This is an outstanding article ("Alas, Poor Leader…," Craig Cochran, July 2005). Many of us who are familiar with Shakespeare's Hamlet have never thought of Hamlet as a leader. This article shows why. As a corporate trainer and ISO quality administrator, I'm often in a position to help someone struggling with the role of leader. I just want to say thanks for giving me a new source of information on the "missed" principles of leadership.
Putting Hamlet into a modern management scenario provides a complete understanding of the story and the actions of many leaders today. My only qualm is that it seems to overlook the wise leader who fully studies a problem, discusses it and arrives at the best decision.
I enjoyed Scott Paton's article, "What I Like" ("Last Word," July 2005). In fact, before I finished reading it, I got up to tell one of my co-workers about the Disney section. As it happens, Trader Joe's is one of my favorite places to browse as well.
A few months ago I was at a Trader Joe's to get some "good things" only they carried. When I went to my car, it was dead! I went back into Trader Joe's to ask for help in calling a tow truck. Instead, they sent out a clerk with his own car to jump-start mine! In fact, two other staff members offered their assistance as well; it was like being in a small town where you know and help everyone, even though this particular store is located in the suburbs of Chicago. It sure turned a miserable moment into a happy one.
This is regarding your 2-D measurement piece ("Advances in 2-D Metrology," Robert Wasilesky, July 2005). The article read like a sales pitch for a specific manufacturer's proprietary product features. I could have overlooked all that, but then the author went right to "features to look for when you buy," which was of course just a reiteration of (surprise!) the particular features carried by the manufacturer he represents.
I have found that many buyers really appreciate it when a supplier sticks to the facts at hand, such as measuring device volumetric accuracy, data on reliability, and other cost-of-ownership issues like service rates, upgradability and the staying power of the manufacturer.
Let the documented performance of the equipment and the supporting organization, relative to the price, establish the value for a purchase decision. That is a true matrix for making a decision.
In your article "Rightsizing, Not Downsizing" (H. James Harrington, July 2005), you mention hiring contractors as a way to avoid layoffs. I don't see how that would work. If you have a surplus of employees, why would you hire more? If you had contractors aplenty as we seem to have in the federal government, one could lay off the contractor to save an employee's job, but that has the same effect on the economy, because someone is still out of work.
The article, "It's Time to Ignore the Traffic Lights" (Davis Balestracci, July 2005) was an excellent example of the problem of people reacting to individual data points. I'd like to see him write a similar piece on the stock market. Currently, there are hundreds of analysts whose only job is to analyze the stock market each day. Often, all they are doing is trying to explain common-cause variation. Come to think of it, the people who analyze political polls have the same bad habit.
I wanted to express my appreciation for your excellent article describing our quality initiatives and, in particular, our NAVAIR Depot AIRSpeed program ("Six Sigma Goes to Washington," Laura Smith, May 2005). As a direct result of your piece, we received many inquiries from companies interested in sharing information and partnering for mutual benefit. The number of inquiries and scope of the companies and organizations contacting us are indicative of the "reach" of your professional journal, and the respect accorded to your expertise. I look forward to sharing with you the successes that result from these contacts and the continued progress of our AIRSpeed program.
--Captain Fred E. Cleveland, U.S. Navy
I am very impressed with your article titled "An Alternative Method for Design of Experiments" (Mark L. Crossley, July 2005). I have forwarded this article to the appropriate individuals responsible for our Six Sigma Green Belt program as a suggested tool to be used by our Green Belts. Thank you for publishing this article.
Errata: In the article, "An Alternative Method for Design of Experiments," the equation at the top of page 40 was incorrect. The correct equation should read:
We apologize for the error.