Awareness motivational stories Blog

“The Best” is not Good – Check Performance

When we do, we do our best. While performing an act, we often forget that sometimes the best performance is not even good for others.  It is disappointing but the ultimate fact. This doesn’t mean that the interest with which we perform best has some lacking. This also implies to the fact that the act has been done with the purest of the intention and was targeted to bring brilliant and the best output. Then, where is the deficit? To understand this, we need to look into some facts and this has to be a real close analysis.

“Better” is not always “Good” –

We all work, at times to survive, at times to perform. Our share of effort may vary from person to person. This is to be noted that the kind of effort we put in defines the quality of outcome. Since, the effort is a dynamic attribute, even if we do better, at times it fails to meet others expectations.

Have you failed to understand? –

We should ask this question more often. In fact, we should maintain a list of self check. To perform and to deliver, understanding expectation is much needed.

Let’s understand this with an example. Say that you work for a company and there are certain set of key performance indicators. The work assigned to you demand for closure within a day. Historically the task was not completed within the time frame but things have improved and delivery as per actual time frame is now possible. Your subordinate completes the task with all his efforts but not within the same day. It is good to appreciate him/her but clearly you missed to understand the expectations. It was expected that the task should complete within a day.

Are you too difficult to feel emotions? –

Let’s say you are into customer service industry. You do a job and customer appreciates you. Be aware – Understand whether the appreciation was true or it was said out of emotional outcome. My employee performs a repair task and delivers the electronic product to customer in two days of time. Customer is happy and appreciated him despite of the fact that the said employee has not met the turnaround time. We should not be happy. Customer has not appreciated him for his work. Customer appreciated him because his previous experience might be worse. Ask yourself – Is it a healthy situation?

“Humans” are “Machine”, if they stop; they catch “Rust” –

We humans are machines. If we stop, we catch rust. Machines need continual check-up and maintenance. For us, Self-development, Self-motivation, Training, Regular Briefing and Scrutiny are the keys to stay up to mark. To my employee, my approach should exactly be in same direction. I should be encouraging him for self-development and self-motivation. To achieve this, I should be training them, coaching them, briefing them and if required should be doing a regular and periodic scrutiny.

Accept that you can’t be perfect. Accept that this may be your mistake. Accept that you will correct the wrongs. Your acceptance to the fact that you failed to perform, prepares you to perform right.

Apply above and you will see a different personality within yourself.

Recommended readings:

  1. Six Sigma - Remove Defects
  2. Tips to improve personality
  3. Manage the project effectively
  4. Transactional Analysis – Eric Berne
  5. Wear Six Hats – Edward De Bono
  6. SWOT Analysis
Awareness motivational stories Blog

Six Sigma – A statistical approach

Six Sigma is an statistical approach. It determines whether a process is in statistical control or is stable. Statistical analysis will basically help in understanding whether the process is stable or unstable. If unstable the data analysis can also help in understanding the nature of special cause, this will in turn leads to identification of the root cause.

I am going to discuss some of the statistical and graphical tools commonly used in project improvement.

Six Sigma - Defining A Problem, Opportunity Improve & Correcting Measures:
  • Project charter – First stage in Six Sigma therefore takes place in Define phase of DMAIC. The elements of a Project Charter can vary, but they generally include the Business Case, Problem Statement, Goal Statement, Team Members/Roles, and Constraints/Boundaries, and Project Scope.
  • Deploying VOC- Voice of Customer – It includes House of Quality, Parts development, Process planning & Production planning. It is the process to understand feedback from current and future customers.
  • Value stream map – A Value Stream Map visually maps the flow of steps, delay, and information required to deliver a product or service.
Six Sigma - Analyzing processes & Performance measures:
  • Process map for recording the activities performed as part of a process.
  • Root cause analysis & Capability analysis to find uncover causes & to assess the ability of a process to meet specifications.
  • Multi-Vari chart :- It’s a tool that graphically displays patterns of variation. It is used to identify possible Xs or families of variation, such as variation within a subgroup, between subgroups, or over time.
  • Control chart tool to monitor process stability and control and Pareto chart to analyze the frequency of problems or causes.
  • Failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA)  It is an important tool for risk assessment and helps prioritize the potential problem. The objective of FMEA is to look for all the ways a product or process can fail.
Six Sigma - Improving process performance -Eradicating root causes:
  • Design of experiments (DOE) to solve problems from complex processes or systems where there are many factors influencing the outcome and where it is impossible to isolate one factor or variable from the others.
  • Kaizen event to introduce rapid change by focusing on a narrow project and using the ideas and motivation of the people who do the work.
  • Control plan to document what is needed to keep an improved process at its current level.
  • Statistical process control (SPC) for monitoring process behavior.

Important Technical Tools with Description :-

The Critical to Quality (CTQ) Tree

The critical-to-quality tree is used during the design phase of DMAIC. It is used to brainstorm and validate the needs and requirements of the customer of the process, targeted for improvement.

The steps in creating a CTQ tree are as follows:

  • Identify the customer of the process targeted for improvement.
  • Identification of the need of the customer.
  • Identify the first level of requirements of the need, that is, some characteristic of the need that determines whether the customer is happy with the need.
  • Drill down to more detailed level(s) of the requirement if necessary.
The Process Map:

During the Define phase, the project team creates the first of several process maps. A process map is a picture of the current steps in the process targeted for improvement.

A process map has five major categories of work from the identification of the suppliers of the process, the inputs the suppliers provide, the name of the process, the output of the process, and the customers of the process. Each of these steps is summarized as SIPOC to indicate the steps to the team that must be conducted to complete a process map.

The Histogram:

This tool is used during the Analysis stage of DMAIC. The project team reviews data collected during the Measure stage of DMAIC.

It is often suggested that the data be organized into graphs or charts, which makes it easier to understand, what the data is saying about the process.

Data is of two types – Discrete data (fail or pass) and Continuous data ( time, height etc.).

The Pareto Chart (80:20 rule)

Histogram is useful for continuous data, same way when the data is discrete, most teams create a Pareto chart. Discrete data is counted data – go/no-go, off/on, yes/no, and defect/no defect type data.

An Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, in the sixteenth century proved mathematically that 80 percent of the world’s wealth was controlled by 20 percent of the population. This 80-20 rule eventually proved applicable in arenas other than economics.

When dealing with discrete data, the project team should create reason codes for why a defect occurs, and count and categorize the data into these reason codes and a pareto chart should be prepared.

The Process Summary Worksheet

The goal of a Six Sigma project team is to improve effectiveness and efficiency. Efficiency is measured in terms of cost, time, labor, or value.

The process summary worksheet is a “roll-up” of the sub process map indicating which steps add value in the process and which steps don’t add value.

The Cause-Effect Diagram (Fishbone or Ishikawa Diagram)

The most important tool to assist the project team in determining root causation is the cause-effect diagram. This tool captures all the ideas of the project team relative to what they feel are the root causes behind the current sigma performance and finally help in finding a root cause of the problem.

The Scatter Diagram

Once ideas have been prioritized after use of the cause-effect diagram, the most important thing the project team does is to validate the remaining ideas with fact and data.

The scatter diagram takes an idea about root causation and tracks corresponding data, in the response the team is trying to improve. The team can validate an idea about root causation through one of the three methods. Using basic data collection, a designed experiment, or through the scatter diagram.

The Affinity Diagram

An affinity diagram is used to help sort and categorize a large number of ideas into major themes or categories. It is especially useful when the team is ready to brainstorm solutions in the Improve stage of DMAIC. The steps in creating an affinity diagram are:

  • Have each team member write one idea per Post-it note and post on a wall randomly.
  • As ideas are read off for clarification, sort ideas into similar groups.
  • Create a ‘header’ card for each general category of ideas below it.
The Run Chart

We have discussed the histogram and Pareto chart. Think of both of these tools as similar to a camera where a snapshot of the process has been taken. But the run chart is similar to a camcorder, recording some process element over time.

The Control Chart

Similar to a run chart, a control chart uses the data from a run chart to determine the upper and lower control limits. Control limits are the expected limits of variation above and below the average of the data. These limits are mathematically calculated and indicated by dotted lines.

There are lot of other tool with which six sigma works but these are most common for every team member to be aware of and knowledgeable about.

Awareness motivational stories Blog

Mind mapping – Transactional Analysis by Eric Berne

There are multiple theories which can help you in understanding human psychology and behaviour. Transactional Analysis by Eric Berne is one of them.

Unlike Edward de Bono’s Six Hat Theory which describes individual thinking involving six coloured hats, Eric Berne’s Transactional analysis focuses on behaviour and shift in personality of a person.

In the 50’s Eric Berne began to develop transactional analysis theories in which he defined Transaction Stimulus Response and Respondent very clearly. As per him, when two people meet each other, one of them will start the conversation which is called Transaction Stimulus. Transaction Response is the reaction to the conversation.

The person sending the Stimulus is called the Agent. The person who responds is called the Respondent.

Berne’s theory moves around three alter ego states called as Parent, Adult and Child often called as PAC. In Berne’s language, the conversation between two people can start from any ego state and the psychological behaviour may change very frequently from one ego state to another.  To help this understand better, let’s look at the characteristics of these ego states in brief.

Parent Ego State (exteropsyche)

Physical – angry or impatient body-language and expressions, finger-pointing, patronising gestures,

Verbal – always, never, for once and for all, judgmental words, critical words, patronising language, posturing language.

This is a set of feelings, thinking and behaviour that we have copied from our parents and significant others.

This is a state in which people behave, feel, and think in response to an unconscious mimicking of how their parents (or other parental figures) acted, or how they interpreted their parent’s actions. For example, a person may shout at someone out of frustration because they learned from an influential figure in childhood the lesson that this seemed to be a way of relating that worked.

Adult Ego state (neopsyche)

Physical – attentive, interested, straight-forward, tilted head, non-threatening and non-threatened.

Verbal – why, what, how, who, where and when, how much, in what way, comparative expressions, reasoned statements, true, false, probably, possibly, I think, I realise, I see, I believe, in my opinion.

The Adult ego state is about direct responses to the here and now. When in our Adult we are able to see people as they are, rather than what we project onto them.

This is a state of the ego which is most like artificially intelligent system processing information and making predictions about major emotions that could affect its operation. Learning to strengthen the Adult is a goal of TA. A person in Adult ego state advocates an objective appraisal of reality.

Child Ego state (archaeopsyche)

Physical – emotionally sad expressions, despair, temper tantrums, whining voice, rolling eyes, shrugging shoulders, teasing and delight, laughter, speaking behind hand, raising hand to speak, squirming and giggling.

Verbal – baby talk, I wish, I don’t know, I want, I’m going, I don’t care, oh no, not again, things never go right for me, worst day of my life, bigger, biggest, best, many superlatives, words to impress.

The Child ego state is a set of behaviours, thoughts and feelings which are replayed from our own childhood.

This is a state in which people behave, feel, and think similarly to how they did in childhood. For example, a person who receives a poor evaluation at work may respond by looking at the floor, as when scolded as a child. Conversely, a person who receives a good evaluation may respond with a broad smile and a joyful gesture of thanks. The Child is the source of emotions, creation, recreation, spontaneity, and intimacy.

There are many articles available online which you can refer. You can achieve effective communication level once you apply Transactional analysis technique in your life.

For easy reference, below are certain references which can read. Drafted very well and used easy language.


I wish all my readers a great success. Post your views in comment section to let me know how did you like this article.