//Have you gotten the “Wake-up” call to be straightforward?

Have you gotten the “Wake-up” call to be straightforward?

2018-06-14T18:44:51+00:00

If you want to make a difference, and be the difference, you cannot be afraid of the truth. This is the only way that you can find your way to be straightforward and productive.

Quality & Me

Subir shares short stories about what people do to make a difference everywhere they go. We can make huge contributions to the way we function as a society by standing out as an example within our own community: at work, at our places of worship, among our colleagues, friends, and family. All it takes is the courage to step up and being straightforward, thoughtful, accountable, and resilient.

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Books by Subir

The Power of LEO
The Ice Cream Maker
The Power of Design for Six
The Power of Six Sigma
Organization 21c

A director I was consulting with always expected people to come to him.

This guy really believed that no news was good news. Like a lot of senior level executives, he expected people to come to him, not vice versa.

The problem was, no news wasn’t good news—it was the opposite. Problems weren’t getting resolved.

He asked me to help him figure out why the company wasn’t meeting its goals. Interestingly, he didn’t include his own team members in the discussion. Only me.

I told him he needed to spend more time on the floor–where the action was. Spend some time just listening to what is going on.

We joined a meeting already in progress. The discussion was heated; clearly people in the meeting weren’t happy.

When we walked in, everyone was shocked into silence—they hadn’t seen this director outside of his office in months.

After a few seconds, the director took my lead, and told everyone to pretend he wasn’t there, and to continue their meeting.

That’s when something really interesting happened.

Instead of ignoring the director’s presence, one engineer used it as an opportunity. He spoke up and out—in a refreshingly straightforward manner.

This engineer wasn’t concerned about what his response might mean to him personally—or professionally. It was unusual behavior in this company.

He told the director point blank that unless the organization invested in improving its products, two or three years down the road, the company would be dealing with recalls, or even lawsuits.

It took guts for this engineer to tell the director truth. It was, unfortunately, rare behavior in this organization.

In this case, the director responded positively, even thanking the engineer for being so candid. I think it was the “wake-up call” he needed. In fact, he told everyone in the room that “good enough isn’t enough.” They still had a long way to go, but it was a good first step.

If you want to make a difference, and be the difference, you cannot be afraid of the truth.


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What is your difference?

In the past two decades, I have helped countless organizations improve their processes to find greater success. But over the years, something began to haunt me. I noticed that some organizations using the exact same process or methodology realized enormous savings, while others stumbled. I kept wondering, what is the difference?

When was the last time you lied?

None of us grows up and then suddenly starts lying. We develop a tendency toward telling fibs – and outward lies – at early age.

Maruti-Suzuki and the Quality Way

Quality is defined by the customer. It happens when we are willing to listen to each other, enrich our experiences, and optimize our opportunities to improve. Quality comes when we have a mindset for honesty, integrity, resistance to compromise, and ethical behavior. What we want is for quality to be an automatic response to everyday encounters. When this mindset becomes part of the organization’s DNA – its very essence – then we can say that Quality is everyone’s business.

How will you embrace the truth?

A friend communicated a story to me about Alan Mulally, the former CEO of Ford. When Mulally first joined the organization, he gathered his senior management team together to identify what needed to change at Ford. In a nutshell, Mulally asked his team to color code their initiatives red, yellow, or green. Red meant things were in bad shape—for example, a launch date might be missed. Yellow meant an initiative wasn’t going well, and green meant the initiative was on track.