SITE_header_new-york-times
SITE_slider_economic SITE_slider_future SITE_slider_greatest SITE_slider_LEO

Quality & You

Are you driven by the culture of “Good Enough”?

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 136
    [post_author] => 5
    [post_date] => 2013-04-15 19:56:29
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-04-15 19:56:29
    [post_content] => Every day, we are faced with choices: a choice to do right or do wrong; a choice to do or do nothing; a choice to bear down and do the right thing or do the minimum that's required to get the job done.

Our choices are influenced by many things around us: the people we know, the society in which we live and work, and our community. The pressures of everyday life influences our attitude toward quality where we have more choices: family, careers, money. Those pressures build on us and cause us to rush through things here and there. Then when we cut corners, cheat a little, fudge a margin or two, and we say to ourselves, "It's not perfect, but it's good enough."

Stop now and consider this question: At the end of the day, who suffers from "good enough"? What do we lose when we are driven by a culture that seeks the easy way out for all of its problems? Why is "good enough" the driving force our daily lives?

I believe that today, this moment in our history, we have reached a time when we must acknowledge that we are driven by a culture where “good enough” is at the core of our troubles. We have taken the low road to what we know is right. We have lost the moral high ground to what is expedient, easy, and makes us a fast buck. But, if I ask you to really consider what it will take to make us great again I’m sure you’ll agree with me that the notion of “good enough” really isn’t good enough!

[pullquote]When we all rally around the fact that quality is and must become everyone’s business, then will we truly appreciate why “good” can never be “good enough!”[/pullquote]

As I was building my core philosophy for “quality is everyone’s business,” I discovered that the greatest challenge was getting individuals, groups, and organizations (and eventually society as a whole) to recognize that hanging onto the status quo creates enormous waste, but more important, is not sustainable.  The culture of “good enough” has become such a fixture in our mindset that we don’t even recognize the deep problems that it causes. It prevents us from optimizing opportunities for excellence because it causes us to believe that nothing else can be done.

Meanwhile, we wonder why we feel our quality of life is slipping down, why our expectations have fallen, and we feel less satisfied.

I believe that if we truly want Quality in everything around us, then we must make Quality a part of everything that we do; as individuals and collectively as a society. The test for Quality is quite simple: honesty to self, integrity in what we do, resistance to compromise (on quality), and ethical behavior on our outcomes. When we adopt this level of awareness, then we will never believe that good is ever "good enough.”

I have seen places where the level of Quality, as I have described it, produces long-lasting positive effects on the entire organization. When everyone in the organization commits to this kind of Quality, then they adopt a new mindset toward everything around them.  When these organizations have done the hard work of taking everyone down the path of Quality, they share a culture of elevated awareness. Acculturation toward this mindset - I call it the Quality Mindset - is natural and builds mutual understanding.  The quality mindset then produces real change in the way individuals think and behave. Soon, the individual is changed as well: their life is lifted, their outlook is lengthened, and their whole attitude toward personal responsibility is enlarged.

What I have found is that when the Culture of Quality takes over, people observe, understand, and they really listen. People not only listen to their customers, but to co-workers, associates, family, friends, and even neighbors. High achieving people explore and discover by looking for ways to do everything that they can to find the best solution; not the easiest solution, but the best solution possible. For these people, Quality means improving and perfecting everything that they do, every day.

At the end of the day, when people rally around the fact that quality is and must become everyone’s business, will we truly appreciate why “good” can never be “good enough!”
    [post_title] => Are you driven by the culture of “Good Enough”?
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => closed
    [ping_status] => closed
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => quality-culture-of-good-enough
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2015-07-08 13:43:48
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-07-08 13:43:48
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => http://subirchowdhury.com/?p=136
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
)
Every day, we are faced with choices: a choice to do right or do wrong; a choice to do or do nothing; a choice to bear down and do...

Quality & Economics

A Tale of Two Countries

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 379
    [post_author] => 5
    [post_date] => 2013-05-20 03:23:54
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-20 03:23:54
    [post_content] => Earthquakes in Haiti and Chile measured 7.0 and 8.8 respectively on the moment magnitude scale. The difference implies that the Chilean earthquake was 500 times stronger than the Haiti earthquake.

While the devastation in both countries was extreme, structural damage and loss of life were far less in Chile than in Haiti.  The difference in devastation is largely attributed to the difference in building standards.

[pullquote]The impact of one nation's choice to pursue or not pursue quality impacts not only that nation but almost every other nation across the globe. [/pullquote]

Very few structures collapsed in Chile and the number of deaths was far less than in Haiti even though the Chilean earthquake was 500 times stronger.  In other words, in the case of Haiti, lack of quality can be directly attributable to the damage caused there, while a commitment to quality in Chile minimized what could have been an even greater loss of live than seen in Haiti.

In Haiti, the death toll exceeded 200,000 and the number of buildings destroyed or severely damaged exceeded 250,000 homes and 30,000 commercial structures.  In contrast, the death toll in Chile was less than 2,000 and very few structures were totally destroyed.

While the differences in building standards can be rationalized by noting the differences in economic health with Haiti being one the poorest nations in the world, the cost of poor quality proved to be enormous in Haiti.

ART_posts_haiti1Perhaps one of the most critical applications of quality is how it can have an impact on nations and individuals.  The impact of one nation's choice to pursue or not pursue quality impacts not only that nation but almost every other nation across the globe.  These decisions impact how dollars are spent and what they are spent on.  While it's often a difficult decision, especially in third world countries, political leaders who choose to ignore quality risk paying a heavy price.

Natural disasters cannot always be predicted, but you can minimize damage to people and places by integrating quality measures into infrastructures and policies.  Whether it is a hurricane, flood, tornado, pollution, or fire, the impact of the economics of quality for nations and their environmental resources can be devastating.
    [post_title] => A Tale of Two Countries
    [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] => tale-countries
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2013-08-31 19:03:49
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-08-31 19:03:49
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => http://subirchowdhury.com/?p=379
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
)
Earthquakes in Haiti and Chile measured 7.0 and 8.8 respectively on the moment magnitude scale. The difference implies that the Chilean earthquake was 500 times stronger than the Haiti...

Quality & Process

Watch Your Flow, Keep Control

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 173
    [post_author] => 5
    [post_date] => 2013-02-25 21:02:10
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-02-25 21:02:10
    [post_content] => When I watch organizations, I am reminded of a swiftly flowing river.

Starting with raw materials at the river’s source and ending with finished products or services flowing from its mouth, overlaying processes flow into and onto one another. When everything is running smoothly, it is a wonderful thing to behold. But much like a river, no production runs perfectly straight and smooth. There are twists and turns where the flow must adjust and maneuver around obstacles that get in the way.

However, the flow and process is often broken by changes in policies or conditions in the delivery chain, employees that overlook important issues, and staffing arrangements that leave us waiting in endless lines. And that’s the reality. Companies of every size and from every industry contend with flawed process flow as energy and profitability slowly bleed away.

Managers at a large mid-western hospital were spending their days and weeks tearing out their hair, trying to figure out the source of unacceptably large number of no-shows and last-minute cancellations for medical tests.

[pullquote]At the end of the day, rather than waste your energy trying to straighten out the flow, focus your effort on flattening out the curves and minimizing interruptions as much as possible.[/pullquote]

The problem was long in running. In some cases, patients were not receiving tests they needed therefore causing disruptions in the hospital’s schedules and lost revenue. To compound matters, staff time had ratcheted up as administrators and practitioners scrambled to stem the day-to-day scheduling problems and reschedule the cancelling patients.

Management suspected that a major source of the problem was due to patients’ inability to obtain timely approval from their insurance carriers for the tests. We turned to our Listen methodology and asked staffers to call patients themselves. The subsequent interviews revealed that many patients had forgotten their appointments. Many others didn’t know which of the hospital’s many buildings they were supposed to go. Still others who remembered their appointments and managed to find the correct office, discovered at the appointment window that they had failed to follow pre-test preparations (e.g., fasting) and had to reschedule. Insurance, as it turned out, was of minimal consequence. It was clear to all that the patient-preparation process was either non-existent or completely ineffective.

At my suggestion, managers examined best practices at other hospitals. They cataloged some common sense ideas for managing patient preparation procedures and paid special attention on departments in their own organization that seemed to be dealing with the situation better than other departments.

In a matter of a week or so, they had drafted two ways that the hospital staff could rectify the situation. First, patients must receive full explanations in print regarding their test, including a map that showed exactly where they had to go. Then, all patients received a phone call reminder for their appointment, plus a reminder (when applicable) about pre-test preparations. After the new patient-preparation process was up and running, the hospital reported a 50% reduction in cancellations. The flow was fixed.

No company’s operations ever achieve total perfection. Among the companies that handle the twists and turns quite well, they move around the flow a seasoned sports team. Attentive members use strong communication between other members to assess changes quickly and make on-the-spot adjustments as situations require.

At the end of the day, rather than waste your energy trying to straighten out the flow, focus your effort on flattening out the curves and minimizing interruptions as much as possible. Work toward perfection, but don’t expect it to achieve it today.
    [post_title] => Watch Your Flow, Keep Control
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => closed
    [ping_status] => closed
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => watch-flow-control
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2013-04-15 10:27:03
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-04-15 10:27:03
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => http://subirchowdhury.com/?p=173
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
)
When I watch organizations, I am reminded of a swiftly flowing river. Starting with raw materials at the river’s source and ending with finished products or services flowing from its...

Quality & Me

Recognizing Quality Innovation: The Subir Chowdhury Medal of Quality Leadership

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 703
    [post_author] => 4
    [post_date] => 2013-01-05 23:05:03
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-01-05 23:05:03
    [post_content] => In 2010, the Society of Automotive Engineers along with the Subir and Malini Chowdhury Foundation, established The Subir Chowdhury Medal of Quality Leadership. This award is designed to honor those in the mobility industry who demonstrate ability and talent to further innovation and broaden the impact of "quality" in mobility engineering, design and manufacture.

This award is offered in the spirit of my lifetime of work toward quality in the engineering professions.

 

LOGO_sae_international

Recipient Award Employer
James D. Power 2010 JD Power And Associates
Glen A. Barton 2011 Caterpillar Inc
[post_title] => Recognizing Quality Innovation: The Subir Chowdhury Medal of Quality Leadership [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => recognizing-quality-innovation-the-subir-chowdhury-medal-of-quality-leadership [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-03-21 13:52:58 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-03-21 13:52:58 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://subirchowdhury.com/?p=703 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
In 2010, the Society of Automotive Engineers along with the Subir and Malini Chowdhury Foundation, established The Subir Chowdhury Medal of Quality Leadership. This award is designed to honor...