Excellence Insights

January, 2011

Volume 1, Number 1

In This Issue


    Baldrige Award Winners Announced

    10 Ways to Make Change Fail

    A Secret Weapon for Team Building

    Link of the Month

    How Good is Six Sigma?

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A belated Happy New Year and welcome to the inaugural issue of the JCG Management Consulting e-zine, Excellence Insights.† Our purpose each month is to provide information and tools to empower busy people.† Topics will range from the technical to human side of process improvement and expose you to the latest in Operational Excellence methods applicable to all industries.

I want to personally wish each of you a happy, healthy, and productive 2011!


Jeff Cole


JCG Management Consulting

2010 Baldrige Award Winners Announced


The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award is the nation's highest presidential honor for performance excellence through innovation, improvement and visionary leadership. According to a 2001 NIST study, the net private benefit associated with the program to the economy as a whole was $24.65 billion: a benefit-to-cost ratio of 207-to-1.

The Department of Commerce recently announced seven recipients of the 2010 Baldrige Award:

  • MEDRAD, Warrendale, Pa. (manufacturing)
  • Nestle Purina PetCare Co., St. Louis, Mo. (manufacturing)
  • Freese and Nichols Inc., Fort Worth, Texas (small business)
  • K&N Management, Austin, Texas (small business)
  • Studer Group, Gulf Breeze, Fla. (small business)
  • Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, Downers Grove, Ill. (health care)
  • Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, Md. (education)


To read brief profiles of recipient organizations and their best practices, go to:† http://www.baldrige.nist.gov/Contacts_Profiles.htm

Did You Know?†† The award is named for Ronald Reaganís Secretary of Commerce Howard Malcolm ďMacĒ Baldrige, Jr., who died in office in 1987.

10 Ways to Make Change Fail

Have you ever experienced a process improvement project failure? If so donít feel too bad ó youíve received a potent education! ††If not, youíre really missing out on one of lifeís more vivid learning experiences. For those who have not yet felt the searing pain of crashing and burning, a great deal can still be learned by observing the misfortunes of others.

This month, we take a tongue-in-cheek review of 10 actions that will pretty much guarantee failure of any process improvement change project.††† Read the full article here.

A Secret Weapon for Team Building

If money were no object, what would you do to build an effective team quickly?† Back when companies had money to spare and I was a young quality manager, I got to answer that question.† One thing I did was to hire a pair of psychologists to facilitate the first meeting of our new quality council.† Our new team bonded and became productive faster than any other Iíd ever witnessed. This pair of facilitators had numerous tricks up their sleeves! Iíll open the vault and share one this month that you can do yourself, quickly and at low cost. The secret? Start with an individual personality or communication style assessment.†

People are all different. Synergy in a team involves surfacing and leveraging that diversity. There are many types of assessments such as Myers-Briggs, DISC, and FIRO-B to name a few. They work in a similar fashion, where the individual completes an assessment form which, when analyzed, places them into a particular profile. There are no right or wrong categories.† Rather they are aimed at uncovering our natural preferences and tendencies.

Once everyone is assessed, they learn how the various categories perceive the others and how they can work best together. It is an excellent ice-breaker, and helps accelerate the team through the classic Form-Storm-Norm-Perform cycle of team building. One drawback: often you are required to attend training and become certified to administer these instruments.

Here are two assessments Iíve found useful that are low cost, quick to learn, and require no certification to administer. The Paul Mok Communicating Styles Survey and the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument. These are not personality assessments. Instead they focus more on communication preferences, but they perform much the same way. You can quickly create an excellent team-building exercise around using these. Follow the links to learn more and try it out at your next team meeting!

Link of the Month

Dean Christolear is a clever and talented quality professional in Dayton, Ohio who believes in giving back. His passion is creating various Excel-based statistical analysis tools that he posts on a well-organized website

and also offers through the American Society for Quality (ASQ). The best part? They are free of charge. Check out Deanís site at http://cpkinfo.com. While youíre there look for some of my favorites Ė the Virtual Factory and the Virtual Machine.

How Good is Six Sigma?

Experts estimate that typical processes operate at a quality level of around 3-sigma. This equates to 66,807 defects per million opportunities (DPMO). Is 6-sigma quality twice as good? Actually, itís not! Processes operating at 6-sigma have only 3.4 DPMO Ė 20,000 times fewer defects than a 3 sigma process!

It sometimes helps to give people a visual image to demonstrate this concept.† Here are three ways you might explain it to others:

Carpet Example:†† If you were to clean the carpet in a 1500 square foot home at a 3-sigma level, four square feet (about the size of a standard recliner) would be left dirty. Clean that same carpet at a 6-sigma level, and the dirty spot would be smaller than a pin head. (Source:† Mikel Harry, Quality Progress May, 1998)

Golf Example:†† If your golf game was at a 3-sigma level, you would miss 1 putt per round. At 6-sigma, youíd only miss 1 putt every 163 years! [assumes 18 putts/round, 100 rounds/year] (Source:† Univ. of Michigan, Six Sigma Forum, February, 2003)

Game Show Example:† Imagine you are a contestant on the latest reality show. Inside a bank lobby is a pile of a million one-dollar bills. Your job? Take a wheelbarrow up and down several steps and haul them out. You keep all the bills you haul out. Any that hit the ground are defects and you canít keep them. If you perform at 3-sigma, youíd leave almost $67,000 on the ground Ė thatís three stacks of bills 9-ft tall each. Perform at a 6-sigma level and you leave less than $4 on the floor!


Privacy Statement:† JCG, Ltd. does not sell or otherwise share subscriber name and contact information with other organizations.

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