SITE_header_thinkers50
SITE_slider_economic SITE_slider_future SITE_slider_greatest SITE_slider_LEO SITE_slider_the-difference_2

Quality & You

LEO Revisited: The benefits of “Listen, Enrich, Optimize”

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 140
    [post_author] => 5
    [post_date] => 2013-04-25 19:58:40
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-04-25 19:58:40
    [post_content] => I have mentioned “Listen, Enrich and Optimize” in previous articles and I'll probably mention them again. They are the main principles of my LEO methodology and they are integral to "Quality is Everyone’s Business” (QIEB) philosophy.  We use QIEB to ensure that everyone in the organization is driving toward the same goal of Quality. LEO helps ensure that this transformation is sustainable.

Why must we as individuals “listen” better to our customers, suppliers, co-workers and our competition? All too often, we dedicated ourselves to collecting data associated with a problem without asking deeper questions like “why” and “how” that might give us better clarity about the processes behind the data. Watch and observe what works and what doesn’t.  Understand and empathize with all your stakeholders until you “get it.” How they express what they need; how they define their expectation of Quality; what it takes to make them delighted and enthused with you, your employees and your company – these are the realizations that will ultimately redefine the level of service you offer and provide.

[pullquote]We use QIEB to ensure that everyone in the organization is driving toward the same goal of Quality. LEO helps ensure that this transformation is sustainable.[/pullquote]

When I say “Enrich,” I mean to point out a process that guides us toward what we should do once we have full knowledge of the situation. In other words, if listening leads us to lessons of how we may improve, then enriching means putting those lessons to work thereby increase our potential to achieve a successful solution. Here we apply some logical organization to how we are going to use our data. What does the data tell us about how we currently do things? How can we implement the data and when? If this sounds somewhat familiar, it should, since it echoes many of the aspects of the Quality Mindset that we constantly refer back to in QIEB: Honesty, Integrity, and Resistance to Compromise.

Ultimately, once you and your entire organization have gotten the processes and procedures honed down and working to meet and exceed the needs, wants and desires of your customers, both internal and external, then you must keep raising the bar. That’s the point of “Optimize.” The goal is not just to put out a fire but also to prevent it from happening again. We can challenge known solutions and compare them against other solutions you have discovered; select the best ones and constantly subject them to every situation they may encounter. When you have corrected for any and all possible shortcomings, start the process over. Ultimately, we will never settle for just “good enough” again.

We can spend quite a bit of time on sharpening our LEO skills. By Listening, we don’t get complacent. By Enriching, we strive for perfection. And by Optimizing, we look at Quality as a universal, everyday goal, not an exception that rests with a few people. Ultimately, to be successful, quality must be “everyone’s” business.
    [post_title] => LEO Revisited: The benefits of “Listen, Enrich, Optimize” 
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => closed
    [ping_status] => closed
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => leo-revisited-the-benefits-of-listen-enrich-optimize
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2013-04-26 13:04:21
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-04-26 13:04:21
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => http://subirchowdhury.com/?p=140
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
)
I have mentioned “Listen, Enrich and Optimize” in previous articles and I'll probably mention them again. They are the main principles of my LEO methodology and they are integral to...

Quality & Economics

Data, Action, and Future

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 1421
    [post_author] => 5
    [post_date] => 2015-05-12 01:09:31
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-05-12 01:09:31
    [post_content] => 
When I talk about “honesty” in the context of quality, people often mistake my intent. I am not implying that people are dishonest. I am not saying that people do not know right from wrong. The kind of honesty I’m referring to is the kind that helps you avoid mistakes in your business—the type of honesty that pushes good data, good actions, and a positive future.
  • What happened that allowed the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform to explode and release millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico? Detailed testimony during the court case against BP suggests that the engineers and management were aware of possible problems, but that they ignored the warnings.
  • What were politicians thinking when they enacted the Budget Control Act of 2011? Supporters claimed that budget sequestration would not damage American military readiness. However, less than a year after enactment of the law, a top of the line nuclear submarine was severely damaged because the resources were not there to protect it. When it came time to repair the sub, the US Navy said that it didn’t have the budget, so a $1 billion piece of equipment was scrapped instead.
  • The Japanese government and a national power company claimed that the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster was the result of unforeseen circumstances. Reports have since come out that they had received many warnings that Fukushima was vulnerable to tsunami and earthquakes.
When there are disasters, people often make irrational claims that a company is being deliberately dishonest. There’s a general misunderstanding about how large organizations make decisions. Large corporations and especially government and government agencies rely heavily on management consensus for their big decisions. The nature of the consensus could be based on several criteria like risk assessments, mitigation, cost factors, profitability, and so on. No single factor is the driving force in any decision, especially when there are political elements involved. Moreover, that’s how disasters can happen. In the cases I mentioned above, it is very likely that few people thought that the risk levels were high enough to change their minds or offer alternative solutions. More than likely, they never heard the warnings because, by that time, the warnings had been filtered out or diluted to the point that they didn’t stand out. Ultimately, the decision makers did what many people do: they just went with the flow. To me, “going with the flow” means that you are not listening to the data, you are not enriching your actions, and you are not optimizing your future. When you make decisions as they did at BP or Fukushima, you’re taking an average of possible answers and hoping nobody notices that you took a shortcut. The problem is, these days, even the most innocuous shortcuts can set off terrible global disasters. When you have true honesty in management, information flows freely. You have real data, effective action, and a positive future. If you do not have honesty from everyone in your organization, how can you make the right decisions? How can you trust the quality of your processes if your people can’t be honest with you?  
[post_title] => Data, Action, and Future [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => data-action-future [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-10-11 01:11:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-10-11 01:11:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://subirchowdhury.com/?p=1421 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
When I talk about “honesty” in the context of quality, people often mistake my intent. I am not implying that people are dishonest. I am not saying that people...

Quality & Process

Power Up Talent

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 1415
    [post_author] => 5
    [post_date] => 2015-03-24 01:05:11
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-03-24 01:05:11
    [post_content] => An executive from a company that makes electronic components complained to me that her workforce lacked the talent to move quality beyond the organization’s current level.

“My people are simply not up to the challenge,” she sighed.

“What makes you think that?” I asked.

“Quite frankly, they are satisfied with being good enough—nothing more, nothing less—and leaving as soon as they can,” she replied. “We’re a component company. It’s not very exciting work.”

We then talked about some well-known innovations and the people who created them:
  • Jonathan Ive, the in-house designer responsible for the now iconic iPod, iPhone, and iPad, as well as other products.
  • Chris Anderson, a staff editor at Wired who created the concept of “long tail economics,” and later wrote a best-selling book about his findings. Long tail economics is now studied by business and economics students around the world.
  • Claire Diaz-Ortiz, an early hire at Twitter, who developed many of the social media concepts that transformed Twitter (and other platforms) into major media leaders.
Talent drives excellence, and excellent always drives quality. Talent contributes to the overall success of the organization, and demonstrates to others how excellence is within our grasp. While it may seem that talent is spontaneous and unplanned, the truth is, talent already exists within organizations—you just need to know how to tap it. The problem in many companies, and with many individuals, is that we’re often focused on people like the programmer who is a coding genius or the salesperson who has a knack for closing deals. Sometimes we’re so focused on what is most visible, that we miss talent waiting to be mined. Part of this is our failure to notice people who are the everyday heroes. These are the people who make the rest of the workforce more productive, and able to focus on improving quality. For example, the woman in accounting who is the ‘go-to’ person for Excel spreadsheet formulas, and the mail clerk who has a flair for fixing the copier, have talent that helps the company move forward. These people possess talent that is just as vital to success as a single history-making invention. Talent is an essential part of business, and something that should be encouraged with all employees, not just those involved with the well-known projects and assignments. Talent shows itself through innovation and creativity, but it also motivates people in the organization by inspiring all of us to find higher levels of excellence. Most importantly, talent exists throughout the organization, and enables people to contribute, succeed, and feel invested in the company. And when everyone feels invested in the company, we all win. [post_title] => Power Up Talent [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => power-talent [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-10-11 01:06:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-10-11 01:06:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://subirchowdhury.com/?p=1415 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
An executive from a company that makes electronic components complained to me that her workforce lacked the talent to move quality beyond the organization’s current level. “My people are simply...

Quality & Me

The Subir Chowdhury Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Student Quality Competition

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 798
    [post_author] => 4
    [post_date] => 2013-02-20 17:40:23
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-02-20 17:40:23
    [post_content] => LOGO_sae_international

LOGO_sae-foundation-25th

Beginning in 2013, the Subir and Malini Chowdhury Foundation will work with the SAE International and The SAE Foundation, the charitable arm of SAE International, to establish the Subir Chowdhury Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Student Quality Competition.

The goal will be to engage high school and college students in a nationwide competition that will allow them to demonstrate their understanding of the impacts of quality on their lives. It will also serve to help today's students become tomorrow's scientists and engineers.

The competition will be open to high school and college students throughout the United States on an annual basis.  Students will be provided knowledge and skills based on Subir Chowdhury’s teachings in quality and process improvement.  Students will be asked to design a project that will clearly demonstrate their understanding of how quality will impact their lives and the lives of those around them.  Participants will compete at local, regional and national levels and will ultimately be rewarded for their innovative and creative thinking and application with cash awards for the top winners at the national competition level.
    [post_title] => The Subir Chowdhury Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Student Quality Competition
    [post_excerpt] => Is it culture, the weather, geography? Perhaps ignorance of what the right policies are? Simply, no. None of these factors is either definitive or destiny. Otherwise, how to explain why Botswana has become one of the fastest growing countries in the world, while other African nations, such as Zimbabwe, the Congo, and Sierra Leone, are mired in poverty and violence? 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => closed
    [ping_status] => closed
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => the-subir-chowdhury-society-of-automotive-engineers-student-quality-competition
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2013-03-21 13:51:23
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-03-21 13:51:23
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => http://subirchowdhury.com/?p=798
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
)
Beginning in 2013, the Subir and Malini Chowdhury Foundation will work with the SAE International and The SAE Foundation, the charitable arm of SAE International, to establish the Subir...