President

Denis Leonard has a degree in construction engineering an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in quality management. Denis is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality, a Certified Quality Manager, Auditor and Six Sigma Black Belt. He has been an Examiner for the Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners a Judge on the International Team Excellence Competition and a Lead Judge on the National Housing Quality Award.

$50k which was to be transferred from one business account to another was not actually completed.

A client was given completely different instructions by 3 different representatives from the same office.

A client was confidently informed, ‘not a problem just call us when you are ready and we can make that happen easily’. When the client returned the representative realized in fact that they couldn’t make the change at all.

While Quality tools and techniques have been around for a long time and proven their worth I still see and hear situations that amaze me. For example a trade embraced quality and created checklists, inspection points, tracked problems, eliminated root causes meaning that fewer defects and call backs were occurring. This resulted in cost savings and improved customer satisfaction for his business. With pride therefore he described his approach to a new contractor he was seeking work from.

'Of course I do', or so you say! But do you, would you really? I have been shocked over the years at the reaction to those who approach managers, bosses, leaders and owners with insights to what is happening in an organization, presenting them with gold, telling them what is wrong, how it can be improved.

In some cases these have been very significant issues, ethical, legal and financial, only to have been dismissed, not believed, told to stop doing what they are doing or worse that they are the problem. 

Do you listen? Have you listened?

5W2H stands for 5 Ws and 2Hs or Who, What, When, Where, Whey How and How much.

When working on improving a process this is a very simple tool to help you think thorough improvement opportunities.

Who does this? This can lead to, could we do it with less people?

What is done at this step? This can lead to, can we eliminate some of the steps?

When does this start and finish? This can lead to, can we shorten the time it takes?

Yes we are making lists again!

Make two lists.

In one list the elements of company cultures that you have experienced and liked.

In the other list elements of company cultures that you experienced and did not like.

So you may not have liked the bureaucratic approach in one organization, in another you valued their focus on training and development for example.

When you are done, circle those issues in BOTH lists that you feel honestly reflect YOUR company culture now!

“It is leadership, that recognizes that structure and goals are not effective without the corresponding tactics and that neither will generate strong and positive business results without effective implementation.”

Armand V Feigenbaum & Donald S Feigenbaum

The Power of Management Capital

2003

Forming, storming, norming and performing are the four key stages in team formation.

Forming: This is a short lived period when the team initially gets together. The members get to know each other and why the team has been formed.  The team leader is strongly in control at this point.

“Management has to give direction to the institution it manages. It has to think through the institution’s mission, has to set its objectives and has to organize resources for the results the institution has to contribute.”

Peter F Drucker, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practice, 1973

The National Housing Quality Award, Criteria for Performance Excellence, provides an infrastructure to support exactly that!

One of Demings ‘Seven Deadly Diseases’ is ‘The Emphasis on Short-Term Profits’ and therefore on short term thinking. Despite the lessons of the recession, so much of corporate thinking is still driven by the short term view.

Here is a simple exercise to help you reflect on your leadership.

Make two lists.  One is headed, ‘leadership I respected and valued’, the other will have the heading of ‘poor leadership’.

Under ‘leadership I respected and valued’ list examples you have experienced.  To do this think about someone in your career that you respected and valued, this might be someone that was a mentor (whether they knew it or not) a great boss, you father, a team lead that you really enjoyed working with. What are the things that inspired you.

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