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Quality & You

What does your mission statement say about quality?

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    [post_content] => Entrepreneurs and managers will create mission statements in an effort to fix a goal for the entire organization. The most common way to build one is by stating a unifying philosophy wrapped around a strategic purpose, product, and plan. But how does one instill a unifying philosophy that reaches beyond the words contained in a quality vision or the mission statement?

This was my big question; my core intent: to help managers enhance existing efforts by making Quality a common key that belongs to “everyone” in your organization - to bring about a "cause for quality."

Put another way, Quality strengthens your mission statement. It helps fuse together what you currently have in common with an attitude that is shared throughout your entire workforce: from the C-Suite, down to the production worker. The goal is not to make a change, but to enhance what you currently have. The intent is not to replace your existing policies, but to integrate Quality into your organizational DNA.

In my analysis of current quality processes, I found that they are based on one solution for productivity; one concept for quality management. Of course, we want everybody to rally behind one vision of the future, but how do we make that vision truly transformational – something that your people will find personally motivating and personally exciting?

[pullquote]My contribution, no matter how big or how small, will have an impact on the success of my organization![/pullquote]

If there is one thing that we have all learned, you can’t get people excited with a run-of-the-mill mission, vision or quality policy. I believe that by making Quality everyone’s business, you emphasize basic principles that affect people on a personal level. When you encourage individuals to reach out to others, they are – in turn – empowered to do the best work that they can achieve. When you empower them to look beyond personalities and solve problems; you strengthen their resolve to reach deep into their own powerful personal resources and unique talents which, in turn, provides a far better means of personal motivation. What we want is for individuals to sit up and say, “My contribution, no matter how big or how small, will have an impact on the success of my organization!”

Subsequently, as Quality truly becomes everyone’s business, individual behavior will then serve to enhance the intent of your mission statement. People throughout the organization will change their attitudes and beliefs relative to your mission, vision, guiding beliefs, and yes, your quality policy. For instance, in the past, when a problem occurred, you might expect that many people will think “the problem belongs to someone else” or “it’s not my job.” Once they have undergone the principle transformation of understanding that Quality must be a part of everything they do, you can expect that their reaction will be fundamentally different. Instead of passing the buck to the guy in the next workstation, you can expect them to take personal responsibility and be the change agent that produces a lasting solution.

When the notion that Quality is Everyone’s Business is blended with your quality policy as well as with your mission statement, you are encouraging an ideal mindset where everyone now owns problems and creates solutions while supporting the organization’s common vision of the future.
    [post_title] => What does your mission statement say about quality?
    [post_excerpt] => In this bestselling book, Chowdhury introduced his next-generation management system — LEO. In The Power of LEO, he describes how continuous focus on quality improvement can revolutionize any process—from manufacturing operations to managerial decision making. The secret is to cease delegating the responsibility of quality to specific teams or departments and permanently lodge it within the core of an organization’s culture.
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Entrepreneurs and managers will create mission statements in an effort to fix a goal for the entire organization. The most common way to build one is by stating a...

Quality & Economics

Subir Chowdhury Fellowship on Quality and Economics at the London School of Economics (LSE)

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The Subir Chowdhury Fellowship on Quality and Economics allows for any post-doctoral scholar in-residence to participate in the program, regardless of ethnicity or national origin and spend time at LSE engaging in research examining the impact of “people quality” and behavior on the economies of Asian nations prioritizing, but not restricted to, India and Bangladesh.

Ultimately, the “Subir Chowdhury Fellow” is expected to successfully complete one publishable research paper during their stay and make a presentation at a seminar or lecture arranged by the Asia Research Centre. The Fellowship has been awarded to the following individuals:
2014-15 Dr Saurabh Kumar CUTS International
Click Here - For more information about Dr. Kumar's work.
2013-14 Dr Srijit Mishra Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research
Click Here - For more information about Dr Mishra's work.
2012-13 Dr Mrutuyanjaya Sahu Jawaharlal Nehru University
Click Here - For more information about Dr Sahu's work.
2011-2012 Dr. Vanishree Joseph Indira Gandhi National Open University
Click Here - For more information about Dr. Joseph's work.
2010-2011 Dr. Rahul Hiremath Walchand Institute of Technology and Birla Institute of Technology & Science
Click Here - For more information about Dr. Hiremath's work.
Click Here for more information regarding The Subir Chowdhury Fellowship on Quality and Economics at the London School of Economics (LSE). [post_title] => Subir Chowdhury Fellowship on Quality and Economics at the London School of Economics (LSE) [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => subir-chowdhury-fellowship-on-quality-and-economics-at-the-london-school-of-economics-lse [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-04-23 16:45:40 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-04-23 16:45:40 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://subirchowdhury.com/?p=895 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
The Subir Chowdhury Fellowship on Quality and Economics allows for any post-doctoral scholar in-residence to participate in the program, regardless of ethnicity or national origin and spend time at...

Quality & Process

Walking and Talking Quality

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    [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? 
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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...

Quality & Me

Impact of Quality of Learning

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    [post_content] => Modern economies depend heavily upon the distribution high quality education to members of our society. Without high-quality structured learning programs, not only are companies left without viable candidates to fill skilled jobs, society is often required to take care of the 'drop outs' one way or another.

The tragedy is that had these kids found something they liked about education, they might have stayed in school. They might have gone on to lead productive lives and avoided the blemish of a criminal record. But for many of them, education reminds them of past failure. Without guidance and mentorship, that's a very difficult (if not impossible) barrier to ask school-age kids to overcome on their own.

So I ask, who failed whom?

In 2007, I received a letter from the Orange County Corrections Department in Orlando, Florida that still amazes me. The letter described how Warren Kenner, a facilitator for a "youthful offender program," introduced my book, "The Ice Cream Maker" as part of the curriculum for an eight-week literature study class for about a dozen students.

If you have read this book, you know that it addresses concepts of deploying quality in a business operation. Mr Kenner saw another application of the concept; to offer it to his student as a model for injecting quality into their lives.

He wrote, "If you want to get ahead in life, then you've got to treat everyone with respect; not just the people you like. Most important, you've got to be thinking daily on how to improve yourself in service to others."

He also said that many of his students have been told all their short lives that they are losers; that they would never achieve anything in their lives. After a while, you begin to believe it. Most of them have such a low opinion of themselves that they lack the basic attributes of ambition and hope that you and I take for granted.

His goal is to keep the kids from internalizing the negative voices and reach out for excellence. "My whole thrust is to have them commit to themselves. The have to believe in themselves before they can help themselves or anybody else."

In Ice Cream Maker, one of the primary motivators for the fictitious business owner was recognizing the price of failure. For some of the students in this class, it was the first time that they had ever finished reading a book, yet remarkably, many came away from the experience recognizing the price of their own failure and fully comprehending that failure isn't final; that once you shed negative feelings about failure, you can begin working for total quality mindset in everything that you do.

Imagine what we might accomplish if more people understood this very simple concept. If these kids get it, why can't the rest of us?
    [post_title] => Impact of Quality of Learning
    [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? 
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Modern economies depend heavily upon the distribution high quality education to members of our society. Without high-quality structured learning programs, not only are companies left without viable candidates to...