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  COO - CEO -- Who's Responsible?

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Author Topic:   COO - CEO -- Who's Responsible?
Marc Smith
Cheech Wizard

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From:West Chester, OH, USA
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posted 13 September 2000 06:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc Smith   Click Here to Email Marc Smith     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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John C
From:Cork City, Ireland
Registered: Nov 98
Posted 11 September 2000 05:09 PM
-----
quote:
Qualman,

Yes, this is a more difficult question. I'm working on it for years and assembling the argument and the ammunition by figuring out answers to questions like your first one.

How many CEOs, or even direct reports look in on this forum? The answer is obvious and gives a hint at the size of the problem.

Everyone says 'it must come from the top, but, in fact, it seldom does. My achievements in this area have been slow and limited. Pull them in and they seem to be coming along well but then backslide again. There's strong resistance built into every manager, for a variety of reasons.

The first thing is to refuse to do it for them. Try not to take action items from the meetings. Push them at the people responsible and then look to their managers to respond if the actions aren't followed up. Push it back all the time.

Have mgmnt review meetings not less than one per quarter. Ask the CEO 'When do you want your next review meeting?' and things like that. Never do any of the work for yourself, but get the idea across that it is for them that you are doing it, representing them and meeting their goals by delegation.


Curtis,
I guess your COO is Chief Operations Officer. If that means the top person on site, then that's fine. If the COO's direct reports are the operational manager's, then also fine. This is the key point, that the person responsible has to have the authority to make it stick. But you must remember that, if the COO reports to the CEO, then the CEO has the responsibility for everything the COO does so, if the CEO is wrong headed over ISO 9001 and the documented system, then the COO will quite likely not drive it well, irrespective of what he/she thinks. Everyone wants to concentrate on what their boss wants. That's how they got as far as they did. So, if the top guy doesn't want it, it won't happen.

rgds, John C

[This message has been edited by Marc Smith (edited 13 September 2000).]

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Curtis
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From:Clayton, NC USA
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posted 15 September 2000 01:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Curtis   Click Here to Email Curtis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You are absolutely right that the if the CEO is against it, it won't happen. My point has more to do with sustaining the effort (once commissioned)long enough to make it successful and institutional. This is where I think those looking to the CEO for daily engagement are doomed to frustration. A Chief Operating Officer (or equivalent) is by definition focused on the "how it gets done". My mission (quality director, org effectiveness, etc.)is to make sure that these efforts stay relevant to the COO's perspective.

Top management must drive. I just think you're better off trying to engage the captain in charge of the ship's bridge than the admiral who is deciding the mission.

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John C
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From:Cork City, Ireland
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posted 15 September 2000 05:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John C   Click Here to Email John C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Curtis,
Again I agree. I'm using the term CEO to relate to the top person on site. I believe that person should use the documented system and take a positive role in directing the organisation. But, whether this is most of the time or a fraction of the time depends on the nature of the business. Obviously, there is a lot of outside work that needs to be done but the CEO should not become entirely divorced from the everyday running of the internal operation. There will be exceptions, of course but in these cases, the distribution of responsibility would be quite clear and recognised.
I'm looking at the 'management with exec responsibility' requirements of ISO 9001 separately from the above. I would not expect the CEO to have any specific and visible involvement other than that of the Management Review meeting. For the review, I would expect the CEO to inform people what sort of input is expected so that senior management present can draw relevant conclusions about the effectiveness of the documented system. It should not be a case of the Mgment Rep just offloading a lot of defect data and making a statement about what is to be done about it. It's a case of getting a real look at the system and making management decisions about it.
Most of this can be done on the spot though I guess that, if senior management is really taking this seriously, then it's going to tie in with their management task and get more attention at staff meetings. Aside from the Mgment Review, I don't see the CEO going around pushing ISO 9001. Nor anyone else, for that matter. Ideally, I believe, ISO 9001 only concerns the CEO, the management rep, the ISO 9001 facilitator, if there is one and people who have designed a process and procedure and wish to ensure it complies with the standard or people investigating, on behalf of the Mgment Rep, to see if there is compliance to standard. Beyond that, all discussion should be about compliance to document.
As a minimum, it is sufficient for the CEO to attend the meeting, preside over agreement and the allotting of actions and make sure that the actions happen by making just as strong a response to failure to take action as would be expected at the CEO's own staff meeting, including holding departmental managers responsible for their staff's performance, just as in any other function. Also, by including the performance of individuals as part of their overall performance review input. It's simple motivation; Nothing works better and, in fact, nothing works without it.
rgds, John C

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Dawn
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From:St. Marys, PA
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posted 15 September 2000 06:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dawn   Click Here to Email Dawn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
John,
Nothing personal-but I disagree. We have 3 CEO's - the President, The Vice President of Engineering and Quality, and the Vice President of Sales and Customer Service. These people are OWNERS. Every shift awareness meeting we have; they mention the importance of the QS system, and how everyone shall abide. I don't ask them to do this. They are sold by it. It's called management committment and every company should have it. Every company needs to have it to see the real benefit of QS 9000. Unfortunately some managment reps are not as fortunate as myself.

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Andy Bassett
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From:Donegal Ireland
Registered: Jun 1999

posted 16 September 2000 03:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Andy Bassett   Click Here to Email Andy Bassett     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow Dawn, i really would like to visit your company, what part of heaven are you in?

Regards

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Curtis
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From:Clayton, NC USA
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posted 18 September 2000 10:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Curtis   Click Here to Email Curtis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A couple of comments on Management Review. We do not conduct mangement review for the purpose of looking at the quality system. We set up a quarterly organizational management review that cuts across all levels. The CEO, COO and his direct reports all attend. We review program performance by product line, management systems performance by discipline (financial, human resources, quality, safety, etc.), customer satisfaction, action requests (CARs, suggestions for improvement)and discuss potential action items.

While I have to set it all up, and administer the meeting, the CEO has historically and consistently participated and probed all report areas. I truly believe this formal and disciplined approach has benefited all of them in ways that their weekly one on one meetings never could. We are still refining the data presented, but are generally moving toward the balanced scorecard concept.

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Andy Bassett
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From:Donegal Ireland
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posted 18 September 2000 10:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Andy Bassett   Click Here to Email Andy Bassett     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Congratulations Curtis

With my biggest present contract i am doing exactly the same, i am combining all the measurements required by ISO 9000:2000 into a form of Balanced Score Card. I have already got most of the data necessary, including a Customer Satisfaction Survey and a Internal Climate Survey (BTW I have extracted miles of beenfit from these two survey, both of which took me about 1 hour to prepare)

I am of course struggling to get measurements from the key processes. I will probably end up having to do this myself

Regards

------------------
Andy B

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qualman
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From:Grand Rapids MI
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 18 September 2000 03:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for qualman   Click Here to Email qualman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Curtis:

You wrote earlier-

quote:
Top management must drive. I just think you're better off trying to engage the captain in charge of the ship's bridge than the admiral who is deciding the mission.

I would have to disagree with you for a couple of reasons. In all such cases of TQM, there is only one constant - change. All of that continuous improvement that a TQM system demands brings about an enormous amount of change, and the way that a company is able to manage those changes can make the difference between profit or loss. Companies, as a whole, have been very successful at Running the Business, but are at a loss as to how to Change the Business so as to gain a competitive advantage.The very definition of change implies that the process can be painful, because frequently corporate leadership may be called on to take the organization where it would not have gone in order to ensure long term organizational success. In this case, the captain on the bridge has to know where he's supposed to steer the ship.

Regards

Qualman


[This message has been edited by qualman (edited 18 September 2000).]

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John C
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From:Cork City, Ireland
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posted 18 September 2000 05:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John C   Click Here to Email John C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Curtis,
You say 'We do not conduct management review for the purpose of looking at the quality system'.
But ISO 9001 requires that you do.
The principle is that you have a documented system, you implement it and, knowing what you have done and being able to see the results, you know how to improve.
So the first questions to be asked are not related to how well your organisation is performing but are; Have you a documented system (quality system)? Do you implement it as written? What actions are you taking to improve?
The objective is not to achieve satisfactory results, but to reach your potential, quickly.
rgds, John C

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Curtis
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From:Clayton, NC USA
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posted 19 September 2000 10:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Curtis   Click Here to Email Curtis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Qualman,

The decision to pursue ISO 9000 was a directional change for our organization and was, in fact, initiated by the CEO (over my Baldrige prejudiced objections - I am now a convert). I was assigned the task of designing and implementing the system. When I needed doors opened or walls knocked down, however, it was the COO who possessed keys and a sledgehammer. I think we are actually in close agreement here. Imho, CEO's are critical to vision (direction, change, etc.) and COO's are critical to execution (implementation, maintenance). This role delineation made my efforts a whole lot more effective - particularly when I stopped looking for the CEO to drive execution.

John,

The standard requires that the organization " ... shall review the quality system..." One of the problems I think quality professionals sometimes suffer from is that we don't focus on the perspective of management. With this in mind I designed, as near as possible, a business system instead of a quality system. Our management review does address the requirements within the standard. It actually exceeds the requirements.

From management's perspective, it covers the health of the organization across all disciplines. In my experience, executive perspectives tend to run like this - if it looks compartmentalized, then it belongs to a specialist (HR, quality, safety, etc.). If it looks like "Management" then it must be theirs.

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John C
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From:Cork City, Ireland
Registered: Nov 98

posted 19 September 2000 04:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John C   Click Here to Email John C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Curtis,
You said;
'In my experience, executive perspectives tend to run like this - if it looks compartmentalized, then it belongs to a specialist (HR, quality, safety, etc.). If it looks like "Management" then it must be theirs'.
I haven't thought of the 'compartmentalised' aspect and I don't know if there's any opportunities in that approach but it's worth thinking about. One way or other, a lot of managers do see a gulf between management and quality. I believe that is a massive negative and normally I strive to close the gap. However, I get the impression that what I have been saying seems to put me on the other side, ie; the side of the 'quality professional'. No, that's not it at all. I'm fully in support of your 'business system' but I'm making the point that it's a management review, owned by managers and aimed at ensuring that they manage through the implementation of the (quality) documented system.
It's this damned 'quality system' again. Because of this bad choice of a name, we burn midnight oil just trying to understand each other.
I'm in agreement with what you say, and quite impressed, but it's what you don't say that leaves me wondering how large the gap is between the system you describe and the philosopy I'm trying to develop. When you say; 'theirs', are you criticising their thinking or are you saying 'theirs' (as opposed to ours)? I'd like to hear your answer to that one and I think we'd all like to hear more of your thoughts on the subject. Maybe we can move on to talk about Baldridge later.
thanks and rgds, John C

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Andy Bassett
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From:Donegal Ireland
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posted 20 September 2000 08:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Andy Bassett   Click Here to Email Andy Bassett     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hello Curtis

Just for interest, i note that you have been converted from a Baldridge fan into an ISO fan, as i suspect you maybe a bit of an unusual animal, what is your reasons for saying this? What do you see as the strengths of ISO compare to Baldridge.

Regards

------------------
Andy B

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Curtis
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From:Clayton, NC USA
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posted 20 September 2000 09:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Curtis   Click Here to Email Curtis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
John,

Actually, "theirs" was possessive. Because each executive has a highly vested interest in some portion of the management review, they jointly have an interest in the whole organizational review.

Our attempts to build a business system (using ISO 9000 as the model) helped to dissipate the tendency for - quality systems that belong to quality director, safety systems that belong to safety director, etc. I use "dissipate" because we have not discovered any magic potions here, just incremental progress. We, like most, still have a ways to go.

Andy,

My statement may have been a bit misleading. I am still a Baldrige model disciple. What we found, after four years trying to get a grip on Baldrige and subsequently focusing on ISO 9000, was that ISO 9000 provided a "brick foundation" for the concept of management systems. Baldrige is more like building the framework. We did not have the institutional discipline to really embed the kinds of things Baldrige contemplates {Imho, very few other service organizations have the institutional discipline}. I am convinced that we could make substantial progress down that continuum now. Here is where we need CEO energy, commitment, and enthusiasm - to set the objective. Once set, I would again look to the COO for daily sponsorship.

Please accept my apologies for the lack of manners in closing my previous posts.

Regards,

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Andy Bassett
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From:Donegal Ireland
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posted 20 September 2000 09:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Andy Bassett   Click Here to Email Andy Bassett     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the reply Curtis, and dont worry about manners with people from Cork, they dont have any either.

It was interesting to get this feedback, becuase it answers the question; can or should an organisation go direct to Baldridge/BEM without acheiving ISO.

Your experience seems to be; Not if they have a discipline problem.

Ill keep this in mind.

Regards

------------------
Andy B

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Alan Cotterell
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From:Benalla, Victoria, Australia
Registered: Oct 1999

posted 23 September 2000 05:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Alan Cotterell   Click Here to Email Alan Cotterell     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I noticed in John C's comment the reference to 'compartmentalisation'. As I have said before the Operational Risk areas associated with business processes are :quality, safety, environment, security. There has always been, in my experience an inability to reconcile these areas within any management system (documented or otherwise). The delegation of duties in these areas to nominated functions within an organisation, fails to recognise the 'tradeoffs' between the areas.
For example if you are cadmium plating, you have quality problems, safety problems, environmental problems and security problems. Whatever process you use must reconcile these in a way which is tolerable to all stakeholders. What is the use of having a 'safety manager' chasing around a plating shop?
I suggest this problem has something to do with the human brain, in the same way we cannot look at two parts of Escher's drawings at the same time. We don't seem to be able to see the 'big picture'.

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Alan Cotterell
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From:Benalla, Victoria, Australia
Registered: Oct 1999

posted 28 September 2000 01:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Alan Cotterell   Click Here to Email Alan Cotterell     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As far as the CEO is concerned, there are probably only two areas where he would probably be called to account - safety and environment.
You might ask the question - who would go to jail if we killed someone in the course of our business?
The CEO takes this risk in many companies, but many would not support the introduction of a Safety Management System into their business.
Quality risk is a lesser evil the realisation of the risk usually only results in nonpayment by a customer at worst. (Except in the case of Ford/Bridgestone/Firestone which might be a bit more interesting).
I suggest the only reason a CEO would not support introduction of documented management systems into a business is ignorance of the risks he is exposed to and what is offered by ISO9000 etc., or the yippee-ki-yo syndrome.
HOWEVER CEO'S SHOULD RESTRICT LIFE-THREATENING RISK-TAKING TO THEIR PERSONAL LIVES, and not extend it to the workplace and their employees or their customers.

SAFETY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS HAVE A LOT TO RECOMMEND THEM!

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