Promises, Promises

Changing culture to sustain improvements

Do New Year’s resolutions follow the 80-20 rule in how many stick and how many fly out of the window as if swept up by a gust of January air? Anecdotally, resolutions almost seem to be one of the rarities that defy 80-20 and veer more in the 90/10 direction, with 90% of the well-intentioned promises falling off after a requisite couple of months of trying, and maybe 10% sticking and becoming ingrained lifestyle changes.

Quality initiatives can be a bit like New Year’s resolutions—it’s simple enough to concoct them, but not nearly as easy to see them through. The author of this month’s cover story, "Get in Shape," Daniel Markovitz, agrees. He explains the concept of striving to become a "fit" organization.

"The fit organization has a mindset similar to that of an athlete who is always driven to be better at his or her sport," he writes. "Problems—performance gaps—are there to be overcome, not hidden."

Markovitz outlines nine steps to build and sustain a fit culture. The bottom line is that it requires a lot of transparency and attention to what the problems are, as well as a dogged commitment to the work that is required for lasting improvement.

Also in this issue:

"Square in the Crosshairs," , explains an innovative way to augment five whys analysis with root cause analysis, helping to find ways to pinpoint and prevent recurrent problems. The author also provides guidance on when it makes sense to stop asking why.

"In the Shadows," helps you brush up on the age-old management technique of job shadowing—managers immersing themselves in the tasks of frontline workers to create process maps in the interest of ironing out inefficiencies. The article provides some helpful tips on when shadowing works best, and how to do it effectively.

"Building Assurance," details how a company implemented construction quality assurance in a major project under an extremely tight deadline, allowing it to stay on schedule, minimize rework and meet specifications. The program paid for itself in just the first phase of the project. Now that is quality management at work.

In with the new! ASQ recently launched its newly redesigned website, helping you to better find the information you want when and where you need it. Our goal was to create a more fulfilling and productive user experience, offering up ASQ’s vast body of knowledge and information in an intuitive, easy-to-navigate format. Whether from your phone or tablet, desktop or laptop, we hope you enjoy the site created for you, our valued members. Visit us at www.asq.org.

Seiche Sanders

Seiche Sanders

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