ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

Online Edition — May 2004

In This Issue

In the Spotlight
Living Strategy

Integrating AQP
Letter From AQP’s President

Living Community Model Member Categories

Living Communities Model Questions and Answers


News Bites
In a Nutshell
Moving the Elephant
NFC Goes Electronic
Resources for Success
May 2004 News For A Change — Home Page

NFC Index

AQP Home

News Bites

Information of interest from other publications and organizations related to people and quality

Executives Value Quality, but Don’t Share a Common Definition of It
More than 600 American executives from four industry segments—manufacturing, services (including government), healthcare, and education—provided their perspectives on the value that quality brings to their organizations. A vast majority of the respondents (90%) said that they believed quality contributes to the bottom line, and 92% believe that an organization-wide, coordinated effort to use quality techniques provides a positive return.

Defining quality did not elicit such uniform agreement. When asked to define quality, a majority of respondents equated quality to “customer satisfaction.” Only 64% believed that quality is a management tool, while the remaining 36% viewed quality as being built into a product and service (without necessarily being a management tool).

Auditing Styles Rated
In its March 2004 issue, Inside Standards, an e-newsletter published by Quality Digest, surveyed its readers on their auditors’ styles. The responses are shown below:

Firm but fair 68.3%
Laid back 15.3%
Iron hand in velvet glove 6.5%
Clueless 2.7%
Robotic 2.4%
Benevolent dictator 2.2%
Disinterested 1.3%
Tyrannical 1.3%

More? See

Research Indicates That Teams Make Better Decisions
Good managers know that the proverbial “yes man” isn’t much of an asset. But when it comes time to build work teams, many business managers, either by design or through inattention, staff them with people who are prone to think alike. In effect, they’ve built “yes teams.” As a result, those teams fail to make the best decisions possible—and the organization suffers.

Recent research by Deborah Gruenfeld of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business suggests that teams encompassing at least two separate points of view on a particular question make better decisions because the pressure of the minority forces the majority to think more complexly and consider diverse evidence. Gruenfeld gained some of her evidence by analyzing decisions made by the U.S. Supreme Court.
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Bush’s Job Training Initiatives Signal Positive Trends for the Learning and Performance Community
For professionals in the learning and performance community, President Bush’s plans to double the number of workers who complete federal training each year and to consolidate additional employment and training programs under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 to provide states with more flexibility to deliver training, means an increased focus on effective workplace learning and performance.

The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998, a federally-funded job training and employment system that grants significant authority to states and local governments to guide public sector education and training programs, is up for reauthorization this year.
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Failure Is Key to Understanding Success
If you want to learn the secrets of success, it seems perfectly reasonable to study successful people and organizations. The research of Jerker Denrell, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, however, suggests that studying successes without also looking at failures tends to create a misleading—if not entirely wrong—picture of what it takes to succeed.

Case in point: The well-known advice to focus on a single core business. Authors of popular business books identify many successful companies that have focused on one key product and argue that this focus caused their success, but look at Kodak and Xerox, says Denrell, explaining that some companies that are focused on one product tend to have very poor performance over time. In focusing excessively on successes, we overlook the important fact that failing companies do many of the same things as companies that succeed.
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