Tom Peters thoughts on Six Sigma, ISO

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Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
#3
Tom Peters has always been on my short list of guys with their heads screwed on straight. I was particularly struck by one of his notes (N.B. is an abbreviation for the Latin "nota bene" which means "note well")
(NB: In this paper, I chose to use the likes of “Six-Sigma,” TQM/“Total Quality Management,” “Deming Principles,” Crosby’s “Do It Right the First Time,” and General Creech’s own “Six Pillars” interchangeably. As a result, many readers will doubtless scream bloody murder. But my point is simple: Systems are terribly important! But it really doesn’t matter much which one, among the tested ones, you choose—as long as the culture is “right” and the passionate-determined leadership is in place.)
(It's really a lot like Vince Lombardi, who had the idea that football plays - plain or razzle-dazzle - were OK, but the primary thing was EXECUTION! EXECUTION!)
 

Sidney Vianna

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Admin
#4
Of life jackets made of concrete or airplanes made of bamboo.

It is appalling that the author would use the much maligned concrete life-jacket quote by a Motorola person to make a case against ISO 9001. I remember reading it, back in the Fall of 1993, in the ISO 9000 News publication. My reply/rebuke was published in the

issue where I made it clear that a life jacket made of concrete would violate a number of requirements in ISO 9001. So, the theoretical example to show the shortfalls of the standard doesn't pass scrutiny. I also made that point here, at The Cove, many years ago.
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
#5
Re: Of life jackets made of concrete or airplanes made of bamboo.

For the record, I don't think Tom Peters was making a case against ISO Standards so much as reflecting that many folks feel that organizations (and their third party auditors) frequently get caught up in serving the letter of the guidelines and forgetting the "spirit," which, in my opinion, is merely to serve as a yardstick to meet a minimum mode of operation (much like the yardstick used at carnival thrill rides to filter out folks too short to ride safely.) That mode of operation is to provide a safe product or service to customers which meets their needs and makes a profit for the organization.

Make no mistake - we have dozens, if not hundreds, of threads here in the Cove where folks write describing abuses of the spirit by bosses, workers, AND auditors (whether internal, customer, or third party.)

In my own public presentations and private consultations, I continually rail against "mission creep" and Kwality Kops. In the twenty years I've been giving those presentations, I have NEVER had audience members rise up and say. "What are you talking about? I've never seen such abuses." Instead, I get knowing nods and, often, shouts of "Right on!"

Tom Peters is not the problem - he's only the messenger. Don't kill the messenger!

Added in edit:
Of course, in the intervening years since Standards first began to be imposed by OEM on supply chains, we have seen an increased emphasis on providing safe and humane working conditions for the employees. This is a facet of the Standards that really needs more emphasis, in my opinion.
 
Last edited:
#6
Re: Of life jackets made of concrete or airplanes made of bamboo.

"In Search of Excellence" and it's follow-up "A Passion for Excellence" were considered as the basic handbooks for the MBA program I was in during the mid 80's.

I see that his writing is just as hard to follow today as it was then. Tremendously insightful, but full of diversions.

Thanks for sharing.
 
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