Shortly after becoming a senior manager I attended a 6-week residential executive program at the Australian Graduate School of Management. There I heard about Total Quality Management (TQM) and sometime later went to a seminar with Bill Conway, ex-President of Nashua who was talking about the subject. He was clear, concise, passionate and told us what was needed for a business to thrive.
By morning tea I felt I had some answers, so I called my office to organize a meeting of my team for the next morning – some changes were going to be made. I spoke to Bill and he encouraged me to start by working on my CEO. So early next morning I wrote a memo to Alan telling him TQM was vital to our business and that as CEO it was his role to lead it. He asked me to show him more.
So I invited two CEO friends to lunch with us, during which they talked about what TQM meant to their businesses. When they left Alan simply said ‘Well I guess you’ve got a new job, find a replacement, take some time off, and start your new role when you get back – and let me know what you need’. That was Alan.
Together we led the TQM charge and I spent the next ten years passionately promoting continuous improvement to all sorts of organizations. Bill Conway not only taught me about TQM, he introduced me to Dr Deming whom I was honored to meet before he died. Bill and Dr Deming changed my professional journey. Today my book on TQM ‘Hidden Gold’ written with friend Jo Kruithof is still sold by SAI Global