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As with most aspects of business life, quality or excellence is part of a wider context. Many topics will therefore be useful, but in particular you could look at the following:
In search of excellence; lessons from America’s best-run companies
Tom Peters and Robert Waterman, published by Collins Business Essentials, 2004 (Reprint), 400 pages
Highly readable, despite being the classic reference work on excellence for years. Peters’ thesis is the need for human enthusiasm to power business systems. His ideas derive from the study of 43 American companies which met his criteria as the best-run in that country at that time. The book has many suggestions for nurturing enthusiasm for excellence.
Ricardo Semler, published by Random House Business Books, 2001 (New Edition), 332 pages
You can read this like a novel. – no graphs or charts! The liberating message is that you don’t have to comply with received wisdom to succeed. So it’s not a ‘how to’ manual: Semler doesn’t hold himself out as an expert, and simply tells the story of what he did, and how it worked (or not). Appendix includes a copy of the company’s (very short) employee handbook, complete with cartoons.
The quality pocketbook
Anthony Mitchell, published by Management Pocketbooks, 2000, 106 pages
Highly readable, UK-based and, as the title suggests, will fit into a jacket pocket. The author cuts through the bull to the essence of quality – thoroughly recommended for a quick overview of a potentially vast subject.
Gregory H Watson, published by John Wiley & Sons, 1993, 269 pages
Although not a light read, this book is packed with practical tools, examples and advice, and has an extensive reading list on the subject of benchmarking. Most examples originate in the US, although many are global household names, including companies such as Ford, General Motors, Hewlett-Packard and Xerox.
Thin book of appreciative inquiry (Thin book series)
Sue Annis Hammond, published by Kodiak Consulting, 1996, 63 pages
This is a brilliantly simple explanation of a tool that should be used more often and an essential read for any experienced facilitator thinking about using the technique.
Kaizen, the key to Japan’s competitive success
Maasaki Imai, published by McGraw Hill, New York, 1986, 260 pages
The book describes the basic principles of continuous improvement. Although it was written 20 years ago, the content remains highly relevant.
5 pillars of the visual workplace: the sourcebook for 5s implementation
Hiroyuki Hirano, published by Productivity Press, 1995, 353 pages
This does what it says on the tin, and as a straight-forward ‘how to do it’ guide, it includes that rarity – how it can go wrong.
The quality toolbox
Nancy R Tague, published by ASQ Publications, 2004 (Second edition), 584 pages
This book includes strategic issues and nuts and bolts as well as case studies. Gives very detailed instruction on ‘how to’ use a vast range of quality tools – not just the process, but in what circumstances to do so. It also includes a number of cases.
www.thecqi.org/deming This is the archive of a Special Interest Group on the Chartered Quality Institute website which explores the Deming approach - the implementation of an alternative management style as introduced by the late Dr W Edwards Deming, the renowned contributor to both management and the quality improvement revolution worldwide. Change and quality go hand in hand and there is lots of good material on this site.