Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Excerpt from Ron Rosenberg's Magic of Marketing e-newsletter

I receive a regulare newsletter from Ron Rosenberg, an expert on Marketing. While this is not my business, I do find some golden nuggets in Mr. Rosenberg's words, from time to time. This one is worth sharing. If you like what you read, sign up for Ron's newsletter and acquire these nuggets on your own.

Excerpt from

The Week of August 20, 2007

I'm convinced that we're not doing our kids any favors by helping them as much as we do. And I don't just mean my own kids - I'm talking about our society as a whole. Don't get me wrong, I like to help them out and support their interests and activities.

But not when they take it for granted and don't seem to appreciate all the opportunities they have.

I was discussing this with someone a few weeks ago who shared a very interesting story with me. Seems a friend of his is wealthy. I mean really wealthy - as in "filthy stinkin' rich" wealthy - and has been for some time.

They have four grown children who are basically spoiled waste products who don't do anything except spend their parents' money and wait for them to die so they can get it all for themselves.

The father kept encouraging them to get off their butts and do something but with no success.

Finally, one day, the gears kind of clicked into place and he realized that he was the primary cause of all of this because he continued to support them while they did nothing with their lives.

So about a week later, he invited all four kids over for dinner, and after a great meal, told them he had an important announcement to make. Sensing that something exciting was about to happen, probably involving more money for them, they sat up and leaned in expectantly.

Then the father dropped the bomb: he told them that he had removed them from his will. All four of them. They weren't going to get a dime when he died - all of it was going to charity.

But then he told them something else: that he would help create any business, venture, or enterprise they wanted to start while he was still alive.

This would give them the opportunity to build something that could sustain them after he was gone. Since he wasn't all that old, there was time to actually make something work, but who really knows what happens from one day to the next?

Of course the kids reacted predictably with emotions ranging from disbelief to indignity to complete and total outrage. They protested and asked him to reconsider, but he explained that he had been to the lawyer's office that afternoon, and that it was a done deal.

When I heard this story I grinned from ear to ear. I thought it was one of the smartest things I had ever heard. Then, after a brief pause, I asked an important question: Did any of the kids take him up on his offer and start a business? Unfortunately it had just happened a month ago and it was too early to tell.

Besides, it was probably going to take a few more months for it to actually sink in to the point where the kids finally realized that they're actually supposed to do something with their lives.

And this story has some key points for you whether you have kids or not.

First, you shouldn't reward people for no reason at all. Kids should contribute to household chores. Vendors should deliver what they promise.

Employees shouldn't get extra recognition just for doing their jobs.

Second, setting deadlines is a great motivator. In this case, the deadline is really a "dead" line - the offer expires when the father "expires."

And finally, sometimes you have to go to extreme measures to get someone's attention - just like cutting out our own kids' allowances when it was time for them to get a part-time job and start working.

Leadership - an attempt to influence other people's behavior - is never easy. But it is important. Make sure you're sending the right messages because that's the real wealth you have to offer.

Ron Rosenberg helps businesses get more customers than they know what to do with and keep them for life. Get your FREE Gift from Ron – over $349 in business resources guaranteed to increase sales and revenue – at

© 2007 QualityTalk, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

On Auditing

I've been auditing Quality Management Systems for about 15 years.
  • My earliest experiences include ISO 9002:1987.
  • Then I worked on a Certified Supplier Program geared toward Dock to Stock.
  • That was followed by a stint with ISO 9001:1984.
  • In the past 6 or 7 years I've been involved with both ISO 9001:2000 QMS audits and supplier audits to meet project requirements per the customer's specifications.

Okay, so I have quite extensive quality audit experience. Now you may be asking, what's the point of this, or do I even have a point. Well, I'll tell you, I find several aspects of auditing quite frustrating...

The auditors (my team and me) are diligent about reviewing the processes to assure compliance to the specific standard. Is this enough? I say NO!

So we take it further, we bring out 'Profound Knowledge' to the audit and share with the auditee our life experiences to help him/her improve the processes.

So, where is the frustration? It lies with the auditee. Typically, they go through the motions and listen without hearing your input and fail to take actions to improve their methods.

Is this a failure of the audit? I say NO, again!

It is a failure of our management systems. We do not take the function of auditing seriously enough and do not escalate the findings to an organizational point were real action will be taken. This applied both internally (internal audits) and externally (audits of suppliers).

Okay, so I'm being a bit generic, some organizations are serious about their audit program. From my experience, these organizations are few and far between. Most do their audits and take basic corrective action to meet the minimum requirement of the standard or the contract. This is not enough.

Auditing is the purest form of Quality. It provides us with a look (deep or shallow, whichever we choose) into our designed system in order to identify opportunities to improve the system. Auditing is not about:
  1. Pointing fingers;
  2. Laying blame;
  3. Searching for defects, errors or faults.

Auditing is all about:

  1. Assuring compliance;
  2. Process verification;
  3. Identifying opportunities for improvement.

In a nutshell, the function of auditing itself is the pure form of quality. However, without follow through on improvement opportunities the audit itself can be rendered meaningless.

A final note on this sure that the audit itself has added value to your overall business management system. Auditing for the sake of auditing is as much a waste of time and resources as failure to follow through with implementing improvements.