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 [format_content] => )
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 [format_content] => )
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 178 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2013-02-25 21:09:46 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-02-25 21:09:46 [post_content] => Even big and successful companies sometimes forget the importance of listening. Let’s face it. Problems come and go, but it’s how we deal with the problems that make us stand out to our customer base. Microsoft spent years combating the perception that it couldn’t deal with or didn’t care about stability problems in its Windows operating system. Adobe let the prices of its high-level production software rise to incredible heights to the point now where many of their ‘loyal’ users are merely biding their time for a cheaper alternative. Toyota has been beset with persistent rumors about their quality. First, it was acceleration problems and floor mats, and the headline grabbing recalls continue. [pullquote]No matter who it is – be it your customers, constituents, stakeholders, investors, membership – or even your family members – careful, intelligent listening is the first crucial step to success and for overcoming problems and achieving a Quality operation.[/pullquote] For the record, each of the companies I have mentioned has made constructive efforts to reach out to their customers and show that they are – in fact – LISTENING. But listening, as it pertains to your management process, not a rigid, step-by-step technique for finding out what customers want or need. In fact, there is no strict methodology that can be deployed to meet the infinite variations of individual experience. Each organization is unique in terms of its products and processes, just as each interaction will be perceived differently. However, the failure to truly listen to customers is at the heart of why many organizations fail. No matter who it is – be it your customers, constituents, stakeholders, investors, membership – or even your family members – careful, intelligent listening is the first crucial step to success and for overcoming problems and achieving a Quality operation. I have three specific rules that will help ensure that your listening skills are applied effectively and that your listening pattern is in fact ‘careful and intelligent’.
There are many powerful management tools can be deployed to increase the effectiveness of your listening process – this can help you on a personal level. However, the data collection process itself usually involves two phases – quantitative as well as qualitative research. For instance, you may need to deploy marketing surveys and other research to build a complete picture about your situation. Wherever possible, show the affected audience – your customers for instance – that you are actively engaged by including them in the data collection process. As with all things, it is always important to keep matters as simple as possible. The more complex the process, the more effort a company must put into learning to use it properly. Put into another way: the more complex the process, the more likely that more things may go wrong. But you’ll never go wrong just by sitting down and listening. [post_title] => The Wisdom of Listening [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => wisdom-listening [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-04-16 12:35:10 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-04-16 12:35:10 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://subirchowdhury.com/?p=178 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [format_content] => )
- Get out from behind your desk. Go to where the action is. Go to the customers. Go to the factory. Go to the sales floor. Go to where the problems are. Go to where the facts are.
- Stop talking. It’s hard to listen when you’re the one doing all the talking. Watch what goes on. Watch what your employees are doing. Watch what your customers are doing. Listen to what they say – listen to the types of words they use. Even if you’re confident that you’ve got it, watch and listen more.
- Show empathy; look at the world through their eyes. Be in the moment where your employees and customers are speaking. Remember that it’s not about your expectations; it’s all about theirs. Learn from the people with whom you should be listening.
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.
|James D. Power||2010||JD Power And Associates|
|Glen A. Barton||2011||Caterpillar Inc|