Mastering Excellence: A Leader’s Guide to Aligning Strategy, Culture, Customer Experience and Measures of Success

Robin L. Lawton, C3 Excellence Publishing, 2017, 338 pp., $48.98 (book)

Lawton has been is a highly regarded author since 1993 and is known for focusing on today’s knowledge workers. This book is based on Lawton’s transformation process called C3—customer-centered culture—which he has been working on for years. The author hopes to initiate ongoing organizational transformations through his four corner stones: philosophy, eight dimensions of excellence, measures and method.

This book is intended for top-level managers, but it also will inspire mid-level managers to think differently. He describes the 10 steps to C3 and aligns them with the first 20 chapters. After this roadmap is established, the book details numerous result-based examples. Case studies and executive summaries provided at the end of each chapter offer guidance for leaders or managers.

Lawton’s passion for learning is clearly demonstrated in this book. It will align nicely with other transformation models and strategies, and get you focused on the customer.

Bill Baker, Speed To Excellence 
Santa Fe, NM

Organization Diagnosis, Design and Transformation: BaldrigeUser’s Guide

John Vinyard, Marlene Yanovsky and Casey Mackert, ASQ Quality Press, 2017, 432 pp., $56 member, $92 list (eighth edition, CD-ROM, book)

Authors Vinyard, Yanovsky and Mackert bring their extensive Baldrige award consulting experience to this latest iteration of the Baldrige Users Guide. The material is organized around the well-known Baldrige criteria for performance excellence (CPE) model first in 1987 and continuously updated and revised over the years. The 2017-2018 version of the criteria is the focus of this book’s latest edition.

The authors present a detailed presentation and description of the 43 areas of the CPE. The descriptions are organized into five main parts designed to help readers understand: 

  • The key design concepts of performance excellence.
  • An organization’s unique design context.
  • Key organization systems of strategic leadership, execution excellence, and organizational learning and support systems.
  • The organization scorecard and comparisons to other world-class organizations.
  • The Baldrige path to performance excellence.

The explanation of each of the 43 areas includes the structure of the foundation, examples, questions about the criteria, exemplary application worksheets, assessment questions, the blueprint of the interrelationships between the criteria and thoughts for leaders about why the criteria are important.

The included CD-ROM contains the Baldrige self-assessment tool for 2017-2018 and 117 pages of usable worksheets that match the Baldrige criteria and are presented in the same sequence as the criteria. These handy worksheets can be used as tools for completing a Baldrige or state award self-assessment, as well as an actual award application. The explanations are supplemented by extensive conceptual and process diagrams and figures that further connect the lofty principles of the criteria with pragmatic concerns.

The authors’ wide-ranging, first-hand Baldrige consulting and training experience shines in this valuable resource on the Baldrige award that will well serve leaders who are prepared to begin their journey toward continuous excellence with an interest in competing for the Baldrige award.

Dale Farris
Groves, TX

Deep in Crisis: The Uncertain Future of the Quality Profession

Mohamed Zairi, ECBPM Publishing House, 2017, 336 pp., $39.95 (book)

If you believe that building a network of business contacts is one of the most important things you can do for your career, this book may be for you. The author begins by stating that networking comes with a caveat: You must first do the reverse and help others. But as the author states, the center of the word "networking" is the word "work," which is the subject of this book.

The first thing required is to take an online test to make a realistic assessment of where you are starting from in networking. The author has a web page to take this online test.

The author is adamant about networking using a tried-and-true method: relationship building. In other words, have long-term relationships with clients and provide ongoing value that goes beyond the product and service provided by the competition.

The author has advice on how to develop the plan, begin networking, set goals and act on the plan. The author believes that having lots of links to people that you don’t know dilutes the power of a person’s network. He states to embrace online social networking, however as an important tool to help build a person’s network. So which is it? Social network or not?

There are other subjects on building a toolbox of basic items to network, being creative in networking, and ideas on how and why to keep in touch with your network and how to support the network. He ends the book with chapters on learning and turning networking into a business.

So what can be gained from this book? Not much. The author is basic in his approach and has not brought any new ideas on networking and building relationships that have not been said many times over.

Jerry Brong
Ellensburg, WA

Søren Bisgaard’s Contributions to Quality Engineering

Ronald J.M.M. Does, Roger W. Hoerl, Murat Kulahci and G. Geoffrey Vining, editors, ASQ Quality Press, 2017, 468 pp., $60 member, $99 list (book)

This volume represents a selected collection of papers authored by the late Søren Bisgaard. The papers are organized in four broad areas: design and analysis of experiments, time series analysis, the quality profession and health engineering. The introductions by the editors provide an interesting perspective on Bisgaard’s publications and the evolution of quality engineering, in general.

There are two publications I would have liked to have seen in this collection. The first one is titled: The Quality Detective: A Case Study (Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement, June 1988). This descriptive tale effectively presents how statisticians and subject matter experts interact to achieve concrete added value. The process of deductive inductive thinking, combining data collection, experimentation and data analysis, is a must read in industrial engineering courses.

The second paper is titled: "European Statistics Network Grows Rapidly," Quality Progress, December 2002, pp. 100-101. The paper describes Bisgaard’s activity, together with other people, in establishing the European network for business and industrial statistics (ENBIS). ENBIS has grown into an open, dynamic and influential professional society that provides a platform for researchers and practitioners to meet and discuss needs and proposed solutions. In many respects, ENBIS is the playing ground for the type of work done by Bisgaard and his contributions in the early formation stages of the society need to be acknowledged.

In considering retrospectively this collection of papers, three aspects should be mentioned:

  1. The knowledge society is now strongly affected by big data analytics. In the industrial setting, we are witnessing the fourth industrial revolution with huge amounts of sensor data being combined with flexible manufacturing technologies to offer possibilities not imagined a few years ago.
  2. The quality profession needs must involve and address issues of information quality. This evolution is well in line with the work of Bisgaard.
  3. In this age of data science, machine learning and algorithmic experimental design, we experience new ways of doing things with more emphasis on computer intensive methods.

Given this perspective, this volume is recommended to researchers and practitioners who are interested in the evolution of quality engineering’s methods and techniques. The examples listed in this volume also can serve teachers looking for interesting and accessible case studies. The bottom line is that, as a collection of papers, this volume provides added value and is well worth having on your bookshelf.

Ron S. Kenett
Raanana, Israel

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