Saturday, May 1, 2010

FOLLOW-UP: Applying Quality Management Methods To DWP/City Workforce After Reports of Drinking and Picnicing on the job.

NOTE: First stream of consciousness draft. A few typos to correct later, but you'll get it.


Japan used to be known for "bad" quality. THEN, they became known to produce the best quality products in the world.

What changed? Same machines, equipment and factory space as the rest of the world. They didn't have a patent on any exclusive technology. AND, most notably, the transformation even had to occur USING THE SAME WORKERS! (Think about it. Japan couldn't fire everyone in Japan. They had to make the transformation with current workforce.)

And from my own personal experience in the radio industry: What makes ONE radio station rank #1 with a 12 share of the market, while the station down the street with the same signal, same mics, same everything is #20 with a 2 share? THE PEOPLE INSIDE THE BUILDING AND THE STRATEGIES AND PHILOSOPHIES THE MANAGEMENT OPERATES WITH AT ALL TIMES FROM TOP OF THE BOARDROOM TO THE JANITOR.

OR EVEN, when a station is in 10th place and a consultant is hire from the outside - or a new program director takes over and the station moves up to #1 in the market. IN THAT's even the same staff. Only difference is ONE PERSON who is able to come in with a vision and get others to see it and then you back it up by starting with yourself.

NOW LET'S GET INTO SOME OF THE SPECIFICS OF THE DWP DRINKING ON THE JOB AND GENERALLY NOT WORKING (and it's not only a DWP issue, but issue with the entire citywide workforce):

ZERO TOLERANCE?: Obviously, NOT! Look how widespread it appears to be. Only zero tolerance if caught on undercover news report. Repeating that you have a "zero tolerance" policy, with no front-end system (like training and counseling) to prevent a problem in the first place and no real system to address it after-the-fact (how to prevent it from happening, AGAIN) is an "empty exhortation," and the more you learn about REAL quality management and waste reduction, the more you will notice that is ALL you EVER hear out of anyone. (EMPTY EXHORTATIONS.)


FIRST, you have a "Methods for Management of Quality & Productivity - 14 Point" training seminar for all DWP managers. (And many of these consultants will be in Downtown Los Angeles for the Deming Institute "Out of the Crisis" Seminar this June 7-9, again...IN DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES.

THEN, you present a similar seminar for ENTIRE DWP WORKFORCE. Might want to have it at Staples Center or Convention Center or in Vegas! (Just kidding about the Vegas part.)

DWP Management and the mayor let workers know their new commitment to workers and how things will be from now on, and they are going to like them (that I will describe in a minute).

And by holding an event like this where you treat the entire work force like managers by giving them their OWN seminar, where you are TREATING them like managers, they will appreciate that, as a starting point.

Deming says, "THERE IS NOTHING WORSE THAN BAD COMPETITION." And I think you could consider a bad worker (one who isn't trained and fully-functional), bad competition.

Now to REALLY piss you off and make you think:


FIRST of all: Do you KNOW how expensive it is to recruit, hire, then train a new DWP worker. All the paperwork! AND, when you FIRE an employee, you lose the experience and have to start all over with a new worker.

Councilmembers are always saying, "We are a family." Well if your family member had a drinking problem, do you kick the out of the family and change the locks on the doors? (MAYBE eventually. But not under a "Zero Tolerance" policy.)

Imagine if you said to workers, "You are the most valuable asset we have at DWP. You're even better than a machine! We need you here. We're not giving up on you. You're NOT fired. And make sure you are at the morning training class, tomorrow morning."

When people know that, they will feel better about the workplace, and you judge quality of product by the quality (happiness) of your workers. (Can a bad server at a restaurant ruin it for the owners/managers when the customer spreads bad word of mouth about the bad experience you had nothing to do with. THAT STUFF DOESN'T HAPPEN AT A WOLFGANG PUCK RESTAURANT. Wolfgang knows what's up. He's a GREAT example of a leader who will bus a table, jump into the kitchen to start chopping, seat a guest. I've seen it. He makes the staff and customers feel like THEY are #1! It's contagious and people like working at a place where the boss is TOP PLAYER! (Not some guy who pops out of his office when something is wrong or there is bad news to deliver.)

Additionally, if you truck or machine breaks down, you don't throw it out, right away. You try to repair it, first. AND, you do PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE to prevent a breakdown; like a pipe bursting or worker drinking at a strip club.

And when workers see and then know that management is TREATING workers like family, they will FEEL like a family -- and that is how you allow people to have pride and joy in their jobs. And when you remove fear people can be themselves. And no one wants to be a depressed loser 10 hours of the day. It even ruins the other 14 -- and it spins out of control from there, until you are just hiding under a tree in the park drinking beer.

You do things like have an amazing gym that all DWP workforce from TOP MANAGERS to the janitor. And workers can go there, NOT AFTER WORK, but DURING work hours. (Not all day, but as PART of the day/week.) TRAINING IS PART OF THE JOB!

Everyone calls for cutting the waste. And it's always something like firing employees; or calling for an audit. Then the results of the audit are announced, the politicians come out and demand accountability without putting in any new systems of even having knowledge of the current processes.

LAPD, City Attorney's Office, City Hall, Board of Supervisors...STILL USING 1950 technology and non-computerized processes. They say they want to run the city more like a business: NO BUSINESS WOULD STILL BE OPERATING THIS WAY. (First of all, cause they wouldn't BE in business. Secondly, because even homeless people hanging out at Starbucks have better technology than city hall, these days.)


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