Content By Paul Naysmith

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By: Paul Naysmith

If W. Edwards Deming could see what you’re doing, he’d punch you in the face. OK, not really. He may have been brutally honest in his lectures, but I don’t think he ever punched anyone. However, he would have plenty to say about how often one business copies (I believe the term today is “benchmarks”) the good ideas from another business with no thought about context. Why is it that if we hear about another organization’s idea—particularly one that claims to have a positive influence on business performance—we’ll try to copy it?

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By: Paul Naysmith

I love films. I just love that cinematic experience. It’s the best experience you can have in a darkened room when someone has spent $200 million on two hours of entertainment. I often truly can’t believe how creative and brilliant some minds are. Do you remember the last movie you saw and walked away from, lost for words to describe it? The last time I had a wide-eyed and excited feeling after a movie was from watching the British director Christopher Nolan’s 2010 epic, Inception.

If you haven't yet seen it, I would strongly suggest that you consider making it an addition to your collection. The science fiction story is about a group of spies getting inside dreams to capture secrets. Doesn’t sound like the making of a classic plot, and it's perhaps not a movie for those, like my ever-patient wife, who like period-costume crime dramas.

There is one notable scene that has some jaw-dropping special effects, where a good spy has a fight with a baddie in a hallway. On its own, this doesn’t sound spectacular; however, the hallway at the time is spinning on its axis.

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By: Paul Naysmith

As a quality professional, I am a huge admirer of what the Japanese, and in particular Toyota, have given the business world, and how they have influenced quality improvements like no other in history.

Although in recent years Toyota did have a “blip” in its immaculate history, according to the J. D. Power 2010 Initial Quality Study, its cars still top surveys and polls for quality and reliability. Out of sheer respect for the Toyota approach or “way,” when I teach people about quality, I tend to drop in Toyota examples. Afterwards my students ask me, “Which Toyota do you drive?” apparently looking for some advice on getting a good motor. My answer usually is, “Er... well... it’s... I don’t have one.” Here I am, a quality professional singing Toyota’s praises and not owning one. Do I thereby lose some credibility in front of my students? Perhaps you, too, are in a similar position as I: a quality professional with a Toyota dilemma.

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By: Paul Naysmith

I greatly believe in training. I have been fortunate to work in businesses that also believed in having trained and qualified professionals in their organization. I have personally and professionally benefited from that philosophy, and I have gained new knowledge as a result.

Since graduating from university, the most time-consuming and costly training I have been asked to undertake was my lean Six Sigma Black Belt training. The training comprised nearly 50 hours of e-learning, six residential sessions over six months, and submission of two projects demonstrating all the tools and techniques that I learned. The instructors were excellent, and often I was reminded that I was going to learn more than 140 tools and techniques during the course. I used this number to brag to others about how proficient I was going to become.

I don’t think I have even 10 hand tools in my garage, but if having loads of hand tools makes an excellent garage, it follows that having lots of lean Six Sigma tools would make an excellent employee. After my training, though, I found that I favored techniques that were simple and effective. So taking a “lean” view of my skills, it could be argued that many of them were valueless since I was selecting and using only what would bring value.

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By: Paul Naysmith

If you're reading this article, especially in the United Kingdom, it’s possible that you are a member of the Chartered Quality Institute (CQI). As I currently understand it, the average member is in her mid-50s, and therefore you may be looking not so far into the future to your retirement. You probably had, or currently are having, a successful career in the quality profession. However, if you look behind you, do you have someone competent to fill your shoes?

During the 10 years or so since I have been in business, I have to state that there are an ever-decreasing number of graduates in the United Kingdom coming from a technical background. Fewer and fewer science or engineering graduates are gracing the pages of recruiters, and as a result, this is a golden period for salaries in technical roles. Also in my opinion, the quality of these graduates is lower than when I graduated in 2000. If you are an average member, you would no doubt argue that even my generation of graduates were of a lower standard than yours.