Cultures Want To Stay In Sync
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Cultures Want To Stay In Sync

To create a Quality Culture you will first need to be out of sync, then become the “cool kid” that everyone wants to sync with. Here’s how:

“Hi, this is Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma Demystified” and the QI Macros [software].

“Seth Godin had a blog recently that I think applies to us. Here’s what he said: He said, “Culture, by its very definition, isn’t the work of being right. It’s the work of being in sync.”

“When I was growing up, all the hippies gathered in Haight Ashbury; they weren’t wrong, they were just being in sync. Today in different cultures, everybody wants to be in sync with the people around them. Now they’re not necessarily wrong or right, it’s just trying to be in sync. When you’re trying to create a culture of Quality in your company, guess what? You’re out of sync, because that’s not how we’ve done it all these years, so there is going to be resistance.

“If you think about it, how do fashion trends go? Well, the cool kids out there… the cool kids wear the purple hair or a certain kind of shoes or pants or whatever it is, and they set the trend. They’re the cool kids and everybody wants to get in sync with the cool kids, don’t they? Now, one of the things for you to think about is, “How would you be the cool kid using Quality?”

“Well, I can tell you, if you start solving these seemingly unsolvable problems, if you start using pivot tables, control charts, Pareto charts, histograms and fishbones to solve the things that nobody thought was possible to solve, guess what? You’re going to be kind of cool, and people are going to ask, “How did you do that?” “Well, I used a little data, and then we figured some stuff out, and then we pinpointed the problem and solved it.” You can become the cool kid in your company, and when you become the cool kid, other people are going to want to get in sync with you. Then when they start getting in sync with you, then you can help them become more, right? That’s how trends start, and that’s how cultures change: When they see something that’s cool that they want and they go get it.

“One of the guys I used to work with had worked for Ralston Purina, and one of his favorite phrases was, “You can’t make the dogs eat the dog food.” What you have to do is create a dog food that all the dogs want to eat. So think about this: How can you become the cool kid so that everybody wants to get in sync with you, so that your culture changes? You can’t change culture, right? It’s like the the old joke about the cucumber or the brine. Who gets more pickled or who gets more cucumbered? The brine gets more cucumbered or the cucumber gets more pickled? I think the brine wins. So be the thing you want to create in the world. Be that cultural change that somebody will go, “Wow, that’s cool!” “I want to be like him or her. “I want to go get that,” and that’s how cultures change. You’re going to be out of sync for a while, people will not like you, but what can you do?

“Be the person that everybody wants to get in sync with. I’m Jay Arthur. That’s my Improvement Insight for this week. Let’s go out and improve something.”