Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs – May 2013

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: 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 Leadership Development – April 2012 – By Tanmay Vora

Shri Tanmay Vora, originally a core quality professional, also has inherent natural knack  to look at the world around from a human perspective. He is also, inherently, very innovative in his observations about what he sees or reads or expereinces.

I have had benefit of a chance visit to his blog , which has now been my regular joint to visit. Each visit is a treat in itself.

Leadership Development Carnival is one of such activities where we have the benifits of his innovative and creative bent. The Leadership Carnivals is an intititive led by Shri Dan McCarthy.

He has edited the carnival for April,2012 .

Shri Vora has cast his net wide quite wide and has thus presented a gourmet bouque of  around 26 articles in the present edition.

I plan to take each of the articles for an indepenedent review in subsequent posts during the month.

Madhuvan supplement of Janmabhoomi Pravasi of 30th October, 2011 and Classic Management Literature on Human Relations

The 30th October, 2011 Madhuvan supplement of Janmabhoomi Pravasi has four articles dealing with, directly or indirectly, with the meaningful and vital importance of human relations for maintaining the health of [any type of ] organization. Incidentally, these articles cover individual-to-family-to-society-to-nation level spectrum of relationships.

The rich and poor divide story is an age old one, but the chasm seems to have reached deepest low in the recent times. The author, [“ગરીબાઇ ક્યાં સુધી” / સમાજદર્પણ // મીરા ભટ્ટ] seems to find fault with the high insensitivity – either of an individual or of a group or of the society. The supressed moan of discordant relation is more piercing than the painful [physical comforts or lack of necessities, in the context of our present article] howl of worsened relations, as epitomized by the correction ‘Happy’ in place of ‘Hungry and suffering’ in the “Hungry and suffering population shall no more tolerate…”

If the discordant or sour relationships persist for long, the violent demonstrations like that in Libya or Egypt or non-violent movements like Occupy Wall Street or bloody upheavals like French Revolution, entirely spontaneously, take place at [seemingly] blink of the eye-lid. Before one notices a spark, the flames spread like wild fire. Shri Kundan Vyas has raised the warning signal at a very opportune time, in his article ‘Challenge to Capitalism in his column ‘Political Currents’ [a.k.a. ‘રાજકીય પ્રવાહો’ કૉલમના ‘મૂડીવાદ અને પડકાર’ લેખ].

Another article lucidly explains the insensitivity factor in human relations, particularly in an organization. In fact the title of the article –‘A tail is a tail, not the head’- dramatically presents the degree of insensitivity. The article begins with story of ‘highly independent’ Sophie, who ‘never stays long enough in any organization’.  She leaves the organization in a huff because her wavelength does not match with that of her boss. Sophie’s cause of dissatisfaction is: “the worst mistake a boss can make is not to say: Well done”. The famous address -’an employee does not leave the organization, but leaves the boss’- of Shri Azim Premji of Wipro also delivers the same mesaage to the captains of the organizations.

The article ends with a poignant venting of the sense of hurt of the grass-root social worker of an NGO on account of  inadequate facilities and unequal conditions of work [[a.k.a. Hygiene factors in the classic OB literature] as well as boss’s utter disregard for their self-respect [a.k.a. Higher level needs of Maslow‘s Theory of Motivation]. The second side of this coin is insensitive high-handed attitude of the boss in his these words – ‘A Tail is a tail and the head is a head….( “પૂંછ પૂંછ હી હોતી હૈ ઔર સિર સિર્ફ સિર હોતા હૈ”) [a.k.a. Haves and Have-nots class divide], the tail should never aspire to be the head ( “પૂંછકો સિર બનનેકા સપના નહીં દેખના ચાહીએ”) [a.k.a. feudalistic mind set of ‘Leaders are born and Followers are made’].

The solution to such situations is provided in the adjoining article [જીવનનો આનંદ – ગુફ્તગૂ – રમેશ પુરોહિત]. The solution suggested is a classic ‘text-book’ solution, but perceived to be difficult to follow. The quote of a great thinker, Richard Oven Cambridge, suggested a s the solution is: ‘The real worth of anybody [or anything] lies in its ability to provide happiness.’ The author expands tis principle by inviting the readers to assume that everyone acts or communicates only when the intended deed or message would provide happiness to the target audience or else avoids that deed or communication. He has narrated a story to illustrate the point. A lady manager is assigned what she considers lower her than status task by her male boss. At first she was so much disappointed that she became quite furious and then the frustration melted away in the stream of tears. She then reacted to the boss in manner which made both quite happy. It can thus be observed that if reaction to any event is permitted after some moments of thought, then it is not difficult to find a solution that can make all concerned happy enough.

What an effective application of the ‘90:10 principle’ [10% of life is made up of what happens to you. 90% of life is decided by how you react.], popularly propounded by Stephan Covey!

On the whole, these articles seem to suffice to convince us that it is not difficult to apply common sense in uncommon degree to practice standard application of leadership styles enumerated in the classic management literature of Organizational Behaviour.

In most of the present day organizations, except known [political] dictatorship systems, the leaders, normally, follow participative or delegated styles. As result, the type of conflicts narrated in the foregoing articles may be few and far between these days. However, these can be totally wished away since human relationship is a complex dynamic interplay of individuals, who are essentially, different. It is also quite natural that leader and followers – or any combination, like senior-juniors; employer-employees; supervisor-workers or the ruler-the ruled – is bound to look at the coin from two different sides, hence always creating two different perspectives of the same event. If this difference is allowed to persist for long without judiciously mature reconciliation, then it is quite likely that this difference may become a distance, too difficult to traverse.

In short, the bottom-line is that key to live, healthy and lasting relationship is the perpetual state of happiness of constituents. This in turn becomes the lifeblood for sustenance of vivacious organization in the long run.