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Maset News
Volume 58  January 24, 2006

Introduction
Message From Charles Loew
Comments From Our Readers
New On The Maset Web Site
Tips for New Employee Integration
Tips from Our School for Managers
One Liners
Feature Of This Issue
Second Feature Of This Issue
Third Feature Of This Issue
Coming in the Next Few Issues
Housekeeping

INTRODUCTION:

Welcome to MASET News. A monthly publication dedicated to the communication between MASET and our many interested friends, customers and potential customers

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MESSAGE FROM CHARLES LOEW:

  • Welcome to 2006 -

    As we begin the New Year and look at our organization, we need to evaluate what each of us can do to increase Customer Satisfaction for both external and internal Customers as well as all the other stake holders of the organization:

    • Can we eliminate non-value activities?
    • Can we reduce defects?
    • Can we respond more quickly?
    • Can we offer different products and services that meet our Customers' needs?

  • Maset has the capability to help you develop an improvement initiative that will eliminate non- value activities, will reduce defects, will enable your organization to respond more quickly, and will help you to identify aLIitional products and services to meet your Customers' needs. Please review our web site at www.masetllc.com or contact me to discuss how we can help you. Look at the web page titled "Quotes from our Customers" to read what our past Customers have said about our abilities and the results they have achieved with our assistance.

    Our Feature Article this month by H. James Harrington discusses the role of middle managers in the improvement process. The one place I differ with James is that these traits and new role models are required for any and all efforts that middle managers are engaged in. The role for the middle manager has been and will continue to be changing away from the command and control and move much more towards being a coach and mentor in every situation and every day of their careers. The new responsibilities need to be clearly define and more importantly, outside intervention is required to train and change old habits. Maset has extensive experience in working with organizations to successfully implement change within the middle management ranks of an organization.

  • In our second feature article Jim Bracher answers a question about competition in NASCAR racing. But the question and Jim's response is very applicable to any organization and its relationship with its competitors. It provides an excellent lesson that we can all apply to our business and personal lives.

COMMENTS FROM OUR READERS:

"Thank you for the Maset news - I enjoyed reading it." - Germany

"This is the nicest uplifting News magazine you ever had. It gave me more hope, more energy and a kick in the rear to keep on going and loving life and everything more than ever.

At the end of a very harsh year on everyone in the entire Universe, we need someone to remind us all and always to get back to reality and thank God for His awesome Mercy and Grace. God Bless you and your family. Hope next year will be very good for all of you in health and full of success." - Arizona

"Thank you for this informative newsletter." - Jordan

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NEW ON THE MASET WEB SITE:

We are pleased to have Dennis Soward join the Maset Team. Dennis has a tremendous amount of experience in implementing 5 S and Lean. We will be aLIing many Products and Services and some training and Workshops in the coming months in these two areas.

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Tips for New Employee Integration
Provided by Orientation Passport

TIP 19: Celebrate the New Hire Joining Your Organization
Have a "Welcome" banner for their cube and have it signed by their manager, the site manager or all the team.

TIP 20: Integration: Tools to Make Them Part of the Team
Ask them how they can like to be managed. Try to manage toward that style if possible.

Visit the Products and Services describing the Orientation Passport

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Tips from Our School for Managers
- by Andrew E. Schwartz

TIME MANAGEMENT: -MANAGING YOUR TIME:

1) Be available at specific hours. If you are reserving your prime time, let your employees know that you will be available only during specific times. Schedule short meetings with key people on a regular basis, or when needed.

2) Limit Routine Tasks. Decide which tasks you must accomplish and set aside a small block of time each week for them.

3) Utilize Lunch Time. If you are feeling pressure, take lunch to relax, or take this time to concentrate on your A and B tasks away from the office.

Copyright A.E. Schwartz & Associates, all rights reserved

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ONE LINERS - "To make you think and/or smile"

  • "If the human race wishes to have a prolonged and indefinite period of material prosperity, they have only to behave in a peaceful and helpful way toward one another." Winston Churchill
  • Be open-minded and quick to make new friends.

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FEATURE OF THIS ISSUE:


CREATING NEW MIDDLE MANAGERS

They're essential links in any improvement process.

By H. James Harrington

Top management is essential to getting any improvement process started, but middle management keeps it going. If top managers truly accept their roles as planners and direction-setters, they distance themselves from day-to-day problems facing their businesses, which means its middle managers who actually run their organizations and ensure that they continue to improve. Therefore, the traditional middle-manager role of "kicking tail and taking names" must change drastically. That old micro-management attitude needs to give way to one of macro-management, with its wide viewpoint and understanding of inter-functional relationships. The key tasks for new-generation middle managers are:

  • Developing close working relationships with and an understanding of their customers
  • Focusing on the big picture and managing it
  • Providing education, guidance and mentoring to first-line managers
  • Focusing on process rather than the actions
  • Helping employees learn from failure rather than punishing them for it
  • Concentrating on why problems occur rather than who caused them
  • Recognizing continuous improvement as well as meeting targets
  • Embracing change and acting as change agents
  • Rejecting requests to make decisions that should be made at lower levels
  • Placing high priorities on networking and similar functions
  • Providing role models for first-level managers and employees
  • Maintaining honesty
  • Sacrificing departmental performance when necessary to improve total organizational performance
  • Proactively stimulating upward communication
  • Sharing data openly at all levels
  • Searching out employees' ideas and actively supporting good ones
  • Explaining why an employee's ideas are rejected
  • Practicing consensus decision making whenever possible
  • Empowering a customer-service employee to resolve customer problems
  • Encouraging first-line managers to empower their employees
  • Communicating priorities and holding to them
  • Establishing networks that identify potential negative trends
  • Placing a high priority on problem prevention
  • Recognizing and rewarding employees who prevent and solve problems
  • Varying the reward process to meet awardees' needs and contribute to the organization's activities
  • Treating everyone as equally important
  • Demonstrating the importance of meeting schedules and getting the job done without compromising quality
  • Handling negative situations with a smile more often than with a frown
  • Placing a high priority on expanding employee capabilities and responsibilities. Helping those who request it, if possible
  • Above all, being good listeners. Remembering that the same letters spell the words "listen" and "silent"

Middle managers' importance to the improvement process can't be overemphasized. They act as role models for first-level managers and employees. Middle managers shape the management style of the organization's future leaders. They're close enough to employees to be on a first-name basis with all of them. They must understand an individual's performance, strengths and weaknesses as well as his or her career aspirations.

Often, as we develop potential future organizational leaders, they move from one department to another. But middle managers remain the technology and managerial experts to whom new and experienced managers as well as employees all turn. During the improvement process, they're teachers, coaches, friends and mentors. Whereas top management acts as a beacon for the improvement process, middle management provides the ruLIer. They truly make the difference between excellence and mediocrity.

Middle managers are too often overlooked in our quality processes. We focus on top managers, working with them to get them to change. Then we turn our attention to the employees to help them become part of the team. Often middle managers are left out of the cycle. This is an unforgivable error. Middle managers are typically longtime employees who have given many years to the organization; they're the engines that keep the processes operating.

A key part of any change process is cascading sponsorship. Without a concentrated effort directed at transforming middle management, your TQM or Six Sigma process is doomed to fail. Sure, middle managers will say "yes" when the president asks them to support TQM. But many of them are merely giving lip service to the improvement projects, thinking that they, too, will pass. As a result, black holes can develop throughout an organization that eventually lead to the project's failure.

About the author

H. James Harrington is CEO of the Harrington Institute Inc. and chairman of the board of Harrington Group. He has more than 45 years of experience as a quality professional and is the author of 22 books. Visit his Web site at www.harrington-institute.com.

Reprinted with permission of the author. Originally appears in Quality Digest, August 2002, p. 14.


SECOND FEATURE OF THIS ISSUE:


Integrity Matters BroadcastBy Jim Bracher

"Racer's comments sound like a threat"

Question:

NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon after having been rear-ended, causing his car to swerve out of control, knocking him out of the race said to Tony Stewart: "All I can say is that the next time Tony's holding me up, it won't be very long for him to be out of my way." How dangerous is a comment like that?

Response:

Threat of bodily harm from competitors in automobile racing can have legal ramifications. Jeff Gordon has now threatened a colleague; on the record. Obviously, his temper got the better of him and his reaction was inappropriate.

So, let's picture these two competitors in a future race. Gordon bumps Stewart and one or more cars crash causing a fatality. Jeff said he would get him out of the way, and causing a crash is not an accident. Intentionally causing a wreck at 200 miles per hour might be classified as vehicular manslaughter, or even premeditated murder. Jeff Gordon has set a disgusting example.

Could Mr. Gordon be charged with murder because he threatened to retaliate by getting the other person out of his way? Unfortunately, sporting events, games and entertainment are imitating life at its most gruesome level - brutality and mayhem. Athletic competition, at least early on, served to provide socially-acceptable forms of controlled combat, avoiding blood and death.

Today, career-ending cheap shots in hockey are matched in baseball with vicious slides into members of the other team. Pitchers purposely hit batters. Intensity becomes ferocity as frenzied fans devolve into modern-day "throw-backs" to a time when citizens asked for more lions to eat Christians in the coliseum. This acrimonious sporting atmosphere smells of gladiators, fighting to the death. Violence, in too many instances, has replaced finesse, professionalism, skill and sportsmanship. If maturity is grace under pressure, then Jeff Gordon (and lots of other high profile, spoiled athletes) has failed to live up to the best he could be.

So, what are the concerns raised by the Jeff Gordon threat?

  1. Competition requires a level field.
  2. Playing by the rules, all the time, is expected.
  3. A sense of proportion needs to surround all sporting events. Mass hysteria and mob scenes confirm the immaturity of the culture that fosters and tolerates such actions.
  4. Threats of violence are inappropriate in a civilized society, including the world of sports competition, especially when using a vehicle moving 200 miles per hour.
  5. Professionals do not threaten one another - ever.

So, how might integrity-centered behavior be encouraged?

  1. Boycott events and products that promote hate, hurt and mayhem.
  2. Support "performers" who are positive role models, purchasing their products.
  3. Communicate to sporting leagues and associations the kinds of behavior you approve for yourself, your children and grandchildren.
  4. Cheer competence, sportsmanship and athletic skill.

Replace jeers and "booing" with deafening silence for those who behave inappropriately.

Published for Jim Bracher's Integrity Matters newspaper column in "The Californian," Salinas California – June 15, 2005.

James F. Bracher is the Founder of Bracher Center for Integrity in Leadership -www.brachercenter.com

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COMING IN THE NEXT FEW ISSUES:

  • Many more "Tips for New Employee Integration".
  • Future tips from "Our School for Managers" will include topics in coaching, goal setting, time management, communication, delegation, and others.
  • Examples and success stories from users of the "RxSales: An Expert Performance System"
  • New offerings in Systems Integration
  • A new program for Leadership
  • Products and service on implementation of Lean

HOUSEKEEPING:

Removal from receiving MASET NEWS:

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Comments about MASET NEWS:

We welcome comments from our readers regarding MASET NEWS, our web site, or inquiries for help to: Charles.Loew@masetllc.com.

Articles, comments and other valuable information from you, our readers will appear in the Readers Comments section.

We reserve the right to determine what will be published, but will endeavor to publish everything that is sent to us.

 

MASET NEWS
Copyright © 2000-2006 by MASET, LLC
Six Sigma™ is a Registered Trademark and Service Mark of Motorola, Inc.

can be reproduced by you providing the Copyright information remains on the copy. It may be used by you for limited distribution within your organization and among your friends and associates. It may not be sold or published without prior written authorization and approval by MASET, LLC.

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