I’ve mentioned in a previous post that, in Quality Management, not everyone’s going to like you and that developing some core skills can really help you build and keep good relationships going.
So, for a bit of fun (while still being totally serious), here are my top five ways you can be the most unpopular person at your office:
1. Lay blame – a really fast way to make enemies is to make nonconformities / issues about a person / group of people instead of looking for root causes and coming up with suggested solutions.
2. Think you know better than everyone else – going into someone’s service and thinking you know more about the job they do every day will definitely make you unpopular. Even if you literally just came from doing that job, keep an open mind.
3. Write jargon filled, verbose reports – making your reports so densely filled with weasel words and management-speak so that no one understands the issues is a well-known way to be unpopular. Have a read of this article for more info.
4. Don’t get back to people – remembering that you are a support service, good customer service means getting back to people quickly when they ask for your help improving a process, document, or want to check their compliance – or not, if you’re going for being unpopular.
5. Don’t tell anyone what you’re doing – when you arrange an internal audit or process review, make sure you don’t send a plan or collaborate with anyone actually working in the process – surprising people later (especially with changes) is a great way to lose friends fast.
So there you have it, an unpopularity guide – if you have other tips, please comment!
(Tongue-out-of-cheek, a huge part of the joy of working in Quality Management is the wonderful
relationships you build with people and of being able to serve them well. So be good to people! The satisfaction of good service outweighs everything else)
Thanks for reading,
Book Review: Actionable Evaluation Basics – Getting succinct answers to the most important questions (minibook) by E. Jane Davidson
“Evaluation is about delivering clear, well-reasoned answers to the most important questions.”
I had the pleasure of attending a conference last year where E. Jane Davidson presented and she was a stand-out—she was clear, articulate, funny, and, most importantly, I learned something from her.
Since then I’ve been eager to get my hands on more of her work and I thought what better introduction
than to read her minibook. Plus, I am a firm believer that, no matter how much you think you know, reviewing the basics is never a waste of time.
This minibook is inexpensive but packs a lot of punch. Davidson’s Six Key Elements of Actionable Evaluation simplifies the usually perceived huge task of evaluation into manageable bites that made me feel like evaluation is something that is achievable, even if you just start small, and even if you don’t have lots of
letters after your name.
I found most useful the section on evaluative questions, as Davidson really gets to the crux of evaluation (and does so passionately and with authority). If you’re a novice, I’m sure you’d also find the section on
evaluation reports very useful–Davidson gives practical advice that can be used in many contexts (for example, for internal audit reports).
Davidson includes links to some useful resources and further reading as well—because I bought this as an e-book, it was great to click and go, so I’d recommend buying it in this format if you’re interested in easily pursuing further reading.
If you’d like to know more about E. Jane Davidson, or get a copy of this minibook, here’s a link to her website, Real Evaluation.
Thanks for reading,
The latest issue of Quality World magazine, from the Chartered Quality Institute (a UK company for quality management professionals) begins a six-part series, exploring “the challenges of ‘redefining quality’”. I was interested in this article because I do think that quality management, as a discipline, needs to expand, and that quality management professionals need to drive this change.
A lot of the points made in the article hit the mark for me—here are my top three:
1. “The quality profession may have become…synonymous with control, compliance and cost…(and) may have generated overly bureaucratic approaches” – it is easy to think that you are addressing issues by creating, or adding to, a document. But enlarging your system through documentation, without proper review structures and a simple improvement process, leads to bureaucracy which leads to apathy. We need to move away from these types of systems.
2. Needing to offer an end-to-end process view of the organisation – setting up a solid process management system or structure is so often overlooked in favour of checking off compliance to standards. But if you have process management right, compliance becomes easier.
3. “Monitoring and evaluating the progress of improvement” – I’m a bit of a broken record on this one, but I cannot advocate more strongly for quality management professionals to gain skills and increase their scope in this area. If you’re not following up on improvement actions, you’re only doing half the job.
I stand with the authors in having “a vision of quality as a strategic business management function.” I believe it’s achievable, as long as quality management professionals seek out collaborative partnerships and respectful relationships in their organisations—all the better to promote and integrate quality management into daily operations.
I look forward to reading the rest of the series!
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I am a firm believer that in order to “do” really great quality management, you must at least have a basic understanding of working with data–specifically how to read it so you can so something with it.
I got onto this book (via Stacey Barr, Performance Measurement Specialist and creator of PuMP, a performance measurement methodology) because I really wanted to learn how to better understand my data–what’s normal and when should I act? What exactly is an XmR chart and how on earth do I read
I’m happy to say this book delivers on answering these questions, and does so in a simple and easily understandable way, for the most part. Some of the book gets a bit technical and I couldn’t really relate to the examples (being from a service industry), but don’t let that stop you from reading this book if you’re
interested in and want to do more with your data (like motivate people to action). I also loved Wheeler’s examples of how businesses can do data badly–you’ll cringe, but you’ll never make those mistakes again!
It is hard for me to believe that this book was published in 1993 because it is still so relevant. Added bonus – you can buy in fairly cheaply online (have a look at the stores that sell second hand).
I’ll leave you with one of my favourite lines from the book (I took notes to remind myself of what not to do!):
“No matter what the data, no matter how the values are arranged and presented, one must always use some method of analysis to come up with an interpretation of the data.”
Why I love this line is because I think that interpretation is a forgotten step when looking at data. As Quality Managers, when we look at data and information, we need to be asking "Why?" (getting to the root cause, if you like). And if we don't get good answers, we need to not be afraid to seek them out!
Thanks for reading,
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