Building Community (Part Two) 10/08/11 through 10/11/11

I’m compiling the timeline of my tweets on the topic of building community, in order to capture the thread of my thoughts for you to read in this series of blog postings! ¬†ūüôā Cheers, Mark @livelovethinkex

10/08/11 – “community must dedicate…time…resources to..cause” Local program cuts youth drinking, violence: study – Yahoo! News¬†

10/08/11 – ¬†Everyplace is special in its own right…people, language, culture, custom, tradition, geography and climate…all blend to create…beauty!

10/08/11 – ¬†We work to build a peaceful world…so the beauty of people and places can be seen and enjoyed by everyone…what could be more vital today?

10/09/11 –¬†Society has gone terribly wrong…when CEOs take away millions for doing a lousy job…and the masses…can’t even find minimum wage jobs…

10/09/11 –¬†Live your life with love and compassion for all hearts…no matter who they are, how they are or where they are…and know, you have lived.

10/09/11 –¬†To love everyone with compassion, empathy and understanding…as Jesus taught us to do…challenges everything I see, know and understand…

10/09/11 – If I do nothing but love in this life…with caring, kindness, gentleness and understanding…I will know I have done done my best, to live.¬†¬†

10/09/11 –¬†Life is too short not to try everything our hearts dream of doing…for to have tried is to live…and living is all we can ask for in life!

10/09/11 –¬†If your heart leads you to go beyond your imagination…to do the impossible, follow it anyway…it’s only impossible, until you’ve done it.

10/09/11 –¬†To love everyone is difficult…because while my heart understands…my mind doesn’t…all my mind sees…are the problems of the world…

10/09/11 –¬†My heart follows the passions of love…and overrules my mind…so perhaps by the end of my days…I will have taught my mind to truly love.

10/09/11 –¬†I don’t live in an Ivory Tower…or in La La Land…my life is not all Peaches and Cream…but I committed to loving you…and the world…

10/09/11 –¬†Despite my faults and failures, it’s Jesus’ saving grace…that allows me to love you all unconditionally, for He taught my heart to love…

10/10/11 –¬†Good morning all! Live with authenticity…reach out without a safety net…be the person you dream you can be…fully present, in today! ūüôā

10/10/11 –¬†@Tzadhiqua¬†If everyone comes together, to love and support one another…so everyone succeeds…we can solve all the problems of the world!

10/10/11 –¬†God has allowed thorns in my side…so I would go beyond hypocrisy and lip service…to know what it really means…to love everyone…

10/10/11 –¬†My earliest memory started me on a journey of discovery…of understanding, empathy, diversity and tolerance…a journey lasting a lifetime.

10/10/11 –¬†@Tzadhiqua¬†Thanks Tzadhiqua! All we need is love…to change the world…one heart at a time. Enjoy your beautiful Maui! ūüôā Cheers, Mark

10/10/11 –¬†@LindaBorgen¬†Thanks Sis! ūüôā Imagine how beautiful our world would be, if we walked in faith…and always reached out to one another in love!

10/10/11 –¬†@living4bliss¬†Saundra, I’ll always support diversity, tolerance and understanding, because there is no other way to live Truth and love! ūüôā

10/10/11 –¬†@Tzadhiqua¬†Thank you for your reply Tzadhiqua…if we all focus on love…the world can become the beautiful oasis…we know it can be! ūüôā

10/11/11 –¬†Good morning all! ūüôā Today’s word is diversity…we are all beautifully unique, individually and wonderfully made by God…celebrate You! ūüôā

10/11/11 –¬†@living4bliss¬†Society is experiencing a perfect storm of abundance, shortage, excess, waste, debt, privilege, want, need and incompetence…

10/11/11 –¬†@living4bliss¬†The center is losing ground and finally finding their voice, as they cling to middle class…threatened daily, with poverty…

10/11/11 – @living4bliss¬†The divide grows in society between the “haves” and the “have nots”…between luxury and poverty…and people are suffering…¬†

10/11/11 –¬†@living4bliss¬†In the midst of scarcity and suffering…we must remember our humanness…tolerance, understanding, caring and love…for all.

10/11/11 –¬†@living4bliss¬†We need to celebrate diversity, alleviate suffering, promote tolerance, encourage understanding…and truly love one another.

10/11/11 –¬†The very concept of building community requires a desire for everyone to win…it’s not what can I get…it’s how do we all gain together…

10/11/11 –¬†Building community requires that everyone have a voice…from the developer, city council member…to the homeless person on the streets…

10/11/11 –¬†Building community has to be organic and locally derived, within context, history, culture and geography…it can’t be imposed on anyone…

10/11/11 –¬†Building community is like writing music…using rhyme, verse, metre, improvvisato and harmony…to create a symphony out of people’s lives.

10/11/11 –¬†Community is a cultural and social essence, an atmosphere of sweetness, romance, excitement…of place, setting, mood, spirit and enjoyment.

10/11/11 –¬†It is the very essence and atmosphere of community…the romance of people, place and setting…that brings films and novels…to life…

10/11/11 –¬†Community weaves lives, stories, hopes, dreams, ambitions, failures and romance together…creating the texture and fabric…of our lives…

10/11/11 –¬†E pluribus unum “Out of many, one” defines community…a sum greater than its parts…of lives, infrastructure, inspiration and cooperation.

10/11/11 –¬†Celebrate people, not wealth…opportunity, not barriers…potential, not limitation…ideas, not ideology…understanding, not opposition.

10/11/11 –¬†Each and every person is valuable and precious…and should have every opportunity…to be themselves, excel in life and live their dreams.

10/11/11 –¬†Step out of your paradigm and look through the lens and perspective of love…without ideology or labels…to see everyone’s individuality.

10/11/11 –¬†To celebrate our humanity…without ideology…is the essence of what it means to fully live…as the unique, diverse family of mankind…

10/11/11 –¬†Strip away pretense and appearances…image and status…ease and comfort…to be just as we are…vulnerable, weak and precious…to God…


Building Community (Part One) 10/04/11 through 10/08/11

I’ve compiled the timeline so far of my tweets on the topic of building community, in order to capture the thread of my thoughts! ūüôā Cheers, Mark @livelovethinkex

10/04/11 – If we can build a community of loving hearts on twitter…why can’t we extend that to the entire world? The only thing lacking is effort…

10/05/11 – How can we create an ideal community where everyone belongs and no one is left behind…yet maintain all the social freedoms we enjoy today?

10/05/11 –¬†I like to ponder things and find solutions to problems…no one should have to draw the short stick in a free, open and democratic society.

10/05/11 –¬†So tonight, I begin to consider ways to build a better world…within the context of a free and democratic society…where everyone wins…

10/05/11 –¬†My technique is to throw ideas on the table…as I’m inspired to think of them over time…removing them only once they’ve been ruled out…

10/05/11 –¬†Tonight I only consider a few points…my sense of community relates to cities, large or small…and change must be generated from within.

10/05/11 –¬†Government is the most inefficient and costly way to generate change…instead change must be cooperative and community based to be viable.

10/05/11 –¬†The entire community needs to buy into change and have skin in the game…rich and poor, young and old alike…to build a better community.

10/05/11 –¬†What does change look like? Change is defined by a community…by laying out a blueprint for everyone’s success within an ideal environment.

10/05/11 –¬†Imagine a city bidding for the Olympic Games…and instead turning the focus into building community…a framework for change, from within.

10/05/11 –¬†Next time I’ll consider the framework…a blueprint for making change happen…where everyone buys into a concept…so everyone is a winner.

10/07/11 –¬†To build community in an open and transparent process…everyone needs a seat at the table…to be represented and have their voice heard…

10/07/11 –¬†The process of building community…is by definition a validation of cooperation…of getting along with one another…so everyone wins…

10/07/11 –¬†Building community is actually creating an environment…like a marketplace…where everyone can go about the process of living together…

10/07/11 –¬†For community to work and gel…it has to be inclusive, organic, creative, beautiful, inspiring, uplifting, exhilarating, exciting and fun!

10/08/11 –¬†Building community is an investment in hearts, lives, hope, understanding, opportunity, potential, talent and love…for a better tomorrow!

10/08/11 –¬†A community is a bonding of hearts…through infrastructure, atmosphere, support, encouragement and opportunity…for everyone’s benefit…

10/08/11 –¬†I love the idea of community…because I’ve so rarely experienced it…only my Seattle years in ’77-79…gave me a feeling of belonging…

10/08/11 –¬†I’ve visited many of the world’s greatest cities…London, Paris, NYC…I’ve never been part of them, but felt a connection to all of them.

10/08/11 –¬†So in my ponderings…I hope to outline a concept of community…to help people feel they belong…wherever they find themselves in life…

10/08/11 – It’s been serendipity for me, to have found and enjoyed a sense of community through twitter and, my thanks to all of you! ūüôā Mark

Implementing a Quality Culture in Your Organization

Years ago, I was given the task to implement a Quality Program in¬†an organizational environment that consisted of¬†multiple flying and support units with¬†a variety of different mission statements between them.¬† Some of these organizations did the same thing from different locations, some overlapped in areas of common interest, and others were unique to themselves.¬† The only problem was that we didn’t have a Quality Program to offer them, as it hadn’t been¬†written yet – so I had nothing to introduce or implement.¬† So I decided to start from scratch and go back to the source documents in order to provide our organizations something to use until the official Quality Program arrived at our doorstep.

So I read Dr. W. Edwards Deming, Joseph M. Juran, and a handful of other works by various quality experts in order to understand the nature of this world of quality that I was to implement, as I had never had formal quality training before.¬† The more I read the more¬†I came to understand was that perhaps I didn’t have the jargon on the tip of my tongue – but I know quality when I see it.¬† We all do.

Much of what quality is all about is basic common sense – the things that¬†parents and teachers do every day to focus their children in a positive direction: do your work properly, promptly and be proud of what you have accomplished.¬† Don’t cut corners, dot your i’s and cross your t’s.¬† Stick with it until you are finished.¬† Make it look presentable.¬† Sign your work.¬† Help others around you if they don’t understand the task or activity.¬† If you do it right the first time you don’t have to go back and do it all over again correctly.¬† The sayings and¬†common wisdom go on and on.¬†¬†The concept of quality has existed ever since man created the wheel, and it turned¬†out lopsided and didn’t roll very well.

These days “Quality” is a business in and of itself.¬† There are Quality Consultants, Quality Experts, Quality Training Organizations, Quality Positions, and Directors of Quality – the list¬†is endless.¬† Large organizations that “implement” quality often do so in ways that creates a “parallel organization”¬†to the¬†original mission that¬†their organization¬†was set up to do.¬† Quality Processes, Quality Positions, Quality Teams, Quality Inspections, and Quality Reviews¬†create this “Quality Organization in parallel” that crowds out and overpowers the very¬†mission that the original organization was set up to accomplish.¬† In addition, the¬†added expense of hiring the Quality Experts,¬†attending the Quality Training, purchasing and implementing the Quality Software, and the time, expense, reports generated¬†and energy involved¬†can be¬†overwhelming.

I watched a documentary over the weekend about a great warship that was built in Scandinavia a few hundred years ago.¬† It was the¬†biggest and most powerful warship of its day ever built.¬† On the day it was launched in all of its glory, it promptly sank minutes later in the harbor.¬† After resting¬†on the harbor’s bottom for all of these years in cold, pristine conditions, it was brought to the surface and completely restored and now sits in a museum.¬† I think of modern companies in this same manner.¬† It turns out the warship was completely top heavy and unstable in the water.¬† It had an extra row of cannons on the top deck, and not enough ballast below – so it¬†rolled as soon as it¬†was launched and sank.¬† The extra¬†“processes” and bureaucracy can make any company “top heavy” and the overhead cost can sink a company as fast as that warship when the margins are tight.

I believe that quality needs to be embedded in the existing organizational structure so that no position on the organization chart is recognized as a “quality position.”¬† Quality can operate within whatever tools and software the company already uses on a daily basis.¬† No extra expense needs to be made in supporting a quality culture.¬† Every employee or teammate can Google all the quality terms in the lexicon and study¬†concepts and¬†definitions on-line for free.¬† The point is that implementing quality doesn’t have to involve any overhead costs, any new positions, any new software or any Quality Consultants.¬† Much of the knowledge is common sense and everything else is available on-line for free.¬† Everyone can educate themselves about quality.

After graduating from college all those years ago, long before the Internet came along; I had the concept of teaching myself about whatever I was interested in.¬† One of my core beliefs has always been that everyone should strive to know a little bit about everything, so if you meet someone you can at least have some common ground to converse.¬† Once we are taught to read as a child, we have all the tools necessary to educate ourselves – and now with the Internet that ability is absolutely fantastic.¬† Anything you can think of you can Google and thousands of pathways are available to whatever you want.¬† In my day you had to go to the library – today it is at your fingertips from anywhere in the world.¬† Of course there is bad information out there and of course not¬†everything is suitable for everyone – but it is there and it is available and it is free.¬† Who could have imagined this world of information before?¬† I took a college computer course back in the day when it took a thick stack of punch cards to compute what a normal calculator can do so much faster and better today.¬† I can’t even believe today’s technology.

So we all have an innate and common sense understanding of Quality.¬† We also know that the knowledge is free and the information is easily available, and implementing Quality shouldn’t be an economic “drag” on our organization’s budget.¬† However, there is a “wall” or “barrier” that we can’t overcome as an organization despite our “bootstrap” efforts to implement quality into our organization – Bureaucracy.¬†¬†Governments and “official” organizations implement “standards of quality” that can’t be achieved without hiring the Quality Experts and Consultants, buying the Quality Software, implementing the Quality Forms and inviting the Quality Inspection Teams in order to get your Quality Stamp of Approval so your organization¬†can actually produce the outputs or products that it was set up to do.¬† There is no “bootstrap” method to evade these requirements.¬† I really think that bureaucracy¬†will be the¬†downfall of modern society.¬† Once the government gets involved, the bureaucracy that follows will overwhelm any organization like a tsunami – and smother the life out of it until it no longer exists.¬† It started with warning labels on plastic bags and ladders.¬† It set standards for automobile manufacturers that are driving them out of business.¬† It is never ending and relentless.¬† Soon everything may just¬†implode on itself from the weight of bureaucracy.

In one area I will relent and give the Quality overhead and bureaucracy its due:¬†businesses that are so technical and specifications that are so precise that anything less means failure.¬† An electron microscope has some pretty tight tolerances, rockets work or they don’t, and computers are immensely complicated machines.¬† The expense, research, expertise, and technology required to produce these types of¬†products requires all of the investment¬†that a modern Quality Program entails – that I will acknowledge.¬† For everyone else out there,¬†we will continue on track.

At the individual level all of the “processes” and expenses aren’t required.¬† An individual is a “stand alone quality program.”¬† You can apply quality (I use quality with a small “q” from now on) in every corner of your daily life to make improvements to it – your home, health, family and work environment.¬† As a small organization, you can “bootstrap” quality easily at no cost or expense.¬† If you are a small or mid-size organization with no government mandated regulatory requirements involved, then you too can implement quality to improve your product, save costs, increase efficiency and improve your¬†organization’s health and vitality.¬† The following “10 points to quality” can be used as an initial guide to point you in the right direction.¬† After that, you and your organization can educate yourselves to create your own quality culture at no additional expense to what you are now doing.

1.¬†¬†¬†¬† Whoever¬†leads your organization is responsible for quality – whether it is you as a single “stand alone”¬†entity or the CEO of a company.¬† The¬†leader sets the organization’s direction, tone and standards.¬† It is the leader’s job to create an “environment” or “quality culture” that allows the concept of quality to thrive.

2.¬†¬†¬†¬† Managers at all levels are the key to implementing quality.¬† They “own” the processes involved, make the decisions, and¬†guide their teammates¬†in all areas and at all levels¬†of the organization.¬† I believe that it¬†is “poor management” that is the¬†real downfall of companies everywhere.¬† If managers¬†would just do¬†their jobs properly, then everything else becomes attainable.¬† Managers¬†are responsible for empowering¬†teammates, incremental work center improvements and for meeting their customer’s expectations.¬† If they are incompetent, then everything falls apart.

3.¬†¬†¬†¬† Every manager and every supervisor by definition is a quality instructor.¬† The primary roles of mid-level leaders includes: coaching, mentoring and instructing their teammates.¬† The concept of quality must be applied on a daily basis in the work center and not viewed as a quarterly or yearly academic exercise.¬† No one outside of your team can be “responsible” for quality.

4.¬†¬†¬†¬† Every individual in your organization must endorse quality internally with their every fiber, not in a lip sync “oath” or “quality mission statement” but actually believe in incremental quality improvements deep into the very marrow of their bones – and apply it to everything that they do.¬† It has to become a passion for them.¬† Every teammate is essential for a quality culture to grow and develop.¬† Teammates are at the “pointy end of the pencil,” the “keystrokes of the keyboard,” and where the “rubber meets the road.”¬† If teammates don’t apply quality concepts at the lowest levels of a process within your organization – it can’t succeed.

5.¬†¬†¬†¬† Every work center is a quality working group.¬† Natural work centers where teammates work together in an office or¬†in a common process must implement a quality approach as a team effort since they are all involved together in everything they do.¬† Internal and external customers are everywhere and must be recognized as such.¬† Every group of teammates at every level in your organization¬†have to¬†think and act as a team.¬† From the break room to the board room – every individual and every group for every process –¬†from the entry level clerk to marketing to sales to design to support to IT to the delivery truck driver – has to be involved and “believe” that quality improvements over time can make the entire organization better.

6.¬†¬†¬†¬† An emphasis on quality must be believable.¬† We all recognize a “half hearted”¬†effort.¬† Quality is either a total comittment or it really doesn’t exist.¬† It isn’t an “every other Tuesday” or weekly, monthly or annual exercise.¬† Everyone knows if it is believable from the top on down.¬† To put something on paper doesn’t mean it exists if the person operating the machine doesn’t believe in it or adopt it – quality has to permeate the entire organization and everyone in it.¬† To create a quality culture is to have it sink into everyone’s mentality, conversation, task¬†and process.

7.¬† Individuals must be empowered at every level to do the right thing and make the right decisions at every opportunity that they can.¬† Empowerment allows an organization to be more than the mere sum of its individuals.¬† A quality culture and emphasis is required to ensure the long term health and survival of your organization.¬† Individuals develop a sense of ownership in a process once they are empowered.¬† If they really believe that their work signature reflects the very best they have to offer – there’s no limit to what they can do.

8.¬†¬†¬†¬† Individuals must believe that they can make a difference.¬† They must be mentored and¬†nurtured to rise to their potential.¬† Leaders, managers and supervisors at all levels need to “grow” their teammates to be more than even they believe they can become.¬† Every teammate is the most precious part of your organization – spend the time to invest in them to ensure the organization’s success.¬† If teammates believe in themselves, in continuous improvement, in the organization’s mission and in your customers¬†– they bring an intangible element into the equation that can’t be purchased –¬†which is more valuable than gold.

9.¬†¬†¬†¬† Personal initiative must be recognized.¬† Teammate recognition is essential for a healthy organization to thrive and prosper.¬† Not everyone sees recognition the same – some like public recognition, some private praise, some¬†look to¬†a flexible schedule, some desire certain benefits, bonus pay, merit pay or simply a raise.¬† However recognition is perceived, it has to be tailored to the circumstances and to the teammate’s desires¬†– otherwise it won’t be a motivation to them.¬† Proper recognition for¬†all teammates’¬†efforts will allow quality to prosper and grow into a true quality culture throughout the organization and at all levels.

10.¬†¬†¬† An emphasis on quality has to respect an organization’s history and achievements.¬† You can not erase an organization’s history with a clean sweep or force quality into an organization and expect your efforts to thrive.¬† People are proud of their past, where they came from and how they did things – despite the results or success of those efforts.¬† Take the building blocks that are there, turn them into a solid foundation, and build upon those efforts.¬† If an organization has a proud history – acknowledge and celebrate it – use it as a launching point into the future as a source of pride and heritage.

The bottom line is that teammates at all levels are the key to quality; quality is not an academic exercise but a daily application; a quality emphasis and involvement belongs at every natural work center at every level of the organization; you can’t impose quality on an organization but instead it has to be adopted by every teammate or it won’t be believable or work; and the ultimate goal is to create a quality environment or culture that permeates everyone’s thinking and process at every level of your organization.

So what was the result of my Quality Program initiative all those years ago?¬† I wrote and implemented my own plan, centered¬†on the 10 points listed above, and it was a success.¬† Roughly¬†five months later an Inspection Team arrived to inspect us on a program that hadn’t been¬†delivered to us yet.¬† All in all, we passed with flying colors, and I was officially recognized for my efforts.¬† There was one defining point in the whole experience that was more important to me than any other – including the public recognition from the Inspection Team.¬† I was visiting the office of the individual that had originally assigned me the task one day, when¬†his Executive Secretary asked me out of the blue to sign her personal copy of the quality program that¬†I had written.¬† It literally stopped me in my tracks from the depth of response I had from her very sincere request – and of course I signed it for her.¬† I will never forget that moment in time – it is captured forever in my memory.

Six months later another individual took over the quality position Рand shortly afterwards the official Quality Program finally arrived at our doorstep.  The only thing that is important to take away from this entire experience is that we were able to implement quality on our own and still pass an official inspection visit Рall from a dead start.  We spent little money on it Рfor reproduction costs only Рand laid a solid foundation for the new program to build upon.  In life you can achieve whatever you set out to accomplish Рand quality will go a long way to getting you there!