Sunday, November 11, 2007

Quality management: Changing the rules of the game

by Shibu Cheruvatoor
The Economic Times

While elaborating on the concept of Total Quality Management (TQM), the late quality management guru Professor Ishikawa would use an analogy comparing the Shinkansen - the Japanese bullet train to other trains in the west. He would explain that the Shinkansen was then the fastest train in the world because each of the train’s carriages had a motor, unlike others which only had a locomotive in the front. In much the same way, he would conclude total quality management has a similar effect when practiced correctly. Concept of Japanese quality management Put simply, Total Quality Management (TQM) is the process of instilling quality throughout an organisation and its business processes. The Japanese were instrumental in extending Quality Management (QM) to the more broad-based concept of TQM, synonymous with Japanese quality management. Nearer home, Mahindra Institute of Quality (MIQ), a premier management institute located in Nashik, in the western region of the country, imparts residential training programmes in the Japanese way of Quality Management. The training programmes are animated with world-class infrastructure, the Japanese faculty, guest faculty from industry, case-study presentations, experiential learning games, self learning teams, etc. At the end of each course it is mandatory for the participants, facilitated by MIQ, to implement improvement projects in their organization. Scientific management In 1881, F.W. Taylor, published his revolutionary work on scientific management. He propagated the application of scientific methods to each element of work instead of the old rule-of-thumb. He also advocated training of workers, instead of letting them use their own tasks and methods. Alongside he recommended a healthy spirit of co-operation between workers and management to ensure work is done by scientifically devised procedures and appropriate division of work between workers and management. Thermolab, a Maharashtra-based ISO 9001 certified company accredits its Quality Control department as the reason for its ability to provide customers with the best quality equipment. The department is equipped with specialized people to run quality checks at each and every stage of production, keep a track for the incoming material test, check the quality of the equipment during the production stage and finally at the final testing stage. This has resulted in avoiding component and product failure in the field. Customer interests at the centre A company which can understand current and future customer needs, meet their requirements and strive to exceed expectations is more likely to enjoy increased revenues and market shares, which could lead to repeat business. The team at Thermolab proudly state, “Our success is based on actively listening to our customers’ needs and knowing how to convert the customer’s requirements into tangible customer advantage, using a high level of technical expertise. At the same time, we maintain a commitment to introduce the best and latest to the market. This is the key attribute of our focus on customer-driven core values.”

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wisdom from 25 Years in Sales

by Michelle Nichols (BusinessWeek)

BusinessWeek Editor's Note: In her farewell column, longtime contributor Michelle Nichols offers advice you can apply to selling and to life in general.

A few months ago, my gut started screaming at me to stop writing this column. At the time, that seemed as crazy as not breathing. I'd been writing Savvy Selling for six years and I still had plenty of interesting sales topics left to explore. However, I respect my intuition because it represents 40-plus years of life experience. I've learned that whenever I ignore its guidance, I have regrets.
I'm not one to casually walk away from a great relationship. Through my columns, I was able reach more folks around the world in a month than I could speak to in a lifetime. Helping readers sell more and building friendships in the process (I made friends in over 50 countries) have been my favorite parts of the process.
Six years of biweekly columns adds up to around 150 columns. At about 800 to 1,000 words each, that's enough to fill two or three books. Here are some parting insights from my 25 years in the sales business, six of them writing Savvy Selling, which I'd like to share with you.
1. Life is short. Make yours count. Reach for the low-hanging fruit first. Identify those people you can present or complete the sale to, or help today. Call them right away. Then work on your long-term sales prospects.
2. Be real. To start, find out who you are so you can be real to yourself. What are you good at? What do you like? What's important to you? For instance, I found that my favorite part of public speaking was giving workshops and helping individuals, not giving keynotes from the podium, where I was expected to pontificate on three points and worry about my arm gestures.
Next, be real with others and encourage them to be real with you. I've found that by doing so with my customers, they feel safe enough to share who they really are with me. Only then can they tell me what's truly important to them, which allows me to sell them the right solutions in the right way at the right time. As a result, everyone wins and selling is easy.
3. Be bold. Create big doorways of opportunity and then walk through them. BusinessWeek created this column for me after I sent a letter to the site's editor. They asked if they could print it, I said yes, and inquired if they wanted a sales columnist. They said yes—and we struck a deal that day.
A similar process led me to my podcast series. The president of an Internet company mentioned podcasts to me, so I asked BusinessWeek if I could record some for them, even though I had no idea what podcasts were. Four months later when I got the green light, I jumped in and booked Zig Ziglar, the famous master motivator, as my first guest a few weeks before his 80th birthday. Ziglar was a delight and I had a ball interviewing him and the 44 guests that followed.
4. Have fun. The old saying, "If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy," applies to sales, too. If the salesperson isn't having fun, nobody's having fun. Don't be dry; sell in a way that brings a smile to your customers and makes them look forward to seeing you.
My office is filled with funny things to help me lighten up. I have a Rodney Dangerfield doll that says in Rodney's voice, "I don't get no respect," and a sign my kids bought me that reads, "Beware of Attack Salesman." I collect humorous mugs and silly books, too.
5. Balance your family and work. Six years ago, I asked BusinessWeek if I could write a column about the death of my son, Mark, and the lessons I've learned from that terrible experience. That column (, 7/19/02) generated over 100 e-mails from around the world. Every following year in late July, I wrote a column about balancing family, work, and life. Your letters in response have been a great source of healing and encouragement to me. This is an example of the payoff I've received from being real and bold.
6. Love all, always. I know this is a sales column, but it applies to our customers, employees, and families, too. Life really is short; sometimes it ends abruptly. Everyone you meet is fighting a tougher battle than you know, so be gentle. The best we can hope for is to live a full, happy life and leave behind a handful of people who love and respect us.
As the classic breakup line goes, "It's not you, it's me." I am bidding you farewell so I can spend my time boldly tackling whatever it is I'm supposed to do next. Please feel free to keep in touch—and happy selling!

Quick, look busy! - a look at Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Oliver Burkeman
Saturday November 10, 2007
The Guardian

I haven't yet felt the need, in this column, to praise Stephen Covey, author of the famous The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People. It's one of those hopelessly unrealistic books that insists you begin your journey to fulfilment by Discovering Your Values and Finding Your Life Purpose - a process which, it's implied, will take a few days of slogging through several grim chapters of homework-style exercises. But a few days is both too long (who's got a few days to spare?) and too short: surely discovering your "life purpose" takes your whole life. I finally lost respect for Covey when he decided there was an Eighth Habit, requiring a new book. Who's to say there won't be a ninth, 10th, 11th? I'm no maths expert, but I'm guessing the possibilities are, well, infinite.
But Covey's obsession with values leads him to one key insight, and it's all in that word "effective". People sometimes misremember the title as The 7 Habits Of Highly Efficient People, but there's a reason why it's not called that. Covey recognises there's no point being really good at doing stuff - highly efficient, in other words - if it's not the right stuff. Efficiency isn't the same as effectiveness. Work is probably where we misunderstand this the most. A day when lots gets done feels like a day well spent, regardless of what got done, and few companies avoid "presenteeism", where just being at your desk looking busy is rewarded. (Almost every time-management book falls into the trap of assuming that whatever you're doing is worth doing, and just needs doing more efficiently.) But there's "busywork" in our personal lives, too, whenever the volume of activity becomes a stand-in for its value: what else is speed-dating, or pushing your kids into doing 25 extracurricular activities, or a frenetic social life based on keeping in touch with as many people as possible?
The scariest part - for an inveterate list-maker like me - came in Paul Graham's essay, Good And Bad Procrastination (one of a collection, worth browsing, at Graham identifies "type-B procrastination": not inactivity, but unimportant busy‑ness. "Any advice about procrastination that concentrates on crossing things off your to-do list is not only incomplete, but positively misleading, if it doesn't consider the possibility that the to-do list is itself a form of type-B procrastination," he writes. It's still procrastination, he points out, to do a lot of pointless tasks just because it feels nice to cross them off the list, while the big, difficult thing - the one that matters - goes undone. I recognised myself, and felt caught red-handed.
Of course, our lives are full of duties we don't find fulfilling but cannot just abandon in favour of more "important" things. One popular piece of advice is to spend even just five minutes each day on one important thing, before the urgent stuff takes over. Increasingly, little tricks like this strike me as far more useful than grand philosophies of happiness. Meanwhile, if you find my life purpose, please get in touch.

10 ways to make meetings more effective

That meeting wasted my time.”How often have you made this statement? Like you, I’ve attended many unproductive meetings, but a recent one topped them all. I had been talking about my consulting and training work with an employee of a company in central New Jersey. Things had gotten to the point that, after receiving information about me, the person suggested that I come to his New Jersey office for a meeting he would set up that would include him and his boss, the director of a training program for new professional hires.

The day of the meeting came, and I made the two-hour drive to the New Jersey office. I met my contact, who brought me to a meeting room with two of his co-workers and his boss. Following our introductions, the boss asked me about the work I do, and I described it. After hearing it, the boss said, “I’m sorry, but that work isn’t in line with what we had in mind.”

What went through my mind at that moment is probably unprintable, but you get the idea. Of course, the trip proved to be a waste of time for me. However, maybe some good did come of it, because ironically, thinking back about it gave me the idea for this article.

The following tips, which apply both to attendees and the chair of the meeting, will help minimize the chances that you’ll be similarly aggravated.

Note: This information is also available as a PDF download.

#1: Determine whether the meeting really is necessary
Does the meeting really need to occur? Do multiple people really need to interact with each other? Reducing the number of attendees saves time for everyone, both those in the meeting (because it probably will end sooner) and for those not attending (because they can do other things).

If the meeting involves a review of documents, status reports, or other material, sending them to attendees prior to the meeting saves time and might even make the meeting unnecessary. Consider my example of the New Jersey meeting: I wonder whether the boss had even reviewed my materials beforehand. Had she done so, or had she spoken to me by telephone, it would have saved time for everyone.

Even if you determine that a meeting is really necessary, does it have to be in person? Consider a telephone or video conference call, which can save time, money, and energy (and which is an option I should have considered for my New Jersey meeting).

#2: Be punctual
Have you ever been on time for a meeting and found that only about three-fourths of the attendees were present? Did the meeting leader say, “Well, let’s wait a few minutes for more people to arrive”? Think about the message that action sends. You, the person who showed up on time, are being penalized for doing so. The people who are late, conversely, are being told that their lateness has no consequences. How likely is it that you will be punctual to the next meeting this leader holds?

I’ve heard of companies that remove all extra chairs from the room once the meeting starts, forcing latecomers to stand. While that technique may be extreme, it does reflect the idea that peoples’ time should be respected.

In the same way, if you’re going to be late, try to let the meeting chair know in advance. Simply showing up late might send a message to the other attendees that to you, the meeting is unimportant.

If you’re the chair, try to end the meeting on time. Attendees have other commitments, and keeping them late is unfair to them and to the others with whom they have commitments. A friend blogged about how she hinted about the late running of a meeting, which was supposed to end at noon: Her stomach growled audibly at 12:05.

#3: Be wary of recapping for latecomers
On a related note, be careful about recapping a meeting for latecomers. By doing so, you are in effect starting the meeting over.

#4: Be prepared
Did you receive background material prior to the meeting? Reviewing it and being prepared with comments saves time for everyone. You might even spot something that could make the meeting unnecessary, as in the case of my New Jersey meeting. If you have questions about the material, consider e-mailing them to the author or to the other attendees in advance, so they have time to think about what you’ve asked.

#5: Have an objective
Author and consultant Stephen Covey counsels readers and clients to “Begin with the end in mind.” When planning a meeting, therefore, ask yourself “What do I want to see as a result of this meeting?” Put another way, ask yourself (as a famous politician and U.S. president did), whether, at the end of the meeting, you and the attendees will be better off than you were at the beginning.

If you have no objective and no purpose, why meet at all?

#6: Publicize the agenda
Having and distributing an agenda prior to a meeting alerts attendees to the nature of that meeting. Attendees who believe a particular item should be added or removed have an opportunity to discuss that issue with the meeting chair.

#7: Be clear about responsibilities
In your agenda and in conversations beforehand, be clear about your expectations for the attendees. Regarding a particular topic, are you looking for a short update, a discussion, or a formal presentation? Being clear about expectations leads to efficiency and avoids embarrassment.

#8: Address important things first
Dr. Covey uses a demonstration involving sand and a collection of medium-size and large rocks. He challenges audience members to place all of them into a pail, so that there’s no overflowing of sand and the rocks all stay below the top of the pail. After many people fail, Dr. Covey shows them how to do it: He puts in the large rocks, then the smaller rocks, then pours in the sand. Those who fail do so because they reverse this sequence.

In your meetings, as in other aspects of your life and work, try to address the most important issues first. Get them out of the way, so that if you do run out of time, all you have left are the less important things.

#9: Avoid being distracted by side issues
It’s easy, during a meeting, to be distracted by side issues. If that happens, you risk losing control of your agenda and the meeting itself. Is the issue one that really needs to be addressed right now? Does it need to be resolved to continue the meeting? If not, consider “parking” it. Section off part of a flipchart page or whiteboard, write the issue inside, then continue the meeting. Afterward, document the issue, as well as any others that have similarly been parked.

If the issue really does need to be addressed immediately, you have a difficult decision to make. Among your current attendees, do you have the necessary people — and only those people needed to resolve the issue? If so, and this issue is important, you may have to take time to address it with the other attendees. If you lack the necessary people, you might have to defer the issue. In that case, try to proceed with other agenda items you can resolve.

#10: Document your meeting
Within a day or two after the meeting, distribute minutes so people have a record of it. Make sure that the minutes list the specific people assigned to specific tasks. Without minutes of a meeting, questions will arise as to who said what and who committed to what. Follow-up actions from the meeting might happen more slowly, if they happen at all.

- (by Calvin Sun, TR, 6 Nov 2007)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The power of reliability excellence

By R. Keith Mobley, CMRP, MBB

In striving to achieve improvements, many organizations turn to lean manufacturing, six sigma and total productive maintenance (TPM). They’re valid initiatives and proper implementation depends on having stable, repeatable operations. Realize that such operational stability is delivered through a combination of organizational and equipment reliability.
Sustainable business improvements come through organizational ownership of standardized work processes coupled with the discipline to execute them. In striving to achieve improvements, many organizations turn to lean manufacturing, six sigma and total productive maintenance (TPM). They’re valid initiatives and proper implementation depends on having stable, repeatable operations. Realize that such operational stability is delivered through a combination of organizational and equipment reliability.
Core methods: Address each facet of reliability excellence to achieve reliability, low cost and profitability. If one element is sub-par, it jeopardizes the stability of anything that follows. Reliability requires systematic identification and elimination of waste from processes while increasing responsiveness to change. The 10 interrelated, perhaps concurrent, core methods that an organization can use to implement a lean production system are, in sequential order:
Six sigma
Hoshin kanri
Five S (5-S)
Cellular manufacturing
Just-in-time (JIT) production
Seven wastes (7-W)
Single minute exchange of dies (SMED)
Total productive maintenance (TPM)
The differences: The primary difference between reliability excellence, lean, six sigma, TPM and other improvement processes is the implementation logic and methods. Most applications of these processes are limited to a narrow focus on horizontal, tactical silos intended to address a single limiting factor within the plant or corporation. As a result, applying these processes might generate improvements in the focus area, but because it isn’t applied widely enough, it too often increases cost of goods sold and reduces product throughput.
Six sigma is almost exclusively implemented as a quality assurance tool or to gain ISO certification. In neither case do the implementations consider organizational change management, or the effect this type of implementation will have on other critical issues, such as cost of goods sold, life-cycle cost, asset reliability and even environmental, health and safety.
Few, if any, companies fully implement the entire lean manufacturing process. Instead, selected components, such as five-S or seven wastes, are implemented as quick-fix tools in one or more areas of production. While these are good and needed methodologies, they won’t provide the benefit that most plants need for survival.
Again, the critical limitations of a narrow-focus application of select parts of the lean manufacturing process are change management and universal application of lean as a cohesive process.
Integrate processes such as lean, six sigma, and total productive maintenance into a single holistic process implemented vertically and horizontally throughout the plant or plants. For example, 5-S and 7-W lean methodologies are applied in each functional area of the plant, not just the production function. The foundation of change must be a thorough understanding of the limiting factors that restrict performance. Reliability excellence includes an assessment process that accurately identifies, quantifies and prioritizes the factors that must be corrected to achieve and sustain desired performance levels.
Organizational change management (hoshin kanri) is the primary driver of the process.
Without changing the work culture and the way that each employee performs duties and makes business decisions, the tools provided by these processes will have little, if any, sustainable benefit. Management commitment and effective leadership are nurtured and developed through the business reengineering training and development process that starts at the beginning of the transformation and continues throughout implementation.
Total employee involvement is encouraged throughout transformation. Evaluation of existing work processes, development of new, more effective processes and the training for and implementation of these processes is done through cross-functional focus teams comprised of stakeholders within the organization. The entire reliability excellence transformation is by the workforce, for the workforce.
While the objectives and methods of lean are valid and desirable, the methods employed don’t address two critical success factors. First, the sole focus is on the production organization and excludes that asset reliability, as well as an effective maintenance function, are critical to lean. Second, lean assumes that the processes used in day-to-day business (planning, management, operations, procurement and maintenance) are reliable. Reliability excellence draws heavily on lean and six sigma methodologies, but also includes the missing pieces needed to achieve a sustainable level of improvement and build the foundation for continuous improvement that solidifies the company’s chance for long-term survival. - (PS, Nov 07)

Simple performance management

by John Ha

When you look at the overall talent management process, performance management is often an elusive target. While leaders conceptually agree that it is a good thing, it is generally viewed by most managers and employees as another worthless human resources process that wastes time and paper. Still, most leaders who "get it" understand that they must have some form of performance management system to continually advance their organization. Once we start down this road with a client, they all ask us for the same two things: They want a performance management process that is simple and doesn't require so much time that their managers won't do it.
Performance management doesn't have to be that hard. In fact, I think it's overdone at most companies. It can be very manageable as long as you think through the process and implement a system that makes sense with your organization's needs. This article summarizes the three major components of a performance management system. It's really a cycle that continues to build on itself. Just remember that when it comes to performance management, less can be more. You don't always need a 10- to 15-page form to document performance.
1) Employee goals and development: This is the first step and focuses on setting goals for both performance and individual improvement. Goals should be for both professional and personal purposes with specific timelines. The manager should commit to providing the necessary resources and support to achieve these goals. An example might be to obtain the Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional (CMRP) designation within six months, with the manager making a commitment that the employee can attend at least one industry workshop or seminar during the course of the year.
2) Self-appraisal document: The second step should be a self-appraisal. This should be a simple form that allows each employee an opportunity to self-evaluate and "brag" about their past accomplishments. Unfortunately, managers and their employees aren't always on the same page when it comes to identifying successes and failures. A word of caution here: Some employees may not receive this step favorably. They may question why they should be the ones to document all of their great achievements. After all, wouldn't a good manager know about all of their employees' accomplishments? Depending on your culture, a self-appraisal may be an optional step.
3) Performance feedback document: This is the most difficult step because most people as managers do not enjoy giving negative feedback to their employees. That is why it is so common to have a staff that is pretty much average. Only the superstars and the worst performers are recognized. It's also the most time-consuming step, as managers should meet with their employees individually to discuss their performance. If you don't have managers who are willing to give honest feedback to their employees on their performance (whether or not they successfully met their goals and objectives) and devote the necessary time, the entire system will fail.
How often you go through this process really depends on the circumstances and is a judgment call. A good guideline is an annual review process with a mid-year check-up to see how an employee is progressing on their goals. It wouldn't be uncommon for those goals to be adjusted at mid-year based on shifting priorities.
The application is numerous. You should be able to use the performance management system to determine merit increases, bonuses, promotions, transfers, training plans and even terminations.
If you still don't buy into performance management, think about it as a form of predictive and preventive maintenance for your people. It's really nothing more than a tool to ensure your people are operating at their peak performance without unexpected failures. Sound familiar? While comparing people to machines is like comparing apples and oranges, there are some great lessons that can be applied to both. For example, when a machine fails, is it generally the machine's fault or is it because it wasn't operated or maintained properly? Now, apply that question to the failure of an employee to perform their job.
As I've said before, professionals in the field of reliability and maintenance should be the first to understand the importance of performance management because it's already in their school of thought. - (RP, Nov 07)

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Time Is A Dimension So Do You Seriously Think You Can Contain It?

by Robin O'Brien
October 31, 2007

People are often described as being two-dimensional. It implies that there is a lack of depth to their character; a three-dimensional person is supposed to be the complete picture. But many forget that there is a forth dimension: Time. Is it sheer folly to try and control a dimension?
Without Time life would cease to exist. Consciousness only exists because we all have an innate sense of the passing of time. We know we're happy or sad because we have a fixed time reference; we know that our psyche, indeed everything in life, is constantly changing. We're happy, because we know that sometime in the past we were not. Without Time we would not be able to say if we were happy or not.
Time is a universal law and yet we hear experts telling us we should manage it. Time management is now big business. But time management implies total control, that we can somehow change it. We pay these people huge amounts of money each year so that we too can learn the trick of managing, taming and controlling time. We take these gurus seriously; they are rather like the fabled alchemists who could change lead into gold.
But what if they preached about width management, height management and depth management and how we need to control them to live a more fulfilled life. We would think them ludicrous. And yet, when they talk about time management - the forth dimension - we nod respectfully and beseech them to take our money.
Perhaps I'm being a little facetious but I think there is a serious point to be made. When we spend too much effort in sectioning off our time from one activity to the next, we may think we are more fulfilled, but I suspect, something dies within us.
Are we seriously supposed to draw up time charts for work, family, hobbies and 'quality time'. Surely, our family is a constant part of us; is it possible to shut them out altogether when they are not scheduled in. The term 'quality time' implies an allotted time for us to explore our emotions; a time to be happy, to reflect, to build relationships, to be sad even. But how can we 'switch on' these things; we're human beings, not machines. Our emotions and thoughts creep up on us; they bare scant regard to time, whether it's been allotted to them or not.
When we try to live a regimented life we loose that certain something that makes us human.
Of course, the business of getting through the day does require a degree of organization but spontaneity, creativity and true fulfillment is only possible when time is given a long leash.
I often think that when Time Management gurus tell us that we can reach a better, happier place from the rigorous management of our allotted time on this planet, they are, at best misguided. What is more likely to happen is that we turn off our humanity; we become machine-like. A machine doesn't have any self doubts or bad times, but neither does it have our genius for thought, creation and spontaneity.
A machine is the perfect example of time management. A human being is the perfect example of something that is not governed by, or tries to manage time, but is aware of the possibilities that time gives each and everyone one of us.

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Aiming for excellence

10/29/2007 Daily Journal

When Tom Peters wrote "In Search of Excellence" with Robert Waterman 25 years ago, "excellence" became a mantra in much of the business world.The book's litany of characteristics of successful companies - close to the customer, a bias for action, autonomy and entrepreneurship, to name a few - were repeated, studied and emulated in companies large, small and in between and became a part of the common business lexicon.National Public Radio named "In Search of Excellence" one of the three most influential business books of the 20th century, and it opened the market to a whole new business literature that took the focus off strategy, budgets and numbers and put it on people -employees and customers. It really was a harbinger of a shift in American business.Peters, who has spent the quarter century since its publication writing and consulting, was in Tupelo last week, still preaching his message that successful businesses are essentially about one thing: Releasing the creative talents and energy of people in the service of others.He appeared at the kickoff of the corporate fundraising campaign for HealthWorks!, a children's interactive health education center under development at the old Kroger building in Gloster Creek Village. The center, scheduled to open in fall 2008, is patterned after the original in South Bend, Ind., which was featured for its highly creative and innovative approach in a 2004 television production by Peters.Long-term plansPeters urged the Tupelo audience not to settle for making incremental progress in childhood obesity, which he described as the most serious problem facing the country. Why not think big - make this a model for the country by turning around not just Northeast Mississippi's obesity problem, but the entire state's.Don't settle for small progress or comparing yourself only to the rest of the state, he said. Aim higher. Tupelo's past achievements suggest it should be thinking in those terms, he said.It was more than inspirational rhetoric. Peters has a point - not just for HealthWorks!, but for any community or regional undertaking.Whether in health care, public education, economic development, neighborhood revitalization, downtown rejuvenation or any of a myriad of other common undertakings, Tupelo and Northeast Mississippi shouldn't settle for good enough, or even better than most in the state. World-class is the vision that will produce results that will be remembered.This community and region have been best when they aimed highest - the Wellspring site, for example. Peters points out that risk-taking and big thinking brings the criticism and debunking of the naysayers, as that project surely did. Yet had the region's leaders not thought big and taken risks, there would have been no Toyota.Communities, like businesses, need to be constantly reinventing themselves. And, like businesses, the best communities are those that unleash their people to stretch the limits of their imaginations.Pie in the sky? Only to those who haven't seen it work because they've never tried it.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Professor provides road map to management 2.0

A road map to management 2.0

By Stefan Stern, Financial Times October 28, 2007

Peter Drucker, the 20th century's preeminent management writer, famously said, "Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done." The ambitious challenge Gary Hamel has set himself -- and largely met -- is to provide a new road map for 21st century managers. How can organizations be more adaptable, innovative and resilient, and what do managers need to do, or stop doing, to help promote these qualities?Although Hamel is full of admiration for the great names of management theory from the past -- Frederick Taylor, Max Weber, W. Edwards Deming and Drucker himself -- his point is that it is time to move on.Some of these greats, still hugely influential today, belong to "a small coterie of long-departed theorists and practitioners who invented the rules and conventions of 'modern' management back in the early years of the 20th century."Just as we are now living through the "Web 2.0" era, Hamel contends that we need "management 2.0" to deal with our new surroundings. This is a neat idea, and a fitting one, because in a sense the "The Future of Management" by Hamel with Bill Breen offers us a vision of Hamel 2.0. The London Business School professor was as energized by the "new" economy as anyone and, with almost evangelical fervor, wrote "Leading the Revolution" in 2000. Although it might have gotten much of its analysis right, it is also remembered for its euphoric praise for Enron Corp. A bit older, and much wiser, Hamel offers an intriguing account of what managing in the future is going to look like. It is time for some innovation in the way we organize our work, he writes. Where should we look to see the future in action -- as Drucker always urged us to do? Hamel focuses on three examples: Whole Foods Market Inc., W.L. Gore & Associates and, predictably enough, Google Inc.Whole Foods, the organic food retailer, has annual sales of $6 billion and more than 30,000 employees. It is an open, relatively nonhierarchical organization. The pay of every employee is known, and even senior executives receive no more than 19 times the average wage. Recruits are voted in through a process of peer appraisal after a four-week probationary period.W.L. Gore has annual sales of $2 billion and employs 7,500 people producing high-quality specialized clothing and fabrics. It has no management layers and no organizational chart. "We vote with our feet," one employee tells Hamel. "If you call a meeting and people show up, you're a leader."Google has more than $10 billion in annual revenue and 10,000 employees. It is a company, Hamel says, "that is capable of evolving as fast as the Web itself."Here too hierarchy and position count for little. "Command and control isn't an option when your 'employees' are some of the smartest people on the planet," Hamel writes. After flirting with a conventional corporate hierarchy, Google's middle management is now kept to a minimum because "an excess of oversight was putting a damper on innovation."It is pretty clear what Hamel thinks the future of management needs to look like. It should be far more democratic and less hidebound. Genuine empowerment and decentralization are required. Organizations will become more human, because to adapt and survive they will need a creative contribution from everybody.Consider the traditional management cry: "How do we get more out of our people?" It is "loaded with industrial-age thinking," Hamel says. It "virtually guarantees that a company will never get the best out of its people. . . . Vassals and conscripts may work hard, but they don't work willingly. . . . An enthusiastic workforce will consistently outperform one that is merely industrious."Ambitious and imaginative managers have little to fear from the brave new world that Hamel describes so well in this book. Bureaucrats, careerists and control freaks, on the other hand, should be worried. And Drucker? He would, I think, have loved it.

Thinkers Call For Creative Learning at the Festival of Thinkers

Dr Edward de Bono
University leaders suggested at a Dubai conference yesterday that conventional teaching methods may block one’s creative instincts to continue life-long learning and solve personal and professional crises. Educators now advocate "creative learning" as critical to a student reaching his/her full potential.
In an approach long advocated by Malta psychologist and physician Edward de Bono, educators said students of tomorrow must see life as a series of creative opportunities rather than challenges.
De Bono joined 20 Nobel Laureate speakers and educators at the three-day Festival of Thinkers which wrapped up at Dubai Men’s College yesterday.
Author of 75 books, De Bono’s pioneering work on lateral thinking was a central theme of the conference which included a panel of educators who asked how they can prepare "creative and responsible citizens".
Dr Kerry Romesburg, President of Jacksonville University, said: "We need a broader range of understanding. We actually train creativity of our students… The biggest challenge is keeping that creativity alive."
Richard Stephens, a member of the American Education Commission and a senior vice-president of Boeing Company, said universities need to transfer knowledge to students but they also must teach students how to define and solve problems "to put that knowledge to use".
Dr Monte Cassim, President of Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Japan, said university is "a place to shape one’s destiny. Marriage of arts and science is absolutely critical, we have to go beyond disciplines".
Instilling creativity in students, he said, is "not just a matter of the head but a matter of the heart."
Dr Thomas Rocco, Provost of the three-year-old Greece-based Hellenic American University, said the school is "focusing on a culture of competence. We emphasise outcomes and frequent assessment of those outcomes". He said that students must evolve beyond their individual learning capacity.
New York Institute of Technology President Dr Edward Guiliano said he believes there will be a new 21st century teaching model for universities that will morph alongside a changing culture that demands higher degrees of creativity. - (xress, 25 Oct 07)

Editor: I attended a talk on creative thinking delivered by Dr Edward de Bono in Kuala Lumpur in September 2007. He mentioned that ISLAM is the religion that encourage THINKING the most compared to other religions. He quoted several verses from the Holy Quran and Hadith (traditions of Prophet Muhammad) to support his claim to the amazement of the audience.

Breaktrough management - 'manufacturers must think global'

MUMBAI: Even as the debate on core competency and diversification continues to dog Indian companies, a well known Japanese management expert was in the country recently to try and make Indian manufacturing companies look beyond mere production and to include aspects like research and logistics, to increase their share of the global pie. Professor Shoji Shiba, a former professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and author of the celebrated ‘breakthrough management’ concept, was in Mumbai, to make middle and senior executives unlearn the “need to produce and produce more.” Core competency for corporations has been a key part of management restructuring in most companies ever since gurus CK Prahlad and Gary Hamel published their celebrated theory in the Harvard Business Review in the nineties. But then there has also been too much of a focus on production, fears the professor. “For years Indian manufacturing companies have been laying too much emphasis on production. It’s time they made that leap to the big mindset,” he said. “You need to include R&D (research and development), product design, supply chain, if you want to go global,” he said. The Japanese professor who is also one of the world’s leading experts in Total Quality Management, recently spent two weeks at the Godrej’s Center for Excellence in Mumbai, in a joint effort with the Confederation of Indian Industry. “If Indian manufacturing companies don’t get their act together and work toward a global presence, they could be wiped out,” he said. Indian manufacturing is already reeling under the impact of old labour laws and a weak infrastructure, he added. Outlining his views through a presentation titled ‘Small m vs Big M’, with the ‘m’ representing mindset, Prof Shiba said R&D based on customer feedback is vital before focusing on production. The feedback and research would feed product design which could then be used in producing custom-made goods, he said. Putting the supply chain - including logistics for raw materials and finished goods - was equally important and so were developing after-sales-service and warranty to spur global growth, he added. Industry insiders, including those who have attended Prof Shiba’s previous sessions say that the re-orientation from production-only to a global mindset, shows how dynamic his concepts could be. In fact the former MIT professor wasn’t slow to attack TQM and Total Productivity Maintenance (TPM). “All that was okay till three years it isn’t enough. The Big M is essential to survive under global competition,” he added. Rightfully, his new concept now includes manufacturing, societal and environmental changes as well. “You also need to develop manufacturing and create role models,” he said while talking about the erosion of the sector’s share of the Indian economy. Manufacturing currently accounts for 27% of the GDP, way behind the 55% contributed by the service sector. But that could be changing, say latest reports. Manufacturing firms reported healthy expansion of output in September, with the rate of growth the fastest since November 2006 and led by higher volumes of new orders and increased marketing. The ABN AMRO India Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose from 57.9 in August to 59.1 in September. The index is an indicator of the economic health of the manufacturing sector and is based on factors like new orders, inventory levels, production, supplier deliveries and employment. A index reading of more than 50 means that the sector has expanded. Apart from a more-than-necessary focus on production, weak R&D is another inhibiting factor, said Prof Shiba. “Research in India is mostly product design...that needs to be ramped up so that Indian centres create a series of innovations,” he added.

The correct approach to implementing lean

by Carl Wright
Oct 2007

Lean manufacturing is one of the most widely utilized business improvement methodologies. There are hundreds of consultants and schools teaching lean manufacturing principles.
The problem with many courses teaching lean manufacturing is the lack of real-world experience of the instructor. Many have limited experience applying the principles, nor the interpersonal skills to influence change.
Lean manufacturing is not nearly as structured as Six Sigma or other continuous improvement initiatives. There is no standard approach to implementation or third-party certifying body such as ISO.
Lean manufacturing consists of many different “tools”. The best courses teach the lean manufacturing principles as well as how and when to use the tools.
Some companies have heard that lean manufacturing implementation will reduce their waste and costs, and decide to just start implementing. They often start using one tool at a time until the boss declares it’s done.
Worse yet, some companies find a consultant that knows 5-S and little else. When the consultant leaves, the clean and organized business eventually realizes they are clean, organized and still full of waste.
The correct approach to implementing lean manufacturing begins with an analysis of the businesses needs, opportunities and challenges. Once these opportunities are identified, the tools are used which will solve the issues. These tools might be lean manufacturing or Six Sigma tools. It simply wouldn’t be prudent to limit the success of a lean initiative to exclude any tool if it was known to solve the problem at hand.
In other words, the problems identify the tools rather than the tools being forced into the organization.
Some of the lean manufacturing tools are 5-S (sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain), value stream mapping, kanban, takt time, continuous flow, cellular manufacturing, TPM (Total Productive Maintenance), SMED (single-minute exchange of die), OEE (overall equipment effectiveness), line balancing, standardized operations, seven wastes (muda), error-proofing, kaizen and root cause problem-solving.
There are a few tools that can and should be used with any lean manufacturing initiative. The 5-S tool is a powerful workplace organization tool. This tool makes sense in any business. It would be hard to find an organization where order and organization didn’t make sense.
Root cause problem-solving tools should be used in every lean manufacturing implementation. These tools vary based on the problem. Some of the more common are cause and effects analysis, five-why analysis, 8D method, CT trees, process mapping and affinity diagrams.
Value stream mapping is another useful tool to determine where value is added and identify where no value is added (muda). The value stream map depicts the flow of product and information on paper. Information such as inventory, distance and bottlenecks are highlighted. Once the value stream map is completed, opportunities for improvement become obvious.
Tools such as line balancing, SMED, takt time and OEE should be used to solve specific business opportunities. For example, SMED (single-minute exchange of die) is a tool that is used to reduce machinery or process setup times. This tool is a lot more useful in businesses that run smaller order quantities and changeover often. OEE is an excellent tool to determine why a machine or process is not producing at world-class levels. Once the reasons (opportunities) are known, they can be improved.
Kaizen (a Japanese word meaning continuous improvement) is a very powerful improvement tool. It is basically a rapid (three to five days) improvement method utilizing a cross-functional team to solve a business problem. A kaizen event team will use many other lean tools to help solve the problem.
Utilize lean manufacturing principles to identify and solve business issues and the financial impact will justify their use. If the tools are made to “fit” the organization, the result will be chaos, disruption, low morale and financial loss.

attend Six Sigma & Lean Six Sigma Seminar in Kuala Lumpur -Dec 2007

Lack of management skills main reason for workplace bullying

New research released by the Ban Bullying At Work campaign reveals that two thirds of managers believe that lack of management skills is the major factor contributing to bullying.

Unrealistic targets (27%), authoritarian management styles (56%), personality (57%) and failure to address incidents (37%) are also cited as contributory factors.

Lyn Witheridge, CEO of the Ban Bullying At Work campaign, said: “It is clear that managers now acknowledge that bullying behaviour in the workplace takes many forms and creates deep repercussions.

“In fact bullying costs UK businesses £18 billion per year and one in four people has experienced bullying in the workplace. We are challenging businesses to speak out against bullying to create workplaces where employees can see clearly that bullying behaviours will not be tolerated. We want to inspire managers to speak out and instill a culture where business is not frightened to stand-up to the bullies.” - (CD, 2 Nov 07)