Quality Progress - May 2013 - 45

QualiTy in The FirsT Person BY Fitz-GeorGe a. CartY Who’s on Top? Quality can be an uphill battle I’m puzzled by the approaches that the foreman, so I left it up to the inspec- his surprise, frustration and dismay—his many leaders use to engage their employ- tors to find the damaged parts. supervisors were angry at him because he gave suggestions to the engineer. Going ees. Instead of inculcating the pride of workmanship, initiative and openness, Facing fear forward, they forbade him to stick his many leaders encourage a fear-driven A few years later, while working as a nose in quality-related matters again. and reactive work culture by instituting laboratory shift technician for another limiting and detrimental work systems manufacturer, I experienced another A quality revelation and policies. Throughout my career, I have disturbing event. I found that a process I am sure that most of us have found witnessed these counterproductive efforts had continually generated off-target ourselves in similar situations. Maybe we again and again. results—but not during the other techni- conformed to shoddy work practices be- cians’ shifts. My persistence in reporting cause we feared being different or feared The real world the off-target results caused my supervisor ridicule from our peers or supervisor. My first summer job in college was as to berate me. an assembly line worker at a major auto My eyes were opened and my confi- After a major customer complained dence was revived when I discovered company. On my first day, the supervi- months later, it was discovered that my the world of quality management and sor introduced me to the foreman, who results were correct and that the other the teachings of W. Edwards Deming. I provided me with a 10-minute training technicians—who feared criticism from experienced a feeling of redemption when the supervisor—had I realized that two of Deming’s 14 points padded their results. on quality management reinforced the Recently, a friend importance of reducing fear and called turned to me for advice. for the elimination of mass inspection My friend, who is em- of products. I discovered there are work ployed by a parts manu- systems that supported employee involve- facturer, explained that ment, initiative and empowerment. an overseas customer Many organizations are still populated had rejected incom- by supervisors who manage with an iron ing parts. An engineer fist. They continue to produce timid and at my friend’s com- crisis-driven organizational cultures. As a pany enlisted his help result, organizations destroy the commit- to resolve the problem. ment of their employees and the pride of We discussed some ap- workmanship that maximizes creativity proaches to find the root and innovation. The quality professional cause and implement must not be discouraged. We must fear- a solution. My friend lessly promote the power of quality in session before I was left on my own to passed on the suggestions to the engineer. work. Inexperienced and new, I followed At the company’s management meeting, the procedures as carefully as I could. the engineer presented the ideas and gave My slower pace attracted the attention my friend full credit. The plant manager of my co-workers and the assembly line ordered that the suggestions be imple- foreman. They shouted, “Let the bloody mented immediately. Soon, the number of parts run, the inspectors will catch them.” rejected parts fell. I feared ridicule from my co-workers and My friend called me afterward to share transforming the workplace. QP FITZ-GEORGE A. CARTY is a behavioral and organizational change practitioner in Decatur, GA, and an associate of Interact Performance Systems Ltd. in Anaheim, CA. He holds a master’s degree in management from Antioch University in Seattle. Carty is an associate member of ASQ. May 2013 • QP 45 http://www.qualityprogress.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Quality Progress - May 2013

Up Front
LogOn
Expert Answers
Keeping Current
Mr. Pareto Head
Balancing Act
Avoiding an Avalanche
What Makes You Tick?
Mood Righting
Innovation Imperative
Quality in the First Person
Standards Outlook
Statistics Roundtable
Special Section: ASQ Enterprise and Site Members
3.4 per Million
Career Corner
Career Corner
QP Toolbox
QP Toolbox
QP Reviews
QP Reviews
One Good Idea
One Good Idea

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