Quality Progress - January 2016 - (Page 24)

BACK TO BASICS Best of NOVEM B 2011 ER BY KENNETH THOMAS Turning 'Who' Into 'How' Basic tips to stop finger-pointing and start problem solving "IT'S YOUR fault!" Or, "Things got messed up because of the finance department!" In her article, "Admitting When You're conduct a five whys analysis, it is often Wrong," Tamara E. Holmes advises, "Tell- effective to bring all stakeholders together ing colleagues you've made a mistake is to brainstorm and share ideas. To benefit something similar to this? When things go sometimes the best course of action."3 She from the creativity sparked by a success- wrong, we are quick to assign blame or suggests taking the following steps: ful brainstorming session, certain ground point fingers. According to Rodger Talbert 1. Admit the error. rules should be established and communi- in his article, "The Blame Game," "People 2. Request guidance. cated to the group. Recommended ground can become so preoccupied with placing 3. Step up and repair. rules include: blame that they lose sight of problem reso- 4. Learn from mistakes. * One person speaks while all others How many times have you heard lution. This leads to continued failure."1 The person responsible for making listen. the error must quickly step up and admit * Everyone gets a chance to speak. be to move away from trying to determine the mistake, regardless of its size or * There are no "dumb" ideas. "who" was at fault and quickly transition importance. Additionally, the operating * No one person will be allowed to domi- into a problem-solving mindset of "how" climate should encourage all employees, When things go wrong, the goal should to make things better. from executives down, to be courageous and take responsibility for their actions. nate the discussion. * Agree to disagree. While there is no guarantee that con- Getting past the "who" This will likely result in a reduction in ducting a brainstorming session will lead At times, many organizations have difficul- the secondary problems associated with to the 100% perfect solution to a problem, ty moving past the "who," and, as a result, attempting to assign blame, such as loss of the probability of making better, more ra- resources are wasted and costs increase. trust, bickering and loss of synergy. tional decisions is increased when you tap into the creativity of others and involve The time and brainpower expended in conducting the search for the responsible Getting to the "how" relevant stakeholders in the decision- party could be better used in brainstorm- With the "who" behind us, we can now making process. ing solutions to the problem. To facilitate determine "how" to go about solving a quick move into the problem-solving the problem. To determine how to solve it is not important "who" made the error, phase, it is recommended that those problems, you must first clearly define the but "how" the error can be corrected, you involved in the failure step up and take problems and identify any root causes. improve your chances of solving problems responsibility. Further, by acknowledging the fact that You will find that a fishbone or Ishikawa in the most economical and timely manner This action is easier said than done. diagram is a powerful tool, and when used possible. QP In W. Edwards Deming's book, Out of the properly, it will help you drill down to the Crisis, one of the 14 points of management potential root cause of a problem. is to, "Drive out fear, so that everyone may The use of a five whys exercise can work effectively for the company."2 For this also be helpful. After the root cause is to work, the organizational culture must identified, tools such as the plan-do- promote open and honest communica- check-act (PDCA) cycle, Six Sigma and tion, and recognize that people are human. lean can be used for problem solving and Mistakes, as well as bad choices, will occur continuous improvement. from time to time. FISHING FOR SOLUTIONS To develop a fishbone diagram or For more on developing fishbone diagrams, check out Michael S. Perry's November 2006 QP article, "A Fish (bone) Tale." Find it in the Back to Basics archive under the "Departments and Columns" tab at www.qualityprogress.com. 24 QP * www.qualityprogress.com REFERENCES 1. Rodger Talbert, "The Blame Game," Industrial Paint & Powder, May 2005, p. 4. 2. W. Edwards Deming, Out of the Crisis, MIT Press, August 2000, p. 23. 3. Tamara E. Holmes, "Admitting When You're Wrong," Black Enterprise, Vol. 37, No. 10, May 2007, p. 124. KENNETH THOMAS is a process engineer and quality assurance manager with Engineering Solutions and Products Inc. in Killeen, TX. He earned an MBA in organizational psychology and development, and operations management from American Intercontinental University. An ASQ senior member, Thomas is a certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt, an ASQ-certified quality engineer and a Project Management Institute-certified associate in project management. http://www.qualityprogress.com http://www.qualityprogress.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Quality Progress - January 2016

According to Plan
Solid Proof
Use Your Head
Stakeholder Management 101
Customer Delight
All About Data
Eight Simple Steps
Minimizing Chaos
Take Note
Pyramid Scheme
Assessing Failure
Which Six Sigma Metric Should I Use?
Turning ‘Who’ Into ‘How’
In the Beginning
Outputs and Outcomes
That’s So Random—Or Is It?
Understanding Variation
Improving a System
Putting It All on the Table
Know the Drill
It’s Fun To Work With an F-M-E-A
Solve Problems With Open Communication
Tell Me About It
Separate the Vital Few From the Trivial Many
To DMAIC or Not to DMAIC?
Breaking It Down
Smart Charting
1 + 1 = Zero Defects
QFD Explained
Curve Your Enthusiasm
Make a Choice
What Is a Fault Tree Analysis?
Successful Relationship Diagrams
The Benefits of PDCA
Creative Combination
Return on Investment
The Art of Root Cause Analysis
Why Ask Why?
Get to the Root of It
Checks and Balances
Calculated Risk
Sufficient Evidence
Sample Wise
Clearing SPC Hurdles
Supplier Selection and Maintenance
Team Advantage
Building a Quality Team
Plan Experiments to Prevent Problems
Substantiation Test
Training Day

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