WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 142 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2013-04-30 19:59:42 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-04-30 19:59:42 [post_content] => Do you want to change your organization - to transform the rank and file members so that they WANT to achieve true Quality? Of course you do - who doesn't. But even the most perfect retraining process will fail if you do not gain firm commitments from the people you are asking to implement the change. And that would be everyone in your organization. I have learned that when companies force a process on their workforce without first receiving their commitment to participate, the rank and file employee will become resentful and they’ll fight change – even when they know that change is for the better. Now, I ask you to apply that reality to other situations – government, education, business, your family – without willing and full cooperation of everyone involved, implementing even a small change is difficult if not impossible. When we want to bring about change, we must ask for the utmost commitment from every active member – including ourselves. This is also true for my own change process, "Quality Is Everyone’s Business" (QIEB). I cannot ask a client company to implement a change in their quality process without first knowing that certain fundamentals are met. In my book, The Power of LEO, I laid out these fundamentals - I called them the “Four Cornerstones.” These are the basic ground rules that can make the difference between a process that fails, or one that leads the organization toward a sustainable pathway of change. First, I ask that people say to themselves and others, “Quality is MY responsibility.” This personalizes the pathway as a self-actualized mission. Quality is not someone else’s problem. Quality is the personal pursuit that is reflected in every aspect of “my” work. Thus it becomes their personal belief that they can make a difference. [pullquote]What is important is the belief that the change is making a difference.[/pullquote] Second, everyone must accept that Quality must involve ALL the people, ALL the time. In effect, you will deputize the rank and file members of your organization to recognize a problem and solve it. If trashcans are overflowing with trash, the janitor is empowered to request larger receptacles. People must act as they would if they saw a burning fire – filled with the belief that they have the solution to make a lasting impact. Third, everyone must adopt an “I-can-do-it-Mindset.” There is a straight line between the leader’s policies and the behavior and attitudes of the employees that follow, and that line continues on into the quality quotient. For the Quality transformation to be sustainable, management needs to instill confidence among rank and file members of the organization; build up the belief that responsibility is the only answer. Finally, we must also assume that ‘one-size’ does not fit all. It’s always tempting to look for a policy (framed by some handy slogans) that can be applied across the board to any and all situations. It would make life so much simpler. But haven’t we already learned that such solutions are counter-productive? In an earlier article, I demonstrated how individual response to quality can be very different from person to person. Moreover, there are so many special cases and exceptions that any set policy itself becomes irrelevant the moment it is enunciated on the organization. Therefore, doesn’t it make sense to allow every individual to arrive at their own reason to believe in Quality? I have seen situation where these Four Cornerstones act as a catalyst for acculturation. People tend to push each other along toward improvement. And as people improve, they are encouraged to do more. At the end of the day, it isn’t the process of change that’s important. What is important is the belief that the change is making a difference. That’s how I believe that Quality will become Everyone’s Business. [post_title] => Four Cornerstones for Change [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => the-four-cornerstones [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-05-09 15:13:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-05-09 15:13:18 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://subirchowdhury.com/?p=142 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1241 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2013-07-10 07:00:44 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-07-10 07:00:44 [post_content] => I am deeply troubled by the increased pace of self-inflicted crises in our government and economy. We have been witness to one event after another during the last several years, each with seemingly greater levels of consequence and damage. Not surprisingly, this is all happening under the watchful eyes of two of the least productive congressional sessions in history. Questions persist as to whether our representatives can actually manage the country’s business without wasting time, money, and even lives. From my perspective, it appears that our elected officials and policy makers prefer political theater to resolving problems. Consider the so-called “sequester,” enacted as law at the start of 2013. It was another impasse; another political crisis. Congressional leaders and President Obama knew they had to do something, but ideology prevented them from doing something constructive. The Sequester was a flawed policy that nearly everyone knew wouldn’t work. Many people who participated in the decision warned of consequential damages that could eventually increase the cost of operations and decrease the quality of services delivered. And some of those predictions have already been proven to be correct. No business survives long making decisions in that way. From my perspective as a management consultant for more than twenty years, it is clear that our current government is focused on putting up barriers instead of tearing them down and creating opportunities. When I train executives and managers, I teach the importance of listening. As a core competency of successful leadership, active listening brings organizational cohesion. It enriches social interaction and optimizes decision-making though mutual interests. When leaders want an organization to grow, they tear down barriers and look for opportunities. Why can’t we get our government to do the same? We can, but only if we demand it. Yet, rather than ask representatives to enact such a change, I challenge each of us, as citizens and voters, to begin the process. After all, it is our duty to elect leaders to represent our interests. “We the people” empower the national agenda—we set the political priorities by what we think and what we believe. More important, how can we ask our government to adopt a new standard for management if we are distracted by political theater? How can we ask for a new quality standard, if we are not willing to practice it ourselves? I propose a “cause for quality” in which we see past the differences and build consensus. We don’t need a new party platform or a petition to achieve this goal. But we do need a dose of reality. If we stay on the path we are currently on, if “we the people” fail to change course, my fear is that the crises will only continue and our losses will only grow worse. Granted, there are significant differences between running a country and running a company. When businesses fail to embrace quality, customers complain, and sales drop. If there are no changes, poor quality will lead to even more lost sales and the business may ultimately fail. However, companies can reorganize, re-invent, re-invest, and recover. What happens when quality fails in government? The effects are invasive and long-lasting. When government leaders fail quality, economies falter, institutions fail, and individual futures are destroyed. The country can rebuild – we’ve done it before – but no one can replace personal suffering. Just think of the long recession we had to endure. Do you want to endure another? The root cause of the current failure in Congress and the White House is our own—we lack a true understanding of what is going on and are not engaged in any significant way. To me, the threat of failure is clear and the answer obvious. We either build up and strengthen the very foundations of this great democracy, or leave things as they and allow the country to continue to erode. We must not tolerate another self-inflicted crisis. To begin, we all need to stop playing the blame game. It’s not just your representative’s fault, the President’s fault, or the fault of anyone in government. It is our collective failure to recognize poor judgment. It is our fault for accepting poor quality decisions instead of demanding more from the process. The economic advancement of any nation depends on how its citizens practice quality. We are all shareholders in the United States of America. As such, we have the responsibility to participate and work toward meaningful change. [post_title] => Whose political crisis is this, anyhow? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => political-crisis-this-anyhow [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-09-01 07:07:29 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-09-01 07:07:29 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://subirchowdhury.com/?p=1241 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1427 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2015-09-15 01:14:18 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-09-15 01:14:18 [post_content] =>[post_title] => Elements of People Power [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => elements-people-power [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-10-11 01:15:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-10-11 01:15:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://subirchowdhury.com/?p=1427 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )People make judgments about quality every day:
Sometimes it is not at all about how something is engineered or where it came from, or how much work it took to build – the final assessment of quality depends entirely on how the person feels. It’s interesting that so many companies focus on processes without input from customers or even their own employees: ‘top-down’ processes punctuated by statistical data and quality management controls. While it’s obviously important to focus on what goes on behind the scenes, what kind of quality can you possibly deliver without feedback from the people who actually create (employees) or use your products (customers)? These days we do a better job of listening to the voice of the customer whether that customer is internal or external. But it was not until the late 1980s after the Japanese practically took over global markets that one major American automaker finally decided to listen to their customers. More recently, a major home appliance manufacturer waited until its market share fell to half of where it was at its peak before finally turning to its employees for ideas on how they could improve quality. The company listened, and now market share is climbing back up. These are just two examples – there are dozens more of hard-won lessons on the power of people. People power is the change agent that transforms all processes. When personal experience is added to your statistical data, all solutions are enhanced. When people are adequately encouraged and enthusiastic about their contributions, the transformation in the corporate culture is almost instantaneous. The elements of people power are honesty, empathy, resistance to compromise and ethical behavior:
- Fresh from the automotive body shop, a young man inspects the repair work on his car, carefully appraising the smoothness of the paint job from every angle.
- About to purchase a new business suit, a woman spends a few moments examining the material, seams, and even the button holes.
- A new mother is deciding which of two different manufacturers of baby food she will buy, and makes her final decision based on the packaging.
- Exhausted from a long flight from Germany, a weary traveler opens the door of his hotel room, sniffs the air and firmly presses down on the foot of the bed.
When all the elements are working together, people power grows in strength—and that’s a beautiful thing to experience. The more honest we are, the more empathy we have, and the greater our resistance to compromise, the more resilient will be our ethics. Welcome to the engine of people power.
- Honesty happens when management is frank and steadfast with everyone in the organization, not just the executive team. The effect is always immediate and always sincere. Honesty also triggers something very powerful – your people will also be honest and motivated to push complacency and carelessness out of the organization. Among the four elements, honesty is the most powerful.
- Empathy happens when we look at things from someone else’s perspective. People begin to have a greater understanding and make themselves open to change – even on hard attitudes and opinions. Empathy is the slowest paced of the four elements, but it has the greatest overall effect.
- Resistance to compromise takes shape as an attitude – a firmness toward accomplishment and against sliding away from work that must be done. Resistance to compromise also makes us aware that no problem solves itself. When we resist compromise, we grab hold of problems and never let a single detail slide away. Resistance to compromise means not accepting second best—good enough is never enough.
- Ethical behavior goes beyond knowing the difference between right and wrong, to include accepting responsibility for our choices. Ethical behavior is trusting our gut to do the right thing.
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] => 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 )