More on Modern Quality Practices

Institute Leadership:

The traditional actions of supervisors are not adequate. He contends that supervisor merely tell workers what to do and make they do it. They administer rewards and penalties, and provide discipline when necessary. They do not see their jobs as providing leadership. Leaders, on the other hand, begin with the assumption that workers aim to do the best job they can, endeavor to help workers reach their full potential. For lower level managers this entails coaching and arranging for training. Top managers must, in turn help design and implement exhibits the values that support such a culture.

Leadership translates into maintaining an environment where everyone can perform well says a CEO. ‘I am the least important person here’, he asserts. ‘I am here to influence cause, create, and sustain an atmosphere within which people can be personally and professionally successful’. He says that he does not have an office, he has a classroom. We do not work, we learn.

Drive out Fear:

It is important to Deming that fear must not prevent employees from being able to ask questions, report problems, or express ideas. Employees must feel secure in order for quality to be pursued successfully in the workplace. A culture of openness, where people are not afraid of telling the truth, remains essential. At Motorola, Arthur Sundry’s willingness to speak without fear dramatically changed the company.

At Federal Express, open, candid two way communication is strongly encouraged. Managers actively use the company’s annual employee attitude survey to locate potential work group problems. Within six weeks after the results are distributed, managers meet with their staffs to develop action plans to deal with the concerns expressed. Some plans have evolved into company wide programs.

Driving out fear of speaking up can have an ethical component. Many analysts are recommending that, especially in these competitive times open communication of ethical standards and decisive action that reinforces those standards is needed to communicate a company commitment to ethics that involves openness. The practice of management requires a prolonged play of judgment. Executives must find in their own will, experience and intelligence the principles they apply in balancing conflicting claims. Wise men and women will submit to others, for open discussion of problems reveals unsuspected ethical dimensions and develops alternative viewpoints that should be taken into account.

Break Down barriers between staff areas:

The barriers between functional departments are counterproductive. Employees can improve productivity by learning from one another and coordinating efforts, regardless of their functional expertise. The tendency of traditional organizational structures is to encourage competition between departments. According to Deming, employees recognize that, regardless of their expertise, they all share the same overriding goals. Competition should be with other organizations not within their own.

Continental Cablevision in Pompano Beach, Florida, has created a management incentive program, Conopoly, like the Monopoly game that encourages managers to focus on hard to measure areas such as developing positive interdepartmental relationships.

Eliminate Slogans, Exhortations, and targets for the work force:

Continual improvement as a general goal, says Deming, should replace supposedly motivational or inspirational signs, slogans, and the like. He criticizes companies that attempt to motivate employees through speakers and inspirational tracts, for it merely frustrates employees to be encouraged to do things the existing management system prevents them from doing.

Faced with the prospect of losing its huge clients in the American automobile industry, the Monsanto Chemical Company joined the quality revolution in 1986. Monsantro trained all of its 15,000 employees in quality improvement methods and then empowered them with the necessary authority, resources, and freedom to improve plant work processes. Monsanto’s LaSalle plant the standard for the standard for the corporation’s manufacturing facilities. LaSalle increased gross profit by $3 million from 1991 to 1992. The plant reduced the cost of safety accidents from more than $ 400,000 to less than $100,000. Inventory programs designed and implemented by employees increased inventory accuracy from less than 75 percent to more than 99 percent.