August Roundup: Creating a Performance Culture: What Not To Do

Performance culture continues to be a popular topic.  Last month, ASQ Influential Voices blogger James Lawther asked the question, does culture drive behavior and performance?  He concluded it does, yet it doesn’t create a culture of high performance, it creates one of low performance and fear.

Throughout the month, ASQ bloggers reflected on ways to change company culture in a positive direction.  Tim McMahon offered seven practical actions to shape your organizational culture so that it supports Lean.

Daniel Zrymiak wrote if a business culture seeks and rewards legitimate quality and the identification and correction of root causes, that problems will be recognized, integrity will be championed, and whistle blowers will not fear for their jobs.

Nicole Radziwill brought up the question, rather than improving upon poor performance, why not seek out truly amazing performance and then just make more of it?  She lists three steps for creating an innovative performing culture.

Anshuman Tiwari wrote that when judging the impact of culture on performance, time is a very important factor.  A whip-by-the-minute culture can deliver superior performance in the short term but will not sustain.

Luciana Paulise suggests clearly defining what kind of culture you are looking for. Considering the most important things in a company are profits and people, the culture could be focused on making profit, taking care of your people, or both?  If you are brave enough to run for both, she offers her suggestions.

Dr. Suresh Gettala suggested that the first and foremost step of establishing a culture is to check whether or not the organization is ready for a cultural transformation. Manu Vora notes that creating a sense of urgency is key to jump-starting a change initiative.

Pam Schodt added that to keep company culture positive and relevant, employees should be involved in discussions about changing and maintaining that culture.  Company culture is fluid and subject to shift. Management must be vigilant to nurture and protect a positive culture and thereby drive good quality. On that note, John Hunter writes about why CEOs are often not aware of what’s going on in their organization.

César Díaz wrote that a successful culture begins with a common language that everyone use to first communicate positively with each other and then with customers to ensure their satisfaction.  He suggests that everyone end each day with this question, “What actions did I do this day to support the improvement of the culture of my organization? Prem Ranganath adds that quality is a set of collective experiences.

Dr. Lotto Lai shared his views on how to establish performance culture including an interesting workshop at his division, “Team Synergy and Creative Problem Solving.”

Sunil Kaushik articulated about the three types of intrinsic motivators (autonomy, purpose and mastery), and answered the question, what kind of work environment is the best fit for such a model?

Finally, Edwin Garro gives a real-world example of creating a performance culture in a small print shop in Costa Rica.

Comments regarding Creating a Performance Culture: What Not To Do

Suresh Lulla says:

August 10, 2015 at 9:01 pm

Building a culture is synonymous to building positive attitudes.  But do you know anyone who has been able to change attitudes?  HR professionals advocate ABC. First change Attitude; Behavior will then change; Commitment will be positive thereafter. Never works. But we continue this ‘mantra’ like a broken record.  Try the reverse CBA instead. Get Commitment (to chronic problems) first; define change in Behavior; and if you are lucky, Attitude may change over extended time.

P.A.Ipolito says:

August 19, 2015 at 9:08 am

I have been hearing about culture change for over 30 years. I have yet to see a shred of evidence it exists. I’m sure there are places where it may have worked under the reign of a cruel but fair leader but the gains never hold. In fact, ANY gain in quality is a sandcastle on a beach. How can a culture change take root when top management turns over every three to five years

Anna says:

August 19, 2015 at 2:26 pm

I agree where it says “poor performance plus excuses equals good performance.  Perception becomes reality.

Mike Harkins says:

August 19, 2015 at 2:40 pm

I’m glad this article quotes Deming at the end.  Improving performance of the individual does not necessarily improve the performance of the system.  It can only be done by management transformation, which was one of Deming’s most important teachings.

July Roundup: Using New Technology in Quality and Beyond

Have you noticed how technology has changed what you do at the office and at home? You probably don’t think about it much, as technology is so seamlessly integrated into our daily lives. Last month, ASQ Influential Voices blogger Manu Vora wrote about experimenting with new technology—namely Google Hangouts on Air—to share knowledge with a wide network of contacts at low cost. In July, ASQ bloggers reflected on how technology helps them as quality professionals—both at work and beyond.

Aimee Siegler lists several ways in which technology has improved her daily life, such as making it possible to take online courses for her MBA. Pam Schodt shares seven practical ways to use the Internet for hobbies and professional development.

Edwin Garro asks some of his university students—Generation X and millennials—for their top-used apps and websites. Luciana Paulise also shares a list of useful apps for quality professionals—and how PDSA fits into their use.  Rajan Thiyagarajan writes about the power of social media, and Lotto Lai shares how the Hong Kong Society for Quality uses social media.

John Hunter makes the case that the rate at which we incorporate new technology into our work is still very poor—how do we improve?

June Roundup: Using Quality Tools In Everyday Life

Quality isn’t just meant for the office. If you’ve ever followed a checklist when packing for a trip, you’ve used a quality tool in everyday life. In June, we asked ASQ’s Influential Voices bloggers how they use quality off the job. The kickoff post was by ASQ blogger Sunil Kaushik, who wrote about traveling in Egypt for $500. Many other Influential Voices shared their “real-life” quality adventures, showing that quality has a place far beyond our jobs.

John Priebe wrote about everyday risk management, while new blogger Suresh Gettala wrote about using PDSA in everyday decision-making. Luciana Paulise, too, blogged about using PDSA outside the office. Manu Vora shared his experience using Baldrige tools to manage a non-profit.

Jimena Calfa used SCRUM to navigate through the U.S. green card citizenship process, while Pam Schodt uses lean in home organizing and gardening.  Nicole Radziwill reflected on the many applications of DMAIC, including in loading the dishwasher. John Hunter wrote about using quality in many aspects of daily life, from travel to family life, when growing up. On that note, another new Influential Voice, Prem Ranganath, wrote about teaching children about quality. Lotto Lai discussed the personal lives of modern-day quality gurus.

Like blogger Sunil Kaushik, Aimee Siegler, too, used quality tools to save money while traveling. To use quality in “real life,” Cesar Diaz Guevera argues that it must be a way of life and led by example. And Scott Rutherford reminds us to remember the human consequences of applying quality outside its traditional realm—what may work in the office may not work in the home.

Finally, Edwin Garro had a different interpretation of the topic, writing a comical post—what if your company was a TV sitcom–poking fun at common archetypes in the quality field.

February Roundup: Is Quality "Global"?

Is quality a global phenomenon, or does it have a national identity? That was the question put to ASQ’s Influential Voices blogging group in January. At ASQ we often talk about “quality going global”—should it and does it? (We, of course, believe that it should.)  If so, how is quality knowledge best shared worldwide? Here’s what ASQ’s bloggers had to say:

Anshuman Tiwari makes the case that quality needs a better global presence. Manu Vora writes about the specifics of why, what, and how of making quality more global. Pam Schodt writes that globalization is a fact of life in many industries; so why not in quality? Nicole Radziwill states that it’s not a matter of quality “going global”–quality has always been global. Edwin Garro, too, writes that quality is universal and belongs to everyone.

Lotto Lai shares some perspectives on globalization from the Hong Kong Society of Quality. Luciana Paulise writes about the future of quality in Latin American small businesses. Jimena Calfa references ASQ’s own Global State of Quality research in her discussion.

Scott Rutherford writes about the importance of making the Quality Body of Knowledge® (QBoK) global and accessible to all. John Hunter also makes the case for making the QBoK open access. Sunk Kaushik asks if we need a social network specifically for quality professionals to share knowledge.

Jennifer Stepniowski writes about the challenges of making quality knowledge global and expanding ASQ’s global presence. Aimee Siegler, a former ASQ board member, remembers her role in helping ASQ “go global.” Dan Zrymiak also blogs about ASQ’s challenges of meeting global needs, arguing that quality is already global.

In the end, says Bob Mitchell, “Regardless where the the products are developed, fundamental quality principles are bedrock.”