Know Thyself

Abstract:Project-centric improvement (PCI) and culture-centric improvement (CCI) are two approaches an organization can use when seeking improvement. PCI is specific and focuses on project activities, whereas CCI is more comprehensive and system-focused. Once thought to have their separate places, PCI and CCI are linked and cannot be separated if long-term, sustained quality is to be achieved. There is a tendency to jump directly into PCI because is seems to present a more manageable path to progress, but for PCI to be effective, CCI must come first. In creating an environment needed to support permanent change, CCI is the right first step, followed by PCI, in a journey with no finish …

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Great article. While the data in the article is not an earth-shattering revelation, the author has framed the issue extremely well. I have seen many organizations fail in their efforts to launch a sustainable process excellence program, and the main reason is exactly as stated: Executives have a short term focus (project-centric).
--Vin Capasso, 05-05-2009

A timely and well-written article that closely aligns, yet improves upon, concepts from Hersey, Blanchard and Johnson's work on organizational behavior from the 1990's. I heartily encourage Mr. Warda to expand this article into a book. Having been through a number of quality improvement initiatives where staff functioned as nails and senior management served as hammers, I have first-hand experience suffering through project-centric quality program improvement initiatives without considering or assessing the situation or maturity of the prevailing culture.

I strongly agree, and have supporting information, that project-centered quality improvement without consideration of the supporting culture is best described as the firecracker approach. There's a lot of sizzle, sparkle, then "bang" there's the program, only for it to turn into a cloud of smoke, bits of paper in the air, and the lingering fumes of gunpowder. A great piece of work - hats off to Mr. Warda.
--Michael R. Engblom-Bradley, 04-17-2009

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