Archive for January, 2012

Blame culture

January 19, 2012

Are we still blaming each other for the poor performance of the systems in which we work?

Recognizing and fulfilling the needs of customers. Doing this as efficiently as possible should be common sense.

Here are a few examples of how human nature gets in the way of common sense:

· We gather in tribes of the same function. Perhaps we do this to share stories or to keep the boss happy for promotion. Cross-functional process teams, not departments, serve customers.

· Employees learn that authority figures are not interested in problems. Employees keep quiet in fear of reporting potential (and actual) failures to meet requirements.

· Authority figures focus on reducing short-term costs. They have little or no regard for something as nebulous or avoidable as quality.

· Authority figures measure production output. They may even count defective output for their bonus. They seem to place little or no value on planning and designing reliable processes.

· Authority figures rely on inspection. Paying the price of sorting bad product from good product. Instead of investing in helping teams to get their processes right.

· People with quality in their job titles gather in the “we know best” department. Many do not develop their organizational systems to help the workers to deliver quality.

· Collections of wordy quality procedures are called systems. Disengaged employees know compliance is the rule.

· Undocumented but crucial parts of management systems (such as care and respect) are ignored, neglected or deemed unimportant.

Alienation and frustration may be the consequence.

Or can we be courageous and take action to encourage our other behaviours?

We may end up with process-based management systems that enable self-directed work to help teams to determine and fulfill stakeholder requirements.

Quality professionals may need to start by learning human factors. Then we can remove the fear by change the blame culture.

We can show how managing quality reduces costs and how managing short-term costs reduces quality and increases long-term costs.

Let us turn the authority figures into leaders, managers and supervisors. Leaders helping their process teams to understand and fulfill requirements.

Let us collaborate to manage quality so we reduce costs.

This is how we improve the rewards from our work for customers, employees, shareholders and leaders.

2011 in review

January 1, 2012

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 25 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.