Leading With Vision

A New York Times article, Lessons in Longevity From I.B.M., by Steve Lohr used IBM reaching the 100-year old mark to call attention to practices that contribute to an organization’s longevity.  A noteworthy point made is that past success can impede future success.  The article seems to suggest that all companies will lose their dominance and only a few will be able to survive beyond the dominance they once held.  Although this may be a common occurrence it should not be concluded that it is inevitable! Continue reading

Making Quality in America

In his New York Times column, Paul Krugman, spoke of a hint of the return of American manufacturing.  In this column Mr. Krugman mentioned that Michigan which had an unemployment rate of 14.1% in August 2009 is now experiencing the improved rate of 10.3%, and as Krugman noted “still above the national average, but nonetheless a huge improvement.”  Continue reading

Lean Understanding

It is estimated that about 70% of organizations initiating lean programs don’t realize the promised or anticipated success.  So it would seem that either lean is a bad idea or lean is not properly understood.  Given Toyota’s notable success, I think we’ll go with the latter!   Continue reading

Replace Performance Reviews with Leadership for Quality

A recent issue of Knowledge@Wharton indicates, that while 91% of companies worldwide have performance appraisals only 35% to 40% do performance reviews well.  The question remains, what does doing them well mean?  What are the criteria for the performance of performance reviews?  Can performance reviews (as we’ve come to know and love them) really be done well?  Should they be done at all?  If not what should be put in their place? Continue reading

Recapturing the Credo

Johnson & Johnson has been known for its commitment to its credo that requires its executives and employees to conduct business responsibly and with the utmost concern for those they serve (which according to their credo includes patients, doctors and nurses).  However recently that image of J&J being the pinnacle of responsible business has been dinged quite a bit with numerous recalls ranging from its nonprescription medicine business to its joint replacement business and consumer health testing business.  Continue reading

To Create Jobs Pursue Quality

Why should society care about the success of business corporations?  You might say because society’s wellbeing is dependent upon its’ corporations’ success.  Logically then the question is, success in doing what?  Well given the importance Wall Street places on quarterly profit, maximizing profit obviously defines success in society. For many it is clearly the means and measure of life.  Seemingly the pursuit of one’s material self-interest is what business and American society is all about. Continue reading

Don’t Confuse Efficiency with Proficiency

No matter how much we cram into a person’s memory and no matter what the beloved metrics show, we are left with people who haven’t learned how to learn. Directing them to accumulate facts just silences their inquisitiveness! Today as in the past education is more about training people to remember things for the test than it is about developing people for life as self-responsible human beings with the capability of continually improving their thinking—such is thinking critically. Continue reading

The Worker Is Not the Problem

If the education system wasn’t designed to consistently produce the results that it is producing then we wouldn’t be getting the results we are getting!  Yet again and again the focus of the reformer is on the teacher, not the system itself.  Why?  Because it is far easier to turn attention away from what the system is doing—and the system is management’s responsibility—toward what the worker is doing.   Yet the worker can only do what the system allows! Continue reading

Want to Improve Quality, Listen Up

Often those with authority over a system/organization—frequently referred to as ‘the leadership’—use the thing they believe is valued by most as a way of resolving a complex problem such as quality. That is, they throw money at it!  Since money is the thing we greatly value, then what better way to demonstrate commitment to quality than to willingly spend it in the name of quality! Continue reading

Tail Wagging The Dog

Within each of us is the potential to become more of what we potentially are and to realize the greatness of being human.  But as Joseph Campbell said so succinctly, we must first Be in order for us to Become.  We are each human beings who must strive to develop our humanity.  In this sense we each are a work of art in the making; and it is we who are the artist of our making. Continue reading