March 31, 2011

A critical danger in any business is tunnel vision. The focus on just one thing at the expense of others! We can be the best at one particular area while others suffer and pull us down overall . The key is to be aware organization wide of the range of issues we need to balance to create excellence. The National Housing Quality Award is a powerful tool to allow us to view an organization in its entirety. It is not a prescriptive approach but rather encourages the introduction of a wide range of tools and techniques coordinated in a strategic manner to work in a synergistic manner focused on achieving the operational, tactical and strategic goals of the organization. If you use the criteria as a way to represent the dangers of tunnel vision, one can see that if only one piece of the criteria i.e. Construction Quality is considered and therefore is all we focus on then the other 7 elements of the criteria are ignored. This would include ignoring, Strategic Planning, Customer Focus and of course even Business Results!  The NHQA provides a companywide perspective, a Balanced Scorecard approach, opening up our tunnel vision to consider a wider range of options, both in the tools we use and where they are applied.

NEXT TIME, Construction Quality 

Denis Leonard has a degree in construction engineering an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in quality management. Denis is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality, a Certified Quality Manager, Auditor, and Six Sigma Black Belt. He has been an Examiner for the Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners a Judge on the International Team Excellence Competition and a Lead Judge on the National Housing Quality Award. A former Professor of Quality at the University of Wisconsin, he has experience as a quality manager in the home building industry as well as construction engineer, site manager, and in training, auditing, and consulting with expertise in strategic and operational quality improvement initiatives. His work has achieved national quality, environmental, and safety management awards for clients. 

Denis is co-author of The Executive Guide to Understanding and Implementing the Baldrige Criteria: Improve Revenue and Create Organizational Excellence.