//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.

Recognizing Quality Innovation

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.

Making Choices

Subir reflects on his arrival into the United States with the promise of a job, only to find that the promise is broken. Practically penniless, Subir searches deep into his soul. Undefeated and undeterred, Subir pursues professors and department heads until he meets one who asks: You went to 20 departments, and now it is the 21st one; if I say no to you what you would do? Subir tells him, "I will go to the 22nd." This is Subir's story, not of conquest, but of perseverance in the face of making difficult choices.

Fear freezes your ability to be straightforward

When we are scared, nervous, or afraid, we shut out the outside world.  We become less open and transparent. Instead of accepting our true selves, and admitting that we are afraid, we put up a wall designed to keep out the truth.  We make things up to compensate—about how good-looking we are, about how clever or competent we believe ourselves to be, about how much money we make. We lose sight of the importance of being straightforward and honest. Fear can undermine openness and honesty in anyone—including me!

When is the last time you said. “I don’t know”?

Being straightforward means you know when to speak up even if you don’t have the answer. When I admit I don’t know something, it doesn’t mean I can’t learn or solve a problem.  In fact, I generally work harder when I don’t know something than when I do.