Virtual Leadership and the IS0 9000 Imperative

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9780132370745: Virtual Leadership and the IS0 9000 Imperative

Expert Tom Taormina helps you slice through the wording of the ISO9000 standard to the key requirements, and shows how to tailor those requirements to support not just quality, but also productivity. Learn ways to simplify ISO9000's notorious paperwork by using procedures-writing to support your goals, not stifle them.

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From the Publisher:

This book discusses how the principles of ISO 9000 can be applied to American businesses to achieve maximum leadership and productivity. Demonstrates how to best implement the ideas of a quality management system in the practical everyday activities of business.

From the Inside Flap:

Foreword

Rarely does an executive get an opportunity to read a book that is written in a personal discussion style as if listening to a friend providing invaluable information. This is not the characteristic style of most consultants; but it is the unique style of Tom Taormina. He provides the most concise presentation of what ISO9000 really is and yet includes the essentials of what any leader needs to know as a basic foundation for running a business. This book should be read by board members; CEOs; vice-presidents; first-, second-, and third-level managers; and any employee involved in a company's commitment to quality and survival.

This book could have been entitled, "What Every Leader Wants to Know, But Didn't Know Who to Ask." One of the strengths of Tom's writing style is his honesty in depicting of the realities of ISO9000 and not supporting the myth of an European anti-American effort to avoid U.S. imports until Europeans ". . . get their act together as a unified financial forum." To incorporate the knowledge acquired from his vast experience, the book addresses exactly what ISO9000 is and isn't. Although he describes the technical verbiage of the ISO9000 guidelines, he does it with common sense. His applicable examples are easily understood by leaders and employees alike.

Contrary to early rumors about ISO9000, when implemented as a strategic quality tool, it has consistently increased employee commitment, clarified direction and understanding of the importance of the employees' consistency in fulfilling job requirements, and fostered a renewed sense by the American workforce that upper management is truly interested in improving quality. In this book, it becomes clear that "Quality" is no longer a buzzword from the 1980s.

Every executive in America will identify with Tom's introduction of Virtual Leadership through his metaphor of wild geese in flight. In short, virtual leadership is placing the ownership of processes lower in the organization in order for job holders to be held accountable for the quality of their implementation. In the past, companies have attempted to do this with standardized training skills, but the future now requires a paradigm shift which places responsibility and accountability on today's workforce through direct modeling of executive leadership. He addresses what leadership style changes are necessary to support the understanding of employees and the culture in which they operate. He does not demand that any organization restructures in a specific way, as often emphasized by organizational consultants, but companies must structure the way they do business according to their own unique organizational culture.

As a reader you are left to decide for yourself if Virtual Leadership or the certification process for ISO9000 is what is best for your company.

The practical "how to's" provided by Tom's experience include how to implement a step-by-step procedure regarding leadership changes and the ISO9000 certification process and how to position your best people, not necessarily by highest ranking, to implement a plan for improving quality. The content of his information touches on the roles of the steering team, management representatives, the importance of the conducting structured management reviews, what happens during an ISO9000 assessment audit, and what preparation is required by the company in anticipation of an official assessment.

As a storyteller and conversationalist, his how-to style of communicating such a vast amount of information in a limited number of pages will be seldom exceeded by an author. Although he does not mandate that you follow his approach, his common sense explanation of sequencing the necessary steps and the importance of employee involvement is the best I have heard from any organizational consultant specialized in Total Quality Management, ISO9000 or the Baldrige Award assessments.

Seldom do business leaders find straightforward explanations, suggestions and descriptions of the vast array of applied quality improvement tools. This book is for leaders who need to understand why their managers are using specific tools to meet specific requirements. Tom is a very strong advocate for companies to avoid a preoccupation with Statistical Process Controls (SPC), Just-In-Time (JIT), or Quality Functional Deployment (QFD), which has lead to a loss of focus as to why we use any tools, especially those, so strongly emphasized in the mid 1980s. Rather than use tools just because they are available, Tom emphasizes that the tools should be implemented only to the degree that the tools support a company's goals and culture. Too many companies use tools for the sake of using tools.

The benefits of the ISO9000 certification process can be best summarized by companies that have experienced the process. These include the stimulation of creative thinking by employees, employees finding new and better ways to operate processes, reduction of waste and redundancy and the laying of a sound foundation for teamwork, which was not understood at the floor level, but too often as a managerial perk with free donuts and coffee.

The simple consistent message throughout the book can be summarized in three points:
Write down what you do.
Do what you write down.
Verify that you are doing it.

In conclusion, the best reason for being informed of the ISO9000 certification process is the improvement that can be realized from the process of becoming certified. It is refreshing to know that Tom's position is not advocating everyone be ISO9000 certified, but has interactive knowledge of ISO9000, the Baldrige criteria, and recommended readings on Total Quality Management which cannot help but provide a sound foundation for any organization wishing to remain competitive in today's marketplace.

Thomas E. Ollerman, Ph.D.

INNOVA, Inc.

Tom Ollerman is President of Innova in Mesa, Arizona. He is an internationally recognized leader in innovative organizational change. He is currently serving as a coach to IBM and their development of its worldwide executive leadership program. He is also working with the United States Naval Air Command in their team-building efforts.

Preface

I was raised in a traditional Italian-American home, by traditional Italian-American parents. My life was, by tradition, predestined. My father decided for me that I was to get a degree in engineering, work for a big company with a fat government contract for forty years, and retire as a senior manager. I was programmed to marry young, have at least one male child, and continue the traditions and values of autocratic leadership, at home and in the work force. I didn't turn out exactly as my father had planned for me.

I had my first job when I was 13, sorting parts in an electronics surplus store. Since I was underage, the store owner suggested a business arrangement whereby he would pay me $5 a day and I could have any electronic components that I could successfully smuggle out of the store. I needed the parts for my hobbies, and my father assured me that this was an acceptable business agreement because we lived "in a dog-eat-dog world, and we had to look after number one." The underhanded and adversarial arrangement I had with my first boss always left me anxious. I never much cared for that feeling of anxiety and my first job lasted only a month.

The union work ethic of the 1950s and 1960s was modeled for me. I regularly heard the union battle cry "get every penny out of them that you can get for as few hours of work as possible." I watched my father's union strike every few years for more vacation, more benefits, shorter hours, more pay, and more commissions. The company usually capitulated, but warned that someday they would have to close the plant if the union didn't stop raising the ante.

I quietly fought my parental programming and modeling throughout my adolescent life. I had several jobs working in hostile, dictatorial environments and each made me resolve to break with the traditions that were ordained for me. It was my dream to be a part of the space program, and, on my nineteenth birthday, I left the family nest in New York and moved to Houston. The transition from an environment of fear, unionism, intimidation, and mistrust to "boom town," where million-dollar deals were made on a handshake, was my first culture shock. At an early age I learned that traditional wisdom may not be the path to the future.

I did attend engineering school, and I also worked my way through the ranks at Philco (Philco-Ford/Ford Aerospace) as we built and manned NASAs Mission Control Center in Houston. In 1969, I had a unique invitation to join an emerging discipline called "Quality Control Engineering." Our charter was to develop systems and processes that would prevent defects, rather than inspect and detect them. We were also chartered to train people who affected the product quality. I soon was a Certified Material Review Engineer and a Certified NASA Soldering School instructor. It wasn't long before I realized that training, facilitating, synthesizing, and improving quality were what I was meant to do in this life. I had a difficult time explaining all that to my father, as his company was furloughing all salesmen and he was to become unemployed at age 53.

I volunteered to head up "supplier quality." My job was to visit potential suppliers to determine their capability to meet the quality requirements levied by NASA (nowadays called capability audits). The NASA requirements were published and widely distributed. I was armed with a checklist and a clipboard, given a plane ticket, and sent on my way to audit potential suppliers who knew exactly what was on the checklist. At each facility, the scenario was the same. Before lunch, the company had demonstrated the existence of all the controls that NASA required, and I was headed back to the airport with another compliant checklist and a new supplier added to the Approved Vendor's List.

It didn't take long before I was getting the same unsettled feeling that I remembered from my first job. I was doing what I was asked to do, but there was sometimes a gap between what I was told and what I observed as right and wrong. In some facilities, I was discouraged from talking with the workers. I would see assemblers working with no documentation in front of them. The person who was introduced as the QC Supervisor was nowhere to be seen on the shop floor. The work area was cluttered and dirty. The stockroom was behind a big cage, but people were walking in and out at will.

After about six months of seeing the same quality manual, the same procedures, and the same workmanship manual in every plant I visited, I had a revelation that compliance to a checklist and capability to provide acceptable products and services were often two separate conditions. I retired the checklist and started writing narrative reports of what I had observed in the suppliers' facilities. I evaluated their TOTAL capabilities, not just the toll-gate issues on the checklist. This procedural departure caused some real gas pains with our contract monitors and for several months, NASA sent auditors with me to find out what I was up to. The traditional government suppliers weren't thrilled about this new approach. When I visited a company, I would talk with the workers, not the salespeople. If the job holders used "we" instead of "us and them," there would usually be a high quality of workmanship in evidence. If they were proud to show off their facility and their products, there was usually a trail of superior craftsmanship visible. If there was one inspector for each five workers, there would also be a nonconformance area that had more material in it than was on the production floor. If the job holders wouldn't look you in the eye when explaining a process, the procedures were most times not being followed. Over the next ten years, I pioneered supplier auditing. My group developed an evaluation method that judged total capability. We solicited and approved partners instead of peddlers, and purchased for total cost of ownership, not just from the lowest bidder.

It isn't often that one can pinpoint critical moments in a life, but my observations and beliefs about the potential of the human spirit were galvanized on April 13, 1970. I was working swing shift (3 pm to 11:30 pm) at NASA, JSC, Houston, Building 30, Operations Wing, Second Floor. My office was directly across the hall from the Mission Operations Control Room (Mission Control for Apollo 13). During missions, the job of a quality control engineer was to monitor critical hardware systems and to be present to certify that any repairs done during a mission did not compromise flight success. If all went well, we had nothing to do during a mission except drink coffee and listen to the various communications circuits within the Control Center. At 9:08 pm CST that night, I was smoking my pipe, drinking coffee, and listening to the air-to-ground communications loop when Astronaut Jim Lovell spoke the fateful words heard around the world, "Houston, we have a problem." I enabled every communications loop available in our office and listened as the problems aboard Apollo 13 unfolded.

Within minutes, there were astronauts, scientists, and programmers streaming into Building 30. Within an hour there were classroom chairs lined up in the corridors outside the Control Room with mission specialists calculating trajectories and life support functions. About 10:15, Astronaut Frank Borman came into my office and asked who I was and what I was doing. I explained and he directed me to find a Polaroid camera and all the film I could gather. For the rest of the night, my job was to photograph the calculations they made on a chalkboard, then erase the board so they could make more calculations.

In one evening, I clearly understood the awesome potential of common vision, training, leadership, modeling, and teamwork. To this day, I can say without fear of contradiction that motivated, talented, and trained individuals can accomplish virtually anything they set their minds to do, as long as the vision is clear and empowerment is given and accepted.

I was indeed fortunate to have been a part of the Apollo Program at NASA and to have visited over 150 companies in ten years. I became a sensitive observer and a synthesizer and got to be part of one of the most dramatic demonstrations of teamwork in our Country's history (Apollo 13). From my experiences at NASA and in the field, I formed my own humanistic checklist for determining supplier capability. I was able to document the attributes that were successful and those that led to disaster.

Over the next seven years, I distilled my observations and experiences and utilized them to start quality programs at two successive companies. In both cases, I ultimately had total operational responsibility for manufacturing and combined the quality and manufacturing functions. Again, this departure from tradition was looked at with jaundiced eyes. "Son, you've sent the fox to guard the henhouse," or so I was told. In both cases, I proved that the people were the keys to success, not traditional procedures and conventional management. I trained the job holders, I trusted them, and I gave them the responsibility for productivity and quality. I challenged them and rewarded them and we were successful together. The union environment that was modeled for me and the rigid rules of NASA proved to be unnecessary when I learned to trust, train, and empower people.

It is now over 25 years since I first became a Quality Control Engineer and a quality...

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