Making It All Work: A Pocket Guide to Sustain Improvement And Anchor Change

John R. Schultz, Routledge, 2010, 168 pp., $39.95 (book).

This book is about change and how to make good ideas permanent in daily work routines. Schultz does this by describing basic supervisory and organizational practices managers need to ease the challenge of change. System improvement is really about change, so managing change is the only way to achieve meaningful, anchored modification.                 

Schultz employs the three phases of change as explained by Kurt Lewin’s change management model:

  1. Unfreeze old habits.
  2. Change to new behaviors.
  3. Refreeze new methods into stable routines.

For each step progressing toward change, he provides background requirements necessary to achieve buy-in from process owners. After identifying those needs, he gives practical advice for achieving each.

A complete table of contents, index, glossary and reference section help the reader to further understand the nine-step process without being overly technical. The appendix provides methods and examples for use during implementation for those who may have difficulty getting started.

This short but practical book looks more toward fundamental relationships and performance than focusing on the traditional analytical and statistical techniques used to bring about change. All change masters, innovators or people tasked with leading or implementing modification or improvements will benefit from reading this book. It provides a practical look into the behavioral basis for change.

Marc A. Feldman
Solvay Chemicals

How the Best Leaders Lead

Brian Tracy, Amacom, 2010, 256 pp., $24.95 (book).

How many books with leadership in the title are sitting quietly forgotten on your bookshelf? The business leadership book market is huge and replete with advice, tips and occasionally useful information. Is this one different?

Leadership literature can be divided into two consubstantial traditions. The first, and the largest, can be called the troubadour tradition. These works are typically authored by former CEOs, generals, coaches, politicians and business gurus. This body of literature is typically entertaining, often inspirational, but offers opinions and anecdotal wisdom over real evidence.

The second tradition can be called academic. It tends to be boring but scientific, difficult to determine how to actually implement and may contradict other academic literature.

This book falls squarely into the troubadour tradition. It is a central repository of leadership advice divided into 10 chapters. Tracy offers a cornucopia of strategies, principles, rules, secrets, quotes, insights and examples, all designed to make us better leaders. 

Frankly, there was so much leadership help in this book, I couldn’t keep track of it all. And although the author appears overly fond of anecdotal data, I did find much of the advice interesting and even helpful.

Although this is not an exuberant recommendation, the book is definitely packed with lots of helpful leadership tips. And I was especially pleased with the teamwork chapter. So, if you’re seeking leadership advice from a single source, you will find enough of it in this book to make it worthwhile.

James R. Kotterman
Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center
Plymouth, MI

How to Audit ISO 9001:2008

Chad Kymal, Paton Professional, 2011, 206 pp., $49 (book).

Kymal begins this book with the usual introduction to the ISO 9001:2008 standard. Unlike most ISO books, however, it is brief and to the point. He then points out the intent of the book in chapter 2, auditing strategy, where he has created "audit trails."

Kymal identifies five audit trails, or modules, in this book:

  1. Business planning and management review.
  2. Process monitoring and improvement.
  3. New product development.
  4. Provision or product realization.
  5. Administrative and resources.

In each of the five modules Kymal provides the audit trail followed by a flowchart, and identifies the sections of the standard that pertain to the module. For each section of the standard in the audit trail, he identifies and explains the following points:

  • Intent.
  • Requirements.
  • What to audit.
  • Examples of objective evidence.
  • Effectiveness in practice.

Included in the book are three appendixes.

  1. Appendix A has sample audit plans and audit trails to use during the in-flow chart form.
  2. Appendix B has a checklist for each of the five audit trails.
  3. Appendix C identifies the key changes to the ISO 9001:2008 standard from the previous 2000 version.

Although the audit trails are another form of process audits, I think the author provided some new ideas on auditing. I found the book to be one of the better ones on auditing, and Kymal does a good job of providing the auditor with the tools needed to perform audits alone or as a team. The book also can be used as a training tool for new auditors.

Wayne Sander
Dove Quality Consulting
Dousman, WI

Our Journey to Performance Excellence

Richard G. Hastings, ASQ Quality Press, 2009, 170 pp., $22.46 member, $24.95 list, (book).

This book is a historical testimony to the foresight, insight, persistence and continual drive for the birth, growth and recognition of St. Luke’s Health System’s quest for performance excellence.

Before there was separately documented criteria addressing total quality management (TQM) for a health system, St. Luke’s explored, adapted and successfully applied quality principles, techniques and tools used mostly in manufacturing environments. Notably, the St. Luke’s team did not get caught up in the piecemeal approach to implementing TQM that was unsuccessful in many contemporary organizations. Instead, the team adopted the Baldrige criteria as the model and foundation upon which it would launch, build and enhance its processes in its journey toward performance excellence.

The overall focus of the book is to endorse and substantiate the wisdom in selecting the Baldrige criteria as the predominant model for achieving excellence. A lesson readers may learn is the value of seeking information and knowledge beyond industry boundaries. St. Luke’s Health System looked outside the healthcare industry to glean useful information leading to its successes. Those of us not in healthcare might benefit from looking at successful healthcare organizations. Read, explore and think outside the box.

Russell T. Westcott
R.T. Westcott & Associates
Old Saybrook, CT

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