How would Contemporary Leaders Maintain Quality Standards of Their Organizations?

How would contemporary leaders maintain quality standards of their organizations? Qualitative methods play an important part in developing, maintaining and improving survey quality by assessing vital issues that field pre-tests and pilot surveys alone cannot address. They are better able to identify the problems experienced by respondents in answering questions because they place a more systematic and in-depth spotlight on each question and its administration, as well as routing and instructions.

Quality is built into every process in the company. It applies on proactive requirements and resource management, feature a complete testing process life cycle, and provide thorough and detailed documentation. Quality Improvement is basically, the actions taken throughout the organization to increase the effectiveness of activities and processes to provide added benefits to both the organization and its customers. There is a significant relationship between productivity and quality. As a result, they expect for business as a profession, as well as about the substance of ethical dilemmas they confront in running their organization properly and ethically.

To maintain quality standards of the organizations there are several keys that needs to have: (1) Benchmarking is the use of standard measurements in a service or industry for comparison to other organizations in order to gain perspective on organizational performance. (2) Continuous Improvement, in regard to organizational quality and performance, focuses on improving customer satisfaction through continuous and incremental improvements to processes, including by removing unnecessary activities and variations. (3) Failure Mode and Effects Analysis is an approach that helps identify and prioritize potential equipment and process failures. (4) ISO9000 is an internationally recognized standard of quality, and includes guidelines to accomplish the ISO9000 quality standard. Organizations can be optionally audited to earn ISO9000 certification. (5) Total Quality Improvement (TQM) is a set of management practices throughout the organization, geared to ensure the organization consistently meets or exceeds customer requirements. TQM places strong focus on process measurement and controls as means of continuous improvement. Finally, (6) Six sigma is a quality management initiative that takes a very data-driven, methodological approach to eliminating defects with the aim to reach six standard deviations from the desired target of quality.

While this is a necessary reaction in such challenging times, maintaining quality standards are essential in ensuring sustainability and future growth. Adopting internal quality is an important means to achieving competitive advantage and cost efficiencies as the entire company structure reflects commitment and value for the customers. Every single person in the organization takes part in maintaining quality standards. This allows for continuous improvement as a fundamental practice in what is rapidly becoming a stricter market in every sense of the word.

Customer satisfaction is essential for any business. Working to recognised quality management standards can help you to meet customer expectations.
Quality management standards provide a framework for a business to manage its processes and activities. They can help a business improve its efficiency by providing a best practice model for it to follow.

To meet a quality management system standard you need to set up a system to improve the key processes you use to provide your products and services – allowing you to deliver consistently on your promises.

Most of the contemporary leaders understand that three factors ensure the global market competitiveness of an organization, for example: a quality product, quality customer service, and quality delivery. Leaders must champion the processes of quality throughout the organization, benchmarking successful organizations, incorporating innovations in quality, and setting standards and measurements in every department. Leaders have several tools to ensure quality. They don’t have to be Master Black Belts in Six Sigma or understand all the intricacies of lean manufacturing or supply chain management to see how each improves quality. They are sold on the merits of having a quality. They know that cutting waste translates to saving time and money for the organization. It is the leader’s responsibility to drive, steer, and fund the quality initiative throughout the organization. For only when top leaders fully endorse a quality initiative does it have a chance of becoming fully implemented and the harvest days of savings can occur.

Contemporary leaders collaborate and provide their organizations succession plans that ensure the growth of the organization over time. They feel that they lead at the request of the company, customers, board of directors, and stockholders. If each of these entities’ trust in the leader remains unchallenged, the leader should lead until he or she chooses to step down. However, whereas even the best of leaders turn the company over to a new set of watchful eyes eventually, the leader who is irreparably jeopardizing the sacred trust of employees, customers, and the public at large should step aside and let a better leader take the helm.

The history of quality management, from mere ‘inspection’ to Total Quality Management, and its modern ‘branded interpretations such as ‘Six Sigma’, has led to the development of essential processes, ideas, theories and tools that are central to organisational development, change management, and the performance improvements that are generally desired for individuals, teams and organisations.

The roots of Total Quality Management can be traced to early 1920’s production quality control ideas, and notably the concepts developed in Japan beginning in the late 1940’s and 1950’s, pioneered there by Americans Feigenbum, Juran and Deming… More about Quality Management and TQM history.

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Quality Management resulted mainly from the work of the quality gurus and their theories: the American gurus featured in the 1950’s Japan: Joseph Juran, W Edwards Deming, and Armand Feigenbum; the Japanese quality gurus who developed and extended the early American quality ideas and models: Kaoru Ishikawa, Genichi Taguchi, and Shigeo Shingo; and the 1970-80’s American Western gurus, notably Philip Crosby and Tom Peters, who further extended the Quality Management concepts after the Japanese successes… More about the Quality Management gurus and their theories, including the development and/or use of the Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) cycle, Pareto analysis, cause and effect diagrams, stratification, check-sheets, histograms, scatter-charts, process control charts, system design, parameter design, tolerance design (‘Taguchi methodology’), Quality Improvement Teams (QIT), Just In Time (JIT), Management By Walking About (MBWA), McKinsey 7-S Framework, etc.

Quality improvement is basically, the actions taken throughout the organization to increase the effectiveness of activities and processes to provide added benefits to both the organization and its customers. In simple terms, quality improvement is anything which causes a beneficial change in quality performance. All beneficial change results in improvement whether gradual or radical so we really need a word which means gradual change or incremental change. The transition between where quality improvement stops and quality control begins is where the level has been set and the mechanisms are in place to keep quality on or above the set level. Thus it is very essential to raise the standard of quality. Improving quality by raising standards can be accomplished by various steps which includes organize the resources to implement the plan, carry out research, analysis and design to define a possible solution. Hence this improvement process will require controls to keep improvement projects on course towards their objectives. The controls applied should be designed in the manner described previously.

There is a significant relationship between productivity and quality. The former is a measure of the firm output as compared to the input while the latter spells out the compatibility of the firm product with the consumer demands. Total Quality Management (TQM) is a zero-error approach towards improving the quality of processes and systems in an organization. TQM calls for the principle of continuous improvement with regard to all the areas of the organization. This approach calls for continuously examining quality of organizational systems rather than making it a one-time activity. TQM is an approach towards managing the productivity-quality equation in an efficient manner.

In a dynamically changing business environment, organizations need to re-structure and align itself to the change. This adaptation to the change is imperative for the organization to sustain itself in the ever-changing market. Reengineering is an approach, which involves radical re-structuring in the systems, processes or philosophy of the organization in the face of an environmental change. This approach calls for continuously examining quality of organizational systems rather than making it a one-time activity. The paper touches upon the basic principles of reengineering and TQM.

The quality aspect encompasses every area of a business organization. Institutionalization of best practices and a commitment to continuous improvement with regard to all areas of the organization is pre-requisite for enhancing organizational quality. Total Quality Management is an approach towards maintaining quality of processes and systems in the organization. The paper examines the quality scenario in organizations and explores the role of IT in the same.

Many of the company’s employees have considerable experience in their own specialist fields and, because of this, Keighley Laboratories is sometimes required to carry out failure investigations and possibly act as a expert witness if a court case results.

For quite some time, picking up The Wall Street Journal meant reading stories rife with indictments of CFOs, CEOs, and accountants. Though many leaders practice good principles, clearly it is time to inspect closely what it means to lead with ethics. The world is full of strong leaders; however, leadership is a neutral term. It can be good or bad. Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, and Mao Tse Tung were regarded as good political leaders at some point in time by a certain element of the population. History has proven, however, that each was guilty of an immoral use of the tremendous power his leadership afforded him.

What will history tell us about our current leaders of industry? Are they leading their companies in an ethical way? Perhaps the best barometer of achievement in this regard is the sustainable success of an organization over the long haul. For when you whittle commerce down to the point of its raison d’être, you find its ethical basis. Is it not the mission and ethical imperative of every publicly held establishment to absorb the cost of doing business, produce a quality product for its customers, provide sustenance for its members, and turn a profit that can be reinvested to make the company stronger for lean times? One company has been doing this well for more than 120 years. General Electric’s recent declining stock values may trouble investors, but it still was recognized as one of Fortune’s 2002 Global Most Admired Companies and received the highest marks for its quality of management. Compare it to the relatively young MCI WorldCom, a company struggling in a quagmire of ethical issues, and the sustaining success of GE is clearly manifested.

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To get started, we will discuss the following five components of ethical leadership: communication, quality, collaboration, succession planning, and tenure.

Ethical leaders set the standard of truth for every employee they lead. The moment people take leadership positions, they have an opportunity to place the highest premium on truthfulness. Recent cases of fiscal malfeasance at Enron, WorldCom, and Arthur Andersen illustrate the need for every form of communication leaders put forth to be an accurate representation. Yet, leading by example cannot be the only process by which this standard is relayed. It must become a company slogan, from the accounting office to the shop floor, that “Truth is Job 1.” Truthful information is quality information to the CEO, board of directors, and investors.

Jim Collins, a noted researcher on leadership, advises leaders to “conduct autopsies, without blame,” and cites companies such as Philip Morris whose executives talked openly about the “7-UP disaster.” Even when statistical evidence does not reflect well on a division or the financial status of the entire company, a plan of action to thwart disaster may be implemented and several lessons learned through open communication to ensure the sustainability of the organization.

Ethical Quality

An ethical leader understands that three factors ensure the global market competitiveness of an organization: a quality product, quality customer service, and quality delivery. Leaders must champion the processes of quality throughout the organization, benchmarking successful organizations, incorporating innovations in quality, and setting standards and measurements in every department. Leaders have several tools to ensure quality. They don’t have to be Master Black Belts in Six Sigma or understand all the intricacies of lean manufacturing or supply chain management to see how each improves quality. They are sold on the merits of having a quality. They know that cutting waste translates to saving time and money for the organization. It is the leader’s responsibility to drive, steer, and fund the quality initiative throughout the organization. For only when top leaders fully endorse a quality initiative does it have a chance of becoming fully implemented and the harvest days of savings can occur.

Bob Galvin, Chairman of Motorola, implemented Six Sigma throughout the company in the early 1980s. Just two years after “launching Six Sigma, Motorola was honored with the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.” Even the federal government is investigating the merits of this management tool. Several local government agencies are already using Six Sigma, and the federal government may employ Six Sigma in its war on terrorism. With a failure rate of 3.4 per million products/actions or 99.99966% accuracy, agencies would be better informed and lives could be saved if only one of “every 294,000 vital pieces of information … [was] … erroneously discarded.”

Ethical Collaboration

Ethical leaders need many advisors. They pick the most astute within their organizations and hire some from other companies, but they surround themselves with answers. Wise leaders collaborate to incorporate best practices, solve problems, and address the issues facing their organizations. Regrettably, the natural tendency of leaders is to draw in a close, and more often than not, closed circle of advisors. Unfortunately, the smaller the group, the less the prospect of collectively providing the leader advice on the full range of issues facing the organization. But the leader who collaborates ethically makes better decisions for the organization. How is that possible? Leaders who use ethical collaboration keep their circle of advisors more open and fluid. The objective of the ethical leader is to reduce the risks taken by the organization by assigning trustworthy experts/advisors to every situation-from R&D decisions to customer-driven needs. Advisors’ findings determine decisions of the leader who becomes better equipped to make judgments based on two critical elements: more feasible solutions and viable processes needed to exact the solutions.

Many states suffer the woes of underfunded education. Recently, South Carolina imposed a 15% budget cut, with more cuts promised in the future. The President of Clemson University, Jim Barker, pulled in campus-wide experts in their fields to provide solutions. Robert McCormick, an internationally known economist, among others, was assigned the task of creating a fiscal roadmap to ensure Clemson would sustain itself through time. While his advisors provided him with sound solutions, Barker remained focused on the overall mission of the university and its drive to become a top-20 public university. Ethical collaboration serves another important role, however. As Barker maintains an open and fluid circle of advisors while assigning the right people to the variety of issues facing the institution, he serves to broaden his and others’ awareness of promising internal successors.

Ethical Succession Planning

If principled leaders possess a need for control, they satisfy that need by establishing strong organizational standards and operational procedures for quality and communication. Yet for the long-term success of the organization, ethical leaders must set aside issues of “turf” and let other leaders surface within the company, giving potential successors opportunities to exercise and build their leadership skills. Once identified, these few should be personally mentored by the leader, given opportunities for 360° communications, and trained for the roles they may one day assume.

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In his book, Good to Great:Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Others Don’t, Jim Collins identifies Chrysler with many organizations that achieve greatness only to have it slip away through time. While examining the long list of organizations in his study, Collins notes that under Lee Iacocca Chrysler followed “a pattern … found in every unsustained comparison: a spectacular rise under a tyrannical disciplinarian, followed by an equally spectacular decline when the disciplinarian stepped away, leaving behind no enduring culture of discipline …” Arguably Chrysler faltered without Iacocca at the helm because he had failed to practice ethical collaboration to the point that a succession plan was devised.

Ethical Tenure

How long should a leader lead? Whereas the most important leader in the American government leads for 4 to 8 years, industry has no governing standard to length of tenure.
Should leadership in industry, like its counterpart in government, have a shelf life? The answer lies on the conduct of the leader. Leadership expert Peter Block contends that “We search, so often in vain, to find leaders we can have faith in.” Further, he notes that leadership is more often rated on the trustworthiness of the individual than on his or her particular talents, and that the mission of the ethical leader is to serve the institution and not themselves. Jim Collins identifies this category of executives as Level 5 Leaders: leaders who are able to “channel their ego needs away from themselves and into the larger goal of building a great company.”

Ethical leaders collaborate and provide their organizations succession plans that ensure the growth of the organization over time. They feel that they lead at the request of the company, customers, board of directors, and stockholders. If each of these entities’ trust in the leader remains unchallenged, the leader should lead until he or she chooses to step down. However, whereas even the best of leaders turn the company over to a new set of watchful eyes eventually, the leader who is irreparably jeopardizing the sacred trust of employees, customers, and the public at large should step aside and let a better leader take the helm.

People are a fundamental component within any successfully developing organisation. Take away the people and the organisation is nothing. Take away the people’s motivation, commitment and ability to work together in well-organised teams, and again, the organisation is nothing.

Conclusion

Managing the ethical climate of an organization is not easy given the myriad influences, both internal and external, on the firm. Corporate ethics programs will not completely eliminate unethical conduct, nor will they resolve all of the perplexing conflicts of ethical values that arise in various social and economic arenas today. Nevertheless a Managers’ efforts to strengthen the ethical climate in their organizations will have real benefits for employees, for the performance of the firms, and for society at large. By legitimizing the discussion of ethical considerations in business, by standing up for ethical values despite short-term costs, by giving serious consideration to problems of conflicting values, managers and executives can contribute to strengthening their organizations and to building public trust in business.

Much has been written about leadership. Regrettably, less time and thought has been afforded the concept of ethical leadership. Perhaps it is the very lack of discussion about what it means to lead with ethics that has created the current business environment of SEC investigations into improprieties, dot-com greed, and the general public’s lack of faith in the stock market. Though we would have preferred that the government did not have to force the issue of business propriety through threats and legislation, apparently for some leaders fear and not moral certitude is their personal motivator.

As a result, they expect for business as a profession, as well as about the substance of ethical dilemmas they confront in running their organization properly and ethically.

Leaders establish unity of purpose and direction of the organization. They should create and maintain the internal environment in which people can become fully involved in achieving the organization’s objectives.

Considering the needs of all interested parties including customers, owners, employees, suppliers, financiers, local communities and society as a whole.

Establishing a clear vision of the organization’s future.

Setting challenging goals and targets.

Creating and sustaining shared values, fairness and ethical role models at all levels of the organization.

Establishing trust and eliminating fear.

Providing people with the required resources, training and freedom to act with responsibility and accountability.

Inspiring, encouraging and recognizing people’s contributions.

Identifying, understanding and managing interrelated processes as a system contributes to the organization’s effectiveness and efficiency in achieving its objectives.

Structuring a system to achieve the organization’s objectives in the most effective and efficient way.

Understanding the interdependencies between the processes of the system.

Structured approaches that harmonize and integrate processes.

Providing a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities necessary for achieving common objectives and thereby reducing cross-functional barriers.

Understanding organizational capabilities and establishing resource constraints prior to action.

Targeting and defining how specific activities within a system should operate.

Continually improving the system through measurement and evaluation.

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