Executive Leadership Engagement


This Month

AS9100C Internal Auditor Training. June 8-9th, 2015 Tempe, Arizona



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Our newsletters provide information on business management systems and process improvement methods. These systems include ISO 9001 QMS, AS9100 Aviation, Space and Defense, ISO/TS 16949 Automotive, ISO 27001 Information Security, ISO 13485 Medical Devices, ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard, and others. Subjects include performance improvement methods such as Six Sigma, Lean Enterprise, and other topics of interest to our readers.

If you have any questions regarding content, or have a subject of interest for a future newsletter, please let us know.

Executive Leadership Engagement


From our experience within business organizations over the years, it has become apparent that the “art and science” of executive leadership engagement is a critical core competency that can enable (or often disable) the achievement of the desired organizational results.


Whether your team practices MBWA, going to the Gemba, or Rounding for Outcomes, the evolution of these practices have contributed to creating high performing organizational cultures. The following is a brief description of “lessons learned” over time and insight into the discipline necessary for results.


Management by Walking Around (MBWA)

The origin of the term has been traced to executives at the company Hewlett-Packard, for management practices in the 1970s. However, the general concept of managers making spontaneous visits to employees in the workplace has been a common practice in some other companies, as well. Also, the management consultants Tom Peters and Robert H. Waterman had used the term in their 1982 book In Search of Excellence. 

Management by walking around, typically refers to a style of business management which may involve managers “wandering” around, in a somewhat unstructured manner, through the workplace(s), at random, to check with employees, or equipment, about the status of ongoing work. The emphasis is on the word wandering as an impromptu movement within a workplace, rather than a plan where employees expect a visit from managers at more systematic, pre-approved or scheduled times.

The expected benefit is that a manager, by “random sampling” of events or employee discussions, is more likely to facilitate improvements to the morale, sense of organizational purpose, productivity and total quality management of the organization, as compared to remaining in a specific office area and waiting for employees, or the delivery of status reports, to arrive there, as events warrant in the workplace.


Walking the GEMBA

Genba, (also romanized as gemba) is a Japanese term meaning “the real place.” Japanese detectives call the crime scene gemba, and Japanese TV reporters may refer to themselves as reporting from gemba. In business, gemba refers to the place where value is created; in manufacturing the gemba is the factory floor or in healthcare, it could be the nursing unit where patient care is delivered. It can be any “site” such as a construction site, sales floor or where service providers interact directly with customers.


In lean production systems, the idea of gemba is that the problems are visible, and the best improvement ideas will come from going to the gemba. The gemba walk, much like Management By Walking Around (MBWA), is an activity that takes management to the front lines to look for waste and opportunities to practice gemba kaizen, or practical shop floor improvement.

In quality management, gemba means the manufacturing floor and the idea is that if a problem occurs, the engineers must go there to understand the full impact of the problem, gathering data from all sources. Unlike focus groups and surveys, gemba visits are not scripted or bound by what one wants to ask.

Rounding for Outcomes

One common concern of employees is that their leader does not spend time with them and truly understand what they do. Employees expect their leaders to know what their needs are and care enough about them to try to meet these needs. Encouraging employees to feel that they have purpose, that their work is worthwhile and that what they are doing is making a difference can be difficult for many employers and supervisors.

Rounding for Outcomes Is Not: Management by walking/wandering around; reactive; focused on what is wrong; or just “being out there.”

The types of questions asked serve a multitude of purposes: to build deeper relationships, to learn what is working well, to identify process improvement areas to repair and monitor chronic issues within an organization, and to ensure that standard behaviors and practices within the organization are being consistently executed. Rounding includes asking questions that help an employer get to know his/her employees on a personal level, recognize what is working well and commend those who are doing a great job, as well as acknowledge and confront problem areas within the organization and discover what equipment, tools and training are necessary to help the employee better succeed at their job

Rounding is an opportunity for leaders to informally coach managers and employees “on the floor” by regularly asking a specific set of questions designed to elicit information that can be used to improve performance. It is a great way to support unit-based team members by visiting them face to face in their work environment and listening to their concerns. Rounding helps identify practices that improve the member/patient experience.

Rounding is a brief conversation, for example centered on these types of questions:

  • What is going well?

  • Is there anyone we should recognize for doing great work?

  • Are there systems or processes that need improvement?

  • Do you have the tools, equipment and information to do your job?


If Senior Leaders are serious about “walking the talk”, getting out of their office to where “the work” is done, and have the daily discipline to role model, listen, engage and act on what they learn for the benefit of the workforce (as well as the customer), the evidence shows these actions can be a formula for organizational success.


Looking for more information on Rounding for Outcomes Techniques?  Contact us to speak with Dennis Stambaugh, Article Author and Sustaining Edge Solutions Partner.     

AS9100:2016 – What’s Ahead?

astronaut-earth.jpg The AS9100 Aviation, Space and Defense Standard is undergoing a major revision aligned with the ISO 9001:2015 expected release of September 2015. 

With a slight lag of a few months, it is expected that the AS9100:2016 (including AS9110 Aviation Maintenance Organization and AS9120 Stocklist Distributor) will be released in the second quarter of 2016.  The gap between the published release of the ISO 9001:2015 and the AS9100:2016 standards will create a shorter time period for AS registered organizations to transition to this new standard.

Because the AS standards are being released approximately eight months after the ISO 9001:2015 standard, the “three year” transition is actually a little over two years for aerospace companies. This all is based on the assumption that the aerospace standards are published in April of 2016.  If that deadline is not met, the transition period will be even shorter.

Currently, the AS9100:2016 standard is in the draft stages and therefore still undergoing change.  But what is known is that it will mirror the new Annex SL ten-clause format of the ISO 9001:2015 standard.  In addition, it is expected that the following areas will be added or enhanced:

  • Product Safety
  • Human Factors
  • Risk
  • Preventive Action
  • Counterfeit Parts
  • Configuration Management
  • Product Realization and Planning
  • Post Delivery Support
  • Project Management
  • Design Development and Supplier Management
  • Quality Manual
  • Management Representative

As these standards work their way through the various groups  and specific stakeholders, it is expected that there will continue to be changes from their current draft forms.  Watch for updates to these standards in our future newsletters.

Appreciate Your Company Documentation


Why do so many organizations spend valuable time and resources generating and maintaining paperwork systems? Asking to see documentation often results in responses about bureaucratic or time-consuming paperwork.

The following are six key benefits to help understand the importance of documentation in all operational processes:

1. Accountability: If a process requires documentation, it is much more likely to occur and be utilized. Effective documentation identifies process connections. The completed documentation becomes the key to opening the door to the next step. For example, contract approval would require a documented review of the terms before being accepted.

2. Completeness: If standard forms or checklists are incorporated into a process, these tools become roadmaps to ensure process consistency. Good documentation should show a clear relationship of required inputs and outputs. For example, a machinist might feel tempted to omit measurement data to speed product delivery. But if the inspector ensures the documentation is complete, the process owner will have to include all data requirements to complete the job.

3. Consistency: If given the chance, individuals will complete a given task in many ways. A consistent approach creates organizational efficiency. For example, if a form being used is understood and standardized, the processes used to create the documentation also are standardized.

4. Timeliness: When a deadline is important, documentation is important. The knowledge that a document, form, or record must be signed and dated to a schedule, encourages compliance with the schedule. For example, if your required to submit recurring financial information to corporate each month, you will take the steps necessary to collect and document that information in a timely manner.

5. Communication: Documentation increases the communication flow between team members. With the increased speed of project activities using e-mail and software, the need for documentation is ever increasing. For example, good meeting minutes and documented action plans allow individuals accessibility to electronic information formats at all times.

6. Record: A documented record of actions, decisions, product data can provide the necessary information for years later and protect the company and its employees. For example, a customer’s claim of design error can end up in litigation. If good records are kept, the records would be invaluable for any subsequent actions.

Remember, if documentation is required and not yet completed, the task is not done. The doing and documenting of systems and processes are complementary and very necessary. Thanks to Dan Domalik for his information insights.



In the News
Modular Mining Systems, Inc. Achieves ISO 9001:2008 Certification   

Congratulations to our client, Modular Mining Systems. Modular Mining Systems, Inc. provides the most complete lineup of hardware and software mine management solutions on the market for over three decades. From global network support to field-proven products delivering high quality solutions for open pit and underground mines worldwide. For more information on Modular Mining Systems products and services visit the company website


ANSI Launches Redesigned Standards Portal Website

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is pleased to announce the redesign of its Standards Portal, an online resource and educational tool for global trade which provides answers to critical standards, conformance, market access, and trade-related questions that companies require for U.S. and international operations. The updated site features a new interface with links to need-to-know information on international trade.

Site visitors can also find links to access a database of national, regional, and international standards and guidelines that are considered integral to successful international trade.

Only 251 U.S. hospitals receive 5-star rating on patient satisfaction

Just 251 U.S. hospitals got the highest score on a new five-star rating system the CMS rolled out in April.

The new ratings are part of a broader initiative by the federal agency to use a five-star rating system across all of its Web pages intended to help consumers compare the quality of healthcare providers.

Just over 3,500 U.S. hospitals had a new summary rating applied to their Hospital Compare pages on Thursday. According to a Modern Healthcare review of the data, a total of 101 hospitals received the lowest ranking of one star; 582 received two stars; 1,414 received three stars; 1,205 received four stars; and 251 received the highest ranking of five stars.

The survey asks patients about factors such as the responsiveness of hospital staff to their needs, the quality of care transitions and how well information about medications is communicated. It also asks about cleanliness and quietness of the facility and whether or not the patient would recommend it to others.

For more survey information, visit Modern Healthcare Website.

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Many organizations will begin the transition to the new ISO 9001:2015 Standard this fall.  As a full service provider, we are here to support you and your organization with all your transition needs. We will be offering training, onsite evaluations to determine needs, documentation development and improvement, pre-assessment auditing, and internal audit support.

We also will be delivering services which “look beyond” your operational and quality management system effectiveness with a focus on holistic business performance and cost reduction.  Stay tuned for more information.

As always, please contact us with any questions and to determine your improvement needs.

Best regards,

Walter Tighe and SES Team
Sustaining Edge Solutions, Inc.
Toll Free 888-572-9642


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