WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 126 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2013-03-03 19:49:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-03-03 19:49:52 [post_content] => While it is true that I am advancing a new way to think about quality, I am also reaching beyond common output metrics of a product or service. I believe that we need a fresh approach that can have a profound effect on not only the way we work, but the way we perceive our everyday life. Think about this. In business, the present concept of quality has been fixture for the past 75 years. But the irony is that while the industry has developed an abundance of quality management tools, most organizations unfortunately still struggle to make sustainable, long term gains that can truly differentiate themselves in today’s global marketplace. That is where my thought process has taken me – to understand why the present concept does not serve us better. In my analysis, I have found that the focus on the “process of quality” is in fact incorrect. I have discovered that it is the process of managing quality that is primarily to blame. I will say that the intent to manage the process is limiting because it focuses far too much attention on the “outcome of quality,” not the “act of delivering quality.” Why is this important? Because, Quality touches everything that you do on a daily basis; from discussions you hold with your peers, subordinates and leaders and the interactions you have with suppliers, vendors, and other providers. In fact, Quality touches every aspect of your life – in your business as well as your personal family life. [pullquote]When has a quick fix ever solved anything?[/pullquote] We can say that a problem belongs to someone else or we can look at ourselves in the mirror and accept the responsibility of solving the problem ourselves. If each one of us starts with the mindset that the problem belongs to me, then all problems will disappear. When I say that Quality is a part of everything you do, I mean to say that you become aware of both the problem and your ability to fix any problem or deal with any issue whether at work, our personal life, or in our community. This perspective of Quality also refuses to accept compromise. It also recognizes that lasting solutions require that we do more than “fix” a problem. I ask that you think about this honestly – when has a quick fix ever solved anything? That’s where I believe we have failed ourselves. While we have made some fantastic strides to improve quality, we have sunken into the false security that a “find-and-fix” process is somehow enough. But obviously it isn’t. This all-encompassing vision of Quality offers a new mindset, a transformational way to think about the actions and decisions that we make. It draws together commitment from people to improve their performance and make Quality a lifestyle choice, a cultural attitude, and a personal belief that refocuses all attention on the “act of delivering quality.” [post_title] => Redefine the Nature of Quality [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => redefining-the-nature-of-quality [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-10-18 13:51:55 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-10-18 13:51:55 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://subirchowdhury.com/?p=126 [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] => 151 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2013-01-11 06:08:17 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-01-11 06:08:17 [post_content] => I used to open our management meetings with a simple question: “Which makes more sense: invest time and energy to avoid problems or to solve them as they occur?” It’s not intended to be a trick question, but I’m surprised by how it causes so many executives and managers to squirm uncomfortably as they try to figure out how they should answer. Of course, we want to do all that we can to avoid problems. Who wants to be a fireman? Who wants to spend their day jumping from one crisis to another with barely enough time to do productive work? But I can easily understand their discomfort: that’s exactly what their day-to-day is like. In effect, they can’t avoid problems – they only solve them. A shocking number of organizations make the mistake of believing they have achieved excellence when – in reality – their operations rely heavily on heroic efforts for day-to-day rescues. Eventually a situation will arise where even heroic efforts will fail. Which is a great opportunity to bring up another kind of hero: people who really “get it” when it comes to the quality mindset. These are the truly excellent people who appreciate day-to-day quality in everything that they do. They are honest about their work, they possess an ethical attitude about what must be done, they meet challenges with steady resistance to compromise on quality, and are ready at a moment’s notice to spring into action. [pullquote]When leaders walk the talk of Quality… the organization moves as a cohesive social group that is better equipped to solve immediate problems as well as long term ones. They may even prevent “unforeseen” problems from ever cropping up.[/pullquote] The people who fit this description are like the hotel manager who drove two hours in her own car, on her own time, to return a credit card to a Japanese guest boarding a flight to Europe. There was also the hydraulics engineer who volunteered to parachute into a wilderness area to fix one his company’s new water pumps. I recall the shipping clerk who shouldered past jokes and ridicule from fellow employees as he carefully packaged every order as crisply and neatly as possible. Imagine what could be accomplished if everyone were like this? These are the heroes of quality. They are not ‘firemen’ who rush to extinguish fires. They are the fearless fire preventers who jump into the arena to answer the call to stop the fires from starting in the first place. They shake off the intimidation of circumstances and situations, roll up their sleeves, and get to work. Often, their efforts draw scant praise, if they are noticed at all. Nevertheless, we need these “heroes” in all aspects of our organization to help us drive operational excellence. But even heroes need inspiration. Many problems with quality can be addressed by implementing a robust quality management program, but that’s not enough. To change organizational processes and drive substantial and sustainable increase in quality, you must also tap into people power. Organizations that have successfully ignited people power share one important characteristic. They have leaders who walk the talk of quality – at every moment, every encounter, and every level of the organization. When every executive, manager and supervisor walks the talk of quality, they can set off an acculturation process that will sweep through the entire organization. This is how you seed a culture of quality; this is how you inspire heroes of quality. By walking the talk, you encourage communication, interaction, and implementation, as defined in detail by the LEO methodology: Listen, Enrich, and Optimize. LEO calls on us to make a sincere effort to improve communication with our customers, suppliers, co-workers and even competitors. When we really listen, enrich and optimize, we pull our noses out of the spreadsheets and reports, and begin asking questions like “why” and “how” so that we gain better clarity about what is going on NOW. “Walking the talk of quality” means opening up to meaningful interaction so that every encounter enriches the organizational culture. We open up to lessons on how we can improve, where we may improve and when. When we open up, we encourage everyone to do the same, which in turn increases the likelihood that the rank and file will do more to prevent problems from occurring in the first place. Equipped with better communication and interaction, we are prepared to implement a renewed awareness throughout the organization. Not only are we putting out fires, we are preventing them from happening. We are optimizing our relationships from both the inside and outside of the organization. When every member of the organization – from top to bottom – adopts LEO, THEY become the trigger-point for high-level communication skills are found among the best organizations. When leaders of the organization walk the talk of Quality, they become the example for everybody to follow. The organization moves as a cohesive social group that is better equipped to solve immediate and long-term problems. They may even prevent many "unforeseen" problems from ever cropping up. When this level of communication is achieved, then it doesn’t matter how many problems you have or where they appear because now you will always have enough fire preventers who are ready to take action. [post_title] => Walking and Talking Quality [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] => walking-talking-quality [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-07-03 01:09:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-07-03 01:09:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://subirchowdhury.com/?p=151 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
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|