Sunday, November 02, 2014

Leadership, Knowledge, Management & People

This is an on-going post that started in April of 2005.

NEWEST UPDATE - See Leadership # 9) - (05/21/17)

Within this post you will find a number of comments and statements that have been developed and adopted over the years (myself and others) on leadership, quality, management, education, government, etc... and there current state of affairs. I will add some new thoughts every so often, if you would like more information or as to why they have been stated, please let me know.
I have been involved with Quality programs, processes, efforts since 1979 when I first read an article about Irving Bluestone (UAW Leader) and the Quality Of Work Life effort at the Tarrytown Plant.
It was also at that time I was earning my graduate degree and was studying management with some international students from Japan, they were there to learn Hotel Management. I learned a lot more about management from them than I did from the instructor. In 1980, he was instrumental in starting "The Michigan Quality of Work Life Council."
The first book I read on the subject was in 1980, "The Quality Circle Guide to Participation Management," by Donald L. Dewar. The first outside training - Philip Crosby - Quality is Free.
I have not stopped since and hold a certification in just about every Quality program (i.e., TQM, SPC, ISO 9000, ASQ, ASP, Baldrige Examiner, Reengineering, QSA, etc) from QWL Team Leader & Consultant (1980) to Six Sigma (2005).
I have instructed and taught over 8000 employees since 1979 and consulted with company officers and was an advisor to over 100 quality type teams (they change names over the years depending on the rollout - currently Six Sigma & Lean Manufacturing and of course now Lean for Service and don't forget Lean Six Sigma). Pretty "Lame" if you ask me.
Quality is my hobby, some say my passion, you will be surprised that I have a much different viewpoint than most.
I do NOT have a definition for Quality, only a comment " Q is the difference between What Is, and What Should Be. No more, no less, just stick with your customers (internal and external) and treat your suppliers as equals.
Just remember - Management owns the system, and think what I call "trickle down quality," - look up front, always start up front in both fact finding and development + bring all associated groups together that start from beginning to the end. (That include you sales types too)? And yes, everything starts and stops with the customer! qg says ...

"Designing a Quality Program can never start to soon,  but it can start too late."
qualityg and others say...
Please! Please! Do not listen to Quality Consultants/Experts (Charlatans) who pontificate the so called difference between Six Sigma and TQM and all the other quality initiatives (ISO 9000, MBNQA, Reengineering, Lean, etc). Six Sigma will only add value if we use it as a means to get us closer to our customers and our bottom line. I will not support any improvement methodology that doesn’t take customer expectations and desires into account up front!
Click Picture to enlarge

Dilbert by Scott Adams

1) Being a good leader is getting people to follow you to a place/situation where they would not otherwise go on their own. It's also about making strategic decisions that will affect the whole system in the long run even though it brings no short-term recognition or praise. In fact, the benefits or improvements may not become known until after you have left the position or the organization.
2) Great leaders are those who are remembered for sharing visions, and the implementing those visions into reality that shape the future.
3) The first priority of a new leader is putting together his/her own top team. It must be cohesive. It must have an aim!
4) Hierarchy does not equal Intelligence. If you are a leader or manager repeat that statement every day to remain humble. Hey, if you don't, your people don't have "real" respect for you, Attila.
5) Groups/Teams become great only when everyone in them, leaders and members alike are free to do their absolute best... The best thing a leader can do for a group/team is to allow them to discover their own greatness.
6) Work is still a process, it always has been, but the process has changed. No one person can see the entire process all at once anymore. This means that all VPs and Department Heads need to break down their barriers, instead of "lets not and say we did," this goes for you educators (Administrators, Deans, etc) too!
7) Dr. Deming used to say "American Management style must go through a 'Transformation." The best example of poor leadership that I can think of that has lasted more than five years is AT&T. What a disaster from Divestiture to Dorman and the SBC takeover. Before 1984 AT&T was the envy of the world for leadership and management styles, over 1 million employees making a good living, contributing to their communities, service excellence was abound and standardization of policies and procedures was remarkable, and the difference from the CEO to the Union Worker in pay was reasonable and understood. This year Mr. Dorman, and his execs will all make over 5 million apiece (not including bonuses for the takeover, this is not a merger - ask PAC Bell). Oh, by the way AT&T will have about 35,000 employees by year end. I would rather pay another $5 dollars a month and see 70,000 people working (estimated working in 2000) and supporting the economy rather than a discount of 2$ in my monthly Bill. Don't even mention the stock!
8) Quote from Pope John Paul II - "Central to the church's teaching is the conviction that people are more important than things; that work is 'for man' and not man 'for work'; that the person is both the subject and the purpose of all work and cannot be reduced to a mere instrument of production; that the person is to be valued for what he or she is rather than for what he or she owns."
The Catholic Church is one big organization, doubt if you would see such a profound statement from a CEO or President of a major organization in the USA. Well maybe you might, but would you believe it as they continue to downsize and merge for the good of the customer.

9) Envision + Enlightment + Enablement + Execution (added in 2006) + Empowerment + Evaluate + Encouragement = Employee Excellence. I call it the 7es.

7Es for Employee Excellence - Double Click to Enlarge
(qg -2017)Posted by Hello
Updated 9/14/
I have added another E to my Model. It is called "Execute" and it comes after Enable. There must be proper Execution in order for the performance to be Excellent regardless of how much Empowerment is granted. Many Managers Encourage and Reward Efforts regardless if there good or bad because they don't know. . I have added another E to my model and it is called "Evaluate" (qg 2017) and it comes after Execute.
10) Leadership - Get visible (I don't mean just Store Managers) to your customers and your employees. One day a week should be working (just a willing worker) in one of your stores and one day a week should be "observing and listening" to what goes on in your competitors stores
Three days a week you should have your customer service lines open in your office and "listen and learn" to orders being taken (this is not for punishment, but for learning, if anyone is to be scolded it should be leadership, you own the system).
If you have too many meetings/conflicts, start to change your schedule, forget the bean counter meetings, those are result activities, get up front where the action is and become part of your company from the inside, from a "systems thinker perspective." Finally an example:
Ford CEO makes surprise plant visit Wayne Stamping worker impressed

June 11, 2005


Ford Motor Co.
CEO Bill Ford surprised workers at the Wayne Stamping and Assembly Plant, which makes the small Focus car, by dropping by Friday without a security entourage and gaining some regular-guy credibility.
The move seemed to be an immediate morale booster, said Tim Phillips of Dearborn Heights, a 36-year Ford employee. "I was so pumped it was not even funny," he said. "He is such a cool guy. He was all by himself."
Ford apparently spent time talking directly with workers on the line and asking how the plant is running -- an event that a Ford spokesman described as an occasional routine for the CEO and great-grandson of the company's founder, who is practically royalty in the Motor City.
"We feel really good we've got him for a boss," Phillips said. By contrast, Phillips recalled a visit to the plant by former Ford CEO Jacques Nasser, in which he arrived with a group of security guards so large that "it was like the president was visiting."
Leaders - Post your Blog with information based on your visits, be honest, be fair, be customer focused. Don't tell me you have people on your staff to do these things, I have seen what happens to an office when a Leader "visits" and talks about "good" things and answer tough questions from your employees. Please don't make it a personal accomplishment (gee, see how I love my troops, and don't come with prepared speaches).
qg says... this is great, sad it was a small column and that it's a rarity.
Headlines should says "CEO has Quarterly Meeting with VPs, tells them to get their butts at the front lines too! CEO talks about employees and customers, tells financial exec to be quite."
11) The day your employees stop bringing you complaints, excuses and problems is the day they have stopped believing in your abilities. They have either lost trust that you can help them or determined that you just don’t care. In either scenario, you are not a leader-- Cisco!
12) Senior Execs need to become “champions” or “owners” of entire processes, rather than bosses of functions.
13) “There is no substitute for teamwork and good leaders of teams to bring (this means be part of, not to delegate) consistency of effort, along with knowledge.”
14) Don’t talk to me about being a customer-focused company or leader unless you can prove to me that you spend more time on working with customers (and customer interfacing employees) than you do with financial matters (and comptrollers/budgeters).
15) Now I know why training always get cut when times get tough, its because training is an asset that benefits and strengthens the company for the future. Today’s leaders lead by “numbers” not by cents (sense).
16) How many more times are we going to see the same lame excuses. Cmon already!
Top 10 Leadership Pitfalls Revealed: Survey April, 2005 by Quality Digest

Past and habits (35%)

Economic climate or budget (29%)

Company culture (23%)

Way they work together (20%)

Senior management team (18%)

Customers (14%)

CEO/president lack of confidence (13%)

Technology (11%)

Middle management (9%)

Reputation, human resource management or employees (7%)
Respondents indicated that the most important things to ensure successful strategy execution include creating a clear strategy, adding a specific plan, communicating what the plan is, rewarding employees for following the plan and continuing employee communication. However, even when companies do the alignment process well, their past and culture can derail execution, as the alignment of people and strategy isn’t enough for long-term success.
qg says... Quality Digest, What is the strategy for long term success?
17) I gotta an idea, how about letting the customers pass out bonuses to senior executives? Now that would prove they truly are a customer focused company.
18) Read an article today about "another" ceo spouting out that He was going to hold "all" of his employees accountable for getting the company turned around and become profitable.
qg says... what an ignorant statement.
19) When Mergers/Acquisitions fail, they often do because the Financial and Legal wizards who arrange them don’t pay enough attention to the cultural aspects of the organizations and to the impact on employees.
qg says... Watch the SBC aquisition of AT&T. SBC does not want the "people," they want the NETWORK! So in there eyes they see success, in my eyes I see vulchers.

JEFFREY BROWN: Professor Katz, I want to ask you about ATT because probably for most people here the big story is the demise of ATT. Why in the end was it unable to survive?

JAMES KATZ: I think a large element is the fact that it wasn't able to get back into local service. Although it once was America's largest private employer back before the divestiture of 1984, it (NOT IT, LEADERSHIP OWNS THE SYSTEM) has made a series of business blunders that have cost billions. It got out of the wireless mobile phone business, got back in, got back out, and has essentially just had a heritage of great mistakes.
20) Now that I have gone through countless reorganizations, downsizing, mergers, acquisitions and all the other stuff that resembles change I have come to the conclusion that Change doesn’t come easy. In fact it’s very uncomfortable (like writing with your opposite hand), it often comes with pain and anguish and it takes guts and courage and a whole lot of coordinated activities and action for it to be successful.
21) "Where others fail, I succeed, Where others succeed, I surpass." - qg
22) "When others are afraid I am not. What other fear, I do not. Why others are scared, I care not. And, when Death comes to your door, Timid I'm not." - qg
23) "If you are afraid to die, you are afraid to live." - qg
24) "I am probably not who you think I am and I am who you think I am not." - qg
25) Now I know why training always get cut when times get tough, its because training is an asset that benefits and strengthens the company for the future. Today’s leaders lead by “numbers” not by cents (sense).
26) I was asked today what one word I would use to describe Leadership? Answer - "OTHERS"
27) One should remain humble until those they are dealing with cross the line of rudeness, ignorance and lack of knowledge in the subject matter they claim to have mastered.
Humility provides an aura of self-confidence that gives others the opportunity to express themselves without fear or "humiliation" from those who claim to have all the answers and make decisions based on hierarchy because they can.
One cannot and should not consider himself a servant-leader without this quality. If one sees humility as something less than adequate, it is the same person who bullies and drives fear into their environment because of title and position. How sad.
Being a humble leader allows others to take control of their lives. Leaders who cannot be humble are those that wish to control everything and everybody within their reach.
28) Do any corporate leaders today worry about the businesses they set up over seas in China, Russia, India, etc.? Does the word "Eminent Domain (a right of a government to take private property for public use by virtue of the superior dominion of the sovereign power over all lands within its jurisdiction)" mean anything? Just wondering.
29) "Be Agressive, Be Smart, Stay Agressive."- qg
30) "The quality of the leader determines the quality of the followers." - qg
31) "A CEO who is not humble does not deserve to tap into his employees knowledge or the fruits of their labors." - qg
32) "Talk less and more will listen" - qg
33) "Better to Pick your Nose than Pick a Poor Leader." - qg
34) "A Good Leader is one whose WORD and WORK are the same." - qg35) The Role of the
35) Leader in Managing Change:
- Have a clear understanding of what is changing

- Know who will be impacted

- Anticipate how staff members will be affected

- Know what staff members have to gain and lose

- Assess where individuals are in their transition process

- Facilitate the transition of staff members

- Lead and Manage your own personal transition

- Communicate changes and resulting benefits to staff, customers, and other key stakeholders

- Lead and Manage the work activity coverage during the transition

- Keep the pressure on to keep people moving forward

Ten Characteristics of an Effective Change Leader:

- Gains support from and confidence of others

- Listens and collaborates effectively

- Takes accountability and Risk

- Provides constructive feedback to others up & down the chain of command

- Builds relationships with customers, peers and team members

- Inspires and motivates

- Communicates openly, early and often - build commitment face to face

- Provides clear direction - clarifies roles and responsibilities

- Replicates the model way for your team - shows others by example - credibility & trust

- Creates opportunities for small wins - recognizes - plans for fun to help boost morale

36) See additional Leadership Characteristics at

37) "See It, Do It" - qg

38) "A great leader is one that never asks the question "What's in it for Me?" But, asks, "What's in it for all those people who are around me that I am responsible for.It is my job to provide them an environment to succeed by removing obstacles and enabling them with the tools and knowledge to succeed" - qg

39) "It's your dream, what are you going to do to make it a reality?" - qg
Do you think our leaders today in industry, education and politics ask this question before they make decisions? Based on the amount of work going to other countries and the health of our education system and the silliness of decisions made in local, state and federal governments I would say no, how do they sleep at night? Easy, it's all about .

40) "Being a good leader is like being a good parent. You can NOT be a buddy, friend, big sister, big brother, etc... - you are a leader you have responsibilities for what and who you lead. You have tough decisions to make and you must make them based on what is best for the individual and the group even if it looks easier to avoid the situation." - qg
41) "If you do not seek, serve and gather input from your people that are to do the work and manage the change you have done nothing other that was has been done time and time again and that is create fear, mistrust and non-value added change." - qg
1) An instructor assigned each student (20+) to develop a topic with research to do a term paper along with a 15-minute presentation. Before the presentations started the class had guest speaker's for the first 4 sessions. No tests were required. Here is the dilemma, all the students did was listen to each other's presentation.
After the presentations scheduled for that day the instructor released the class (very popular w/most students). It was supposed to be a 3 hr (12 week) class once a week. The books were used 0nce for a case study in groups ($90.00).
One time there was no class because the instructor was supposed to go to a instructor training class, it was cancelled, but there was no class since no one was scheduled to present. I wanted the instructor to share his knowledge.
"Students can provide data and information to one another, but what knowledge can they transfer, that takes years of application and experience."

2) The University announced a 5% tuition hike next semester to keep up the small class sizes and quality of teaching. I sent a note asking if I was to receive a rebate (5%) for the classes and time missed.

3) Another class was much more the traditional type of class - quizzes, tests and a group presentation. Very much instructor led w/some group interaction. So how do the students get a good grade? By regurgitating the information from the previous week(s).
I have always felt this type of system flawed and not a good predictor of future knowledge or behavior, in fact it does more harm than good, especially when a child is beginning their formal education. The teacher was committed and did his best, it is the system that is flawed not the instructor.
4) When I was teaching I was required to give a grade, I chose to provide a variety of grading instruments (written tests, oral exam, term paper & extra credit) to at least try to give the student a chance to learn and experience the joy of learning.

5) One summer semester I had a small group (10 students), they were exceptional, did all the required work and scored well on the tests. All received an "A." The full time academias went crazy suggesting I change my curve! I refused, submitted my data and information (much more than they require with their M/C and T/F tests). Take your curves and stick them in a hole if you know what I mean!

6) Why is our education system so competitive? I can understand sports and games, but learning should be a joy shared by all so that our whole (system) society benefits. Stop looking at the middle grades and later grades for the answers. I call it trickle down root causes that start from kindergarten (start labeling here, and self-esteem goes south) and it progresses through school years until one deems himself/herself incapable or a failure.

7) Every time I see the folded cardboard science fair boards I shutter (you too). My kids are well passed that age now but the scars of putting together those 6- week projects remain. I remember the first one where the instructions came home expressing that the student be allowed to create the exhibit, not knowing what truly happens I decided to let my son do what he wanted with some direction and help from me and his mother. How proud he was when completed and we took to school and set it up. How disappointed he was when we left because he saw projects that would make a scientist blush. I told him not to worry, his teachers would grade accordingly. Yes, you know the answer; the entire super duper parent infested exhibits received blue ribbons and went on to the districts, his sat there with no ribbon. You see the teachers were more concerned with their image and that of the schools, not the student.

8) Data + Information + Application = Knowledge + Listening + Observing = Wisdom (D+I+A=K + LO = W). Heads up education and business leaders (research does not equal knowledge). Example - I can go on the internet and read a number of books on how to remodel my bathroom. I can even conduct a conversation that sounds like I know what I'm doing, I can even spout off all the research about the modern bathroom that I gather from the Mr. Handyman shows on TV and radio. However, I can predict to you in confidence that I wouldn't know the first step (well maybe, beat down the walls) in "actually" doing the job myself. It is only through trial and error, listening and experience - "theory") that I gain the knowledge and wisdom to be able to do the job myself and then pass on my knowledge to others.

9) At work; Empowerment without parameters leads to Chaos

At school; Rules without meaning or limits leads to an Uprising

10) Read a story last week that indicated that high school test scores for reading, writing arithmetic have not improved since the introduction of the computer in the classrooms. However, learning more about a computer has vastly improved.

11) Education, particularly college academias with letters after their name anger me with their self-indulgence, insecurity and arrogance. Just because they know a subject(s) well does not make them smarter, well “maybe” in their subject area, however, it does not give them the right to intimidate (grades), or lead by absolute power to a captive audience (classroom). Beware of the righteous!
12) "Changes that result in improvement come from application of knowledge" - Dr. Walter A. Shewhart"
"Knowledge necessary for improvement comes from the outside" - Dr. W. Edwards Deming
"There is no substitute for knowledge" - Dr. W. Edwards Deming
"Knowing is not enough; we must apply" - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
" Persons in Distress Do Not Care How Much You Know, Until They Know How Much You Care!" - Dr. James Madry
"Knowledge is the great equalizer" - qg
"Data + Information + Application = Knowledge + Listening + Observing = Wisdom (D+I+A=K+LO=W) "- qg
qualityg's opening statement to each new class "I don't want to know what you think, I want to know what you know and by what method did you use for your conclusion." "Too many people tell what they think and then claim to be an authority - Horse Poop" - qg
I was complimented last week about how much a teacher has learned from me since we met. I learned long ago that I learn 10 times as much from my family, friends, students and the the people I work than I could ever possibly teach them in a lifetime - qg
13) "Defects and non-conformances are not free. Someone makes them and gets paid for making them. Even more alarming are the workers who get paid for correcting the non-conformances." - qg
14) Competent employees in every position and level, from top leadership to the front-line worker, know all that there is to know about their work (remember I said competent) except how to improve it. Assistance toward improvement many times can only come from outside knowledge. A person does not have to be an expert in the process in question to supply solutions and to work on it.
15) Challenge Conventional Wisdom with Profound Knowledge to seek Creativity and Innovation. - qg
16) I was asked by an ex-subordinate what I think the "Quality Manager" position will look like 10 years and 20 years from now?
  • 10 years - Quality Manager must be an applicationist (i.e., prediction, prevention and provide solutions for future growth and innovation, leave problem solving to the workers) that understands and applies "Profound Knowledge (Deming)"
  • 20 years - there better be no separate Quality Manager title, if QM is not part of what a manager does in their day-to-day work then Quality has failed and will continue to fail.
17) What draws us together is the need for information about how to transform our organization so as to gather the thoughts and talents of everyone around a common aim. Our strength comes not only from the diversity of our backgrounds, but our diversity in thinking based on application of knowledge.
18) Spirits of those that came before me, please grant me the wisdom to the know the difference between what is right and what is wrong.
19) You want quality leadersdhip in 2006 and you want to make a huge leap in your quality efoorts? Name your Sales VP as your new Chief Quality Officer & Sales VP. Perhaps then someone in Sales and Marketing will realize the missed design opportunities up front in the process and that yes indeed the Sales and Marketing Departments are part of the system and responsible for customer satisfaction more than any other department.

20) I'm still worried about the misuse of data and information from the Internet. Google = Truth, Yahoo = Fact and if it comes from AOL it must be true.

21) Each generation may grow wiser but they will also be more powerless.

22) "Information and data is about gathering and knowing facts; Knowledge and Wisdom is knowing what to do and not what to do with the facts you have applied." - qg

23) "As long as you think it is someone else's fault you will NEVER be able to stand on your own." - qg

24) "There is a thin line between being a genius and an idiot, AND there is a thin line between a giver of life and a taker of life." - qg

25) “Education and Work are the Matter of Life Long Learning.” - qg

26) "Some people are so smart they're stupid." and "Some people are so stupid they're smart." Conclusion - "They are one in the same person." - qg

27) "A Dream + A Plan = A Happening" - qg

28) "When I have stopped seeking Profound Knowledge then I have stopped living." - Greg Campbell (aka - qg)

29) "Many say knowledge is power, but I say no. Knowledge is the great equalizer, power is what is given to you by strength or position. Many people in Government, Education and Business have no knowledge what so ever on what is right or wrong." - Greg Campbell (aka- qg)

30) "Learning should be FUN and/or it should be INTERESTING and most of all it is a Life Long Endeavor." - Greg Campbell

31) " The Internet is Information, so is the dictionary and so are encyclopedias. They are not knowledge. Stop confusing the concepts and understand theory and appliocation are required." qg

32) "It's easier (cost effective) to prepare a student when they are young than to prevent a dropout (cost of failure) when they are older."

Management, Measures, Methods and Misc

1) Work is still a process, it always has been, but the process has changed. No one person can see the entire process all at once anymore.

2) The next evolution of Quality Management is INFORMATION. The Internet runs on information, and the customer supplies much of the needed information. Scheduling, production, cycle times, supplier partnerships, and shipping and receiving and service contracts all apply.

3) Information Internet Overload – It’s like taking a drink from a fire hose. I need “Distilled” and bottled (specific) information.

4) If there is no such thing as too much information, why am I buying books for “Dummies” and “Idiots.”

5) Today we live in a world of instant knowledge and communication (.Com, Net, Org, etc.) as the result of the Internet (it’s a tool not the foundation). This type of information and data is temporary at best. Real knowledge comes from theory and then testing and applying its validity ( D+I+A=K).

6) If I were you (and I was), I would stop using the word “Staff,” as in Support Staff, HR Staff, Quality Staff, and IT Staff. The word Staff is non-value added activityin today’sorganizations. Let’s call them Quality Services, IT Services and Human Resources Services. These are Service Groups, and they provide value-added work to the external customer by way of the internal customer. But first, each group should classify their work into three categories to determine if their work is truly value-added.

- Real-Value-Added (RVA) – RVA activities are activities that, when viewed by the end customers, are required to provide the output that the customer is expecting.

- Business-Value-Added (BVA) – BVA activities are activities that are required to run the business but have no value from the customer’s perception.

- Non-Value-Added (NVA) – NVA activities are activities are activities that add no value to the output and are not required to keep the business operating. For example: storage, checks and balances, inventory, inspection, rework, etc. Another way to look at it is to ask yourself the following three questions, If any of them are a no, you are not providing value-added work.

a) Does the customer care about it,
b) does whatever you’re doing physically change the thing the customer cares about, and
c) was the right thing done right the first time?

Most organization’s staff functions’ (NVA and BVA) are activities done in the “Back Room Office” that accounts for over 70 percent of all the staffs’ resources. It should be the objective of each departmental group to eliminate NVA and to minimize BVA activities.

7) Symptom – An indication something is wrong

Root Cause – Something that produces the departure from a normal function or expected result.
Quit managing the symptom & the result, manage the cause

8) Performance Excellence – Don’t improve internal processes for the sake of achieving Quality (Six Sigma), It’s more important to improve/fix things that are most important to the customer.

9) Which is better QA or QC – You decide

Quality Assurance –
The “prevention of Quality problems through planned and systematic activities (including up to date standards and documentation). The activities include:
- establishment of a sound process management system
- assess and; measure the system to ensuresystem output ensures customer satisfaction
- on-going audits of the system
- on-going management review of the system

Quality Control – The activities and techniques implemented to achieve and maintain the Quality of a product, process, or service. It’s main function involves follow-up and monitoring activities, but also establishes a means for finding and eliminating root causes at the point of operation/production so that customer expectations are continually met.

10) Get rid of the idea that the Quality Department is responsible for Quality. (Is the Comptroller responsible for profits)!

11) Develop the understanding of prevention rather than detection in all areas of the organization.

12) What’s the difference between corrective action, preventive action and continuous improvement?

- Preventive Action – action taken to prevent occurrence of a non-conformity.
- Corrective Action – action taken to prevent recurrence of a non-conformity.

- Continuous Improvement – refers to the small, incremental steps that anyone in the company takes on a regular basis to make improvement where there is no non-conformity but where activities can be improved.

13) The difficulty of additional work (new) continues to complicare today’s work processes (e.g., provisioning). To deal with this we must:

- Discover what is truly “new, and does it improve the customer experience?"

- Define how this affects the system (e.g., sales, engineering, operations, billing, etc.).

- Implement what needs to be done w/in the System to ensure that the “newness” correctly identifies and complies with by all processess and departments within the system.
14) Now that Six Sigma has proven to be the next phase of the continuing Quality Evolution, why do quality professionals still believe it should start and stop in their department? How can I preach and educate the importance of “Systems Thinking” and “Sub-Optimization” when the Quality Department wants to push their spin and budget on how Six Sigma should be rolled out across the organization.
15) Dear Mr. Jack Welch (Six Sigma pontificator), I was replacing a light bulb (GE) in my lamp last night; it didn’t work, should I expect the next one million light bulbs (Six Sigma) to work? Mr. JW has retired, what about the new leader or that other guy at Allied Signal (what does your company do?).
click on pic to enlarge 16) Where I used to work, many folks throw Six Sigma terms around, and they are even going so far to determine a percentage of 99.996 as Six Sigma. However, I never hear based on what (e.g., opportunities). I guess when your local server went down last week for a few hours customers can now expect one million hours or 100 years of non-interrupted service!
17) From a few years ago --> Ford and Firestone, what a shame, they now are both advocating Six Sigma as the way to correct their quality woes. Geez, I thought that’s what Ford Quality 1 and QS 9000 and TQM and Reengineering and Lean Mfg and… was all about! Guess they must have forgot what Dr. Deming taught them about variation, when management wants lots of output over proper procedures, the result is a wide range of variation and the Cost of Quality is now unknowable. Please do not put your VPs of Quality on TV and in the newspaper telling us how the problems will be fixed. TRY PREVENTION!

18) Performance Excellence - For goodness sake! Please don't improve internal processes for the sake of achieving Six Sigma, it's more important to improve/fix processes that are most important to the customer. Reducing Variation is the key.

19) Six Sigma has qualities, but like other quality efforts it is not the complete answer. Even Zero Defects was not the total solution. Most companies don’t fail because of a bad product or service; they fail because they are no longer creative or innovative. I could make the best CD player in the world, but who is going to buy it if they want an IPOD. On-going survival requires that a company continuously innovate.
A pre-requisite for innovation is to allow your employees to be creative and allow them to make mistakes (trial & error). Creativity can’t be obtained by solely concentrating on the numbers, cast in stone due dates and the bottom line results. Six Sigma is fine but don’t let it be your only effort, because it will detract from employees becoming creative. Simply to use six sigma to guarantee success or that it will help save the company (jobs) is ridiculous. You better have something else up your sleeve and your pant leg like foresight, customer focus and predictability to name a few.
20) With the emphasis on shareholder value and short-term goals, the Quality Department needs to keep employees connected to their companies and design ways to motivate and excite them about the work they do and how important they are to the organization.
21) It’s the Quality group’s responsibility to develop ways of bringing employees and their companies back together for their own mutual good and for the good of their customers.
22) A good Manager will provide each of his'her employee's the opportunity to excel at their job. If not the present one, then provide them with another opportunity where skills match needs. Hiring another person without a process for determining the correct skills is like playing roulette

23) All of you process/quality people who sit by and watch leaders use reports, flowcharts, figures, bar graphs, etc to show where a process needs improvement are missing the point. You missed the boat, leaders, managers, front-line workers need trend/control charts to track action, not figures, reports, etc.. that show what has already happened.
24) I can still remember how frustarted I used to get when I worked in the Voucher Department and received forms that were wrong or partially done (sender expected someone down the process to correct). It was hard to do a good job when the sender wanted their money on time and my supervisor wanted 100% accuracy within our unit. The supervisor could not comprehend that we were part of a system, not the system itself and that the forms should come to us correctly.
The only way I got my point across was to hold a VP's voucher form in my desk after I corrected three errors for a week (somehow it took me that long before I could figure out the problems). The VP being told by his secretary that I was holding up the voucher decided to call me direct and tell me he better have his check by tomorrow. I tried to tell him if the voucher (input) would have come to me error free he would have his check by now, he told me (and my supervisor) to do my job (he assumed I was inspecting and building quality into the service at the end of the process). He received his check one week later ( I took two days off and locked my desk). I never had a problem with that VP and his secretary again (I think he went to another company as VP of Quality).
25) There is no process, no process flowchart, no capapbility and no meaningful customer specifications/requirements if the system is not stable and in control.
26) Variation is a lot like life, it provides you many choices, but also like life & quality should it not come down to just two choices; good/bad or right/wrong? - qg

PEOPLE (workers, customers, suppliers, etc...) 1) “There is no substitute for teamwork and good leaders of teams to bring (this means be part of, not to delegate) consistency of effort, along with knowledge.”

2) “ Work Groups/Teams become great only when everyone in them, leaders and members alike is free to do his/her absolute best... The best thing a leader can do for a group/team is to allow them to discover their own importance to the organization.”

3) “Every group/team that has 10-12 people needs a Dennis Rodman type to create out of the box thinking and creativeness. However, they also need a Phil Jackson to provide the out of bounds lines by which to run without disrupting the whole team. Be distrustful of the 10 person Accounting/Finance Department in which fewer than half of the males have no body piercing or tattoos, and any female who has neither "Think Technicolor

I’m tired of financial bean counters/MBA pontificators who want to drain organizations of innovation, creativity and passion. Condense it all to the bottom line, in the box, or better yet, “paint by the numbers and don’t go outside the lines.” Boundaries cause employees to stop working, and worse yet, worry about what each other is doing as opposed to concentrating on what matters most to the customer!

5) The first main concern of a new leader is putting together his/her own top team. It must be cohesive. It must have an aim! Then they (not delegate) must communicate and apply this effort to the workers.

6) Teamwork is critical in today’s environment. In today’s decreasing workforce many of us function daily at the very limit of our experience and too frequently find ourselves overwhelmed with the difficulty that succumbs and threatens us. Working as a member of an efficient and effective team provides the benefit of having other’s knowledge and experience immediately available to support and assist, especially in the more increasing daily crisis and chaos of ones job.

7) In order to motivate people to do a good job, you first have to give them a good job to do!

8) “Everyone doing their best is not the answer. It is first necessary that employees know what business they are in (vision) and what to do (mission).” Then they can all do it together for the good of the customer and the organization.
9) Six Sigma has qualities, but like other efforts it is not the complete answer. EvenZero Defects is not the total solution. Most companies don’t fail because of a bad product or service; they fail because they are no longer creative or innovative. I could make the best CD player in the world, but who is going to buy it if they want an IPOD.

On-going survival requires that a company continuously innovate. A pre-requisite for innovation is to allow your employees to be creative and allow them to make mistakes (trial & error).
Creativity can’t be obtained by solely concentrating on the numbers, cast in stone due dates and the bottom line results. Six Sigma is fine but don’t let it be your only effort, because it will detract from employees becoming creative.
Simply to use six sigma to guarantee success or that it will help save the company (jobs) is ridiculous. You better have something else up your sleeve and your pant leg like foresight, customer focus and predictability to name a few.
10) Cost of Quality or Quality of Cost? Is it more beneficial to measure how much money that has been lost because of poor quality after the fact (e.g., rework, defects, etc.), or to insure that dollars spent up front or invested are worth the value from a customer and company perspective?

11) When you can measure what you are speaking about and express it in numbers, facts, theory or application, then you know something about it, but when you cannot measure it, envision it, or provide meaningful information about it, or if you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge or so called expertise is of an insufficient and unacceptable type.
12) Question - Should a methods group or documentation specialist write work procedures or should the workers doing the work document their own procedures?

Answer - My experience has shown that methods groups or document specialists can assist (i.e., creating templates, advising, gathering supporting documentation, creating control procedures, etc), but the actual writing of the work instructions should be done by the folks who do the work. Following the 6 Cs rule will help. The procedures/instructions must be:

- clear

- complete

- concise

- consistent

- correct, and controlled
13) While on hold today (for the up-teenth time), doesn’t matter for what, I was wondering what automation has done to improve customer service. Oh yes, I now know how long I can stay on the line or how many are in front of me, gee whiz, thanks a lot! I think there is a problem here in many executive thinking tanks, when the cost of service goes down (e.g., automation/less people), quality of service does not go up. Most of the companies that had great service prior to automation (IBM, Fed Ex, Southwest), still have great service today. In retrospect, many of the companies that had shit service prior to automation (you fill in the blank), still have shit service today!
14) When you can measure what you are speaking about and express it in numbers, facts, theory or application, then you know something about it, but when you cannot measure it, envision it, or provide meaningful information about it, or if you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge or so called expertise is of an insufficient and unacceptable type.
15) The question should not be “Is it wrong, or if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, but rather, is it best, and can it get better?
16) I know, let’s blame Mikey (Quality), Management owns the systems, continually blaming the quality group for piss poor results, is like blaming the optometrist for not wearing your glasses and wondering why you can’t see.
17) Stop complaing about poor performance of employees, and start worrying about the poor performance of management.
18) Customers ----> please require statistical evidence of quality from incoming materials from your suppliers. Quality Control (inspection) only by you is too late, costly and unrelaible.
19) Start asking questions about quality and reliability, don't just go by lowest-price buying. Stay clear of suppliers where price of service/product has no meaning without a way to measure quality.
20) “Customers don’t buy products, they buy results.” That is, people don’t buy drills, they buy holes. They don’t buy cars; they buy transportation (or status). They don’t buy light bulbs, they buy light.
21) Instead of managing your processes for the convenience of yourselves, you should instead be managing your processes for your customers and for your own livelihood.
8 links in this procession are: 1. Find and hire quality people.

2. Know your customers’ identity. Make sure you know yours.

3. Focus on constancy of purpose. Do all your employees know?

4. Make your entire system both internal & external “ETDBW (easy to do business with).”

5. Train and support the people in your business. “Seek Profound Knowledge.”

6. Envision, Enlighten, Enable, Empower and Encourage your Employees.

7. Recognize that loyalty no longer exists; get it back before it is too late.

8. Set the tone and lead the way, you are the Environmental & Behavioral model.
22) There is an interesting opposition taking place right now in the workplace. Unemployment is the lowest it has been in 4 years (except Michigan) and is expected to remain low for the projected future. However, employee loyalty is corroding rapidly and employers continue to treat employees as if they are yesterday’s stock price.
23) KEIRETSU - A Japanese term for the close coordination by which a group or company works together for the good of the whole. The following example further explains this concept:
A few years ago while teaching a quality class I broke the class into their natural work teams (8-10 people) to evaluate some case studies. I asked them to agree as a team on how they would determine the problem, identify the causes, make solutions and standardize the process. After about twenty minutes it was quite apparent that there was allot of dissension between the team members as to how the problems should be addressed. In order to get them to work in harmony I had the folks stop and observe an exercise. I grabbed a number of pencils and passed out a single pencil to each team member in one of the groups. I also put 10 pencils together and taped them together in a bundle. I asked each person individually to break their pencil. With little difficulty each member snapped it in half. I then passed around the bundle to each member and asked them to break them in half. All tried and failed to break them all in one try.
The moral of the example was that united or bound together it is very difficult for your competitors/enemies to match the combined efforts of many, separately, your competitors/enemies will attack your weaknesses and you will be at their mercy.
The old saying that ”two heads are better than one” still holds true. Don’t get locked into believing one way or opinion is superior to a group working together towards a common goal, it’s a very rare occasion when a single team member is greater than the whole.
24) "Might as well stop paying union dues and kissing up to your boss. The "Customer" is the only person and "Consumers" are the only group that can continually provide you with a job." - qg

25) "The purpose of competition is to not get ahead of the other guy, but to get ahead of ourselves. " - qg
26) "All living things were meant to be in balance, it has been man that has, is and will continue to upset the equation." - qg
27) " Getting a new customer is just like in atheltics you win one game at a time. Even with a big promotion you must treat each customer that walk's through your door with humbleness and respect.

Friday, September 26, 2014

We should Just Lead and Manage our Educational System like a Sport

One of the biggest problems with our education system is the lack of common standardization and uniformity across our nation. For years Federal and State Educational Departments along with their secretaries and superintendents of education have tried to establish common goals and standards with little success. The main reason this never happens is politics and state versus federal control.
What a shame people can’t see the only losers in this on-going senseless battle are our children. Even now with the ridiculous effort to implement common core standards all you read about are all the groups and individuals who are either for it or against it. How ridiculous was it to establish two different testing agencies who set-up their own means for measuring results – “STUPID”
When will leaders wake up and realize the Educational process is a “System” and it must be managed and led like a system in order to develop common standards. Once we are on the same page then continual process improvements can take place based on established process and results measures. One of the biggest areas that should be standard is creating Grading Scale for all schools K-12. Grades and the ACT/SAT Scores are needed for colleges to make decisions for admissions and scholarships. I’m not saying this is the ideal means but until something better comes along we should at least try to have a level playing field for our students. You Private Schools (Majority of them have their own scales) trying to prove you are tougher academically because you want a 90% to be a Letter Grade of “B = 3.0” are “STUPID.” You are only hurting your students when they apply to college. Every year I ask new 9th grade parents if they came to our school because of the grading scale (No one has yet said yes AND no one has claimed to know the scale prior to my question)? Even worse you tell parents colleges will recalculate your grading scale when they receive the transcript (Unless a college specifically says they will do this they won’t – would you if you get thousands of applications). You can be tough just don't be "STUPID."
So for all you smart educational leaders who think sports people are “dumb jocks” you have it wrong. You are the “stupid assholes.” Why is it from Pee-Wee Football to the NFL Pros the standard for getting a first down is 10 yards? Why is it six points for a touchdown? This is just a simple example of how one sport leads and manages with goals and standards. Yes, I realize there are some differences between high school, college and pros but they are standard in scoring and measuring at each level.
There is no reason why for the good of all that we cannot establish similar rules and standards in education. If Sports were run like education we would have 50 Super Bowls, 50 World Series, … because each state would want their own rules and would consider the next state inferior and the federal folks would have their own championships too because there better than all the states combined (So they think) – “STUPID.”

Monday, September 01, 2014

Education, Evaluation and College and Career Readiness

Michigan like many other states is considered losing ground in many areas in learning progress as it relates to our K-12 education system.

 Report that was recently published by the Education trust Midwest (ETM) continuously measures result findings as it relates to Michigan Education.

I am always curious when writers, editorials, educational experts and politicians use words like “Results” and ‘Systems.”

6/16/14 - Everyone keeps talking about Performance and Evaluation Methods for Teachers (I don't agree). Even if someone could come up with a method it would still not work without "Transforming" the educational system in whole. Adding and or Changing measures and numbers to a Broken system will not help the system. The current system was designed and built for the Industrial ERA and it works fine. The problem is we need an educational system for the 21st Century students, teachers, parents and administrators and that we have not done. We must also understand that when we use the word "Transform" that means brand spanking new. Unfortunately, what most people try to do is change the existing system and that is called continual process improvement. And, you only want to do that to a stable system.

“Results” should not be a stand-alone term. They should always be accompanied by “Process Measures” that indicate/predicts what is happening (Good and Bad) throughout (End-to-End) a process/system. Most don’t address/implement process measures. They mostly wait for the results and then write and comment in numerous websites, television shows and newspaper editorials over and over again each time a new educational report or test scores are provided by private groups or a state report.

“Systems” is used as an all-encompassing term that must be defined by the process/system owners. The problem is most owners only know a “Piece” of the system and they concentrate on that piece as it affects them as being the most important part of the system. Here is where the problem starts and continues to play out because the owner (Leader) has no idea what responsibility comes with being an owner (This cannot be delegated to a manger, supervisor or administrator). See my write-up on -

When I write about the “Piece” it can take many forms but what must be remembered is a system is made up of many pieces that must be interdependent to serve its purpose. See - and -

 I truly believe the conventional wisdom thinking when it comes to the education system in the United States is Medieval. Let me put it this way; thinking is flawed when people refuse to understand the whole system as it relates to education. Much like the Greek scientist Ptolemy in the 130s AD when he professed the Earth (Piece) was the center of the universe and everything revolved around it (Ha – many people still see themselves this way).

It took over 1400 years for Nicolaus Copernicus the Polish mathematician and astronomer in the 1530s to dispel this thinking and “somewhat” convinced people to realize the Earth was a “Piece” of the whole and to truly make strides in learning this valued concept. Today, many people call this Systems Thinking. 

Many people within the educational system see their (Piece) District, School or Classroom as the most important and best as it relates to their self-interests and then convince others within their realm to believe the same so parents can justify why they pay or send their child to a particular school.

No one defines the whole for College and Career Readiness. Colleges are telling K-12 schools what they expect from graduates (GPA, Test Scores, Admission Requirements, etc.) and many are not listening and the Career Companies are telling colleges/schools what they want (real World learning and Experiences) and many of them are not listening.

How can colleges effectively evaluate incoming students when so many schools (Pieces) establish their own grading scales that measure their students completely different from the school down the street, county or other state? That is why the SAT and ACT Test scores are so important because it is the only ‘Standard’ way of comparing students with measures. Other predictors (Not all schools do this) on the college application like activities, sports, clubs, letters of recommendation and essays also play a part.

Speaking of the non-standard way GPA is calculated I first wrote about this in 2005 If we have to have grades at least develop a fair system for how much effort a student puts in to learning as opposed to an "AVERAGE" which mathematically when used by itself (Should use measure of Central Tendency - Mean, Mode, Median and Range) is worthless. I say this because GPA by itself is a poor means of measuring one’s academic knowledge. In fact, the way a student's GPA is calculated depends on the school he/she attends. Averaging the GPA in my opinion is worthless. Why don't schools assign points per Grade ( A = 4, B =3, C = 2, and D=1). If you want a 5 for Honors or AP classes that is fine. Simply total up the final score 6 As, + 1 B = 27). The more points you have the better. This would also encourage more students to take more classes instead of the minimum in order to graduate. Is a student who takes 5 classes and gets all As (GPA = 4.0, Total 20) doing more than the student who took 7 classes in the example above who would have a GPA of 3.8 under the current way of calculating GPA (27/7). See-

Within in many schools where you have more than one teacher instructing the same subject (i.e., Algebra) have different means of measuring/grading how they evaluate their students. Some teachers give A’s like candy while other teachers are so hard you must give your right arm and left leg to get a C.
Thoughts I Keep Pondering (Updated 9/1/14)…
1)      First Updated 6/5/14 - Why so many “Punitive (Win/Lose)” consequences when it comes to education? In order to truly learn we must make mistakes and learn how to correct them in order to learn. We should be encouraging this behavior but instead we label students with grades like below average or failure. We encourage false learning by increasing our “Understanding (Not Learning) of subject matter by adding value (Repeatability) to things that we already know because of the positive feedback reward systems in place. Why do so many students hate Math/ because it is concrete with answers that either right or wrong. If I’m good at math I will continue my understanding. If I’m wrong I get criticized and feel failure and will continuously shy away because every wrong answer or mistake is looked at as a negative and not as an opportunity for learning. I’m convinced our education system is committed to teaching, but not to learning (There is a difference). Why do I say this? The reason is what I mostly learned in the classrooms over my years I have forgotten. Rote teaching (Memorization technique based on repetition) is not learning. Real learning comes from someone imparting their knowledge and wisdom through experiences and applications.
2)      Why do we not have different means/modes/instruments of learning? Too much emphasis is for everyone to learn in the same manner and speed. The problem is there have never been two people alike since the beginning of time.
3)      We continually measure what we have learned through the use of grades and grading scales. How come we don’t measure how much a person has the ability to learn and then develop means by which to gauge it through on-going improvement plans (Grade-by-Grade) established for that person?
4)      Why don’t more teachers embrace the Internet Age? Students today have a tremendous amount of resources and tools to have information and data at their fingertips in nanoseconds. There is no teacher today that can store and compete with all the available information. So instead of fighting and fearing this technology by not allowing computers, calculators, iPads, etc. you are restricting learning. Your survival as a teacher demands you understand this reasoning. Teachers need to make sure students are using these available resources and tools in the right and correct manner to ensure learning takes place. The “Real” Working World encourages individual workers and teams to use all available resources just as long as they know how to use them to work on their assignments.
5)      Why do we test and label our children at such early stages in their learning? Finland, who is considered to have the best education system in the world do not administer mandatory tests or exams until students are 16 years of age. In my opinion, this allows students to experience many things and situations helping them find what they are at good at without labeling at a young age thus inhibiting curiosity and growth. I can even agree to early testing if associated improvement plans are in place as I stated in number 3 above.
6)      I learned many years ago when conducting Root Cause Analysis on problems inherent within a process/system that some were so complex that it would take weeks, months and in some case years to resolve the issues. One day I decided to design with the  help of subject matter experts (In education this would include students) what would be the proper/best corrected way to do the work and then standardize it for all to measure and continually monitor through process measures to make sure the results did not vary from the expected requirements. This method was so much quicker and effective. Why do we take so much time to try and correct the unknowable?  The major obstacle was getting process workers to change the way they did their jobs. I finally had to tell them doing the wrong thing correctly is wrong! And, you don’t have to change; your survival is optional (Taken from Dr. Deming). I believe this is what Albert Einstein meant when he said “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when creating them.”
7)      I realize some jobs require people to have to have different bosses throughout the day. Did you ever stop and think how many different bosses (Teachers, Administrators, and Parents) students have each hour of the day? They all have different set of rules, requirements, orders and evaluation methods on declaring what is right and what is wrong. Am I the only one who thinks this is not the best way for our children to learn? No wonder why I am often considered a rebel always questioning and challenging the status quo. Yes, some order is required but by so many conflicting views all thinking their (Piece) is right.
8)      College and Career Readiness continue to be buzzwords for today. K-12 education should be preparing students for College/School and Colleges/Schools should be preparing students for careers. I understand this reasoning but not all careers require a 4-year degree. Too much emphasis and credence is given to university degrees and now colleges/schools charge outrageous prices simply because they can. They are exhibiting absolute power and this is destroying our education system. This has, is, and will continue to cause the Demise of the American Educational System. The Student debt (1 trillion and counting) will make the housing bubble look like a burp when it explodes. Our society is driven by the education of our young and too many are being denied access.
9)      Sometimes I question how many courses/classes that are taught in K-12 and college really prepare students for a career. Maybe it’s not the type of classes but how much is enough. Does 12 years of History or Science, etc. prepare students for a career or just a well-rounded citizen? Does 2 years of a Foreign Language in high school allow a person to master a language? I believe the bigger issue is the amount of people who have personal monetary stakes (Pieces – like books, training material, etc.) in the educational system and will never let go of explaining the purpose of their efforts. We have moved beyond the Industrial Age but our educational system in many ways is still entrenched in the Agricultural Era (i.e., Length of School, Types of Classes). We are afraid of making mistakes (Yet this is how we learn) and of change (This is how we get better). So as I see it the “Bigger” mistake is to do nothing or to remain the same with simple solutions (Disguised as Change).
10)  Transformation of the ‘Whole” system is required. We can no longer do incremental or partial changes and expect quality results. We cannot afford to lose another generation of students to mediocrity or failing. Continuing to do the same things we already know is not learning. At best, we can only add limited value to our current understanding. In order to learn we must experience and do things that requires changes accompanied by mistakes and errors. But that is OK. That is how we learn and set quality change in motion.
11) I believe some Charter Schools have been created to truly try and transform in to a new student driven school that is needed for the 21st Century Student. The problem is the so-called standards and changes that are in place and the new ones that keep coming drive a horizontal/parallel change that keeps the school in tune with the current public and private school education system. There all on the same path and going in same direction just a different highway that runs the same way.
12) 7/4/14 - In my own state of Michigan good people continue to want a better education system but they keep doing the "Wrong Thing," Right! They keep trying to change a broken system by blaming people and politics. They want change on their terms but will not accept the fact the change required is Transformation and not spending more money on an outdated system. Trying blame and measure Teacher (Scapegoats) as the measure for success is ludicrous. I understand there are poor teachers but it is the responsibility of Leadership to correct this problem and they must do it fairly and it must be documented with proof of trying to corrective behavior and not punitive as what is being pushed today.
13) 7/4/14 - This would be the ultimate goal for a school system "Develop the Total Student from K-12 by creating a nurturing learning environment from K-12 so that when our student’s leave our school they still have the yearning, passion and excitement they entered our school with so many years ago."
14) 9/1/14 - So many opinions on Common Core Standards (CCS). I bet most people don't even know what the standards are or have ever read them. Next time the topic comes up ask the complainers what subjects are covered by the CCS? Just in case you don't know it is Math and English.