Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Quotes from the Experts

I thought you might enjoy a short list of predictions from experts. These are from Joel Barker’s Paradigms: The Business of Discovering the Future

1. “The phonograph…is not of any commercial value.” - THOMAS EDISON remarking on his own invention to his assistant Sam Insull, 1880

2. “Flight by machines heavier than air is unpractical and insignificant, if not utterly impossible.” - SIMON NEWCOMB, an astronomer of some note, 1902

3. “Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote.” - GROVER CLEVELAND, 1905

4. “It is an idle dream to imagine that…automobiles will take the place of railways in the long distance movement of…passengers” - American Road Congress, 1913

5. “There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom.” - ROBERT MILLIKAN, Nobel Prize winner in physics, 1920

6. “[Babe] Ruth made a big mistake when he gave up pitching.” - TRIS SPEAKER, 1921

7. “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” - HARRY WARNER, Warner Brothers Pictures, 1927

8. “I think there is a world market for about five computers.” - THOMAS J. WATSON, chairman of IBM, 1943

9. “The odds are now that the United States will not be able to honor the 1970 manned-lunar-landing date set by Mr. Kennedy.” - New Scientist, April 30, 1964

10. “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.” - KEN OLSEN, president of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977

Source: Joel Barker, Paradigms: The Business of Discovering the Future

Saturday, July 12, 2008

SHOA 2008 Annual Members Meeting

At the July 12, 2008 SHOA Annual Members' Meeting, members approved the draft 2007 minutes without change; heard reports from 1) Auditor Jim Lanzarotta, of Moss-Adams, who gave SHOA a "clean audit" report; 2) attorney Sam Jacobs, who reported on legal matters; and 3) staff and committee members who reported on various activities; approved the 70-604 election; and elected Gene Bowen, Chris Hansen, and Larry Nelson as new Board members, replacing Tom Kennedy, Warren Schmidt, and Greg Willeford.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Measures of Service Quality

Some argue that, while product quality can relatively easily be measured, service quality cannot. Work by Berry, et al, described below in Tenner & DeToro's book, Total Quality Management, refutes that argument.

For those of you who have experienced customer events around various services (and all of us have), think about what constitutes your satisfaction or dissatisfaction with those services, in light of the following Determinants of Service Quality:

"...Research by Len Berry, Parsu Parasuraman, and Valerie Zeithaml in the early 1980s provides a strong foundation for understanding the attributes of service quality. Through interviews with business executives and customer focus groups, Berry and his colleagues identified ten determinants of service quality. Their categories, which provide a useful complement to the eight dimensions offered by Garvin, are as follows:

1. Reliability: Consistency of performance and dependability; performing the right service right the first time; honoring promises; accuracy; responsiveness; willingness or readiness of employees to provide service; timeliness.

2. Competence: Possession of the skills and knowledge required to per-form the service.

3. Access: Approachability and ease of access; waiting time; hours of operation.

4. Courtesy: Politeness, respect, consideration, and friendliness of con-tact personnel.

5. Communication: Keeping customers informed in language they can understand; listening to customers; adjusting language to different needs of different customers; explaining the service
itself, how much it will cost, and how problems will be handled.

6. Credibility: Trustworthiness, believability, honesty; company reputation; personal characteristics of personnel.

7. Security: Freedom from danger, risk, or doubt; physical safety; financial security; confidentiality.

8. Understanding The Customer: Making the effort to understand the customer's needs; learning the customer's specific requirements; providing individualized attention; recognizing the regular customer.

9. Tangibles: Physical evidence of the service; physical facilities; appearance of personnel; tools or equipment used to provide service; physical representation of the service, such as a plastic credit card or a bank statement; other customers in the service facility..."

Following this initial work, Berry, et al, reduced the nine service criteria to five, and called them the RATER criteria.

Five "Rater" Criteria

"...As an outgrowth of their work in developing the ten determinants of service quality, Berry, Parasuraman, and Zeithaml distilled their list to five broader categories. Although they called this set "servqual," the five elements can easily be remembered through the acronym "rater." Some organizations find the list of ten characteristics to be confusing and overlapping, but others contend that essential details are lost by reducing it to only five elements. The five dimensions are listed below, and readers can chose for themselves which set they prefer.

1. Reliability: Ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately.

2. Assurance: Knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to inspire trust and confidence.

3. Tangibles: Physical facilities, equipment, and appearance of personnel.

4. Empathy: Caring, individualized attention the firm provides its customers.

5. Responsiveness: Willingness to help customers and provide prompt service..."

-Tenner & DeToro, Total Quality Management

Garvin's Eight Dimensions of Product Quality

David Garvin of the Harvard Business School developed a system of thinking about quality of products (some are applicable as well to services, but more on that in another post). Following is a summary of his eight dimensions of quality, as reported in Tenner & DeToro's book Total Quality Management.

Eight Dimensions of Quality

"...David Garvin has defined eight dimensions that can be used at a strategic level to analyze quality characteristics. Some of the dimensions are mutually reinforcing, whereas others are not--improvement in one may be at the expense of others. Understanding the trade-offs desired by customers among these dimensions can help build a competitive advantage. Garvin's eight dimensions can be summarized as follows:

1. Performance: The product's primary operating characteristic. For example, performance of an automobile includes traits such as acceleration, handling, cruising speed, and comfort; performance of an airline includes on-time arrival.

2. Features: Secondary aspects of performance. These are the "bells and whistles" that supplement the basic functions. Examples include free drinks on planes and sunroofs; on cars. The line separating primary performance characteristics from secondary features is often difficult to draw. Further, customers define value in terms of flexibility and their ability to select among available features, as well as the quality of those features.

3. Reliability: Probability of successfully performing a specified function for a specified period of time under specified conditions. Reliability of durable goods is often measured as the mean time to first failure or mean time between failures. These measures, however, require a product to be in use for a specified period of time and are not relevant in the case of products and services that are consumed instantly.

4. Conformance: Degree to which a product's design and operating characteristics meet established standards. Although this is some-times defined as "conformance to requirements," a sounder analysis will be obtained by examining each characteristic's divergence from its target value. This more robust measure of conformance is built on the teachings of a prize-winning Japanese statistician Genichi Taguchi.

5. Durability: A measure of product life. Durability can be defined as the amount of use obtained from a product before it deteriorates to the point that replacement is preferred over repair. Durability is closely linked to both reliability and serviceability. Consumers weigh the expected costs of future repairs against the investment in and operating expenses of a newer, more reliable model.

6. Serviceability: The speed, courtesy, competence, and ease of repair. The cost of repairs includes more than the simple out-of-pocket costs. Serviceability covers this full dimension by recognizing the loss and inconvenience due to downtime of equipment, the nature of dealings with service personnel, and the frequency with which repairs fail to correct the outstanding problems.

7. Aesthetics: How a product looks, feels, sounds, tastes, or smells. Aesthetics is largely a matter of personal judgment and a reflection of individual preference; it is a highly subjective dimension.

8. Perceived Quality: Reputation. Consumers do not always have complete information about a product's or service's attributes; indirect measures or perceived quality may be their only basis for comparing brands..."

-Tenner & DeToro, Total Quality Management

Bob King's Organizational Vision

For several years, I served as a member of the Research Committee of GOAL/QPC, the organization best known for its Memory Jogger booklets used by thousands of companies and other organizations around the world.

GOAL/QPC's primary mission was to learn what could be learned about the quality focus of companies, primarily in Japan, that made Japanese companies such effectiuve competitors in the global marketplace. As a result, GOAL/QPC was responsible for translating into English much of the Japanese quality literature during the 1980s.

The following vision was created by friend and colleague Bob King, founder and President of GOAL/QPC, to give a flavor of what an effective organization should be striving for. Bob was instrumental in bringing the messages of W. Edwards Deming, long revered in Japan, to America.

As you consider this vision, think of organizations you have worked for (or are currently working for) and compare how well you think they are doing.

"...TQM Vision

1. Imagine an organization that knows what customers will want 5‑10 years from now and exactly what they will do to far exceed all expecta­tions.

2. Imagine an organization where each employee knows what they need to do in their job to make the organization run smoothly. These actions are documented, audited and updated daily as changing situations require it.

3. Imagine an organization where each employee manages by facts, knows how to analyze problems using simple tools for understanding variability and data.

4. Imagine an organization where each employee generates 100-200 suggestions per year (2‑4 per week) and 95% are implemented and joins with the work group to maximize this progress.

5. Imagine an organization where everybody knows the most important variable to control to satisfy customers and guarantee effectiveness and efficiency and where these standards are documented and updated daily.

6. Imagine an organization where the president sets the two or three most important goals for the year, every manager knows these goals and the 2 or 3 most important tasks to help achieve these goals, has measurable milestones on these activities which they personally audit monthly and document and send up through the organization to enable diagnosis and improvement.

7. Imagine an organization where each employee understands not only how to do their job but how to make significant improvement on their job on a regular basis.

8. Imagine an organization where each employee knows all the people who supply them with data and materials and gives them clear concise advice on how to improve that data and material and where each person knows all their customers and seeks out ways to meet all expectations in providing data and materials.

9. Imagine an organization where all managers and staff people use effective and simple planning tools on a regular basis to do a better job.

10. Imagine an organization where cross-functional teams assure that quality, cost, efficiency, services and profit are managed on a con­sistently high level throughout each business unit of the organization.

11. Imagine an organization where quality assurance and reliability are managed effectively on a daily basis but also, the total organization is thoroughly familiar with the customers.

12. Imagine an organization where all problems and challenges are met by a team of the most appropriate people regardless of level or job within the organization.

13. Imagine an organization where all information flows smoothly and concisely to the people who need it and both daily and improvement activities are audited at each level of the organization to assure that each employee reaches their full potential..."

Source: Bob King, GOAL/QPC

Covey's Seven Habits of Successful People

Many of you have heard references to Steven Covey's Seven Habits of Successful People, but few have spent much time studying them. Each of them have application to the work of SHOA, at both the personal and workplace level. To get you started, I've included them below.

More information can be found in Covey's book by that title, and in numerous discussions on the internet.

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

1. Be Proactive
- personal vision
-are my actions based upon self-chosen values or upon my moods, feelings, and circumstances?

2. Begin With the End in Mind
-personal leadership
-have I written a personal mission statement which provides meaning, purpose, and direction to my life? Do my actions flow from my mission?

3. Put First Things First
-personal management
-am I able to say no to the unimportant, no matter how urgent, and yes to the important?

4. Think Win/Win
-interpersonal leadership
-do I seek mutual benefit in all interdependent relationships?

5. Seek First to Understand; Then To Be Understood
-empathetic communication
-do I avoid autobiographical responses and instead faithfully reflect my understanding of the other person before seeking to be understood?

6. Synergize
-creative cooperation
-do I value different opinions, viewpoints, and perspectives of others when seeking solutions?

7. Sharpen the Saw
-balanced self-renewal
-am I engaged in continuous improvement in the physical, mental, spiritual, and social/emotional dimensions of my life?

-Covey, Stephen R., The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Old & New Leadership Competencies

In response to a recent query about how to define leadership, I thought you might find the following from friend and colleague Peter Scholtes, in his Leader's Handbook, insightful.

This is a subject about which I'll have a lot to say in future posts. About 10 years ago I compiled over a hundred of the best writings about leadership, and prepared a "Leadership Book" for use with the Organizational Effectiveness course I taught at the University of Washington. The following is part of that compilation.

"...Old and New Leadership Competencies

Let us first briefly examine the old competencies: aptitudes needed to survive and excel in the old organization.

1. Forcefulness. Part of a manager's responsibility was to control the workforce, making people do what they may be otherwise inclined to ignore. Good managers could look their people square in the eye and get them to respond.

2. Motivator. The "softer" side of forcefulness was the ability to inspire your people to do great work. The judicious combination of carrots and sticks, of inspiration and exhortation, was the manager's stock-in-trade.

3. Decisiveness. To make quick decisions in the absence of information was routinely expected of the old-style manager.

4. Willfulness. Good bosses knew what they wanted and were dogged in their pursuit of it.

5. Assertiveness. A good boss was outspoken. Old-style leaders could not show weakness or ignorance lest their people run all over them.

6. Result- and bottom-line-oriented. Bosses held people accountable for meeting quotas and standards and achieving measurable goals. Maximizing ever-increasing profits every quarter and minimizing ever-diminishing costs: These were the goals.

7. Task-oriented. Managers kept everyone busy and occupied. No slacking off, no socializing. People don't really want to work and, left to themselves, will screw off. Therefore, be their conscience and taskmaster.

8. Integrity and diplomacy. Good bosses covered toughness with tact and amiability. Be honest, fair, and respectful while letting your people know that you know what to do when things get out of hand.

The New Leadership Competencies

1. The ability to think in terms of systems and knowing how to lead systems.

2. The ability to understand the variability of work in planning and problem solving.

3. Understanding how we learn, develop, and improve, and leading true learning and improvement.

4. Understanding people and why they behave as they do.

5. Understanding the interdependence and interaction between systems, variation, learning, and human behavior. Knowing how each affects the others.

6. Giving vision, meaning, direction, and focus to the organization.

Source: Scholtes, Peter R., The Leader’s Handbook

Ten Commandments for Customer Relations

One of the most commonly recognized list of admonitions for good customer relations is that developed by Frank Cooper, from his book The Customer Signs Your Pay Check

Ten Commandments of Customer Relations

1. The customer is never an interruption to your work. The customer is your real reason for being in busi­ness. Chores can wait.

2. Greet every customer with a friendly smile. Cus­tomers are people, and they like friendly contact. They usually return it.

3. Call customers by name. Make a game of learning customers' names. See how many you can remem­ber. This is a valuable habit.

4. Remember--you are the company! In the cus­tomer's eyes, you are as important as the president of your company . . . probably even more so.

5. Never argue with a customer. The customer is always right (in his own eyes). Be a good listener, agree with him where you can, and then do what you can to make him happy.

6. Never say, "I don't know." If you don't know the answer to a customer's question, say, "That's a good question. Let me find out for you."

7. Remember that the customer pays your wages. Every dollar you earn comes from the customer's pocket. Treat him like the boss. He signs your pay check.

8. State things in a positive way. Choose positive words when speaking to a customer. It takes practice, but it is a valuable habit that will help you become an effective communicator.

9. Brighten every customer's day! Make it a point to do something that brings a little sunshine into each customer's life, and soon you'll discover that your own life is happier and brighter!

10. Go the extra mile! Always do just a little more than the customer expects you to do. You will be richly rewarded for this habit!

Resisters to Change

Frank Bowsher of IBM wrote, in Educating America, about the resisters to change in Education.

I have adapted his list of types of resisters to accomodate resisters to change, in general.

With apologies to Frank for modest editing, I hope you'll enjoy these. Watch for them in the workplace every day.

The "Positive" Resister - this person agrees with all the new ideas and programs, but never takes the first step to implement any changes.

The "Unique" Resister - All this change is good for the other areas, but it clearly doesn't apply to that individual's unique department.

The "Let Me Be Last" Resister - this person will not say your ideas are wrong. His or her strategy is to be the last department to implement changes, hoping that all these new ideas will die out before his or her department must move forward into the new world.

The "We Need More Time To Study" Resister - the "we need more time to study " resister is very common. This is one of the most palatable reasons for resisting. After all, who could object to doing more studies?

The "States Rights" Resister - The "states rights" resister is also common in large companies. This person always resists any programs from headquarters, making great presentations about how local programs are the only effective way to go.

The "Cost Justifier" Resister - the "cost justifier" wants everything cost justified prior to any change. This resister demands to have "business cases" prepared. The real message this person sends, however, is a simple resistance to change.

The "Incremental Change" Resister - one of the most difficult people to win over to a new system is the "incremental change" resister. This is the person who will try anything new as long as the new system has everything the old system had..."

-edited from Bowsher, Frank, Educating America


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Senge's Laws of Systems Thinking

You have heard me talk about the need to look at the system as a whole, rather than pick out parts of it, in referring to tampering (commonly taking the form of "micro-management" by Board members); the management of SHOA's waterways (no single approach has been successful; everyone has their own favorite "solution", and we keep solving the same problems over and over, without learning); the 6-Year Water Plan (interrelationship of legal requirements, design requirements, costs, and political demands); communicating with the membership (the thirty or more methods we use while still being accused of secrecy, etc.).

Peter Senge, writing in The Fifth Discipline in 1990, provided a set of Laws of Systems Thinking.


1. Today's problems come from yesterday's "solutions." - Solutions that merely shift problems from one part of a system to another often go undetected because those who "solved" the first problem are different from those who inherit the new problem.

2. The harder you push, the harder the system pushes back. - When our initial efforts fail to produce lasting improvements, we "push harder"--faithful to the creed that hard work will overcome all obstacles, all the while blinding ourselves to how we are contributing to the obstacles ourselves.

3. Behavior grows better before it grows worse. - A typical solution feels wonderful, when it first cures the symptoms. It may be two, three, or four years before the problem returns, or some new, worse problem arrives. By that time, given how rapidly most people move from job to job, someone new is sitting in the chair.

4. The easy way out usually leads back in. - Pushing harder and harder on familiar solutions, while fundamental problems persist or worsen, is a reliable indicator of nonsystemic thinking--what we often call the "what we need here is a bigger hammer" syndrome.

5. The cure can be worse than the disease. - The long‑term, most insidious consequence of applying nonsystemic solutions is increased need for more and more of the solution. This is why ill‑conceived interventions are not just ineffective, they are "addictive" in the sense of fostering increased dependency and lessened abilities of local people to solve their own problems.

6. Faster is slower. - The optimal rate is far less than the fastest possible growth. When growth becomes excessive, the system itself will seek to compensate by slowing down, perhaps putting the organization's survival at risk in the process.

7. Cause and effect are not closely related in time and space. - There is a fundamental mismatch between the nature of reality in complex systems and our predominant ways of thinking about reality. The first step in correcting that mismatch is to let go of the notion that cause and effect are close in time and space.

8. Small changes can produce big results--but the areas of highest leverage are often the least obvious. - High‑leverage changes are usually highly nonobvious to most participants in the system. They are not "close in time and space" to obvious problem symptoms. This is what makes life interesting.

9. You can have your cake and eat it too--but not at once. - They only appear as rigid "either‑or" choices, because we think of what is possible at a fixed point in time. Next month, it may be true that we must choose one or the other, but the real leverage lies in seeing how both can improve over time.

10. Dividing an elephant in half does not produce two small elephants. - Living systems have integrity. Their character depends on the whole; to understand the most challenging managerial issues requires seeing the whole system that generates the issues.

11. There is no blame. - Systems thinking shows us that there is no outside, that you and the cause of your problems are part of a single system. The cure lies in your relationship with your "enemy."

-From The Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge, 1990.

Territorial Games People Play

J. Michael Crouch, writing in a 1997 issue of Quality Digest, reported on a series of "Territorial Games" used in the work environment which I thought you'd enjoy. As you go about your work life, see how many of these you can spot.

The "games" are listed below by name, followed by their meaning.

Strategic Noncompliance - Agreeing upfront to take action while having no intention of taking that action, or cooperating in order to buy time to find a way of avoiding taking action; waiting until the last minute to back out.

Information Manipulation - Withholding or putting a spin on information, or covering up or giving false information; withholding or interpreting information in a way that keeps the initiative from progressing.

Occupation - Marking territory, maintaining an imposing physical presence, acting as the gatekeeper for vital information, and monopolizing relationships, resources, or information; monopolizing resources (people, time) to prevent them from being reallocated to the initiative.

Shunning - Subtly or overtly excluding an individual in a way that punishes him or her, or orchestrating a group's behavior so that someone is obviously out-group; socially excluding an individual in a way that brands him or her an outsider.

Discredit - Using personal attacks or irrelevant criti­cisms to create doubt about another person's competence or credibility.

Intimidation - Growling, yelling, glaring, or making threats to scare off an individual; using scare tactics or veiled threats to warn off perceived invaders; a “back-off” stare..

Filibuster - Using excessive verbiage to prevent action, out­talk objectors in a meeting or monopolize, and thereby exhaust, meeting time; talking long and hard enough in order to squander development time, leaving issues unresolved..

Invisible Walls - Actively instigating actions or creating counterproductive perceptions so that an argued directive will be, if not impossible, extremely difficult to implement; covertly blocking forward momentum by creating logistical impossibilities.

Camouflage - Creating a distraction, emphasizing the inconsequential, sending someone off on a wild goose chase, or deliberately triggering someone's anxiety buttons; diverting people with irrelevant issues or projects to keep them away from quality initiatives.

Powerful Alliances - Using relationships with powerful people to intimidate, impress or threaten others; engaging in name-dropping and strategic displays of influence over important decision makers.

Source: J. Michael Crouch, “Quality Turf Wars”, Quality Digest, October 1997

Process Taxonomy

In the early 1990's I was privileged to work with Robert Camp of Xerox, and a small group of American industry representatives in creating the International Benchmarking Clearinghouse, a part of the American Productivity & Quality Center in Houston, TX. The purpose of the organization was to identify ways in which best practices could be shared among American companies to further their competitiveness in the face of intensifying worldwide competition.

Camp had just written his seminal book Benchmarking: The Search for Industry Best Practices That Lead to Superior Performance. Camp's book was followed by many others on benchmarking, and resulted in a flurry of benchmarking activity in America. Benchmarking is now part of most excellent company's toolbox of management techniques. We'll talk more about benchmarking in future posts.

A first step in the process was to identify the key processes that were part of the makeup of most organizations. Following is the "Process Classification Scheme" we came up with in early 1994.

"...1. Understand Markets and Customers

1.1 Determine customer needs and wants
·1.1.1 Conduct qualitative assessments
· Conduct customer interviews
· Conduct focus groups
·1.1.2 Conduct quantitative assessments
· Develop and implement surveys
·1.1.3 Predict customer purchasing behavior

1.2 Measure customer satisfaction
·1.2.1 Monitor satisfaction with products and services
·1.2.2 Monitor satisfaction with complaint resolution
·1.2.3 Monitor satisfaction with communication

1.3 Monitor changes in market or customer expectations
·1.3.1 Determine weaknesses of product/service offerings
·1.3.2 Identify new innovations that are meeting customers needs
·1.3.3 Determine customer reactions to competitive offerings

2. Develop Vision and Strategy

2.1 Monitor the external environment
·2.1.1 Analyze and understand competition
·2.1.2 Identity economic trends
·2.1.3 Identify political and regulatory issues
·2.1.4 Assess new technology innovations
·2.1.5 Understand demographics
·2.1.6 Identity social and cultural changes
·2.1.7 Understand ecological concerns

2.2 Define the business concept and organizational strategy
·2.2.1 Select relevant markets
·2.2.2 Develop long‑term vision
·2.2.3 Formulate business unit strategy
·2.2.4 Develop overall mission statement

2.3 Design the organizational structure and relationships between organizational units

2.4 Develop and set organizational goals

3. Design Product and Services

3.1 Develop new product/service concept and plans
·3.1.1 Translate customer wants and needs into product and/or service requirements
·3.1.2 Plan and deploy quality targets
·3.1.3 Plan and deploy cost targets
·3.1.4 Develop product life cycle and development timing targets
·3.1.5 Develop and integrate leading technology into product/service concept

3.2 Design, build, and evaluate prototype products or services
·3.2.1 Develop product/service specifications
·3.2.2 Conduct concurrent engineering
·3.2.3 Implement value engineering
·3.2.4 Document design specifications
·3.2.5 Develop prototypes
·3.2.6 Apply for patents

3.3 Refine existing products/services
·3.3.1 Develop product/service enhancements
·3.3.2 Eliminate quality/reliability problems
·3.3.3 Eliminate outdated products/services

3.4 Test effectiveness of new or revised products or services

3.5 Prepare for production
·3.5.1 Develop and test prototype production process
·3.5.2 Design and obtain necessary material and equipment
·3.5.3 Install and verify process or methodology

3.6 Manage the product/service development process

4. Market and Sell

4.1 Market products or services to relevant customer segments
·4.1.1 Develop pricing strategy
·4.1.2 Develop advertising strategy
·4.1.3 Develop market messages to communicate benefits
·4.1.4 Estimate advertising resource and capital requirements
·4.1.5 Identity specific target customers and their needs
·4.1.6 Develop sales forecast
·4.1.7 Sell products or services
·4.1.8 Negotiate terms
4.2 Process customer orders
·4.2.1 Accept orders from customers
·4.2.2 Enter orders into production and delivery process

5. Produce and Deliver for Manufacturing Oriented Organization

5.1 Plan for and acquire necessary resources or inputs
·5.1.1 Acquire capital goods
·5.1.2 Hire employees
·5.1.3 Obtain materials and supplies
·5.1.4 Obtain appropriate technology

5.2 Convert resources or inputs into products

· 5.2.1 Develop and adjust production process (for existing process)
· 5.2.2 Schedule production
· 5.2.3 Move materials and resources
· 5.2.4 Make product
· 5.2.5 Package and store the product
· 5.2.6 Stage the product for delivery

5.3 Make delivery
·5.3.1 Arrange product shipment
·5.3.2 Deliver products to customers
·5.3.3 Install (if specified)

5 4 Manage produce and deliver process
·5.4.1 Document and monitor order status
·5.4.2 Manage inventories
·5.4.3 Assure quality
·5.4.4 Schedule and perform maintenance
·5.4.5 Monitor environmental constraints

6. Produce and Deliver for Service Oriented Organization

6.1 Plan for and acquire necessary resources
·6.1.1 Hire employees
·6.1.2 Obtain materials and supplies
·6.1.3 Obtain appropriate technology
·6.1.4 Acquire capital goods

6.2 Develop human resources skills
·6.2.1 Define skill requirements
·6.2.2 Identify and implement training
·6.2.3 Monitor and manage skill development

6.3 Deliver service to the customer
·6.3.1 Confirm specific service requirements for individual customer
·6.3.2 Identify and schedule resources to meet service requirements
·6.3.3 Provide the service to specific customers

6.4 Ensure quality of service

7. Invoice and Service Customers

7.1 Bill the customer
·7.1.1 Develop, deliver, and maintain customer billing
·7.1.2 Invoice the customer
·7.1.3 Respond to billing inquiries

7.2 Provide after-sales service
·7.2.1 Provide post sales service
·7.2.2 Handle warranties and claims

7.3 Respond to customer inquiries
·7.3.1 Respond to information requests
·7.3.2 Manage customer complaints

8. Develop and Manage Human Resources

8.1 Create human resource strategy
8.2 Ensure employee involvement
8.3 Train and educate employees
8.4 Recognize and reward employee performance
8.5 Ensure employee well-being and morale
8.6 Manage relocation of personnel
·8.6.1 Manage movement of international personnel
·8.6.2 Manage movement of domestic personnel

9. Manage Information

9.1 Manage information systems
9.2 Evaluate and audit information quality
10. Manage Financial and Physical Resources

10.1 Manage financial resources
·10.1.1 Develop budgets
·10.1.2 Manage resource allocations
·10.1.3 Design capital structure
·10.1.4 Manage cash flow

10.2 Process finance and accounting transactions
·10.2.1 Process accounts payable
·10.2.2 Process payroll
·10.2.3 Process accounts receivable, credit, and collections
·10.2.4 Close the books

10.3 Report Information
·10.3.1 Provide external financial information
·10.3.2 Provide internal financial information

10.4 Conduct internal audits

10.5 Manage the tax function
·10.5.1 Ensure tax compliance
·10.5.2 Plan tax strategy
·10.5.3 Employ effective technology
·10.5.4 Manage tax controversies
·10.5.5 Communicate tax issues to management
·10.5.6 Manage tax records

10.6 Manage physical resources
·10.6.1 Manage facilities
·10.6.2 Plan fixed asset additions
·10.6.3 Manage risk

11. Execute Environmental and Management Program

·11.1 Formulate environmental management strategy
·11.2 Ensure compliance with regulations
·11.3 Train and educate employees
·11.4 Implement pollution prevention program
·11.5 Manage remediation efforts
·11.6 Implement emergency response program
·11.7 Manage government agency and public relations
·11.8 Manage acquisition/divestiture environmental issues
·11.9 Develop and manage environmental information system
·11.10 Monitor environmental management program

12. Manage External Relationships

·12.1 Communicate with shareholders
·12.2 Manage government relationships
·12.3 Build lender relationships
·12.4 Develop public relations program
·12.5 Interface with board of directors
·12.6 Develop community relations
·12.7 Manage legal and ethical issues

13. Manage Improvement and Change

·13.1 Measure and monitor overall organization performance
·13.2 Conduct quality assessment
·13.3 Benchmark performance
·13.4 Make process improvements
·13.5 Manage change
·13.6 Implement TQM..."

Most of the processes listed above apply to any organization, although some analogies must be drawn. Most certainly apply to SHOA. In the face of the recent emergence of China and India as key players in the world economy, American industry (and other American organizations) would do well to think about the system of production and distribution of products and services they provide to their customers.

Rules for Radicals

In 1971, Saul Alinsky wrote an entertaining classic on grassroots organizing titled Rules for Radicals. Those who prefer cooperative tactics describe the book as out-of-date. Nevertheless, it provides some of the best advice on confrontational tactics. Alinsky begins this way:

What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.

His “rules” derive from many successful campaigns where he helped poor people fighting power and privilege

For Alinsky, organizing is the process of highlighting what is wrong and convincing people they can actually do something about it. The two are linked. If people feel they don’t have the power to change a bad situation, they stop thinking about it.

According to Alinsky, the organizer — especially a paid organizer from outside — must first overcome suspicion and establish credibility. Next the organizer must begin the task of agitating: rubbing resentments, fanning hostilities, and searching out controversy. This is necessary to get people to participate. An organizer has to attack apathy and disturb the prevailing patterns of complacent community life where people have simply come to accept a bad situation. Alinsky would say, “The first step in community organization is community disorganization.”

Through a process combining hope and resentment, the organizer tries to create a “mass army” that brings in as many recruits as possible from local organizations, churches, services groups, labor unions, corner gangs, and individuals.

Alinsky provides a collection of rules to guide the process. But he emphasizes these rules must be translated into real-life tactics that are fluid and responsive to the situation at hand.

Rule 1: Power is not only what you have, but what an opponent thinks you have. If your organization is small, hide your numbers in the dark and raise a din that will make everyone think you have many more people than you do.

Rule 2: Never go outside the experience of your people. The result is confusion, fear, and retreat.

Rule 3: Whenever possible, go outside the experience of an opponent. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat.

Rule 4: Make opponents live up to their own book of rules. “You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.”

Rule 5: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It’s hard to counterattack ridicule, and it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.

Rule 6: A good tactic is one your people enjoy. “If your people aren’t having a ball doing it, there is something very wrong with the tactic.”

Rule 7: A tactic that drags on for too long becomes a drag. Commitment may become ritualistic as people turn to other issues.

Rule 8: Keep the pressure on. Use different tactics and actions and use all events of the period for your purpose. “The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. It is this that will cause the opposition to react to your advantage.”

Rule 9: The threat is more terrifying than the thing itself. When Alinsky leaked word that large numbers of poor people were going to tie up the washrooms of O’Hare Airport, Chicago city authorities quickly agreed to act on a longstanding commitment to a ghetto organization. They imagined the mayhem as thousands of passengers poured off airplanes to discover every washroom occupied. Then they imagined the international embarrassment and the damage to the city’s reputation.

Rule 10: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. Avoid being trapped by an opponent or an interviewer who says, “Okay, what would you do?”

Rule 11: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it. Don’t try to attack abstract corporations or bureaucracies. Identify a responsible individual. Ignore attempts to shift or spread the blame.

According to Alinsky, the main job of the organizer is to bait an opponent into reacting. “The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction will be your major strength.”

Some of you may recall that Senator Hillary Clinton, on the campaign trail recently, referred to Alinsky's work in Chicago. Those of us who grew up in the Chicago area are well aware of Alinsky's "Back of the Yards Council" organizing work.

Those of you who attended SHOA's Annual Meeting last year also got a taste of Alinsky's "rules" in action. Watch this year's Annual Meeting July 12 for further evidence.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Lessons From a Japan Study Mission

Many US companies have sent delegations to Japan to study a wide variety of Japanese manufacturing techniques.

Below is a summary of the lessons learned from one such study mission.

1. Everything in the work environment is considered a process, to be measured, controlled, standardized, and continuously improved upon.

2. The Company will find and implement the "most reliable method" for manufacturing, (and by extension, other activities) and implement it everywhere in the Company, so that all similar activities will be standardized. The Company will be open to new, improved methods which, when proved, will become the new "most reliable method."

3. We should never talk about "optimizing" since, once we do, we accept the status quo. Instead we must talk of "continuing improvement" in every aspect of our work.

4. Education drives the organization; the job of the manager is to educate.

5. The Company must be close to the consumer; we should not seek compliments, but complaints and criticism; it is every employee's responsibility to regularly submit criticism of the way things are done, with suggestions for improvements.

6. The Customer defines quality, through a concept called "fitness for use". If a product is not "fit for use", it should not be made. This concept applies to staff group work products as well.

7. Staff groups must appreciate the concept of internal customers and apply the "close to the customer", "criticism", and "fitness for use" approaches to them, both "up" and "down" the process.

8. Aim for perfection...zero defects...in what we do; do not settle for anything less.

9. Goals are to be carefully spelled out and mutually agreed to, but methods are also to be spelled out.

10. Controls are to be established to show when any "process" is in or out of control; when out of control, a correction plan is to be prepared; each employee is responsible for seeing that his/her parameters are in control; each supervisor is held accountable for ensuring that his supervisor's goals remain "in control."

11. "Failure" is a foreign concept; "out of control" simply represents a problem (opportunity, responsibility) to solve, without blame, but with willing and eager help from all who can contribute.

12. Clean offices represent the concept of clear thinking, discipline, elimination of wasteful processes and procedures.

13. Purposes for automation include elimination of drudgery and danger.

14. "Apply your brain" to the problem.

15. In manufacturing, stress no or low inventory, just in time delivery, and mixed mode production.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Honda on Managing Change

Tips From Honda CEO on Managing Change

An article in the June 16 Wall Street Journal has a lot to say about change.

Accompanying an article about the challenges Honda faces in achieving a “green” image, CEO Takeo Fukui offers five tips for managing change:

1. Create a work environment where all employees can advance and utilize their talents

2. Understand that no one can be satisfied unless the customer is satisfied

3. Achieve the highest quality in all areas through continuous improvement and innovation

4. Develop helpful technology. In the auto industry, for example, work on technology that will benefit the environment and improve fuel efficiency

5. Challenge employees – only then will they learn to adapt quickly, value teamwork, and innovate.

These tips are equally applicable to any workplace. We’ll talk further about change in future posts.

Theory X - Theory Y

Theory X & Theory Y

In the material below, I have borrowed extensively from my friend and colleague Peter Scholtes, author of The Leader’s Handbook.

In 1960, Douglas McGregor articulated his famous theory of the workplace, arguing that changing kinds of work and workers demanded changing ways of thinking.

Theory X

McGregor identified the traditional views about direction and control (in the 1960s) in the following way:

1. Most people have an inherent dislike of work and will avoid it if (s)he can.

2. Therefore, people in the workplace must be coerced, controlled, directed, or threatened with punishment to get them to put forth effort on behalf of their organization. (One still sees many of the old (POSDCORB) managerial expectations stated in position descriptions (Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Directing, etc.))

3. Most people prefer to be directed, wish to avoid responsibility, have relatively little ambition, and want security over all. (This belief was so prevalent in the late 1900s and early 20th century that A Message to Garcia became among the 10 most widely read documents in human history)

McGregor argued that those who view people and the workplace in this way will see carrots and sticks as the only way to get things done. Those who use carrots and sticks are implicitly subscribing to Theory X assumptions. When you see carrots and sticks being offered to effect changes in human behavior, consider what this says about the offerer.

Theory Y

McGregor’s experience taught him that people in general react in much different ways.

1. The expenditure of physical and mental effort in work is as natural as play or rest

2. People will exercise self-direction and self-control in the service of objective to which they are committed

3. Commitment to objectives is a function of the rewards associated with their achievement. The most significant of these rewards are ego and self-actualization (see Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for further information on these needs).

4. The average person learns not only to accept, but to seek responsibility. Avoidance of responsibility and lack of ambition are generally the result of experience in a hostile work environment, rather than the cause of it.

5. The capacity to exercise a relatively high degree of imagination, ingenuity, and creativity in the workplace is widely distributed in the population.

6. In today’s workplace, the intellectual potential of people is only partly used.

In future blogs, we will explore Maslow’s Hierarchy, team building, and shared leadership further.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Competencies for the Future

I have used a set of competencies for the future in assessing the likelihood of success for leaders of organizations, and thought readers might like to share this knowledge.

1. Results Orientation... working to achieve high levels of personal and organizational performance

2. Initiative... taking independent action and going beyond what the job or situation requires

3. Efficiency... finding ways to accomplish the most with the least amount of time and resources

4. Commitment/Persistence... being concerned with doing the job well and persevering in the face of obstacles or challenges

5. Thoroughness... making sure that work is done correctly, completely, and to the highest standards

6. Information Seeking... gathering current information about situations and getting the facts before making decisions

7. Process Thinking... taking a well‑ordered and systematic approach to analyzing problems, organizing work and planning action

8. Conceptual Thinking... identifying the key aspects of complex situations and understanding the big picture

9. Forward Thinking... anticipating and planning to deal with future events, problems and opportunities

10. Building Consensus... using collaborative approaches to build support for objectives

11. Political Astuteness... understanding how the influence process works in organizations and using it effectively

12. Relationship Building... developing and maintaining positive business relationships

13. Teamwork . cooperating positively with others to achieve a common purpose

14. Confidence/Assertiveness... demonstrating sell‑assurance in own ideas, judgments and capabilities

15. Giving Direction... Letting others know what is needed, and communicating standards and performance expectations

16. Providing Support... helping others while respecting their accomplishments, concerns and needs

17. Communication... speaking, writing and listening effectively

18. Interpersonal Perceptiveness... being aware of the feelings, attitudes, concerns and capabilities of others

19. Customer Orientation... anticipating and responding to the needs of internal and external customer/uses, and others he/she supports

20. Developing Others... providing assignments, guidance and feedback to improve others' performance

Ken Karch

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

SHOA Board Goals & Measures for 2008

On December 15, 2007 the SHOA Board adopted a set of nine Goals and 18 Measures for 2007-2008, as it has done in each of the last few years

The goals are typically set early in the life of the new Board, and performance reviewed against them in June, in time to report to the membership at the Annual Members’ meeting in July

This year’s goals (not in any order) include covenant enforcement; improved use of volunteers; building trust and satisfaction, limiting budget increases; improving maintenance of SHOA assets; replacing the footbridges; improving operational efficiencies; improving waterways, and improving our water system.

A complete set of goals and measures is shown below.

SHOA Organizational Alignment – 2007-2008 Goals - Adopted 12/15/07

Goal (in bold type) and Measures

Covenant Enforcement - Board adopt policies for majority of key covenant provisions by 7/1/08 and SHOA attain & maintain 90% closure rate on complaints within 6 months

Improve Use of Volunteers - SHOA develop & maintain inventory of volunteers; skills; interests; history, and Board recognize active volunteers in annual recognition event

Build Trust & Satisfaction - Board secure member feedback on needs & wants annually (Identify important issues) and Board secure member feedback on satisfaction with Board priorities & results (Meet important issues)

Limit Budget - SHOA update Schwindt study; conform current asset plan to it and Board set 2008 & beyond budget goals based on operational and capital reserve needs

Improve Maintenance of Assets - Board adopt & implement SHOA asset maintenance plan by 4/1/08 and SHOA prepare performance report on asset maintenance by 7/1/08

Replace Footbridges - Board complete footbridge replacement on time & on budget by 7/1/08 and SHOA institute maintenance plan for footbridges by 7/1/08

Improve Operational Efficiencies - SHOA adopt & implement improvement plans for 20 key business processes by 7/1/08 and SHOA adopt & implement improvement plans for 20 key operational processes by 7/1/08

Improve Waterways - Board adopt & implement waterway enhancement plan by 4/1/08 and SHOA assess performance of plan activities by 7/1/08

Improve Water System - SHOA complete 6-Year Water Plan by 4/1/08 and SHOA integrate 6-Year Water Plan elements into Asset/Facilities Management Plan and Board set 6 Key Water System Improvement Goals by 4/1/08 (eg., re metering; water conservation; cross-connection control; hydrant replacement; shallow well future; generator protection, etc.)

SHOA Blog Startup

Hi, readers,

Recently I announced the cessation of publication of a weekly email newsletter (called the WeekEnder since 2004) to members of the Surfside Homeowners Association in Ocean Park, WA. I indicated at that time I would be starting an alternative newsletter, to be sent via email, placed on a web site, or converted to a blog. Since then, I have studied the blogging environment and feel it is the appropriate format. This, then is the first in a series of blog messages. I expect this will be a learning experience for me as well as my readers, of whom about a hundred have signed up already to receive the next version of my Weekender.

I started the WeekEnder in December, 2004 and have published it (with a few exceptions) weekly ever since (usually on Sunday evenings) to give all members an update on activities in Surfside on a weekly basis. Members were invited to sign up for this free subscription, recognizing that considerably less than 100 % of SHOA members have regular access to email, and that, of those who do, not everyone would want to have such a message sent to them regularly (some might consider it SPAM). Prior to that, the only widespread communication to all members (other than the notices of the Annual Meeting and Budget mailings) was the quarterly SHOAndTell newsletter. In addition, the WeekEnder has been added to the SHOA web site. The Newsletter is a “push” communication (that is, we send it to all SHOA members), the Web site is a “pull” (that is, a member must take an affirmative action to access it), and the WeekEnder is a hybrid of the two (members who want it must sign up, but we do not send it to everyone for whom we have an email address (about 600 of our 2000 members)).

The WeekEnder has always sought contributions from members, and has published hundreds of such contributions); guidelines for contributors have been published regularly. Most recently, the Board has adopted the WeekEnder guidelines as its own, with minimal changes. This was welcomed by me as an expression that the Board shared my view of communicating as well and as often as possible with the members.

The Weekender is Board-controlled now, in that the President makes regular contributions, Board actions at every Board meeting are reported, and miscellaneous news from staff and committees, who work under Board direction, are regularly included. Over the past 3 years, the Weekender has received more positive comments from members than all other SHOA activities combined. I want to personally thank all of you who responded to the WeekEnder. If you like it, and would like to continue receiving it (or something like it), please let the Board know.

All Board members, Committees, and staff members have always been invited to contribute material for the Weekender (subject only to minimal limitations pertaining to good taste, etc., contained in a set of WeekEnder Guidelines for Contributors), and contributions were always welcome and all of them have been published.

I will soon begin publishing my own email letter, web site, or blog, focusing on SHOA activities, including commentary, but with a much heavier emphasis on management topics, including management philosophy, and will send it to anyone who wishes to receive it (but you must contact me at deltajunky@aol.com to sign up). The e-mailing list will be private and not provided to anyone, and you may remove yourself simply by asking. If you are interested in learning more about topics like leadership, customer satisfaction management, strategic planning, business process improvement, human resource management, issue analysis, information management, performance measurement, and more than 30 other management topics, please sign up.

Note: This last paragraph of the above announcement of June 4 has been slightly overtaken by my desire to convert to a blog format.

Ken Karch, PE