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Author Topic:   How to convert an unbeliever
John C
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Posts: 134
From:Cork City, Ireland
Registered: Nov 98

posted 01 June 1999 03:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John C   Click Here to Email John C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We have a complex, multifunctional process which was dinged for insufficient documentation by our registrar. Then the manager of that process left and it was dropped on another guy who sees it as a small fraction of his responsibilities and firmly believes that he is only going through the motions of developing the documentation to satisfy the registrar auditor. He knows about documentation; "the identification of responsibilities, tie down the process, basis of continuous improvement, objective evidence, etc, etc".
"Loada rubbish" he says. Most of them think it but he says it out. (maybe he believes, like most, that it is necessary in other areas, but not in his - presumably because he is the manager - he knows what's going on, it's too flexible to really tie down, etc, etc.)
I could push him under a truck. But wouldn't it be great to convert him? Like St Paul, he would be the scourge of the unbelievers if we could ever bring him over.
On the positive side; You can't argue with a person who pays lip service and does nothing. Maybe you can get to grips with someone who is willing to stand their ground and rubbish the whole process, but you'd need a good argument.
Any suggestions? miracles? bolts of lightening?
thanks and rgds, John C

[This message has been edited by John C (edited 01 June 1999).]

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Brenda Mundroff
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Posts: 18
From:
Registered: May 99

posted 01 June 1999 04:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brenda Mundroff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I understand your frustrations! I have dealt with the 'unbelievers' and have had to try many approaches to 'convert' them. Different tactics I have used include:

WIIFM - Find the one area that they can't seem to get organized or nailed down. Describe how the documentation writing process can get this accomplished for them.
Zealot - Find one person within the manager's organization that can convert from within.
Attrition - How high is the attrition rate? The higher the rate the more important the documentation is.

Hope this helps!

Brenda

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Kevin Mader
Forum Wizard

Posts: 575
From:Seymour, CT USA
Registered: Nov 98

posted 01 June 1999 07:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin Mader   Click Here to Email Kevin Mader     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
John,

I hope he's not a 6%er. No time tonight, but I will visit here again tomorrow with some thoughts.

Regards,

Kevin

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barb butrym
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Posts: 637
From:South Central Massachusetts
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posted 02 June 1999 10:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for barb butrym   Click Here to Email barb butrym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ya gotta find the weak spot in his area and pick away at it. Without the details, its tough to offer a suggestion. For instance once when I 'lived' at a company many years ago, the VP (part owner) and Dir of Process Engineering was my lip service guy. new to the company, I was trying to put in a much needed lot traveler system and process procedures. He wanted no part of it and gave me zero support and lots of LS. So every time an issue came up (and there were many) I never missed an opportunity to shake my head say, ever so quietly, " gee I have no idea how to fix that....too bad we didn't have a traveler (or procedure as the case may be)or we would be golden (or whatever)" and quickly exit the area...no further conversation. It was less that 2 weeks before he was begging me to put in a system. he has moved on to open 2 more businesses, and has had me in to set up the systems "before things get out of hand",,,,AND talk about support back then,,,he was all I needed...in short, bring it home for him, SHOW HIM how it will it make his life easier...and let him lead it..as his idea if possible. I was good at that they tell me...thats the secret of my success I think (personnally and professionally. I was always one to get what I wanted/needed by letting the other guy take the kudos as his idea, what did i care as long as i got what i needed...it was my management style,,,and ya know what...everyone knew how it really came about.

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barb butrym
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From:South Central Massachusetts
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posted 02 June 1999 10:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for barb butrym   Click Here to Email barb butrym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another approach is to talkin flow charts, every opportunity in conversation...draw a flow diagram to illustrate...till he is thinking in flow diagrams...and then a procedure will quietly emerge. How is the OJT for that area?...maybe a detailed training plan with a simple flow chart would suit him better...add more value in his eyes.

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Kevin Mader
Forum Wizard

Posts: 575
From:Seymour, CT USA
Registered: Nov 98

posted 02 June 1999 02:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin Mader   Click Here to Email Kevin Mader     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
John,

I was wondering about this manager's performance. Has he been effective or ineffective in getting results? Has he done this through leadership or fear tactics?

I think that I would need to determine a few things about this manager to determine if he could be saved. You may find that your efforts will not yield very good results otherwise. But make a convert.....I agree, would sell throughout the organization.

Regards,

Kevin

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Kevin Mader
Forum Wizard

Posts: 575
From:Seymour, CT USA
Registered: Nov 98

posted 02 June 1999 02:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin Mader   Click Here to Email Kevin Mader     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Barb,

I like the way your thinking. Flow chart the process, let the candidate take the next step. Good stuff!

Regards,

Kevin

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Don Winton
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Posts: 498
From:Tullahoma, TN
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posted 02 June 1999 02:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Don Winton   Click Here to Email Don Winton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
So every time an issue came up (and there were many) I never missed an opportunity·

I used a similar approach in the past. During meetings or discussions, when issues arose, I would ask questions such as 'What does the procedure say' or 'Can I see the records?' or something to that effect, varying with the particular issue. When they would indicate there were no procedures (or whatever), I would, through a series of leading questions, point out potential solutions. Normally (if I asked the right questions and could 'lead' them to a potential solution), it would appear that the manager himself would 'have' the idea, and as a result, they would feel as if they were actually a part of the process. They were developing the system themselves rather than having someone thrust the system upon them (a sure 'kiss of death'). I also like the idea of flow diagrams (teach them as if you taught them not).

Most believe that documentation is a "Loada rubbish" until its value is demonstrated through real world examples. Use every opportunity where adequate documentation could have better improved the system in their particular area. Whenever possible, lead them towards the improvement rather than pushing a solution upon them, as barb correctly points out.

Oh, one more thing. If you really want him to convert, remember this: Run, with patience.

Regards,
Don

------------------
Just the ramblings of an Old Wizard Warrior.

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ALM
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Posts: 80
From:Philadelphia
Registered: Jun 1999

posted 19 June 1999 11:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ALM   Click Here to Email ALM     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Though this situation is best categorized as "after the fact," I recall a phone conversation that I had with an ISO9001 certified company's representative.

Though we didn't ultimately take his approach, his advice to me as to the nature of "getting people on board" was as follows:

(He said) "...there is only one way to do this and expect success. You tell them that everybody is on board. If somebody decides that they are not going to be on board or is otherwise difficult during the road to certification, fire them. That is how we did it and we were successful on the first try. Needless to say, EVERYBODY has been on board since then."

I laughed, but he insisted that was his company's approach and he wouldn't change a thing.

Of course, this requires that your Top Management be on board and take this acheivement and maintenance very seriously, too.

ALM

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Steph
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Posts: 20
From:Concord, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Mar 99

posted 22 June 1999 10:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steph   Click Here to Email Steph     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My question is, what happens if your biggest unbeliever is the person in the highest position? I am experiencing this currently, and I have tried everything! The person putting the most pressure on me to get us certified is the reason we won't.
Help!

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ALM
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Posts: 80
From:Philadelphia
Registered: Jun 1999

posted 22 June 1999 02:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ALM   Click Here to Email ALM     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Steph -

I am certain that you are already aware of this, but... if Top Management isn't on board, and if they do not provide "objective evidence" of personal involvement and commitment to the initiative >>> you will not pass the scrutiny of an audit.

My only advice to you is that if you are "on the hook" for the ultimate success or failure of the system, it leaves you with one of two options:

Option 1: Prepare a report for top management explaining why this initiative is not in the company's future (i.e, Management Reponsibility.) It isn't the first element by accident. Your recommendation will save "X" amount of dollars in preparation and registration costs, etc. It seems he will most certainly buy into that and you may even get a raise, t'boot!

Option 2: Obviously, Top Management isn't prepared to operate an effective Quality Management System. I would have to question your Management's ability to run a business, clean up my resume, and start looking for a new job. I wouldn't want to work at a place where Management wasn't committed to continuous improvement to the Quality Management System. Let me change that a little... Management's indecisiveness with regard to going-for or not going-for certification is a symptom of what is probably a bigger "company cancer."

If Top Management cannot demonstrate commitment, it will spread through the ranks (if it hasn't already). Why stay?

ALM

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Kevin Mader
Forum Wizard

Posts: 575
From:Seymour, CT USA
Registered: Nov 98

posted 22 June 1999 02:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin Mader   Click Here to Email Kevin Mader     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Steph,

What a conundrum. Still, many folks find themselves in this position. I have even had clients who have stated "I don't believe in this stuff, but I have to have it anyway (Customer driven)!" So how do you deliver the goods with such an obstacle?

IMHO, all parties need to agree to disagree on the benefits of ISO. The objective, while for the right reasons or not, is to register to ISO. So parties need to agree upon the approach and the responsibility they will need to assume. You can work from a middle level in an organization and lead it to a successful registration. Hopefully as the process goes along, others will learn more about the process and the essence of ISO and adopt it for their own. Still others will remain unconvinced. For those folks, they will need to say the right things when pressed for comment (there will always be the doubters). This situation worsens as you find it in higher levels. It also generally takes more effort in "coaching" folks to say the right things. They will if it is in their best interest. I would suggest that you review 4.1 and 4.2 with the doubters in senior level positions, as they will likely have to face the Registrar. If they fall, you may also so try to paint a good picture.

Regards,

Kevin

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John C
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Posts: 134
From:Cork City, Ireland
Registered: Nov 98

posted 23 June 1999 07:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for John C   Click Here to Email John C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I want to thank everyone for their contributions. Please carry on, but I have to bow out. I'm leaving next Monday to take a few weeks leave and then I'll give the consultancy a go. I'll have to kick the 'Cayman habit' for a while, - it's very addictive and great fun - no doubt I'll be back on as soon as I run into trouble. So thanks to all, especially those who have responded to my queries on this and other discussions. Thanks to Marc once again.
Re the problem top exec; I would support Alm's first suggestion, but not his second. This is 'the' challenge of our work. It's the most difficult obstacle but it is also the key to really making a difference. We shouldn't walk away from it. Better to plan and ponder, try this, try that and build a campaign that is eventually going to have a relevant level of success. Appeals to logic or common sense often fail. Fear of the registrar is great the day of the audit but sinks into the background on the other 360 days. Appeals on humanitarian grounds or promises of riches cut no ice.
Why is it so difficult?
Very simple at the superficial level; The CEO's background and training is at odds with the Systems person's approach. As I've heard it said about the post of President; The guy who has the credentials to get the job is unsuitable to do it. That's the reason; The guy needs retraining, which is difficult enough in itself. But there are many different reasons why the guy is not prepared/ not able to make the shift and, unless you can find the specific reason, you are unlikely to crack the problem. And, to make it more difficult, the Systems person usually needs retraining first.
and regards, John C

[This message has been edited by John C (edited 23 June 1999).]

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barb butrym
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Posts: 637
From:South Central Massachusetts
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posted 23 June 1999 08:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for barb butrym   Click Here to Email barb butrym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
well john, lets hope you mastered the art of getting people motivated to the project at hand, as you will need that in your new role as consultant.... more than ever. All the best to you

barb

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Kevin Mader
Forum Wizard

Posts: 575
From:Seymour, CT USA
Registered: Nov 98

posted 23 June 1999 09:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin Mader   Click Here to Email Kevin Mader     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
JC,

Good luck on your consultancy endeavor. I hope you find great satisfaction (and a measure of success) with helping folks to improve their organization and increase the quality of life for yourself, your client, and the folks who buy and use their product.

Regards,

Kevin

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John C
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Posts: 134
From:Cork City, Ireland
Registered: Nov 98

posted 24 June 1999 06:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for John C   Click Here to Email John C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Barb, Kevin et Al,
Thanks for the good wishes and all the ideas and information.
rgds, John C

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