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Basic Business Cents: Leadership, direction, action key to management

Lou Schultz

In the last article, we said the theory and concepts of the Quality Masters have three major groupings - leadership, direction and action.

They can be portrayed as:

n Leadership, which includes roles and responsibilities, appreciation for a system, knowledge of variation, theory of knowledge and psychology.

n Direction includes aim, planning, implementation and review

n Action engages education, technical skills, motivation, concepts, techniques, vehicles and customer satisfaction

The last four of the leadership components - appreciation for a system, knowledge of variation, theory of knowledge and psychology - are what Dr. W. Edwards Deming called A System of Profound Knowledge.

According to Deming, management as developed in the 19th Century and continued during the 20th Century, is the major cause of waste, rework and untold losses.

Emphasis on short-term results, outdated personnel ranking practices and failure to understand a system are responsible for losses of both human and financial resources so great that the total amount will never be known.

"The prevailing style of management has led us into decline," Deming said. "Transformation into a new style of management is required. The route to take is what I call profound knowledge. It is not automatic. It must be learned; it must be led. "

The components in direction - aim, planning, implementation and review - are not broken out separately in these articles as implementation is treated in the action element and review is part of measurement.

The elements of action fit a model developed by Dr. Noriaki Kano, which he calls the House of Quality. Kano has contributed several important concepts such as the Attractive Quality Creation method of obtaining breakthrough creation of products and services.

But, he may be best known for his theory and graphic, which provide a model for understanding quality and what it demands of those who wish to achieve it.

"If we think of Total Quality Management as a complex, interconnected structure of ideas, practices and values, it may be compared to a house," says Kano.

The ground beneath the house represents the general education and mores of society. Upon that rests the organizational foundation of intrinsic technology, then a ground floor of motivational approaches. Three pillars - concepts, techniques, and vehicles - hold up the roof of the organization, that is, its purpose, which is assuring quality and customer satisfaction.

The next article will begin to explore in detail the element of leadership.

Louis Schultz, managing director of Process Management LLC, has assisted organizations worldwide with performance improvement. He currently works with area business owners as a SCORE counselor. E-mail him with questions or comments at lou@process