New to Management: Culture Change Advice

N

Nate.QE

#1
I'm a younger guy coming from the "north" with the desire to help change the quality culture in a new division and help them understand why it's important.

Background: Been in quality for 6 years, certified SSBB, and a little experience in management and have taken a quality manager position at a different division within the company.

Info on the division: Hourly employees have very little turnover, current quality/lean manager is very close with employees and quality takes a back seat to lean/delivery for several reasons. Division has good procedures in place, but only follow them when upper management visits and it's back to business as usual when they leave.

Suggestions/tips that would help make my transition successful?
 
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S

silentrunning

#2
Re: New to Management: Culture change advice?

Rather than go in and make waves, I would first find out if they have set quality objectives. Are they meeting them? Are there any outstanding Corrective Action Requests? Unless you are walking into a quality disaster, I would look for their strengths rather than weaknesses. Don't overhaul a system that just needs a tune up. Good luck.
 
C

ckillam3

#3
Re: New to Management: Culture change advice?

Nate,

Thank you for asking the question I was about to ask. I am an aerospace Quality Engineer sitting for the ASQ CMQ/OE exam this Saturday. My overall goal is move into management, therefore I taking this certification to prove to myself and then to my employer that I have the knowledge to take such a role.

My company has troubles verifying engineering work before it is delivered to the floor in the form of drawings and work orders. We perform a lot of reactionary work just to correct the issues that we know about.
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#4
Re: New to Management: Culture change advice?

I'm a younger guy coming from the "north" with the desire to help change the quality culture in a new division and help them understand why it's important.
What are you trying to say here? What does from the North have to do with your questions?
 
A

amariepsu

#5
Re: New to Management: Culture change advice?

Focus on sustainability from the ground up.
Encourage employee involvement.

I only have about 5 years experience in Quality, which isn't much, but my main selling point is sustainability through teamwork and positive reinforcement.

Here are some tips:

1. Gain the respect of the people you're working with.

Talk to each employee individually; in their area (so they're more comfortable); introduce yourself, and ask questions to get to know them and what they do. Also, continue to do so as you become more involved in your work.

Make sure you show interest in them as a person so you gain their respect before diving too much into the Quality stuff.

2. Set an example.


You have to really believe in the importance of maintaining the quality system, and always set the standard for behavior. In other words, 'Practice what you preach'.

3. Work on the Culture.

I use 'one liners' to try and embed the importance of quality into the culture.

Signs are by far the best way to do this with very little effort.
'Quality is everyone's responsibility' and 'The race to Quality has no finish line'. Oh, and another common one is 'Quality Protects Jobs'.

4. Educate people on the importance of maintaining the system, and let them educate you on their reasons for not complying.

By doing this, you can work together to establish a solution which makes the employee actually want to comply, now that they understand why its necessary. There is also a sense of satisfaction in being a part of the decision making process that encourages sustainability.


When employees understand why they're expected to do something, and feel as though they had 'a say' in how they should comply with certain requirements, they are much more likely to maintain quality processes.


Example of real life application:

True Story:

During pre-assessment of the job shop where I'm responsible for quality system implementation from the ground up, I learned that we had a recent customer visit where they performed a 'full quality system audit' to their own quality requirements.

Trying to gage the employee's knowledge, I began asking around, individually, at each person's workstation, about the audit.

Do you know why the customer was here? Have you ever heard of Document Control? Are you aware of what the President is talking about when he uses terms such as 'Corrective Action' findings and audit results?

Point being, is you should be asking more questions and listening than anything else.

Each individual's perception is an important piece of the puzzle. One influential individual's 'buy in' or 'lack thereof' will make or break the sustainability of the quality system.

It's like a domino effect. I do it because everyone else is doing it. Or, no one else follows the rules, why should I?

The key is to change the perception of the importance of quality as a whole and have an open ear for common phrases that represent the overall view of the employees involved.
 
N

Nate.QE

#6
Re: New to Management: Culture change advice?

amariepsu: Thank you for a great reply! A lot of great pieces of advice. I fully intend to work with as many employees as possible to get to know them and their views on quality and their culture before any changes happen.
 
N

Nate.QE

#7
Re: New to Management: Culture change advice?

What are you trying to say here? What does from the North have to do with your questions?
To better paint a picture of my situation as it relates to possible culture differences that I may need to understand and approach differently.
 
B

BethP

#8
Info on the division: Hourly employees have very little turnover, current quality/lean manager is very close with employees and quality takes a back seat to lean/delivery for several reasons. Division has good procedures in place, but only follow them when upper management visits and it's back to business as usual when they leave.
In your position, I would want to understand why procedures followed during upper management visits are different from day-to-day procedures. If team is producing good quality products in very efficient way on day-to-day basis, why wouldn't the day-to-day procedures be the division's procedures? If division procedures are seen as hindrance to daily work, it seems like you should work on a root cause for that.

Caution: you need to tread lightly so as not to be perceived as an obstruction from hitting performance goals. High quality and high performance should complement each other, not fight. If there is a conflict, the winner will most likely be the metric most closely tied with compensation.
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#9
Re: New to Management: Culture change advice?

To better paint a picture of my situation as it relates to possible culture differences that I may need to understand and approach differently.
What cultural differences like N Dakota from S Dakota, Redding CA from San Diego, N Chicago from Joliet or what?
 
T

TRshepherd

#10
Hello,

In addition to the the fine suggestions already posted - there is a relatively simple protocol that can be used to help the process.

Your comment that when the visitors arrive things get done and then falls apart when they leave is telling.

Some companies call them "Layered Process Audits" some call them "Layered Audits"

In any case, they were primarily designed to get management involved back into the process and get feedback from the people that are in the process for improvement ideas (NOT TO BEAT PEOPLE UP or PLAY THE GOTYA GAME)

The Layered portion of the name is in reference to LAYERS OF MANAGEMENT.

They should be simple, quick (5 minutes or less in most cases), and constantly changing to reflect Key steps in the process - NOT CUMBERSOME, Don't pile so much on that it becomes a chore and wastes a lot of time or continue to let them grow into monsters.

I haven't looked in Elsmar Cove for examples - but I'd be willing to bet there are some examples already here.

The timing for implementation of something like this is crucial - take the posted suggestions first (learn the culture and the people) then start slowly in key areas.

Good Luck,

Tom :2cents:
 
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