Friday, August 21, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Habit 1: Be Proactive
Change starts from within, and highly effective people make the decision to improve their lives through the things that they can influence rather than by simply reacting to external forces.
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Develop a principle-centered personal mission statement. Extend the mission statement into long-term goals based on personal principles.
Habit 3: Put First Things First
Spend time doing what fits into your personal mission, observing the proper balance between production and building production capacity. Identify the key roles that you take on in life, and make time for each of them.
Habit 4: Think Win/Win
Seek agreements and relationships that are mutually beneficial. In cases where a "win/win" deal cannot be achieved, accept the fact that agreeing to make "no deal" may be the best alternative. In developing an organizational culture, be sure to reward win/win behavior among employees and avoid inadvertently rewarding win/lose behavior.
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
First seek to understand the other person, and only then try to be understood. Stephen Covey presents this habit as the most important principle of interpersonal relations. Effective listening is not simply echoing what the other person has said through the lens of one's own experience. Rather, it is putting oneself in the perspective of the other person, listening empathically for both feeling and meaning.
Habit 6: Synergize
Through trustful communication, find ways to leverage individual differences to create a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts. Through mutual trust and understanding, one often can solve conflicts and find a better solution than would have been obtained through either person's own solution.
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
Take time out from production to build production capacity through personal renewal of the physical, mental, social/emotional, and spiritual dimensions. Maintain a balance among these dimensions.
Management must commit to zero defects. Zero defects requires a top down approach: The best-intentioned employees cannot provide zero defects if they are not given the tools to do so.
When you decide that zero defects is the approach you want to take, recognize that it likely represents a significant change to the way people do things. Manage the introduction using the principles of change management.
- Understand what your customers expect in terms of quality. Design systems that support zero defects where it matters, but don't over-design if the end-user just doesn't care.
- Zero defects requires a proactive approach. If you wait for flaws to emerge you are too late.
- Create quality improvement teams. Zero defects must be integrated with the corporate culture. Zero defects needs to be accepted as "the ways things are done around here".
- Learn poka - yoke (POH-kay YOH-kay.) Invented in the 1960s by Shigeo Shingo of Japan, it translates to "prevent inadvertent mistakes". It's an approach that emphasizes designing systems that make defects almost impossible or, if they can't be avoided, easy to detect and address. To implement zero defects, you have to have strong systems in place.
- Monitor your progress. Build mechanisms into your systems and methods of operating that provide continuous feedback. This allows you act quickly when flaws do occur.
- Measure your quality efforts. It is important to express your progress in terms of the bottom line. Take baseline measurements so you understand the cost of defects in your organization, and can measure the benefits your achieveing in eliminating them.
- Build quality into your performance expectations. Encourage members of your team to think about how they can achieve zero defects, and reward them when they're successful.
- Recognize that although zero defects is a destination, circumstances keep changing. Monitor, evaluate, and adapt in a continuous, never-ending cycle.