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A Scouting Lesson

Lessons come in all shapes and sizes. I remember a lesson that happened towards the end of a campout once. We had a campout to teach our younger scouts about camping techniques, and about the games, we were going to be playing at an upcoming Camporee. The older scouts were there to help teach the younger scouts.

It was just an overnight camp out, and towards early morning, the cars, driven by adults, happened to get toilet papered. When this was seen in the morning, the scoutmaster did a little investigating. He spoke with scouts both individually and in groups.

Although nobody would confess, he could tell that the younger scouts really had nothing to do with the prank. He knew from talking to everyone that the older scouts did, although they would not say so. The scoutmaster put a little wisdom into the mix and came up with a great solution that taught a lesson.

Talking only to the younger scouts, he got them to volunteer to remove the paper from the adult’s cars, and as a good scout deed wash the cars for the adults. By the time the vehicles were cleaned, the scoutmaster had pizzas delivered from a favorite pizza parlor. The young scouts who had done their good deeds and hard work were reworded and got to eat the pizza while the older scouts could only be there and watch.

I probably would not have thought about this action as a resolution. Although, I couldn’t think of a much better lesson to teach both good deeds, and also admitting to your own pranks. I guess this is a good thing about having wise scoutmasters.

Just something for you to think about this weekend and maybe sometimes when you have to teach younger people a wise lesson.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again soon.

Quality

Welcome to another Throwback Thursday.  Our blog today comes from 2016 and is on Quality

Quality goes hand and hand with reputation.  A person or company with good quality will usually have a good reputation.  A person or company without a quality product or output will still have a reputation, it just, most likely not be a good one. In many Pacific rim industrial centers, quality is related to morality.  A person who produces items of poor quality is looked at as someone with poor morals

Quality discussions and ideas are found online, in isles of books, and in billions of dollars’ worth of consulting and training that are sold each year.  TQM, 8-D, Six-Sigma, 5-S, just name a very few of the thousands of methods used in various industries and companies, ranging from electronic system technologies to healthcare and on to the service industry. 

Quality does not just naturally happen.  You have to work at quality to have a good quality.  Do you have to buy all those books, and experts, classes?  NO.  You should know a couple of things about quality and be willing to put a little time into quality.

I want to tell you of a study that took place in the very early 1900s.  Scientists were trying to find out the best environment for factory production.  They called all the workers together and explained what they were doing and why.  Then they started playing with the environment in the building.  They made the lights brighter for a while, and then dimmer for a time.  Then they made the factory colder, then warmer.  As they went through all these steps and more, the scientists explained to the workers what they were doing next and why.

Every time the scientists changed something the production output kept going up.  It took a little time, and then the scientists began to understand what was happening.  Production kept going up because the scientists kept meeting with the production crew and talking with them.  Thus the first rule of communication:

Good quality requires good communication.  And, to have good communications, there must be trust.  So, remember the notebook and writing implement I mentioned in the preface of the book?  If you have not started yet, it is time to make some notes, we are about to get hands on because this is important.

Time to make a Quality Tree.  The main Trunk of the tree needs to be trust

Without a full trust of everyone involved, good information will be shared and bad information will be hidden.  Without trust fingers point, blame grows, hidden factories and lower quality quickly become the norm. 

So start to draw your tree.

The largest of the branches is communication.  Communication keeps everyone in the loop.  Quality communications ensure no surprises either up or down the line.

Accountability – Accountability is not finger pointing or punishment when things go wrong.  Accountability is and needs to stay positive and rewarding as virtue is bestowed upon all who are part of an organization.  With accountability comes pride in a job well done, a feeling of accomplishment, and a sense of being part of something important.

Too many companies treat their people as throw away items.  Making outrageous time demands, threatening, and not properly training or motivating their workers.  These are the companies that do not have a structure of Accountability; and quite often do not have a history of quality because of a breakdown in Trust and accountability.

To help communications flow smoother, there is a flow to follow.  First, listen and then speak.  Too often management and supervisors come into a problem, talk a little, shout a little, pass around a few threats, along with an insult or two and then consider the possibility of maybe listening to someone.  The problem is by the time they are done, no one wants to talk to them anymore, and the only question is, “Who does this person think they are?”

Keep in mind the rule of thumb.  Two ears and one mouth means listen two thirds and talk one third.  To talk more usually means talking out of both sides of your mouth.

Measurement – Knowing what is good and bad about the product and how long it takes to make the product is very important.  Hiding or camouflaging any problems or longer assembly times causes hidden factories.  Hidden factories become very expensive and very costly.

When I was a process engineer, I had several people come and tell me about a recurring problem on an assembly line.  Knowing how errors get blown out of Proportion, I checked the Shop Floor Data Collector to see what it would tell me.  I only saw one error, not several.  I did notice the line was running slower than it should, and was behind on the total number of units built.

I went out to the floor to investigate and see for myself.  When I got to the Quality Control Inspection Station, I found the answer.  The Quality Technician was trying to help the line.  Any of the various types of errors she found were only scanned once for that day. She set all of the units with errors to the side and fixed them herself so the build line would look better on paper.

I appreciate anyone who wants to help a line do better. However, this action did not help.  Engineers hear all types of stories, both good and bad most of the time.  To make sure they see the right good and bad points, engineers rely on data.  If the data is wrong or being manipulated it works against the workers and not for them.  Anytime an engineer sees a problem as shown in the data, that engineer is working on a root cause analysis and a permanent fix to the process. 

The person who caused the problem was working with a sense of fear for her fellow workers because the factory was undergoing layoffs.  It is important to remove fear by replacing it with accountability, trust, and communications.  She let her fears, flamed by rumors cause a set of quality failures on the line because she had no one she trusted to tell there was a problem and ask for help in getting it fixed. 

Maybe the real trick is to take out the fear?

Thank you for being with me during this Throwback Thursday.  I hope you liked it.  I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

The Holiday Spirit

This time of year, many major religions celebrate the feasts of giving. It is in our nature to share what we have with others. It helps us to share our joy with others and allows them to take part in our bounty.

When we share what we have, we do honor to them, and we honor ourselves. We can always give a present, exchange a couple of kind words, and be on our way. Yet there is actually much more we can do.

We can share the gift of time and understanding with others we know. We can take time to this it with them, talk with them, and learn new things about them. In exchange, they get to do the same with us. In this type of holiday gift, everyone involved finds positive energy and uplifting joy.

Sharing this gift with those in your circle, the people you know and care for, is a great gift. And yet there is an even greater side to this. When you step out and share this with others whom you don’t know, maybe some who were a little less fortunate than yourself, then, everything you offer seems to come back to you. And, you will find it shaken down and flowing over.

I know that sharing with others you are not acquainted with is something that sounds hard, and yet these actions can be some of the most rewarding to both yourself and the others involved. One thing I would recommend is the fact that we do not have to do this only during certain times of the year. We can take any time to reach out and share with another. True, it is more expected during the holidays, yet it is something that is appreciated and cherished any time.

Like everything else I suggest start off with small doses and test it out. This is something you have to try for yourself, not just take my word on. If you do so, please let me know how it went.

Thanks for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Get Better

It is one thing to be sick, and quite another to let an illness take control of us. When Dylan Thomas wrote about raging against the dying of the light, I believe he had this in mind. Being sick is one thing accepting it is quite another.

We all get sick from time to time. And yes, we do have to take care of ourselves. The trick is to get the rest, receive the required medicines, and give ourselves time to heal. It is equally important that as we improve, we move back towards our normal activities. Maybe with a little reserve at first, to ensure we do not have a relapse by striving for too much too soon, with doing what we can without making things worse.

Please take this for the entertainment value it brings.  There are all types of experts in the world which will lend us their thoughts on what we should do and how we should do it, and what will keep us well and what won’t. The only absolute expert is you. You know what you can do, and you know what your body can take. Just remember that the body is like a fine-tuned utility vehicle. You never know what it can do until it’s pushed a little.

I’m not saying you should do this or should do that, nor can I do so because I don’t know you personally. What I can say, is listen to yourself. Know what you’re capable of, and understand what you have to do when things are not quite right. That would include knowing when to turn towards the professionals for better diagnosis and better methods of treatment. After all, if they have studied the human body and wellness for years, and they see and heal illnesses every day, then listening to them could save you a lot of worries and a lot of downtimes.

As with everything, you do not take my word for any of this. Test it out in small doses and see what happens. After all, everything could work at some point, and probably no one thing will work all the time. You have to know what’s going on with yourself and how it’s making you feel, and if you can’t fix it or overcome it, then it is time for the professionals to step in.

NOTE:  I am not advising you go out and do this. Please look at this blog only for its entertainment value. You need to do what you believe is right for you. This blog explains what I do for me. Do not do this because I say so. I am only giving you something to consider and think about. After all, I am not the professional on your needs, and You need to listen to your medical professionals and do what is right for you.

Have a good day today. Hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Prepare in moderation

We had a beautiful snowfall last night. It clung to the yard and even to the street. We knew what was coming, we just did not know how much snow we would get. Sometimes life is like that. We know something is happening, we just don’t have knowledge of how intense it may be or how much it will affect us.

The trick in dealing with the question of amounts is not to get carried away. Being prepared is always good. Just don’t plan or spend for something that would cause pain if it did not happen. Think of it as a measured response in everything.

 

It is easy to get carried away. I remember the first year I was in Alaska with the Air Force. We had significant snow early in September, and I went downtown and had studded snow tires put on my truck. What I did not understand, because it was my first year in Alaska, was that the snow would melt right away, and we did not get another heavy snow until late October. So, I had spent money on snow tires that just weren’t needed for another couple of months. I would be better off if I purchased the tires later when I really needed them.

I know we all take such actions, trying to stay ahead of the circumstances before us, and often spending to procure things we don’t need right away. I think that’s the way we are as a society. We are often looking forward and planning. Although it is good to look ahead and prepare, there are also some problems that can be caused in some related actions.

We need to be careful not to purchase too much, for it may not all be required. Even worse, we can buy things too early, and by the time we need them, we cannot remember where we stored them. Then we have to go out and spend more money to purchase them again.

The trick is to find moderation in preparedness. We have the things that we usually use, and maybe a few items for just in case. We need to not go overboard one way or the other, and we should have a plan to know what’s where.

 Just by putting in a little bit of forethought, we could spend less, enjoy things more, and have some real preparation of what may come, without spending too much.

Just one mean old master sergeant’s thoughts.

Thank you for being with me today.  I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Good Advice?

Friends, family, and others are always telling us what we should do for our bodies, and to stay well and healthy. Getting these bits of help and suggestions in articles is nice. There is one small problem though. We have over 3 ½ billion bodies out there, and very few are exactly alike. What we each need to do is find those good ideas that work for us.

Getting the flu shot could be a great idea unless you’re one of the 5 to 10% whose bodies get violently sick at the flu shot. Some people tell you to drink coffee and others will tell you to avoid caffeine. You have to figure out what is right for you. Some people will tell you your most creative part of the day is early morning. I had a Great Aunt who got up at two in the afternoon and was very creative and active until about three in the morning. It was just how her body worked best.

I’m not saying ignore the advice of others. What I am saying is give it a try and see if it really is for you. Not every piece of information you are going to receive or read or hear about is going to be good advice for you personally. No one writing an article thousands of miles away will be entirely accurate for you. Especially, if the article writer has never met you.

President Reagan introduced us to an excellent Russian proverb of trust but verify. I would like to tell you another thought, “try and assess.” You won’t know how good something is for you until you try it. Testing in small doses is best. Then evaluate what you have tried. For it is through that evaluation that you will know what works for you and what is better left for someone else to try.

When trying new things use a little common sense. Some things are obviously wrong. I still hear my dad saying if everybody jumped off a cliff, would you do so? I know that common sense really isn’t so pervasive, yet I’m hoping each of us has some when it comes to our health and well-being. And please remember, if you’re going to listen to anyone, listen to the professionals who know you best.

Thanks for being with me today. I hope to be with you again soon

Donating to Others

I never knew this, but the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving (the day after Cyber Monday) is known as donation day. I think this is a great idea. Mainly, because none of us got to where we are today without someone giving us a hand. It is always good to respect the fact that we do not stand here alone.  And, sharing what we have with others is a great way to say thank you.

Many people donate money. The funds collected can bring a lot of good to people in need. I have seen such donations help people return to their family homes, keep a roof over their head, keep utilities running, put food on their table, and help those who don’t have a place to live. I have seen magnificent things happen from even a small donation.

Some people have a hard time making what they have meet their needs, yet, they still donate. Rather than giving money, they give their time. Time, as I often say, is far more precious than money. When we run low on cash, we are able to go out and earn more. Money is a renewable resource.

When we run out of time, that is all there is. This is because we each only have so many years, months, weeks, days, hours and minutes allotted to us on this earth. We never know how much time we are here for, and when it’s over, time is up. Time is a nonrenewable resource. That is why I look at time as being more precious.

I have seen people donate their precious time joyfully and with love in their heart. And because they do so, I have seen the recipients of their hard work find that spark of joy. It is more than just receiving the needed items, both the receivers and those donating the time to help them share exciting moments of mutual caring and thanks. And because of this, I also believe that those who initially provided the money to purchase the needed items, which made all this possible, are doubly blessed as well.

I believe that we each should donate in our own way. We should give respectfully, in a manner that respects those who will receive and shows respect for ourselves. You will be surprised by the blessings and the help that even a small donation can provide.

Thanks for being here with me today.  I hope to be with you again tomorrow.