There is always the need to change, to grow, to seek higher truths, set more aggressive objectives and to realize their fulfillment. For Ptolemy, the great Egyptian astronomer, the earth was the center of the universe. But Copernicus introduced profound change by placing the sun at the center. He met a great deal of resistance and persecution as well, but suddenly everything looked different.
Newton’s explanation of physics was a clockwork model and still the basis of modern engineering. But we learned from Einstein that Newton’s model was partial and incomplete. The model was good enough to put a man on the moon but couldn’t explain the basic structure of the atom.
Until the germ theory was developed, numerous women and children died during childbirth and no one knew why. In battle more men died from wounds and diseases than from the major traumas on the front lines. But once the germ theory was developed, profound medical changes provided ways to understand what was happening. This resulted in dramatic medical improvements.
The need for change is nowhere more evident than in Russia, manifest during the 10 week quality course we facilitated recently at Avtoagregat, Automotive Parts Manufacturer, in the region of Ivanovo. I’ve facilitated this course many times over the past 20 years in the United States, Asia, and more recently Russia. I’m always amazed at the renewal felt taking part in these sessions.
This session was different.
We attacked this task on two fronts: First, technical skills (tools) necessary to compete with high quality in the global market place, and secondly, softer “teamwork” skills to help establish relationships and an environment more conducive to the successful use of these tools. The reason for this dual attack lies in part due to the difference between education and training. Training is done to improve skills, while education can change the way people think.
It is not enough that workers have good skills to do their jobs. They must know when to use them and how to enlist the support of others to achieve even greater success than can be realized individually.
Today we see changes taking place in the manufacturing world. Primarily in the way today’s sophisticated customers view things. To become and to remain competitive we must continually exceed customer expectations (customer delight instead of just satisfaction). This means:
1) delivering higher quality products
2) at lower cost
4) with a more satisfied work-force
(good, cheap, fast, happy)
“Nothing fails like success because we don’t learn from it. We learn only from failure.”