Sunday, December 27, 2009

2009 Most Searched Upon Topics

As 2009 comes to a close I would like to thank the 23,000 plus visitors to my Blog this past year (up 8000+ from last year). I hope the information I have provided has been useful and thought provoking.

As I look over the stats the following are the most searched on topics within my site for 2009:

1) Employee Goals & Objectives - 3rd year in a row

2) Quality Tools & Techniques (Especially SIPOC Analysis & Pareto Charts)

3) Education

4) Leadership

5) Autism - ASD Mainstreaming

What I find most interesting is that "Employee Goals and Objectives" is not one of my main labels and the hits are world wide and not just in one area like the United States or Germany.

Employee Goals & Objective continue to be the most misunderstood of all Management and Employee Tools. They remain a once, twice or four times a year exercise in futility that brings no meaning to employee or boss all the way up the corporate ladder.

One should click on my Label for Dr. Deming to learn from the Master about Employee Goals and Objectives.

How sad that open communication and trust can not be tolerated in the workplace. People with numbers who have no sense of "Predictability" (Number One Skill of a Manager)and continue to Tamper with both human and corporate systems.

Below are some Links to some of my more popular posts on this subject:

Thank You and Best Wishes for a New Year!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

2010 Corporate Quality Business Plan Goals & Objectives

Have you done your Strategic Planning for 2010? If not, hope the following plan will ease some of your pain.

I have received Email requests over the years asking what should go into a Corporate Quality Business Plan. It would be my hope that one would not be necessary because quality is engrained within the company and there is not a seperate quality department.

Unfortunately I know this is not the case in many companies and for those who have no Quality Initiative in place perhaps this example can serve as a model.

So I will provide an example Corporate Quality Business Plan in Stages as they are being developed. I will use 2010 in my example of a company called "qualityg National Operations." The most important part of a Quality Plan is that it is integrated with the overall company strategy. All CQ goals must lead to accomplishing company goals and objectives.

This example also can serve as a model for any department.

I hope you will be able to use the following model as a starting point for your own quality initiatives -- qualityg

Dilbert by Scott Adams says it best (Click on Pic to Enlarge).

The qualityg Corporate Quality Service 2010 Business Plan format has been developed to provide guidance and support to organizational strategies and ensure execution of the leadership platform necessary for our success. The plan is divided into two parts:

Part 1- Corporate Quality Service Objectives for 2010

Part 2 -National Leadership Team Strategic Quality Objectives for 2009
2010 promises to be an exciting and challenging year for the qualityg Corporate Quality Team. With the rapid changes in business, technology and competition, it is vital the Corporate Quality Organization directly supports National Operations and partner with other all out internal departments (e.g., Customer Services, Engineering, Operations, MIS, Finance, etc.). Our focus will be to work with these various groups and leaders in defining a total quality system that fits the business needs and strategy of the corporation to insure we accomplish our role in business to build, provision and maintain our products and services. Using this approach, the quality team will consult and advise senior leaders in strategic planning, implementation, assessments and process improvement activities.
We will accomplish these goals by directing our focus on improving the customer experience by driving standardization and excellence in all our critical functional activities and processes. This will be executed by developing strategies that:

· Create an organization that understands the customer and is willing to adapt our process to meet or exceed customer expectations.
· Educate employees on how their roles and actions fit into the companies overall structure for system optimization.
· Continue to drive the Operational Review as a value-added process.
· Reduce cycle times (order flowthrough).
· Improve standardization of activities and processes.
· Reduce National Operational expenses.
· Eliminate non value-added activities and rework.
· Reduce defect rates across Network.
· Support Corporate Quality Initiatives.

We will be successful by assuring that we meet and exceed our goals and objectives for Service Improvement and Customer Preference/Retention. We want our company to be the company of choice for our customers. We will keep our promises!

The Corporate Quality Team will focus on:

● Quality Assurance,
● Problem identification, resolution and prevention,
● Continuous process improvement, and
● Improving the customer experience.

Delivering on this approach is essential to the overall strategy for 2010 and beyond. The reality is we must consult and advise our internal customers in using quality principles and techniques effectively; employees must gain practical experience in applying quality methods in their daily work. The continued integration between internal departments is a critical factor that must be supported so that our operating styles, and cultures can be transformed into one for the benefit of our customers. Emphasis will be on the following items:

· Providing consultation and workshops on performance excellence and techniques.
· Conduct Just In Time Quality Training.
· Establishing customer and corporate specific process measures and goals.
· Conducting Operational Reviews with timely and cost effective resolutions.
· Documenting and analyzing Operational Review data for continuous process improvement value added activities.
· Be the catalyst for communicating downstream operational problems to the process owners for driving upstream process improvements.
· Assist in streamlining our most critical customer affecting processes.
· Own internal/external customer feedback measurements that drive our decision- making policies.
· Increasing our understanding of competitive information and benchmark “best in breed” practices to determine gaps in existing processes and procedures.
· Continue to support ISO 9000 compliance as required (e.g., where/if required).

By concentrating on these strategies we will derive the following benefits:
· Meaningful measures that support unit and corporate goals.
· Systemic identification and removal of root causes to problems identified.
· Clarification of work activities.
· Value added decision-making based on data and facts.
· Prevention of problems especially in design processes.

Our ability to assist in delivering excellent service will depend on our commitment to develop defect-free customer service. This will be determined by working with the appropriate departments and work groups to establish monitoring metrics like availability, reliability, error free new builds, rapid provisioning (defect free order flowthrough) and timely resolution of customer problems.

By conducting a systomatic disciplined approach to our work and providing consistently of purpose for our entire team, the qualityg Corporate Quality Team will also focus on five key dimensions and one “Common Goals” for success:

1. Customer Satisfaction is comprised of all the methodologies required to meet or exceed customer expectations and set the directions, which ensure intimacy and customer satisfaction. This section will establish and set measures of quality required to address customer issues and create the benchmarks needed to ensure customer preference.

2. Employee Value - as we continue to be a major player in this competitive market, it will be essential for all our employees to continually improve and excel in their work functions. It is leadership’s job to enlighten, enable, empower and encourage the behavior that drives Operational Performance Excellence and Customer Satisfaction. Employees must understand their roles and responsibilities and be aligned with qualityg’s business strategies and embrace the characteristics that enable us to be a major player in our industry. Consistent execution in a rapidly evolving industry will be key to our success.

3. Financial competitive challenge will continue to put pressure on our revenue growth throughout 2010. In order to maximize short and long term profitability, expense reduction and business growth, we must continue to invest in capital to grow revenue with established customers and improve gross margins by assisting in increasing our customer base. We must also manage our metrics and defend our current revenue stream from competitors. It is clearly the responsibility of all employees to aggressively increase our service productivity while reducing our expenses. Corporate Quality will demonstrate cost savings by conducting value-added Operational Reviews that will achieve avoidable costs (e.g., rework, defectives, non value-added activities, non-standardization, etc.) that will be eliminated through prevention and root cause analysis. Corporate Quality will assist in obtaining additional sales and retention of existing customers through customer specific programs. This will be accomplished while staying within all budget parameters during 2010.

4. Quality Management will be systemically integrated throughout the Customer Satisfaction, Employee Value and Financial Objectives. Our role as quality leaders must be to maintain and continue to view quality as an integral part of our day to day operations and the foundation that supports the other key dimensions. This ensures a concentrated focus on quality leadership and spans all aspects of quality, including training; execution, strategies, tactics and other activities designed to measure customer satisfaction and continuous improvement. In addition, as quality assessors we will provide value-added reviews that lead to improved operational performance of our nodes, switches and other facilities.

5. Community Involvement is an integral part of our 2010 strategy and will be utilized in Corporate Quality to demonstrate our added value to the communities and cities where we operate and live. Corporate Quality will develop specific plans, which will demonstrate how we enhance the value of our company in the community.

Values: Our Common Goals. Corporate Quality Service commits to the following values to guide our decisions and behavior:

· Respect for employees
· Dedication to helping customers
· Excellence of standards for integrity
· Teamwork
· Innovation

By executing these values, Network Operations strives to set a standard of excellence as a customer-focused team that will reward our customers, stakeholders, and all of our employees.


CUSTOMER Satisfaction

Corporate Quality’s Customer Satisfaction goal is to be highly valued by our customers for consistently providing world-class service through a team of capable dedicated professionals.

Customer Satisfaction is the single most important differentiator in our goal to be “simply the best” in 2010 and beyond. Led by each manger, we can positively impact the results and the objectives of our business plan. Customer Satisfaction is a strategic initiative and the corner stone of our competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Exceeding our customer’s expectations means we must change the relationship we have with our customers. This means by continually partnering with all customers to establish and manage a clear understanding of their needs, which will strengthen our relationships with our clients.

GOAL: To establish the value of Corporate Quality Service throughout our company with all other client facing organizations.

Strategies /Tactics:

1) Train on Performance Excellence and Process Management throughout National Operations.
2) Support and assist in Company Programs.
3) Design, implement, monitor processes, and develop feedback and measurements designed to calibrate performance relative to improving the customer and supplier experience.
4) Develop mutually agreed to milestones and quantify these as much as possible.
5) Work with all qualityg departments to develop and execute plans which protect the embedded base of services and position new offers.
6) Document and communicate achievements via the Intranet and other communications vehicles.
7) Manage National Operations role in Operational Reviews including follow up and resolution of outstanding issues.
8) Continue to conduct internal Supplier Support (e.g., Engineering, HR, IT, etc.) meetings using data obtained from Quality Operational Reviews.
9) Attend and consult on Performance Reviews with responsible National Operations (N.O.) Management to identify process improvement opportunities.
10) Partner with external customers (i.e. Acme) to share and meet their respective quality goals and standards.
1) By the end of 1st quarter 2010, have a process in place to ensure communications and feedback via Webmaster strategic responsibilities for Corporate Quality and National Operations.
2) By the end of 2nd quarter, establish a Best Practice process for Quality Operations Reviews that can be leveraged nationwide and manage their communications for continuous improvement.
3) By year-end conduct Performance Excellence and Process Management Awareness to all major National Operations cities.
4) Continue to establish a quality partnership with Acme (Preferred Supplier) to share and meet their quality standards and goals.
5) Continue to partner with Manager of Quality Operational Reviews to support and assist in city operational review process.
6) Continue to share Operational Review data and analysis with appropriate departments (e.g., Engineering, HR, Engineering, Operations, etc.) to insure Operational Performance Excellence.

GOAL: Support field organizations to achieve an exceptional rating in all categories of the company Employee Satisfaction Survey.

Strategies / Tactics:
1) Ensure company awareness of the Employee Satisfaction survey results.
2) Have a joint meeting between C.Q. and respective leadership teams to discuss survey results and opportunities for improvement.
3) Assist appropriate leaders within National Operations in developing action items for improvement opportunities.

1) Throughout 2010, conduct an analysis on each employee trend survey and ensure distribution to the National Operations Leadership Team.
2) Provide analysis and feedback on the Employee Trend Survey by identifying the strengths and weakness to the leadership team.

Dr. Deming said “It will not be enough to have employees who are merely satisfied. Satisfied employees will depart, for no good reason, just to work somewhere else. Success and growth come from employees who boast about our company. The loyal employee requires no rewards or other persuasion, and he/she convinces other employees to remain.”

Ownership: Corporate Quality Service is responsible for the design, enhancement, execution and communications of the employee survey. Corporate Quality is responsible to assist National Operation’s leaders for the development of action plans for improvements based on the survey results.

GOAL: Attain World-Class status with our customers by continuously improving our employee processes and procedures.

Processes are the systems of tasks, work flows, information exchanges, people and technology that create value for National Operations employees that are required to differentiate our service from our customers.

Key customer processes include a systemic end-to-end perspective that develop, produce, distribute, and support the primary products or services of National Operations. They form the strategic capabilities that enable the business and empower our employees to compete effectively.

Strategies /Tactics:
1) Assist N.O. Leadership Team in prioritizing core customer affecting processes.
2) Assist N.O. Leadership Team in identifying process owners for all customer-affecting processes.
3) Corporate Quality supports appropriate Process Owner by:
- Defining process and identifying customer requirements
- Defining and establishing measures
- Conducting “Gap” analysis based on customer requirements
- Conducting Root Cause Analysis to identify opportunities for improvement
- Prioritizing opportunities for improvement and create action plans for correction
and prevention
- Monitoring process improvements to maintain gains
- Defining quality and process terms and definitions
- Creating Enterprise Map
- Identifying and defining Process Owners, plus their roles and responsibilities

Ownership: Corporate Quality Team will support, educate/train Process Owners and their respective teams in managing and improving key customer processes upon request or direct them to the company’s Quality Training Institute.

National Operations employees are our most valuable resource. Corporate Quality recognizes that our employees are not just the ones who service our products; they are the ones that can make or break our reputation for an exceptional customer experience.

These basic strategies, tactics, and objectives will enable us to satisfy our employees and optimize the net value of each individual. Keeping a primary focus on Employee Value will require a partnering with Employee Relations processes (i.e. Employee Survey), practices, and programs needed to better support our teams. Corporate Quality’s plan will assist in communicating the goals, strategies, tactics, and the impact of these on our employees and teams. This Employee Value management transformation will ensure that we:

- Clearly define, communicate and implement Corporate Quality Plans
- Invest in our people with on-going education and training
- Ensure Safety practices are followed (i.e. OSHA Compliance, Motor Vehicles)
- Empower our teams
- Emphasize recognition
- Communicate often and effectively
GOAL: Corporate Quality Service leadership is responsible to develop and manage processes that provide the tools, skills and systems required to allow all employees to do the job right the first time.

1) Review our own leadership style.
2) Conduct one-on-one and meetings to share leadership expectations.

1) Share C.Q. 2010 business plan with all employees via the face to face manager/employee meetings we all understand our goals and objectives by 1/31/10.
2) Commit to appraisals of individual performance of team members and communicate the company Career Planning Process throughout 2010.
3) Each manager completes career-planning worksheet by 4/1/10.

Ownership: Corporate Quality Service Leader will manage appraisals and a sincere interest in the employee’s career plans. Each manager will receive a written appraisal in 2009.
GOAL: EnableCorporate Quality Service team members with the necessary technical and administrative competencies needed to satisfy our customers.

1) Commit to have all new employees attend Quality Operations Training (1 week) during the first 90 days of employment.
2) Support/encourage Training Department and Health and Safety Department to provide guidelines (published on Intranet) on Safety (i.e. OSHA, Motor Vehicles).
3) Maintain an employee skill set for each major job title and training matrix that addresses the
skills required for the job.
4) Training attendance for employees and their managers will be measured and reflected in
performance appraisals. A guideline of 6 days for all employees has been reflected in 2009 training budgets.
5) Managers should develop and implement plans for cross training.
6) Update all training records with Corporate Training at least once a year.

1) Ensure new employee attendance at new employee Orientation.
2) Develop and document a training program for each Quality Manager.
3) Ensure all employees have a required skill set list developed. This list should address the
primary responsibility of the employee and note the required skills necessary to perform their
4) Attend Employee Relations and Diversity training as required by HR in 2010.

Ownership: Corporate Quality will supply Employee Relations and Health and Safety with pertinent information.
GOAL: To provide leadership and direction incorporating the goals and tasks of Environmental, Health, & Safety (EH&S) within National Operations.

Strategies /Tactics:
1) Develop & Implement Safety Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) plans for each of our departments.
2) Identify the Field Safety Coordinator (FSC) for every business operation.
3) Require each FSC attend the 2 day Safety Coordinator Training Program developed by EH&S that defines their responsibilities and duties.
4) Establish the EH&S Awareness for Managers training sessions and the Safety Answers for Field Employees (SAFE) course.

1) SPCC plans must be completed to EPA requirement levels for each N.O. city by end of 1st quarter 2010.
2) Request city operation leadership provide Corporate Quality with the local FSC for each city within their regions by the end of 1st quarter 2009.
3) Have each FSC complete the Safety Coordinator Training Program by year-end.
4) Have all departmental employees complete the appropriate awareness and training courses by year-end.

Ownership: qg Corporate Quality Team will provide leadership and direction incorporating EH&S programs within National Operations. Corporate Quality will act as the single point of contact for any program or task EH&S wants to establish within National Operations.

GOAL: Develop and execute a well-defined Employee Recognition Program that supports the Corporate Common Goals by celebrating team and individual accomplishments.

Strategies / Tactics:
1) Clearly understand, communicate and execute the company Recognition Policies.

Areas to recognize are:
A) Accomplishments
B) Common Goals
C) Quality Results
D) Customer Care
E) Superior service at the lowest unit cost

1) Assist in ensuring that all managers are aware of the company Recognition Policies.

Ownership: Each Quality Manager is responsible for assisting appropriate leadership teams in implementing a recognition program on a local level that aligns and supports corporate objectives.

GOAL: To establish a framework for communicating accurate information in a timely and consistent manner to and from all members of the organization.

Corporate Quality will provide information on quality matters impacting the workplace and the customer we serve.

1) Corporate Quality will work with the appropriate managers to stress consistent communications within the company.
2) Management needs to develop a set of formal and informal communication strategies that afford the team with an effective communications loop.
3) Where appropriate, respect the need to protect sensitive, proprietary information.

1) Corporate Quality will manage its Web Site, and assist the departments as required.

Ownership: Corporate Quality Leadership is responsible for local staff meetings and the communications plan. Corporate Quality will assume ownership for its respective web sites.

Rapid changes will impact Corporate Quality by requiring the need to develop strategies and tactics to redesign our production process and our service delivery platform. Each manager will take an active role in impacting the revenue base through quality methods and continuous improvements to achieve a competitive advantage and increased customer preference and retention. In concert with existing revenue and expense management tactics, Corporate Quality will partner with National Operations Departments in their efforts to develop a more effective means of calibrating business expenses.

GOAL: Use sound financial management to meet 2010 budget goals:

1) Track all expenses on a monthly basis and share results with team members.
2) Document and monitor cost reduction efforts for more effective budget management and/or
budget under-runs.
1) Meet or improve all budget commitments with monthly measurements.
2) Document Cost of Quality savings to Finance through Quality initiatives (e.g., Operational Review findings, Supplier Partnerships, Quality Action teams, etc.). Assist in the revenue growth by partnering with Acme (Preferred Supplier) in their quality initiatives.

Ownership: Corporate Quality Leadership is responsible for monthly management and reports for all financial commitments.

GOAL: Institutionalize a Cost of Quality management philosophy that will enable the appropriate Leadership Team to measure and continuously improve productivity and cost efficiencies.

All work that is not essential to customer quality or corporate objectives is cost-of-quality work. Additionally, any product or service that does not meet customer expectations results in cost-of-quality work. Corrective and preventive solutions dealing with these matters are generally referred to as cost of quality. Cost of quality is the total dollar amount of the related cost-of-quality work including salary/wages; material and other associated expenses. For example, the cost of quality for removing a customer affecting software system includes labor costs for removing the software, the cost of the software, and the associated processing costs, such as paperwork and scheduling.

1) A unit measure is defined as and has the following qualities:
- Generates a work activity
- Is measurable
- Is transaction based
- Is independently driven
2) Selection of a unit is driven by first identifying our customers and listing our deliverables.
3) The Maintenance Units of Measure include tickets (switched services and private line) and
calls. Customer Service units include # of orders, calls, transactions, etc.
4) Establish a transaction time for all measured units.
5) Review and analyze expenditures associated with unit production for improvement opportunities.

1) Support the development of a unit cost budget model based on customer transaction volumes
and work drivers associated with expenses by the end of 2010.
2) Support the development of a unit cost tracking model to provide useful financial information
for the Leadership team.
3) Guide Leadership Team in focusing on improving process management tactics.

Ownership: Corporate Quality will support the unit cost methodologies and work closely with the Quality Action Teams to identify cost of quality measures.


Corporate Quality strategy for 2010, will focus on establishing and integrating the best quality concepts, and principles and continue to educate and train our employees in the concepts of process management, voice of the customer and systems thinking. In addition, Corporate Quality Managers will begin to introduce as one of our roles the concept of “Servant Leadership.” The focus for servant leadership will be to share information, build common visions, self-management, high levels of interdependence, learn from mistakes, encourage creative input from all employees and challenge current assumptions and procedures to determine a more value-added way of doing business.

Our customers are not going to judge us a great Operations Department, or Engineering Department, but rather they are going to judge us as how well National operations (all of us) meet/exceed their wants and needs.

We will continue our ISO 9000 compliance efforts as required by corporate (if required).

To achieve our goal to be a customer focused organization, we will accelerate our journey to deliver customer value above that of any competitor. If customer value is defined as a combination of price, quality and service then quality becomes a lever by which we can differentiate National Operations to customers.

The Corporate Quality Team is also committed to selecting a staff that has experience, certifications and application in quality tools and techniques. We are also committed to our own continuous improvement by attending a minimum of 5 days of quality training per year by attending outside educational/training forums. The Corporate Quality Team will continue representing the company to outside quality organizations, academic institutions and civic organizations.

GOAL: Increase quality knowledge throughout N.O. and establish a common terminology and methodology.

1) Encourage all personnel to attend suggested Quality training at the company’s School of Business.
2) Deliver Performance Excellence Training to major city operations staff.
3) ISO 9000 compliance where required.
4) Begin quality skills transfer to field managers and front-line personnel in the value of process management and systems thinking by providing examples and learning at staff and operational meetings.
5) Move quickly and decisively on improvement opportunities.

1) Document plans for local quality/performance excellence training and overviews in the 1Q10.
2) Conduct Root Cause and Pareto Analysis Workshop as required.
3) Continue ISO 9000 compliance as required.
4) Link Quality Tools and Techniques on the Corporate Quality Web page by end of 2Q10.
5) Assist in educating employees in systems thinking, Process Management, and Voice of the Customer (VOC) as required.
6) Continue to institute quality measures for each customer affecting process.

Ownership: Corporate Quality Leadership will coordinate with appropriate leadership teams to meet their quality education requirements.

GOAL: Manage internal processes and key customer measures of quality using a standard set of quality tools.

1) Ensure appropriate team quality knowledge.
2) Communicate expectations relative to:
- Quality Assurance
- Results reporting, tracking and improvement strategies (i.e. Ops Review Tracking Form)
- Statistical Process Control
- Root Cause and Pareto Analysis
- Process Management and Systems Thinking

1) Continue to develop and publish quality efforts using the Intranet.
2) Continue to focus on collecting and analyzing Ops Review Data for improvement opportunities.
3) Assist in ensuring that ISO 9000 compliance in maintained at appropriate sites.

Ownership: Corporate Quality Leader will drive the Quality effort in National Operations. Corporate Quality Managers are responsible for the ISO 9000 compliance in 2010.

GOAL: Demonstrate Cost of Quality savings through Quality Operational Review Assessments and other quality initiatives (e.g., QATs, Process Improvement Activities, Ad Hoc teams, etc.)

1) Corporate Quality Leadership will drive the quality efforts in National Operations.
2) Develop reporting mechanisms to document quality improvement activities (e.g., Ops Review) and corresponding cost savings.
3) Replicate and standardize best practices into standard practices in all NOps locations.
4) Improve functional efficiencies within processes and sub processes that drive system effectiveness.

1) Deploy Corporate Staff Quality Managers (if applicable) by 2/1/10.
2) Develop standard reporting format by end of 1Q 2010.
3) Continue best practice distribution on the Intranet.
4) Provide monthly reports on cost of quality savings for each month in 2010.

Ownership: Corporate Quality Staff will lead this effort within National Operations.

GOAL: Continue to build a world-class quality department.

1) Secure membership in accredited organizations (i.e. American Society for Quality “ASQ”).
2) Attend at least 2 days of quality education.
3) Subscribe to leading quality publications (i.e. Quality Progress, Quality Digest, etc.).
4) Obtain quality certifications (i.e.Certified Quality Manager, Certified Quality Auditor, etc.).
5) Actively participate in an outside quality initiative (i.e. speaker, academic, civic, etc.)
6) Share quality information learned from outside with rest of quality team.

1) Each Quality Manager to join ASQ by end of January 2010.
2) Attend at least 2 days of quality education and learning by 03/31/10.
3) Subscribe to quality publication by end of 2010.
4) Begin effort to acquire quality certification(s) by end of 2010.
5) Share quality learning and information at regularly scheduled staff meetings.

Ownership: Corporate Quality Leadership will be responsible for providing assistance to quality staff and quality managers in regards to memberships and certifications. Each quality manager is responsible for joining and attending quality training and organizations. In addition, it is the responsibility for each quality manager to provide shared learning information and experiences to the rest of the team.


National Operations and Corporate Quality will continue to establish it as an outstanding corporate citizen in each of the locations where we operate. This is not only good for business; it is good business. The communities provide us with our employee base and our current and future customers. Our image and the image of our employees are greatly enhanced when we give back to the community in response to what they have given us. There is a role all employees can take in accelerating public awareness of National Operations as a great company and a great place to work. We can create value within our communities that extends far beyond the boundaries of normal marketing and public relations activities.

Strategies /Tactics:
1) Support normal activities such as Holiday Food Delivery, Focus Hope, Community "Green" Activity Day, etc.
2) Assist in developing and implementing regional activities designed to support the local community.
3) Encourage support for any employee involved in local civic, charitable, educational or other
worthwhile community activity.
4) Actively support National operations charitable contributions.

1) Each member of C.Q. will report on the extent of his or her community involvement by 12/31/10.
2) Each C.Q. Manager will encourage involvement in community activities on an ongoing basis.
3) C.Q. will actively support corporate initiatives such as Holiday Food Delivery, Community Activity Green Day, etc.

Ownership: Each team member of the Corporate Quality Team will participate and report on their 2010 community involvement activities.

In 2010, the Operations Leadership Team will continue to lead the quality transformation of National Operations. This team is not another layer of management hierarchy, but simply an extension of their day-to-day activities where current functional leaders can work together across departmental boundaries, to assist in making decisions that will improve the end-to-end operations in National Operations.

One of the main activities required for the leadership team will be to identify the end-to-end chain of systemic activities vital to accomplish company goals, and to ensure that a clear line of accountability has been assigned across departmental boundaries.

Internal/External customers are a key activity during 2010 and beyond.

The major objectives of the Leadership Team are as follows:

· Review and analyze customer preference and retention data.
· Begin moving from “Hero as Leader to Servant as Leader.”
· Review and analyze company employee survey data.
· Review and analyze competitive benchmarking data.
· Drive quality initiatives into the day-to-day work life of all employees.
· Continue leadership commitment and funding, as required for ISO 9000 compliance.
· Consistent communications of strategic initiatives across the company.
· Identify and appoint Process Owners for critical customer affecting processes.
· Identify best practices that can be leveraged across the company.
· Invite leading quality speakers to at least two meetings in 2009 for additional learning on quality.
· Manage best practice processes that can be leveraged across company.

QSA Logo Developed by: MS, JF & qg Posted by Hello

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Employee Goals & Objectives & Performance Appraisals--> Rating and Ranking Team Members - I Win You Lose?

It's that time of the year again when we all lose!

I believe in Employee Goals & Objectives when they are used by leaders to enhance the skills and productivy of the workers and help them drive the company toward their individual and overall goals and objectives.

In order to do this leaders must be skilled in setting reasonable and obtainable goals and objective for each of their emplyoyees based on the workers skill and expertise level. One size fits all is Bullshit and every leader/boss knows this, if they don't, well then you have todays leaders. The problem is setting employees goals and objectives is a year round hands on effort and it takes hard word work for the goals and objectives to be done accurately and fairly.

One subject (well there are a few) that drives me nuts is when people/organizations and assholes in general want to demoralize a “TEAM” by rating, and ranking people against one another is ridiculous.

It's that time of year again when employees are searching for ways to make themselves look better than their peers while writing up their accomplishments. This exercise will be a major input for deciding who gets pay raises and bonuses for the year, or who gets to keep their jobs.

This end of the year activity commonly known as “performance appraisal” takes place in most organizations. We all know the different names our organizations use over the years (not going to mention) for rating and ranking employees/team members so they can be herded into groups to be labeled like a bunch of school children being put in Group 1, Group 2, or Group 3 (lookout, your on the chopping block).

So just what is Rating and Ranking and how Ridiculous can Leaders be in thinking this worthless effort does any good? Here is the ultimate qualityg's acid test to ask your boss and the organization after the process is completed,

When will you be posting (Company Web Site, company paper, Email notifications, company texts, twitter or the walls of fame, etc) the top rated and ranked employees so that I may use them as a model to improve my own performance? Oh yes, please add the amount of bonus money they will be receiving so as to motivate me next year?

Should we all not be happy for the winners, we know they deserve it, they worked hard and you didn’t, they were more customer-focused, they sold more products (too bad you were given a sales area that sucks), they removed more defects from their processes and you just maintained yours with little or no defects ar surprises and gave the customer what they wanted.

Should not all our objectives say "I want to be as good as Mike or Mary becasue you gave them more bonus money. Your boss should state how much they beat the objectives set so that you know how much to improve (Yeah Sure).

Americans like winners and losers, in our schools too. Why won’t we show/announce the winners (I Won and You Lost), at least half of winners must be above average, how can we improve (below avergae) when our boss won’t even tell us who to get pointers from to help our team objectives.

We all know they won’t post the names of organization workers rating and ranking because it would depress the troops and there is no known true metrics or measures that can really do this job across a medium or large organization. In Ranking someone has to be number 1, another person number 2, somebody else number 3 and the poor somebody else at the bottom, dead last, bringing up the rear, packing up their desk, etc… is a big time loser.

Now this will happen whether you have 5 employees under you or 50. Don’t forget Rating is where the boss (and in many companies your peers) get to label you “exceedingly excellent, excellent, excellent maybe and well you all know the rest…

Then you are give a bonus based on all the ratings and rankings, plus how the company is doing and blah, blah, blah.

qualityg says…

Allow me to share one of my experiences. I was asked one year to put together a team, a team made up winners, folks who stop at nothing to get the job done, you know qualityg, “one of them skunk teams that Tom Peters talks about.” It always seems senior leaders know the latest quality buzzwords (problem is, they correlate the word to fast and faster and improve the bottom line without having any idea what they are talking about).

The first thing I needed to do was to create the aim/purpose (objectives) for my team (the boss said go out and fix things and create a customer focused operation when you leave, and you get five, maybe six people to be on your team) and individually so they all correlate to company objectives and goals.


By what method may I ask, how it was determined five or six people would be the right amount for my team?

RESPONSE from humble willing worker

“That’s your job to make the work match the people, ain’t you supposed to be the expert?”

Not sure how I replied but “Eat My Shorts” comes to mind.

Once I got focused I needed to determine the type of work and find people with the skills that were to be required to get the job done. I figure I needed two experts in our field of expertise, a strong project manager, a database and web expert, a subject matter expert (SME) who works in the field and understands process improvement (quality certification not required, just able to use common sense).

Being diverse and the ability to work with both front line workers and senior leaders was another important requirement. I thought to myself I have my Center, two Forwards (power/small) and two Guards (shooter/point). I wanted one Reserve that had a general understanding of all the other jobs so that the team would not suffer if a teammate were off ill or on vacation.

Along with those traits the person must have experience, creativity, joy in workmanship and provide jocularity (ability to have fun) in times of stress, deadlines and functional barriers. Team chemistry was a must because there would be frequent travel that required trust and integrity by all on the team.

I was fortunate to find a great team players who were willing to leave their secure jobs, where they were the top performers (I was fortunate to have worked with most of my team over the years, so I certainly went after the ones I wanted), in their work groups.

Everything was going well until Performance Appraisal time. I received all the forms and packages and was told to have my stuff in at the appropriate date. From previous years I knew what was going to happen but I thought I had made it perfectly clear to my boss that I would not take the job if I was going to have to rank and rate my team. They were all top performers who had “unique” skills that optimized the whole team (i.e., my Center need my Forwards and they all needed the Guards). The Team had bought into this concept and liked it because they could concentrate on work instead of politics.

I sent my package (added extra metrics, team and individual objectives, customer feedback, and quarterly reviews, which was not required) up with very good ratings for my whole team. My boss’, boss who made the “final” decision said no way and told me to rate them properly, that no team can have all top performers, one has to be better than the next, and besides it won’t look right when you rank your folks against the others in the department if you have all top performers.

Every year I refused to participate in rating and ranking and every year I ended up doing it because I did’t want my folks to be penalized. Fortunately I keep a Management Log that proves to be essential when it comes to rating and rankings. See my post on Management Logs at

I did the best I could; I had a team meeting and an individual meeting with the team and explained the situation. I also told them how I was going to distribute the dollars; those who did not get equivalent dollars got extra stock (it was worth something then). I also promised if we were all together next year I would make up the difference.

Fortunately I was able to make some amends, but soon after we were moved to a special project and found ourselves right back in the mess of barriers, bureaucracy and babbling idiots.

Well we got “skunked” all right, but we had fun, did a good job and cooperated with one another without competition. We saved the competition for beating our rivals in the marketplace, you must have cooperation before you can compete, and you must have the cooperation of the whole team to be a winner.

Sometimes it does not even matter if your whole team did well. When they want to get rid of a team they will call it removing the work function or moving it back to headquarters to save costs. What this really means is some of the people at headquarters lost their job so the Vice Presidents (Shooters) who barely know the people that don't work in headquarters saves his face with the people he comes in contact with each day.

Another example from qualityg on "The Demise of American Management" and the talent that our Business Schools are producing to be effective leaders.

To read more post on Employee Goals and Objectives click on the Label Below or on the left side of Blog.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

qualityg's Company Strategies for 2011 and Beyond

So many books have been written about strategy that if you followed every one of them you would not know where to start.

My cheap advice is to create a "Vision of Reality", have "Constancy of Purpose" and make sure your "Aim", strategy, objective, principles and goals are in alignment and completely understood from bottom to top and back down again throughout the organization.

One more thing, please realize the "Corporate World" is not Flat. You will fall off the board if you continue to have strategies that result in denying the competition is global, regardless of the size or type of your company.

qualityg’s strategies are as follows:
  • Our strategy is about improving the bottom line (reduce unit cost) by identifying ways in our every day work activities that prevent waste and resources while increasing customer satisfaction.
  • Strategy is about reducing variation (e.g., defect reduction, cycle time) in our processes so that non-conformance's and backlogs/bottlenecks can never arise.
  • Strategy is about using our disciplined method of using extremely rigorous data gathering and system thinking techniques to identify non-conformance's and ways of eliminating and preventing them from occurring through our Quality Process Improvement Process Road map.
  • Strategy will obtain our group objective of exceeding our customer expectations by building long-term partnerships with our customers, and by providing services, which consistently meets their needs and expectations.
  • Strategy will implement measurements for all our work efforts to establish baselines for continual improvement.
  • Strategy will apply our Foundation Principles to all of our activities, thereby establishing a self-imposed level of performance excellence that far exceeds other goals and objectives.
  • Strategy will develop standardized documents, templates and processes that will allow us to consistently lead and set the Benchmark for process improvement.

For additional information read my posts at

Principles -

Innovation -

Goals Objectives -

Costs -

Leadership -

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Educations number one enemy --> COMFORT

I attended a two day conference last week that provided a vast amount of speakers and information on current educational issues.

Each day had a keynote speaker who spoke about transforming and reforming our current educational system.

Both speakers were very entertaining and provided example after example of the demise of our educational system.

Both speakers represented their own consulting company.

The audience applauded and laughed as the speakers presented their findings and solutions to many of the probable symptoms in the educational system. At one point I wondered how many teachers and administrators in the large hall where I sat were laughing at themselves or at their peers when examples of poor teaching and leadership were given. Somehow I thought we should be crying and ashamed of ourselves.

I was glad each speaker mentioned the word “system” in their talk and in their handouts. System is a key word when it comes to transforming (to change in composition or structure b: to change the outward form or appearance of) or designing a system with built in quality assurances.

Please notice I did NOT include the word “Reform” in the above statement. Why? Because Reform (to put or change into an improved form or condition b: to amend or improve by change of form or removal of faults or abuses) is what we currently do and what we have done for the last twenty years.

“School Reform will not do, Transformation is what must happen and it must happen now.” – gmc

Reform focuses on trying to make the existing model work. Transformation is a developing a new and different model with all system players in the development and design stages.

You see many leaders and consultants’ talk and write of transforming the educational system but what they really say and do is reforming the system. Our current educational system has been riding the same rail for over a hundred years and it goes all around with no aim, beginning or end and the engine (Educational & Government Leaders) driving it just keeps adding new approaches (railcars) with no means of knowing what works and what does not because the engine just keeps going on a track of no return.

Transformation is the only answer and it must come from Leadership that is ready to lead and confront the battle of “Comfort.”

Yep, “Comfort” is the enemy. Educators love the comfort of the current system and do not want it to change. Oh, they will tell you we want change but in the end they want it as long as it is someone else who has to change. That is why Technological Reform today causes such a wide gap among teachers. Heck, many still don’t believe in the calculator as being a tool to learn.

Students today have “transformed” in to a new generation of learners and teachers are still trying to “reform” their current lesson plans.

The educational system requires transformation not reform. The two are opposing in meaning. Transformation is a major systems change, while reform is about making small improvements to a part of the existing system that often affects the whole by tampering with the system causing out of control situations.

Reform is a process of improving an existing system. Transformation is a method of designing and developing a new system, culture, process, and structure, and moving the current system to the new.

The only way a transformation can be successful is through leader who is NOT afraid to make decisions and NOT afraid of confronting the status quo. The leader must OWN THE SYSTEM!

After all, is this not the number one reason individual schools do not change very easy? They are lead by good people doing their best by avoiding conflict, looking for comfort and just want a few more years of peace and quiet until they retire.

That is why educators make errors of omission. That is, they make errors by not doing what they should.


In addition to the keynote speakers I attended three sessions on data, assessments and schools labeled as “distinctive.”

Based on my 30 years in business I believe educational leaders are still 10 - 15 years behind organizational learning when it comes to improving systems and using data as a tool.

People with data can do good things.

People with data and have no idea on how to use the data can cause disasters.

School districts love assessments, standardized tests and data from systems that provides inferences on how well they are doing and what labels a student as a good or poor performer.

I’m somewhat OK with that but not when the test is yearly and the assessments are every 3 to 5 years.

I sat in one session where a very high level administrator explained the importance of a standardized test results that will lead you to identifying a students problem areas.

I asked if it would not be better to use the on-going daily observations and testing of the teacher(s) than to rely only on an annual test.

The presenter took my question that I was referring to a student having a bad day when being tested and that a standardized test may not be accurate. – Perhaps!

However, my point is that we must use process (daily, weekly, etc...) measures for improvement and not result (standardized tests, assessments) measures. By the time we figure out the results we have lost the students to poor grades, dropouts and graduation to the next grade level.

People just love fancy printouts that show rows and columns of data every which way. It helps justify the price tag for such measurement systems. Results Data give people a false sense of knowledge and power. People must realize that Process Data is what supplies knowldege because you are working within the system to understand and apply the learnings.

How can one be an educator and not know what a student lacks prior to a standardized test.

We are in deep trouble folks.
Get your butt off the couch (comfort) and do something value added!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Customer Focus - 2010 & Beyond ...

We all know of the global crisis facing many of our largest institutions and organizations. What we must remember that all the bail outs and bankruptcy's won't matter if the customer (internal and external) is not at the front of each and every plan. We have yet to learn this from the 1970s.

What follows is an example of a letter from a Senior Officer to his/her direct reports (after a merger, reorg, takeover, etc...) that should be cascaded down through out the organization. It is written is a generic form that would require minor adjustment to fit your own company needs. Additional data from your own company on customer satisfaction levels and those of your customers also adds to the impact of this type of letter.
CUSTOMER FOCUS – 2010 and Beyond

Now that we have merged with qualityg enterprises (QGE), it is vital that the integration of our cultures begin with identifying those attributes that have made us both successful and those that need to be merged and transformed into one.

The attributes that will drive this effort are customer focus, preference and retention. Customers are Paramount. No matter how much or how fast the business changes, this is one value that will remain constant. QGE has had a vast amount of experience in recent years of customers moving back and forth between one service provider and another in the international market. While QGE has had a more loyal customer base, we need to start understanding our customers better and begin concentrating on what it takes to retain them for sustained growth and continued preference of our services and products. "We will keep our promises."

A few years back I was given a quote on what it means to have “Loyal Customers.” It had meaning then and certainly applies more today:

“It will not suffice to have customers who are merely satisfied. Satisfied customers switch, for no good reason, just to try something else. Success and growth come from customers who boast about your products and services. The loyal customer requires no advertising or other persuasion, and he brings a friend with him.”

One of my top priorities this year as you know is that “We Will Keep Our Promises” to our customers. Along with that I will be continuously stressing the importance of customer focus and challenging you on what improvements have been made in achieving customer preference and retention. Customer satisfaction in not good enough, studies have shown that between 65 percent and 85 percent of customers who defect say they were satisfied or very satisfied with their supplier/vendor.

Achieving Customer Preference and Retention

The purpose of our business is to obtain and retain customers in a profitable manner. Operationally speaking it is not our main objective to sell products and services. However, it is our objective to partner with our customers to share our expertise and technological skills in order to help them define their needs, and to create the most cost efficient service that is best suited for themselves and their customers.

This also means we don’t go the extra mile; it means the extra mile is part of our daily work. Only in the eyes of our customers should it seem like above and beyond the call of duty. Let me provide an example. If a customer contacts us and is having a problem (i.e. billing) and it is discovered not to be QGE related, I want us to stay with that customer and work with them until they are comfortable that they have made the correct contact that can rectify their situation. That means we work with them on their behalf and represent their needs. Think of yourselves as a customer for a moment, think of the times when you were truly delighted with the service you received, many times it probably had to do with a person who went the extra mile or beyond your expectations to make sure you had the right contact or service that earned your respect and loyalty.

We will install, deliver and repair what the customer wants and desires. We will respond to customers quickly. Each of us will listen to our customers and use their input to develop innovative solutions or add value to our products and services. In this way, we will earn our customers’ preference and retention. This is the type of service quality that QGE expects form all of its employees.

Now that the best Service Provider companies have joined forces it is important to understand the many challenges and aggressive competition that will face us on many fronts. To continuously be the best we must offer a total package of products and services that delight our customers. What will separate us even further from the rest will be our continued customization of service, front-line customer service, and commitment to customer loyalty.

Achieving customer preference and retention will happen through our employees, especially employees who are proud of our company and empowered to provide excellent customer service. It is our job as managers to enable our folks with the tools to succeed and then get out of their way and let them do their jobs.

It will be one of my objectives going forward to lead our organization in using a systemic process approach that constantly searches for new ways to improve both customer preference and internal efficiency by partnering and linking with all our internal departments. Obtaining and keeping customers is essential and it requires all parts of the company to be aligned and focused on our customers.

The level of customer preference that we achieve will be the direct result of the quality of the partnerships that we have in place with our internal process partners (Marketing, Sales, Engineering, Billing, etc.)

At each partner linkage there is the opportunity for our customers to come in contact with us and determine if we will be and continue to be their vendor/supplier of choice. Even though we don’t work in these departments we will take the lead or partner with them when it comes to enlightening, enabling, empowering and encouraging our fellow workers to provide the best service possible.

QGE’s uniqueness for provisioning service and entrepreneurial spirit needs to continue even at a greater pace in 2010 and beyond. We must lead our new company in breaking away from our competitors. Our customers will differentiate our service from others because of the unique value that we provide.

We all have a stake in our business and are accountable for operationally excellent performance. We will take ownership and will focus our energy on growing the business profitably by managing our customers’ wants and needs. As we transfer and manage information for our customers, we will set the standards for value and quality in our industry.


Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Michigan Lawmakers ---> Who is Accountable & Who is Responsible? - Say What!

I originally wrote this Post in May 2007. Based on what is currently happening in Lansing you would think this is deja vu. What a mess and school children are still the pawns!

May 21, 2007

The following Post will be based on the two definitions Listed below:

ACCOUNTABLE suggests imminence of retribution for unfulfilled trust or violated obligation (elected officials are accountable to the voters).

RESPONSIBLE implies holding a specific office, duty, or trust (the bureau responsible for revenue collection).

These words are often used interchangeably and it is not surprising since they are synonyms.

Let me use the following example to understand them more.

In the great state of Michissippi (New name for Michigan) the governor is RESPONSIBLE to the citizens for following through on campaign promises and is trustworthy since that is why she got elected.

When the person responsible is not fulfilling those trusts then she is ACCOUNTABLE to the citizens of Michissippi.

The campaign rhetoric (Fall 2006) claimed the state is on the right track and more diversified businesses (other than auto) would be settling and creating jobs in Michissippi. Google is one of those companies and is creating 1000 jobs in Ann Arbor.

However, the state continues to lose businesses and jobs by the thousands each week (too many to list)

Now we find out the state is in such bad shape financially that the students (K –12) are being used as pawns in a partisan political catfight. If the budget is not settled by June 1, 2007 many school districts will lose approximately $120.00 per student. Many schools will have to close early by at least 2 – 3 weeks for lack of funding.


Most politicians regardless of office always create an aura of the grandiose goals and accomplishments that they will do if elected. They pontificate about the plans they have to move their community, state or country forward. Some even are STUPID (yes – Stupid) to pronounce a numerical goal that really has no meaning.

We all have goals, dreams and hopes for our future and those of our children. When they don’t get fulfilled we end up frustrated, depressed and a feeling of being a big LOSER.


Because all the promises, hopes, dreams and numerical accomplishments will not be met without a (no not a plan) Method (HOW?) attached to each of the promises, hopes, dreams, and numerical accomplishments. A plan can be put together with numerical goals and people get all excited because now we have measures to hold people responsible accountable for their actions.

Nobody asks for the written plan to see if there are accompanying methods on how to obtain these empty promises. Nobody questions the people responsible to determine if they know what the method is or how it is developed. The definition of METHOD is so simple it means HOW are you going to do what you say.

Ask yourself this question “What would happen to me on my job if I am not responsible and accountable for my actions?” You funny folks would say nothing-just look at the people I work with. Those of us in the real world with layoffs and downsizing will tell you there are nowhere to hide anymore and you will eventually be found and eliminated.

All of us except elected officials, we just say I wont vote for them next time. Most of us forget in the 2 or 4 years they are in office, there should be an immediate firing of these elected officials and corresponding jail time. I know where I used to work elected officials developed a law called the Sarbanes-Oxley Act that goes after Corporate no-good stooges for being bad boys and girls.

How come it does not apply to no-good Elected Officials stooges?

Another example of no Accountability and Responsibility can be found on my Blog at

Michissippi? -

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Where are our Educational Leaders?

Tactics emerge in state budget fight

The Title above was the headline Friday in the Detroit Free Press. Below you can read some of the cuts proposed by state lawmakers.

Controversial cuts

* Promise scholarship grants: $120 million - qg says ... so much for "Promises"
* Aid to K-12 public schools: $348 million (solution could cut it in half)
* Mental health programs: $40 million - qg says ... Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon says over 60% of people in jail in Wayne County have a Mental Illness!
* Job retraining programs: $35 million

It continues to amaze me whether it is leaders in education, business or government on how they follow each other like Lemmings when it comes to creativity and innovation – THEY HAVE NONE!
I am referring to proposed cuts in education and job training. Why do we sacrifice our future for present and past mistakes? The reason is because our leaders have no foresight except the next election or the next bottom line quarterly report.

Another reason, it has to do with incompetence and taking the easy road out to make them look good. Why can’t for once you represent the people you SERVE! In case you don’t know who they are they are your constituents and employees.

We never learn, result measures for education improvement and business measures go month to month, quarter to quarter and year to year. Like traffic accident reports these are nice to know (What) but in education I never see action plans and measures (How) to improve the system.

Short term educational results are not an indicator of good leadership. Business leaders for years have shown us that it is easy to show results by cutting training, removing workers and providing meaningless measures.

Current educational result measures do not help students learn math or how to read. They make no contribution to improvement. They only make conversation of ignorance.

School accreditations and assessments are nice but the attention and focus given by leaders are before, during and for a short time after the accreditation or assessment is done. In between the visits, reports and so-called improvement measures it’s business as usual and no means of actual improvement is done except for annual standardized reports that are not process improvement but a means used for recruitment brochures.

Certifications and Assessments of an educational system (school) are result measures. School official’s year and after provide results and “cursory” plans that have no structure, time or means of measurement to show they are implementing process improvements or if they do that they actually work.

Education Improvement will not come from accreditations or certifications, it will only come through improvement to the on-going improvement of the system (end-to-end) and this can not be done through actions that are result driven and not a combination of process and result measures led by an “active” leader.

Many Governmental and Educational Leaders are EXPENDABLE. What value do they bring? Are they more important than your customer facing and producing employees?

Does Sara Lee “pay” more attention to their Finance VP because of the paper results or to the employee who makes and sells the company products? People who create and present paper results do not make bread.

I continually look to see some improvement in local, state and national educational systems. All I see are roller coaster plans, targets and goals with no one taking charge, responsibility or accountability.

Educational Czars and State Educational Leaders are like CEOs that come in from outside the system for a short-term and change direction that actually deprives the educational system for lasting improvement. Why does this happen? It’s simple, they do not know the interdependencies of the system nor do they take charge they delegate their responsibilities to committees, task teams and assessment teams that use subjective measures that do nothing but continue to tamper and already out of control system.

Friday, September 25, 2009

qualityg says ... "CUT COSTS ---> NOT EMPLOYESS"

Enough already, it is time for Management to start earning their money for the remainder of 2009 by developing or benchmarking ways by which to improve the bottom line by cost cutting as opposed to cutting their number one asset --> people.

You hear it almost everyday – a company laying off part of its workforce - to improve profitability or as the last resort to stay in business. Why does it reach that point? Why do leaders resort to this method? Why can’t companies reduce costs without getting rid employees? The answer is they can. But it can’t be in response to short-term thinking or a crisis. It must be hands-on approach, it must involve "Hands On" leadership. Cost cutting must become an on-going objective that is as important as any other Accounting or Finance effort.

It is so easy and shortsighted to cut employees regardless of what Management will tell you or what you read on-line, magazines and newspapers. So-called leading experts from top rated business colleges do studies and research on the best ways to remove people from the bottom line with little impact on the organization. They are full of crap and when they do instruct (instead of just research with no application) they fill the next generation of leaders and managers with the same crapola. It has been going on for years, I am a product of that schooling and I’m just lucky I found the teachings of Dr. Deming to help set me straight in 1980.

I have personally been involved and had to make decisions as to how many and what employees should be let go. Each and every time I fought for other ways by providing examples of other companies, ideas and probable solutions other than cut people. The problem with my input was it took too much time according to other decision makers and the charge to get rid of heads was to be done soon, quickly and above all quietly. Do not let employees and the most feared of all “The Media” get wind of what was in store for the company. Again, a bunch of crap, “GUTLESS” is the optimum word for these type of managers and leaders.

What I propose you do for the remainder of 2009 is to form a cross-functional team that represents all departments under the “Active” leadership of a decision-making Vice President.

The type of cost cutting will be Discretionary and Headcount related (not cutting employees but may involve different jobs, movement, reporting structure, etc…).

Here are some examples and ideas that if looked at closely can save a company large amount of dollars and not lose efficiency or effectiveness of operations. Some may seem harsh but I’m betting the majority of employees (don’t say NO until you ask them) would rather keep their jobs with some signed assurances and agreements with the leaders of the company.

· Freeze all Salaries (until you no longer have to cut people)
· Renegotiate and cancel consultant agreements (trust me, you have the
knowledge inside your company, look for it, use it, trust your people)
· Your employees will always make better company decisions than 99% of
business consultants out there. Why – because they care and LISTEN!
· Reduce Company Picnics and Parties
· 2 Week - Month Vacation w/o Pay
· Giving up monthly Reimbursement Perks (i.e., phone cost, car allowances)
· Use Internet as source for cheaper fares (car, plane, train) and hotels
(cancel contract with travel agencies)
· Turn in all unnecessary pagers and cell phones
· Revisit who needs cell phones and update cell phone plans to best provider
· Reduce Travel Per Diem allowance unless dining with customers
· Discontinue company-paid annual dues for professional organizations.
· Give employees the option to work 37 1/2 hour workweeks, which allows a 20%
reduction in salary. Work in combination with flexible work arrangements
· Discontinue funding for all Business Resource Groups (including registration
for annual conventions, travel fees and annual gala balls)
· Remove unused and outdated Telephones and Lines (computer, fax)
· Renegotiate supplier contracts to single-source suppliers
· Remove all copiers (and contracts) and use local printers
· Return all unused equipment to vendors and free up space
· Reengineer Work Stations to save on space (sell or lease free space)
· Carefully look at an effort to move towards virtual office to realize real
estate cost savings
· Re-negotiate cost of leased space (if applicable)
· Cancel Coffee and Bottled Water contracts
· Cut out goofball training by consultants
· Prioritize work place upgrades (i.e., cafeteria, gyms, conference rooms)
· Change Sales Compensation Plan to pay at in-effect with additional incentive
for Sales to sell high margin
Allow employees to work from home 1-2 days a week saving on energy costs.
· Revisit Procedure staff guidelines / Processes / Contract. Too many mistakes
occurring and nothing can be corrected and we the company is paying for the
consequences - we pay people to make mistakes (poor processes/machines) and we pay other people to fix them with no prevention for the future

The above items are just the beginning … C’mon do something good for the remainder of 2009, give your employees a chance to determine their own destiny, don’t punk out and take the easy academic bottom line management way.

Monday, August 17, 2009

"Quality Leadership"

I'm always asked about Leadership and I have written much on the subject (Click on Leadership Label in Left Sidebar).

It is just as important to know what happens when Leadership does not exist and what is the result.

qualityg says:

No Leadership
No Aim
No Plan
Absolute Power
Ultimate Failure

No where is this scenario more prevalent than in government and our secondary and
higher level education systems

Sunday, July 12, 2009

What are the qualities and characteristics that a
Dream Mentor should possess?

I developed the following graphic to explain it best:

Click on Picture to Enlarge

To read all posts on my Dream Mentor Program click here:

To see my website on Dream Mentor Program click here:

Monday, July 06, 2009

"WIIFM" The most popular radion station in the United States needs to be cancelled!

Over the past 20 years I believe this is the most popular radio station in the United States. Unfortunately I don’t mean this in a positive way.

It is worse than any station you can imagine because the results are selfishness, dishonor and no loyalty to anyone or anything except oneself.

It has caused what Dr. Deming said is the “Demise of the American Management System.” It also ingrained in our educational system and it has caused additional strain and damage to system already in distress.

What do the call letters stand for – What’s In It For Me.

Too many Business executives make decisions on what changes have to be made by first thinking what will happen to me? Will I be Ok? I feel bad for others but that’s just the way it is. Once I know I am OK then I will make sure others are OK, but many will be not.

This is not Servant Leadership; this is Selfish Leadership that breeds long-term negative results.

Many Educational decision makers (Admin, School Boards & Teachers) also use this decision-making policy when changes come their way. The first reaction is “How much more work will this cause me because I am already overloaded?”

I would like all you folks who think this way and put the same thought process toward decisions that affect your family. Do you make decisions based on how you will benefit even at the expense of your loved ones? Most of us do not but we don’t take that same caring logic to our workplace. We have instilled this thinking in the next generation who will leave a job in a minute for short-term gratification.

We don’t think of the whole (systems thinking) and how we are not SERVING our employees, organization the communities we serve.

This thinking is rabid in many companies that push for cheaper labor in places that serve no purpose to the whole (employees, organization and communities).

Don’t give me your bottom line crap. Your bottom line sucks because of your short-term narrow Wall Street thinking.

So stay tuned folks because this radio station is playing in your company, your school and in your home. Please don’t advertise anymore, this station needs to be cancelled NOW!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Creating a High School Dream Mentor Culture

Based on my Change Matrix for Educational Change (See Label for Education) the following needs to be understood about the need for Change in order for Dreams to become a reality.

Determining how to change the school once all involved understand and accept the why and the what. This final stage involves:

• How to create a strategic, collaborative plan
• How to manage change

Unfortunately, like business many schools begin their improvement efforts in the reverse order — by first deciding how to do things differently. That is, they find a "solution" without defining the need or problem/opportunity statement. Plus, if Administrators, Teachers, Parents and Support Staff do not believe the school must change or understand what needs to change, the suggestion for how to change is likely to be unsuccessful or rejected, because it is, in effect, an answer to a problem that has not been acknowledged or one that has always been around and it is a fact of education life.

I. WHY We Need to Change

Public and Private School changes will require the desire and passions to come from leadership and at least an enthusiasm of others to be led — to change what currently exists. We as leaders administration and staff must accept change as a team and challenging rather than intimidating and threatening to those who look to us for guidance and leadership.

As I traveled back and forth across the country when I worked for a major corporation I wanted to know if it was a local problem or more systemic across the country. Talking with peers in different regions of the country I found them all to have the same problems as we faced in the central region (MI, OH, Il, IA, Wisc). In fact I did a study based on what I saw in North Carolina and determined that our reading and writing level was at the 8th grade level for many of our employees (including some that attended college).

While on the road I often attended local high school board meetings in different states to listen to what was going on in their schools, looking for ways they were preparing their students for the future. I found some good ideas for the times but mostly the common thread that most had in common were the problems they faced. For example these were the most prevalent between 2000 and 2004:

Lack of funds
Overcrowded classrooms
Discipline problems
Federal ; State Laws and Regulations (NCLB)
Lack of synergy between teachers, grade levels and schools
Rapid changes in the digital world
No synergy between parents, teachers and administrators
Our Educational System is falling behind the rest of the world

Now that I have been working in the Public & Private School System for the past five years I would still say the problems I found eight years ago still exist today with the exception of the last one because we are now behind many nations of the world in our educational policies.

I have been known for many years as a Systems Thinker who challenges "Conventional Wisdom", the "Status Quo" and the "Balance" within a system. I ask many questions.

We educators have to understand that what exists in schools today needs to be updated to keep pace with the local, state, national and global societies. We need to recognize that students, admin and teachers must continually learn new things and that some of the skills we teach and use today will soon be as outdated as the technological and social skills continue to change for our students to be successful citizens and life long learners.

Changing the Paradigm
I have often stated that our schools follow an agricultural calendar and was designed for the industrial age of the mid 1800s that has created a poor match with preparing students for the technological digital age. In many districts, schools are not designed to deal with today’s technology, the global and media-driven world we live in, or the equity issues facing education.
The rules and regulations under which these schools operate are held over from a time that has passed.

II. Determining WHAT Changes Need to be Made

Creating the Dream
A Dream Mentor awareness presentation needs to be presented and shared with all involved in within a School System. The awareness must explain the educational, economic and social reasons why education programs must change, the schools must use that knowledge to develop a student-focused dream (vision) and common focus that helps to identify what changes will be needed (data collection techniques to be developed). The dream helps create a mutual spirit among school and parish communities. The purpose of the school has to be clearly defined. Priorities will begin to appear and roadmap action plans will guide the changes for the school.

Today, there is common agreement about four roles of education:
1. Fostering academic (thinking) development
2. Preparing students to be informed, caring, and productive citizens of society
3. Preparing students for higher education
4. Preparing students for the world of work.

Nice words and found in many schools vision and mission statements. However, what does not exist is the means of how to bring these words alive, to make them real, to internalize them into the day-to-day learning’s of the school. It cannot be done without "active" leadership and the plans with associated measures to monitor progress.

III. Determining HOW to Change

Schools that have first gone through a process of discovering why they must change followed by an analysis of data which identifies what they must change are far better positioned to determine how they need to change.

Creating a DREAM MENTOR CULTURE in which educators at every level and students feel safe in questioning current practices and procedures is an important component in the processes that the successful schools use to stay on a path of continuous improvement.

I have found in my work and studies that found that change leaders look at the process of how to change quite differently from many other leaders. These leaders are willing to take risks as necessary because they believe there is no choice but to change (Dr. Deming – "No one has to change, Survival is optional"). They understand that playing it safe is more dangerous than taking a risk and that there is no protection from the wave of changes facing our students today and tomorrow. Consequently, they take control and lead example with humility and confidence, rather than simply trying to hang around.

Dream Mentor Whiteboard in my office:

Click Pic to Enlarge

Creating the PlanMy experience in Change and Creating Action Plans for transformation in business and education comes with the realization that leaders in the high-performing (Baldridge Results) schools and businesses seem to recognize that if they wait to get everyone on board and fully accepting of all requirements of a school improvement plan, they will never move forward. So instead, many accept the concept that one-third of the faculty and staff will be excited about a new plan, one-third will be watchful but somewhat open-minded, and one-third will say, in effect, "any changes will be made over my dead body."

One approach I have found through painful experiences is that everyone needs to understand through open and honest communication (i.e., Dream Mentor awareness package ) that any plan laid out is not perfect and that, moreover, there is no perfect model or plan. Any plan will need evaluation and adjustment constantly. The admission up front that the plan will need to be personalized as the school moves forward is critical to bringing the mindset of nay Sayers and those who like to sit on the fence and fall which ever way the wind is blowing.

Another hurdle that many schools and businesses I have worked with and for are the problems of dollars and time. Funding will always be an issue; but one must ask what is the cost of not doing changes, can we put a price tag on making sure our students are prepared for the environment they face after high school?

The biggest single deficit schools face is lack of time, how do we fit another project or effort into an already crowded workday. Everyone has their own priorities as to how things should be done; everyone protects "What’s in it for me," instead of "What’s in it for the good of the whole school."
We must envision our dream as a completed product and build from backwards from there. There are tools to help us (SIPOC + CCCC) see this ending and the priorities that are required to make it happen.

Managing Change - While managing change is difficult in all organizations, I am reminded back 20 years that it is especially problematic in institutions with long and rich traditions, like the Catholic Church. I also found this to be true in 1980 when I was part of the massive change of the Breakup of the AT and T phone monopoly. We used to use the analogies of taking a bite out of the elephant one mouthful at a time and trying to turn a battleship on a dime. We must realize that traditions, and the rules and regulations that surround them, become anchors that are difficult to pull up so that the "ship" can be redirected.

By nature, many of us are not risk takers. Therefore, we want to make sure that any change being contemplated is well thought out, carefully planned, and clearly better than what currently exists. In effect, we will not change unless the pain of not changing is worse than the pain of a new change (like losing a job).

If we don’t, as a team believe that the present system can be changed for the better it will be a long haul. However, I believe the haul can be fun and it can be exciting to lay the groundwork and build what others are afraid to do. I have found since I retired when I look back and see what was, it makes me feel old. However, the way to feel young and invigorated is to look forward and to "Dream" for a better future through hard work and a passion for educational excellence.

To manage change in a school system with entrenched traditions and well-known fear of change requires a team of special and charismatic leaders. We as leaders need to recognize that avoiding dreams, passions and risks actually puts our school and students in greater risk of not succeeding than not attempting change at all.

A Transformation is required and we can no longer wait for someone or the government to come up with the ultimate plan. In order to compete, and bring balance to our academic successes along with our athletic successes, we must Dream and build a plan for today and tomorrow.

"No one has to change. Survival is optional."
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