On New Year’s Eve a great American businessman passed away.
You may not know who Roger Milliken was but I formed an indelible impression of him in quality classes I conducted in the 80’s. I had repeatedly watched him on a video tape I was using which covered the second Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award ceremony.
In addition to receiving that 1989 award directly from President Ronald Reagan, Milliken was interviewed at length on the video concerning his views on the Total Quality Management approach which Milliken & Co embraced so successfully.
His company had performed very well in competing with the Japanese in spite of their lower wages and newer technology. If you’re interested in knowing what a true American businessman is like, take the time to Google this guy. He was really something.
In just a few short years after Milliken won that award, TQM was almost suddenly considered passé.
Before the popularity of TQM, two other quality initiatives, Quality Circles and Zero Defects had been the hot items. Bookshelves were full of books on all these initiatives during their heydays and consultants made fortunes because of them.
Still, all of these movements seemed to collapse in unison as focus turned to the new ISO 9000 standards and the use of SPC (Statistical Process Control) as “better” alternatives. Employees soon began a new and still continuing trend of referring to whatever their company was doing about quality as the “Flavor of the Month” and there were lots of flavors.
Of course there was no clear ending or starting point to any of these movements and there were others movements as well.
In a conversation on all of this with a VP of Manufacturing of a Fortune 500 company, he expressed to me his opinion that “People just get tired of the same old stuff after a while and things need to be relabeled”. That sounded reasonable but I felt a bit skeptical. One wonders if the Quality Circles were just inadequate or whether commitment to them had been inadequate as some evidence suggested.
If you consider again the Malcolm Baldridge award, which I referred to before, you can see a similar trend. It’s our annual national quality award and at first it was a big deal. As I recall it, the President of the United States presented it for the first two years. Then the ceremony was passed down to the Vice President after which it was shortly passed down to the Secretary of Commerce. News of it simultaneously went from a page one bit piece to hardly worthy of print.
Sadly, I guess we couldn’t figure out how to reliable it. Much more sadly, the Baldridge has never got the media coverage it clearly deserves.
Take ISO 9000 for another instance. It was hot in 1987 when the original standards were adapted. There really were interested executive officers in many major companies when those standards hit the pages of many business periodicals.
But interest had already waned however by the time the categories of those standards were reorganized from twenty down to essentially five with ISO 9000:2000, a change that many view as fundamentally unintelligent. What is worse however is that management interest in actually using the standards to improve, which was never great in the first place, became almost extinct.
Today I hear mostly scathing indictments that ISO is a scam, that registrars are just extortionists and that most companies that are registered shouldn’t be. What caused the loss of enthusiasm and reversal of favor in that case?
Today the hot initiatives are Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma. Already those two initiatives are seen by many as “Lean Six Sigma”, the title of a book by the same name written by Michael George. The bookstores are full of books on these quality approaches just as they were full of books on Quality Circles, Zero Defects, TQM, ISO 9000 and SPC back years ago.
You should be thinking by now, what’s the point? There is a point and here it is.
Jack Welch, former General Electric CEO, was directly involved in the GE Six Sigma effort. That is the reason it succeeded. Roger Milliken was directly involved in his TQM efforts. That is the reason he succeeded.
Simply put, whatever you decide to do about quality, if upper management isn’t directly involved and won’t stay committed, be prepared to watch your efforts fail.
If upper management is not directly involved, and in the cases of the vast majority of all the past initiatives just mentioned, they were not, any path you choose will fail.
On the other hand, if upper management is directly involved in any initiative it will be successful. It’s not about which path you choose, it’s about what upper management does, not what they direct others to do. These things simply cannot be delegated and that, in my humble opinion, is all there is to it.
A key area in the development of executive presence is the ability to connect with others. It is the ying and yang of conversation – what I say and how I listen. Understandably, we spend time perfecting our speaking – it is essential in the art of convincing others – whether through presentations, group meetings or side bar conversations. And in some cases, we may believe our credibility can ride on this one skill, however, be wary of the executive who fails to listen.
Listening is powerful; it allows you to discover clues. If the mind is racing to the next thought to say, chances are you just missed some important information. Active listening requires you to place full attention on the speaker. Note what they say, how they say it and if, in person, their body language. Let yourself dig deeper into their intent through probing questions. Clarity on their thought process will provide valuable insight into their future decisions and actions.
It may also provide some warning signs; which may be overt or subvert in nature. Speaking in “code” is may be more commonplace than you expect. Executives may have difficulty providing personal feedback to others in the organization. The use of stories or examples is a way to convey a personal message without calling out the colleague.
In summary, listening is a skill which may be learned and to perfect it requires artesian application.
A resume is a document that indicates your education, professional experience, working credentials and other accomplishments. This document is used when you are applying for jobs. There are various types of resume today. Each type depends on your circumstances on a personal level. Examples of these types are the functional, combination, chronological or targeted resume. Each type has a particular purpose and is used in specific situations. Despite the differences between these types of resumes, they all share one common characteristic, punctuation. It is important to punctuate your resume in the right way. This can actually boost your chances of success in getting hired. Read on to learn more.
Types of punctuation which are used in resumes
To maintain a smooth flow of information in your resume, you should utilize punctuation marks.
There is a variety of such marks that you can use. They include:
1. Letter capitalization
Here they are in more detail.
Capital letters normally appear in the beginning of sentences and in section headings. They also identify sighificant words in a text. As such, take care not to use too many significant words in your resume. This can make you appear pretentious and can also lead to overuse of capital letters. For a properly punctuated resume, only use capital letters in your name, names of products, names of companies or physical locations. You may have worked in many positions in your career. In such a case, you are allowed to capitalize your job title in the positions that you have indicated in your resume. If you indicate the job title of someone else, only capitalize it if their name appears alongside it.
Semicolons are an important instrument of punctuation. In your resume, you can use them to separate independent clauses which are not related. You can also use them in a case where the second clsuse is not related to the first one. If you want to list some items which are already described in a comma, the semicolon comes in very handy. For example, 'Highly skilled in software products such as Quick Books, Microsoft Office; Excel and Adobe Photoshop'.
Hyphens are an instrument of punctuation. They are used in compound adjectives if they appear before a noun. Examples of such adjectives are 'client-focused approach' and 'part-time employee'. You may need to use these compound adjectives to describe yourself or someone else in your resume. Remember that if the first word in a compound adjective ends in 'ly', do not hyphenate the adjective.
A colon can be used in joining two unique clauses in cases where the second one is related directly with the first one. This is quite common in resumes where you list down a number of elements such as skills. You can use the colon in the following way, "Capable in using the following applications: Corel Draw, Ms Office and Quick Books".
The comma is a highly popular and common punctuation instrument. It is used to put a temporary break in the flow of a sentence. Some people indicate that you should use serial commas in a resume and others indicate that you should not. Serial commas are where you put a comma before the 'and' appears finally in a sentence. By using commas in this way, you can make the text in your resume easier to understand. This helps you to avoid ambiguity in your resume.
Puncation marks are very important in texts. They are used in news articles, novels, magazines and even in resumes. The ideal way to use them in resumes is indicated above. Proper usage of these marks makes it attractive and more likely to present you in a positive way when you apply for a job.