//The difference between process and people

The difference between process and people

2018-06-14T21:07:52+00:00

There's a big difference between process and people. It's absolutely vital that you know the difference so that you can manage them better.

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

Mindset matters.

When it comes to quality, mindset is the difference between short-term results and long-term success.

What I’ve discovered during my work with organizations of all sizes is that you can install the best processes, and they will probably work. You may even get some decent results.

But why would you settle for “decent” when you can have extraordinary?

Here’s the secret ingredient in the difference: people.

Real, sustainable quality involves both process and people. People who have a caring mindset.

When you have a caring mindset, there is literally no end to the levels of success you can achieve.

Don’t get me wrong. Having strong processes in place are important to an organization’s success. But they are only part of the equation. Without “people” your numbers will never add up.

Even the best processes lose their power and their efficiency if the people enacting them don’t genuinely care about what they are meant to produce.

If just one person lacks a caring mindset, the dominos start to fall. A bad apple can ruin the entire bunch.

Mindset influences how we think about things. It’s that little voice inside your head that guides everything you do and say. Having an open and caring mindset is an important facet of what makes us human.

Unfortunately, not everyone has a caring mindset. I bet you know someone who can’t be bothered to understand someone else’s point of view. Or someone who gives in only because they’ve given up. Or someone else who is always blaming everyone else, never taking responsibility.

Sounds ugly, doesn’t it? You can have the best systems in place, but if people don’t care, your organization – and everyone in it – will suffer.

I once heard a CEO comment that it was important to care about customers, but that first we need to care about each other. In other words, we all need a caring mindset to fire on all cylinders.

Without people, no amount of process will improve your quality.


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Step back so you can move forward

When I need to recharge my batteries, I usually go for a long walk. Sometimes by myself, sometimes with one of my kids. I always end up feeling refreshed and reenergized when I return. It’s critical that you’re passionate about what you do—otherwise, what’s the point? However, there’s a difference between passion and obsession. Let me explain.

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

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.

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.

Center for Bangladesh Studies at UC Berkeley

The Subir & Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies at the University of California, Berkeley has an ambitious mission ahead. At the top of their list are innovative projects that aim to improve garment-industry safety, apps to solve social problems, and gathering data on antibiotic-resistant bacteria found on fruits and vegetables. And that's only a month after it opened on March 30.