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Dear Workforce How Do We Implement TQM

The challenge is getting beyond platitudes to applying practices that transform your corporate culture.
August 15, 2001
Related Topics: Total Quality Management, Dear Workforce

Dear Workforce:

Organizations practicing total quality management (TQM) have a long-termcommitment to quality and consider quality to be the core value. What are thekey points in TQM and what are some ways to improve it?

- Office Administrator, software/systems, Kuala Lumpur.

A Dear TQM:

Total Quality Management (TQM) generally refers to a comprehensive systemwhereby companies are able to achieve extraordinary levels of quality in theirdelivered products and services. Most people, when they think TQM, invariablythink about automation technology, super-efficient processes, close supplierrelationships, and analytical tools like statistical process control that leadto so-called "Six-Sigma" levels of quality.

These elements represent the foundation of an effective TQM program. Asimportant as these elements are, however, the really hard part of achieving orsustaining TQM is getting beyond mouthing platitudes to actually implementinghuman capital practices that will drive and sustain the appropriate culturechange.

Culture change is where the human capital notions of competencies andperformance management enter the picture. Competencies, in short, are thebehaviors and the skills that top performers demonstrate. In a TQM environment,top performers demonstrate these six key competencies:

  • Customer focus by proactively seeking input from internal and externalcustomers.

  • Ownership and accountability by handling ambiguity well and taking personalresponsibility for outcomes.

  • Analytical problem solving by effectively utilizing analytic tools toidentify root causes and assess problems and opportunities.

  • Process orientation by using operating metrics to drive continuous processimprovements.

  • Attention to detail by processing large amounts of detailed information whilestill understanding the big picture.

  • Results orientation by initiating and executing needed actions in a fast andfocused manner).

Performance management is one of the key means by which organizations givemanagers incentive to drive for desired results. In a TQM environment, thecompetencies noted above must be integral to an effective performance managementsystem. Managers must be assessed and rewarded on how well they have achievedoperating results, as well as how effective they have been in applying these keycompetencies that are, essentially, the long-term enablers of high performance.Identified competency shortcomings naturally lead to education, training andrelated self-development activities.

Companies that combine the foundation elements noted earlier with theappropriate competencies integrated into an effective performance managementsystem will be able to sustain and improve a long-term TQM culture.

SOURCE: Dr. Gerald Michael, senior consultant, organization developmentpractice, Unifi Networks, a subsidiary of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Boston, Mass.,April 11, 2001.

LEARN MORE: See "Change Keeps TQM ProgramsThriving"

The information contained in this article is intended to provide usefulinformation on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice ora legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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Dear Workforce Newsletter


 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

If you have any questions or concerns about, please email or call 312-676-9900.

The Workforce fax number is 312-676-9901.

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