Quality Leadership creates quality products, but how? I like initiatives like Lean and Six Sigma that seek to improve quality. Their tools and thinking have helped me at various points. I want to write today on what is of first importance in successful implementation by talking about a simple root cause analysis.
I was not in the facility, but trying to solve a quality problem from afar. For the first few days, information from the facility appeared to lack proper thinking. However, as I talked through the matter with them, I came to realize that they were not giving the best information. They did not trust that we Westerners would use it well. They believed that the Westerners would harm the market by going off half cocked with any information they received.
I had to create enough safety and show enough understanding before the real data emerged. That led to proper conversations around the facts. Facts led quickly to resolution of the problem. Fear of what leaders might do with information leads to bad data.
Quality Leadership Prevents False Data
Good leadership creates transparency by reducing fear and distrust. That improves data and makes quality improvement really happen. Great leadership helps everyone feel that we are all on the same team. Feelings of safety rise and data and cooperation gets better.
I knew a Quality Supervisor who covered up problems to make her and her boss look better. But failure to report the actual situation meant that no good plans could be made to improve.
Change from fear and mistrust is not easy or quick, but we can make our workplaces more successful. Let’s show workers that we want to understand and will do so before making rash decisions. Lets further convince them that real data makes us stronger to build the company and satisfy customers. Well, only great leaders can get Chinese workers to care about such things, so we are back to the Quality Leadership issue. See also Why We Background Check.
We can always have great and improving quality in China if we pay attention to the honesty of people we hire and the Quality Leadership we ensure.