“Sea Change” (April 2019, pp. 16-22) is a very good article. Disruptive change can occur at any time, as necessary, and can be on a case-by-case basis depending in the situation. Management support, a good leader and teamwork will drive this change to success.

Raimond Santos,
Abu Dhabi


In response to “18 Steps to Six Sigma Project Success” (February 2019, pp. 16-23): Something that is critical in project selection is the overall business system. Improving every system component won't translate into overall system improvement, but in the creation of local optima and sub-optimization.

Responsibility is assigned to the Master Black Belt for ensuring projects align with the organization’s strategy. Certainly, a successful project portfolio should seek to align all components of the system with the enterprise strategy in the pursuit of a clear vision of the future. It should be noted and expected that some components will win, while others will lose. But the overall system will thrive.

A long-term strategy isn't always available and the result of any improvement method with no clear strategy will be disappointing. Typically, results don't translate into bottom-line improvements when a project improves performance by moving the problem to somebody else’s backyard.

When there is no strategy or the strategy is vague, actions won't deliver the desired results. Step zero should be ensuring leadership defines and communicates a clear strategy, and everybody in the organization knows and lives by it.

Cesar Vasquez,
Boca Raton, FL

The Reaction Gauge

This month’s question

Many organizations offer mentorships to new employees to help them learn the ropes and provide career guidance. But mentorships also help the mentors—for example, by helping the mentor identify his or her abilities and limitations, and giving the mentor insight into how younger generations think and operate. What are your experiences with mentoring or having a mentor? What was the experience like and how did it influence your career?

Last month’s question

People often wonder how they should act at work—should they be themselves, or should they be more professional and conform to the organization’s culture? A recent Forbes article found that more and more organizations are encouraging employees to be themselves to increase diversity and inclusion. What are your experiences with “being yourself” vs. buttoning up for the office? What type of work environment do you think makes for the most effective—or productive—workplace?

Lisa Brummal, Carpinteria, CA, says:

I try to be myself at work and appreciate getting to know my colleagues on a personal level because this does foster a better team dynamic and more effective working relationships.

However, there is a note of caution about this: Being yourself at work should not mean going beyond professionally accepted behavior and proper decorum.

Amanda Foster, Endicott, NY, writes:

I definitely took a more detached and buttoned-up approach when I became quality manager for the organization with which I already had 10-plus years of history. It fits better with the cultural expectations at my organization as well. Honestly, I have been much more content with this detachment overall. I have one close friend at work, and otherwise, I keep my personal life far from the office. It’s a lot more peaceful than trying to juggle work friendships and authority.

I’m a fairly reserved person, so maybe this really is me being myself at work anyway.

Deborah A. Coviello, Cincinnati:

I, too, was reserved and keeping the two worlds separated. However, qualities of a leader have been changing, and transparency, likability and being yourself have become more attractive in recent times.

You be the judge if you can experiment with this in the current culture. As a leader of others, I’ve found taking some time to be personal before being transactional is a great icebreaker and keeps things in perspective: We’re all part of humanity and we are parents, partners, friends and someone’s child, and we have all these common touchpoints with other people.

Join the discussion on myASQ at my.asq.org, or on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/groups/3633.

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