Building a Quality Culture
In a recent blog post "Quality Culture is Fundamental to Actually Providing Quality" I discussed Schein's culture model as it applies to a quality culture.



What are your organization's espoused values around quality? What artifacts exist that show them at work?
4 Replies
Norm Howe
33 Posts
I'm going to revert back to my days as a plant mgr to answer this question. The best artifacts were the quality improvement charts that were posted in the work areas. These were developed and maintained by the workers. The same with the poka yoke devices that were incorporated into the processes.

Both the charts and the devices testified to the espoused values of the business. You could ask the person working near any of them and hear the story behind it. Many of the charts started at a dismally low level of quality. Good poka yoke solutions usually come from out-of-the-box thinking, which means that many of the ideas will fail. Neither the charts nor the devices would be created in a culture of fear.

Mission statements are hard. I've seen too many longwinded meetings where the product was a random mixture of words on a plaque that got dusted once/yr. So, great care is needed.
I wholeheartedly agree, visual management boards are an amazing artifact. I love continuous improvement boards and nothing makes me happier than walking by them and absorbing all the cool stuff going on.
When I served as supplier quality manager for Black & Decker's Kwikset and Price Pfister divisions, I had to cover 245 global suppliers making everything from piece parts to fully-functional branded products with just 3 quality engineers. We couldn't perform the audits in the same way many companies in the late 90s did with so few people, so we had to get creative. The key insight was that a supplier's manuals weren't an indicator of quality---there work was. Without knowing Schein's model, we adjusted our audits to ask just twelve open-ended questions and collected objective evidence onsite in support of ratings. While initially taken aback at our unwillingness to look at their quality manual, suppliers warmed to this approach, sharing with pride what they actually did on the floor. We had to pay for translation of some documents, but the insight provided by the real documentation was worth it.
Supplier management, and audits in general, is a great place to bring a Work-as-Done vs Work-as-Imagined mindset.