANGE:

Our  Iceberg Is Melting – Based on the novel by John Kotter, Penguins depict the real challenges that organizations face daily. Our management course at the University of Georgia put together this video to offer a video summary of Kotter’s novel and inspire interest in a great novel about leadership and leading change in an organization.

The following clip summarizes the Key  Learnings:

Indeed a very readable – in fact a must-read – book on how to support CHANGE, by every one who wish to implement Change or even by those who do not wish to implement Change – because Change is inevitable and ever so difficult ! ! ! ! !

The King of Good Times is now the pauper of bad times.

The growth of airlines industry in India seems to have happened quite unplanned.
Before, any meaningful comment can be offered, one needs to study the market share , the patterns of traffic, the cost structure, infrastructure management practices etc. of of each airline.
However,  few observations can be recorded at this stage:
1. Airlines seems to find competition uncomfortable. It is time that they are able to work out strategy of differentiating on factors other than price. As a customer, I have not preferred price alone. I would be necessarily guided by the preferred time slot for my travel, the experience of on-time travel. However, the airlines do not seem to have been able monetize their such USPs.
2. Certainly, [only] some routes may be profitable! but is it only the average, day-in-day-out load factor the only parameter driving that routes profitability?
3. The airlines are facing the monopoly in several other areas, like airport charges, fuel cost etc. But, this is not very much new for the industry as a whole. There are many industries  which have many customers [ meaning difficult to achieve segmentation and loyalty]; many players [Classic application of ‘Rule of 3’ – relatively fragmented supply side] and few [oligopolistic] structure of input suppliers [meaning that not much control on your input cost and /or quality performance parameters].

Certainly, the industry is in unenviable situation. But do they have not landed themselves in that condition themselves? If so, why, someone else should help them out?

[This is copy of my Comment to the original blog-post on BlogAdda’s Spicy Saturday Picks – Nov. 12, ’11]