Quality Progress - May 2013 - (Page 64)

One GOOd IdeA BY WilliAm A. levinSon Act the Fool Heyokas play an important role in an organization’s survival A Heyoka is a sacred clown or contrar- lenge existing practices without constraint Shingo asked, “If all you need to do is paint ian in the Sioux and Lakota language. by calling attention to underlying assump- the pen caps, why paint the air as well?” Using satire and farce, they ask difficult tions and paradigms. This concept appears He observed at least half of the paint questions, help others see situations in a Diesel clothing company advertising sprayed missed the caps. That company differently and open eyes to things often campaign, “Be Stupid.” The campaign paid for wasted paint twice: first in the overlooked.1 Almost every workplace has encourages people to take risks, innovate cost of its purchase and again when it a few heyokas, and they are vital to the and challenge established paradigms.2 became an environmental problem. Words of wisdom doughnut’s hole,” means to pay attention more than an entertainer or fool. The Shigeo Shingo often acted as a heyoka. At to everything that is thrown away (the jester also played an advisory role. He a metal forming facility he asked, “Why hole) as well as the product (the dough- was the one person who could criticize or grease scrap metal?” Instead of greasing nut). Phrases like “grease scrap metal” and admonish the king and speak the truth and the entire piece of stock, he thought the “paint the air” put processes and waste in The phrase, “keep your eye on the organization’s survival. In medieval times, a court jester was 3 a new perspective. When Henry Ford said, “Pedestrianism is not a highly paid line [of work],”4 he was commenting on jobs that required workers to walk to get tools and parts due to poor workspace organization. Ford thought walking was a waste of motion that was built into the job and taken for granted. An effective heyoka uses questions and observations to challenge procedures, paradigms and organizational culture—not the people who do the jobs. This is consistent with auditing and other quality approaches that place blame on deficiencies in tasks or the work system, not the staff. QP RefeRences get away with it. The jester’s words could manufacturer should only grease what be disregarded as jokes according to social came into contact with the press. This norms and customs. 1. Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heyoka. 2. “Be Stupid,” Diesel, www.diesel.com/be-stupid. 3. Shigeo Shingo, (Andrew Dillon, translator), The Sayings of Shigeo Shingo: Key Strategies for Plant Improvement, Productivity Press, 1987. 4. Henry Ford and Samuel Crowther, My Life and Work, Doubleday, Page and Company, 1922. would reduce the amount of lubricant the The fool in tarot card decks may symbolize a similar role—the ability to chal- A Lesson fRom Levinson company needed to purchase. At a fountain pen manufacturing plant, William A. Levinson is the author of “easy A,” which features tips to ace certification exams. Check out the open-access column, which appeared in QP’s July 2012 issue, at http://asq.org/quality- progress/2012/07/one-good-idea/easy-a.html. 64 QP • www.qualityprogress.com WILLIaM a. LevInSon is principal consultant at Levinson Productivity Systems P.C. in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. He has a master’s degree in engineering from Cornell University in Ithaca, nY, and an MBa from Union College in Schenectady, nY. an aSQ fellow, Levinson is an aSQ-certified quality manager, auditor and engineer, reliability engineer and Six Sigma Black Belt. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heyoka http://www.diesel.com/be-stupid http://asq.org/quality- progress/2012/07/one-good-idea/easy-a.html 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

Quality Progress - May 2013

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