When 'quality' ceases to be just lip service from one employee to another - it becomes a process for continuous improvement toward perfection.
How can you deploy a management process with a broken chain? How do you know if yours is broken?
I was visiting a friend of mine who at the time was the chief executive officer of a large consumer products company. Although we had spent many months prior to my visit discussing quality problems that the company was experiencing, he was reluctant to even talk about it now that we were sitting face to face in his office.
Finally, he exhaled sharply.
“Listen, Subir.” I could tell he was very frustrated. “We have spent a lot of money on our program deployment, but…” then he drifted off, waving his hand.
He looked over my shoulder to make sure his door was closed and then he leaned forward. In all the years I had known him, I had never seen him so uneasy.
The 4Cs is a script that adds potency to upper management’s decision to deploy whatever management program or other process they choose.
“It’s not working,” he hissed. “Every time that I think we have achieved some milestone, it slips away.” He shrugged helplessly.
I nodded. “Maybe you have a broken chain.”
“A broken what?”
I instantly understood his problem. No matter what program you deploy – Six Sigma, Total Quality Management, Lean Management, Design for Six Sigma – if you don’t have a robust management chain, you are risking failure. Understand that all of the process programs I’ve mentioned are excellent tools that have been used all over the globe by hundreds of companies, large and small. Many of them have a long history of success. But the caveat is that they will only work if you also deploy what I call the 4Cs:
These 4Cs are the management chain describes separate and overlapping processes. Together, they form a managerial imperative that must be ‘in play’ at the highest levels of the organization leadership. At some level, you can call them common sense measures, but in fact they are more important than that.
The 4Cs is a script that adds potency to upper management’s decision to deploy whatever management program or other process they choose. They give guidance to all managers on their conduct; a check and balance for every detail in the deployment. Depending on how strongly the senior managers emphasize their use, the 4Cs become ethical anchors for self-measuring effective leadership and productivity.
Back to my friend. In order to make sure that his management team understands the importance of success, he still uses the 4Cs as part of his agenda in his weekly management reviews.
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