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DATA SANITY: A Quantum Leap to Unprecedented Results

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Why Did Total Quality Management Fail?

Employees take their cues from management.

Do top managers still view financial performance as the sole indicator of success, despite mouthing platitudes about dazzled customers and fulfilled employees? Is there a point when reductions are done excessively in the name of squeezing out a few more percentage points of profit, moving companies from their “ideal weight” to a state of near-anorexia?

Shouldn’t success factors include happy customers, more motivated and committed workers, investment in communities, and concern for the environment? Is it possible to create a company whose objectives are worth sacrifice by those who work in it and by the society it serves?  Read more…

The Engine and Fuel of Quality Improvement

Organizational change would be so easy if it weren’t for all the people.

“I suffer simultaneously from amnesia and déjà vu. I have the feeling that I keep forgetting the same thing over and over again.”Steven Wright (surreal comedian)

It all seems so logical, doesn’t it? Focus on processes, improve your organizational decision making through utilizing quality improvement tools, give people good technical and administrative information, and the organization “should” get better. It’s so tempting, interesting, and dramatic to lead in the vein of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” with Capt. Jean Luc Picard’s: “Make it so.”  Read more…

The Wisdom of David Kerridge—Part 2

Statistics in the real world aren’t quite as tidy as those in a text book.

Analytic statistical methods are in very strong contrast with what is normally taught in most statistics textbooks, which describe the problem as one of “accepting” or “rejecting” hypotheses. In the real world of quality improvement, we must look for repeatability over many different populations. Walter Shewhart added the new concept of statistical control, which defines repeatability over time sampling from a process, rather than a population.  Read more…

The Wisdom of David Kerridge, Part 1

Back to basics

I discovered a wonderful unpublished paper by David and Sarah Kerridge several years ago. Its influence on my thinking has been nothing short of profound. As statistical methods get more and more embedded in everyday organizational quality improvements, I feel that now is the time to get us “back to basics”—but a set of basics that is woefully misunderstood, if taught at all. Professor Kerridge is an academic at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, and I consider him one of the leading Deming thinkers in the world today.

Deming distinguished between two types of statistical study, which he called “enumerative” and “analytic.” The key connection for quality improvement is about the way that statistics relates to reality and lays the foundation for a theory of using statistics.  Read more…

What is the cost of dis-Harmony in one’s organization?

“People Want to Do More, but Work ‘Systems’ Get in the Way”

It is believed that the fate of many companies could be altered for the better if workers were more motivated. So, when things go wrong, why is the knee-jerk reaction to blame the workers for their poor attitudes and lack of work ethic? One needs to look within one’s business systems for the true causes for low motivation – and for their remedies.

Demotivators are performance inhibitors unintentionally built into the way most of us do business. They have a profound impact on performance, yet are often ignored because they insidiously creep into an organization and become part of its normal operations. A lot of the fear and anger, both expressed and repressed, rampant in organizations today are due to these demotivators. They can result in negative behavior by employees and even affect their health. Some research has shown that 84% of workers say they could perform better if they want to and 50% of workers said they put forth only enough effort to hang onto their jobs.  Read more…

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