I think those are good questions, Rob. I don't think younger employees are less territorial, at least not in my experience. It's also true that in the plant in those days they certainly weren't in charge of departments, since that was before the great downsizing that eliminated the middle management layer. But I think one big factor that's changed is that there's more emphasis today on teams than on hierarchy--not that hierarchy doesn't exist but it seems to have moved up the pyramid a ways.
You're right, Rob. I wrote extensively about implementing TQM for awhile for CMP, including in-depth interviews with several companies that had tried and failed (as well as a few that tried and succeeded). But back then, those resistant "populations" were usually well over 50% of the company's employees.
I believe TQM ran into problems with populations that were not convinced that changes would be improvements. The attitude seemed to be, "What on earth do you know about what we have to do? If it could be more efficient, we'd make it more efficient."
That makes a lot of sense: the narrower goal. TQM required everybody in the whole plant to do everything entirely differently in all areas. It was pretty overwhelming. I can sure see how sacrificing uptime would be a no-op.
Wow, that's a very big change from the days of attempts at setting up TQM systems: it was very hard to implement TQM here in the US, and in fact there many failed attempts at many companies. So either that statement is a lot of wishful thinking, or something really is different. If so, I wonder what?
If I remember these stories right, vendors like Rockwell and Siemens were involved in promoting these groups. I remember a Rockwell source shrugging it off, saying, "It's not that hard when you get everyone together."
Rob, that's an amazing change and a long time coming. Hard to believe it's actually happened. I can believe that there's a goal like "taking the side of the company and not the side of control or IT." That reminds me a bit of TQM efforts years ago: it requires a huge change in corporate culture and is not easily done. Any idea how the actual change was implemented, not in the technology, but in people's behavior and minds?
A middle school team from Rochester, Mich., has again nabbed the grand prize in the annual international Future City Competition, which drew students from 37 regions of the United States, as well as from England and China.
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