Gary K. Johnson
had a brainstorm.Like the enlightenment of others before and after, this special moment of understanding transformed his
view of business lives, missions, customer expectations.Yet it was a principle of action so simple, so transcendant he
never saw the point till he
himself was at the point.
The view from next doorJohnson
was president of WMI Corporation, producing management training used by many industries.he
would been asked by several trusted clients to develop a new, practical approach to what we call today Total Quality.
Many followed the prevalent quality model--based on quality processes espoused by giants like Deming and Juran and derived historically from manufacturing settings.Superstitiously, too many CEOs slavishly followed form, not substance.And some widely-heralded quality initiatives bit the dust.Johnson's
later research revealed that, of all American jobs, 85 % did not involve manufacturing-type processes.More important, many quality initiatives left no room for handling real-world customers and their expectations while the organization re-formed itself.That was not consistent with the best quality theory--just the way it turned out.Still, Johnson
pondered what needed to be done to make quality initiatives truly succeed.
The unexpected Christmas presentGary Johnson
had spent months interviewing clients, conferring with colleagues, retreating to think things over.No answers at hand, he
decided to spend the post-Christmas holidays with his
wife in the Caribbean.
Access to information is what motivates change and improvement..
Then, in a moment of clarity and behind-the-scenes peeking, Gary Johnson
answer to the quality question, like an unforeseen gift.He
watched customer service people gamely face wave after wave of his
fellow stranded travelers.With such poor service, i will never fly this airline again! was a common threat, met only by staff apologies, apparently sincere.Standing to one side, Johnson
could see behind the counter a simple diagram visible to the agents.A flow chart directed what to do for various eventualities.Most--like the Johnsons' canceled flight--led to one solution only : apologize.Johnson
later confirmed this with an agent, who had to phone higher-ups for permission even to hand out meal chits.
The airline failed to meet passengers' expectations of getting somewhere on time.Quality to that airline's management meant cutting costs to improve profits.Because of this policy decision, the passenger agents--at the point of customer contact--were powerless to help materially.Management feared agents with any authority would give away the store. So the people who could help retain and build customer loyalty were not empowered to solve the problem on the spot.
From that revelation, Johnson's firm developed QSE Quality Service Everytime, a program for implementing workable quality initiatives.
Anthony Rucci had a brainstorm similar to Gary Johnson's