ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

Issue Highlight — A Sign Of Hope
- Peter Block addresses the importance for corporations to work in the public interest as well as the interest of shareholders, building strong communities and promoting social equity.

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Online Edition - November/December 2000

 In This Issue...
Tackling Leadership
Generation X And The Baby Boomers At Work
Heeding The Call
A Sticky Situation: Creating Innovative Climates

Motivation Made Easy


 Features...
Peter Block Column
Views for a Change
Pageturners
Heard on the Street


Return to NFC Index


Views For A Change


Consultant Q&A

H. James Harrington Responds:

The following is a brief synopsis of what I say in my book, "Project Change Management" (McGraw-Hill, 2000).

 Consultants are change agents; we are supposed to be able to change the organizations in a positive direction. If we don't accomplish this we are failures and we should be fired.

  Yes, that means 60 to 80 percent of the consultants today should be fired. So, what does a good consultant bring to the table?

     • A proven technology-quality consultants have this one "cold."

     • An understanding of the process that the technology will be applied to- most
       quality consultants focus on the process.

     • Knowledge of what is required to excite the target group impacted by the
       technology   - most quality consultants fail here miserably.

  It is not enough to have great technology and to understand the processes. It is like an engineer releasing a complex new product without talking to manufacturing; it just will not work. Consultants who have not mastered a very structured Organizational Change Management (OCM) approach will always have trouble internalizing the change within the organization. The quality consultants should not be teaching Statistical Process Control (SPC) or problem solving; they should be striving to change behavior patterns so that people will want to use SPC tools and solve problems. There is a big difference between these two objectives. Consultants need to be change agents, not teachers. They need to modify behaviors, not flowchart processes.

Achieving Change

  We hear a lot about Six Sigma in support and service areas. I have yet to see an organization where the use of statistics has brought about change in its culture. Statistics do not change behaviors and quality initiatives will only last when people change behaviors.

  Everyone is for change, "I think you should change, they should change and my team should change. But me-why should I change? Just look at how successful I am!" Yes, everyone is for change as long as it does not affect him or her, but quality initiatives affect everyone. Everyone must change before the concept, technologies, tools and approach can be internalized. Without a well-applied OCM initiative that supports your consulting effort, you are shortchanging your employer or your client. All consultants must know how to apply concepts like pain management, cascading sponsorship, black holes and change mapping in order to call themselves professional consultants. Being official change agents is absolutely essential for consultants to be able to look their manager or client in the eye when accepting their paycheck.


H. JAMES HARRINGTON has written seven books including the best-selling "The Improvement Process," "Business Process Improvement," and "Total Improvement Management: The Next Generation in Performance Management." Harrington is the CEO of The Performance Improvement Network in Los Gatos, Calif. He is considered a leading authority in process management.

Vincent Ventresca Responds

Question for Consultants



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