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Welcome to issue #33-
If you are afraid of a little conflict, stop reading right now.  After 32 issues of technical content, this month's newsletter is a little unusual.  The only technical content relates to topics of performance and quality and how it is applied to your management...and management often seems to be a polarizing topic.
Sooo...take the month off if you'd like, else dare to read on.
Accelerometer Temp Extremes
Tip of the Month

If you are not interested in the sometimes controversial topics to the right, click here for the best of our prior technical topics.

Quick Links
ISO TC 108 - Mechanical vibration, shock and condition monitoring
ISO TC 108/SC 3 - Use and calibration of vibration and shock measuring instruments
ESTECH - Reno, NV (May 3-6)
Sensors - Rosemont, IL (June 7-9)
NCSLi - Providence, RI (July 25-29)
Newsletter Archive
listed alphabetically by topic
Table of Contents - all the back issues
sensor & cal tips #30 - Pyroshock Uncovered; Proficiency Testing
sensor & cal tips #31 - Back to Basics; Placebo Transducers
sensor & cal tips #32 - Piezoelectric Transduction; Do I really need to calibrate?

To rank or not to rank...

PerformanceIt seems here, in the USA, we love to rank EVERYTHING.  This includes lists from David Letterman's TV Late Show Top 10, to the top athletes (Golf to NASCAR), to the way our companies and departments hand out bonuses.  Often these lists are used as a proxy for understanding the complex topic of performance.  Whether we are in charge of innovation, getting test data, product design or even the results of an entire team, performance management is an important topic.  The problem is that for simplification in administration and reward of performance, many companies use a "forced ranking" system to a "normal curve" that requires 70 percent of the performers to be average or below.  I know that's not the way we structure our hiring system!  Furthermore, this form of distribution creates an unhealthy competition among employees (who at the same time are told that they are working on the SAME team!).  Read on for a short article from Quality Digest on improving the design and management of work (rather than assuming that performance problems are often due to a lack of training or the poor design of a work system, they are instead attributed to the poor execution or suspect motives of the team members)...and if you are really interested in making a difference at your company, I recommend picking up a copy of my vote for the best business/ management/ family/ parenting/ life book on the topic of performance - Bringing out the Best in People, by Aubrey C. Daniels.  Chapters 19 and 20 are a good start for this topic.
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Whose job is it "to get it right with the customer"?...

No TurnOne thing is for sure.  Nothing is getting easier.  We have more complex products (tried to fix your own car lately?), more complex services and intricate interactions between people, teams, departments, suppliers and sometimes even related companies!  In the end, our customers want to be satisfied...or even happy.  With so much of our day focused on introverted (company oriented) processes, measures and problems, we can forget that it's the customer and the voice of the customer that really matters. The quality of product or service matters, as does the expectations we set with our customers, as does the manner/ skill/ disposition/ timeliness with which we deliver it.  Read this article if you believe your company should walk the walk, in addition to talking the talk.  After reading the short article, if you care about the voice of the customer, I highly suggest studying the feedback system described in The Ultimate Question, by Fred Reichheld.   Pages 120-135 do a phenomenal job of describing the concept of sorting your revenues into "good profits" which build value for your customers and "bad profits" where you may be making good money (think bank fees, airline change fees, expedite fees, etc.) but you are likely creating a negative relationship with your customer. And if you are in a role that puts you in charge of leading and managing other people, see the Aubrey Daniels book cited above to understand why we often create human and business systems that are destined to give poor results by design.
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To buy and do good at the same time...  Purchase any of the books mentioned above and donate to a worthy cause at the same time, a purchase made from one of the participating retailers made through the website is a painless way to make a donation without costing you a cent.  Now that's getting it right !!!  And as a reminder, 2010 marks our 20th Anniversary.  Become a fan of our Facebook page and see pictures of "Modal Shoppers" (and maybe some of your colleagues) from our past conferences, applications and celebrations.  As you'll see in the pictures, we're here to serve you with all your dynamic sensor and calibration needs.
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20 Year StickerMichael J. Lally
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