Life Lessons

SABS Has Over 90 Valuable Life Lessons to Bring Quality to your Organization!


These Life Lessons are adapted from Bruce Snell's, Breaking Through the 4 Barriers to Quality:


  1. 1. When dealing with tough decisions, deal only with data and not emotion.


  1. 2. The focus of addressing a quality issue is not in pinning the blame, but in coming to an agreement/solution.


  1. 3. The two rules are: 1) do what is morally and ethically correct, and 2) treat everybody as you want to be treated.


  1. 4. Corporate needs to move from a dictatorial “do as I say” attitude to a more “how can I help you do your job” attitude. Corporate’s main job should be to help its employees, divisions and companies do a better job.


  1. 5. Sometimes the simplest thing to your customer is the most frustrating thing.


  1. 6. A procedure is only good when it is held accountable. Everyone in the organization should understand break-even analysis and the cost of doing business in their particular BaseWork Center. Only then can we make informed decisions based on data.


  1. 7. Be aware of the carrier of hidden agendas. His fertile ground is usually around the coffee pot or water fountain and is always informal.


  1. 8. “What-ifing” the deal to death is a danger and a perilous disease for an organization.


  1. 9. Double standards are the quickest way to deflate a company’s morale.


  1. 10. What is good for the goose is sometimes hard to swallow for the gander.


  1. 11. Do not buy any product or service that does not define its training by the company’s BaseWork Centers or jobs.


  1. 12. Do not look at the training budget as an expense, but as an investment and an asset of your company.


  1. 13. The best people to help you design what is needed for training internally within your organization are your employees and that person doing the particular task.


  1. 14.The only way change is going to happen in an organization is for an employee to feel secure in that organization.


  1. 15.The path of change is taken a step at a time and measured in miles and months.


  1. 16. Short-term winners at the expense of another usually end up long term-losers.


  1. 17. You cannot define jobs and BaseWork Centers, systems, or processes until you come to an agreement on the actual corporate structure. Research typically reveals that corporate structure differs from perception to reality.


  1. 18. The gloves of quality and change are worn by the hands of integrity and trust.


  1. 19. Beware of the manager who says, “I am just so busy I can’t afford to plan or schedule my day; I don’t have time.”


  1. 20. To try to create a multiple location quality program is unrealistic without the development of a corporate model.


  1. 21. Interpersonal skill awareness brings new life to an organization and the community.


  1. 22. Our organizations will become the universities of tomorrow with the employees being the students.


  1. 23. A lesson learned from a negative experience is positive.


  1. 24. Frustration is knowing the solution to the problem, yet not possessing the responsibility nor trust to resolve it.


  1. 25. In an informal organization, the job priority is the priority of the day.


  1. 26. Stay away from the negative person because he will suck the life, breath and enthusiasm out of you and your organization.


  1. 27. An organization has to be socially responsible to its employees, community and country in both its short- and long-term thinking. If a company is socially responsible and committed to its employees, then it will meet the needs of the community and the country.


  1. 28. No system is too complex when the people doing the actual job take it apart process by process, step by step and procedure by procedure.



  1. 29. If an employee is to have a manual about his BaseWork Center with accurate processes, steps, procedures and additional duties, the manual needs to be written by the employee.


  1. 30. To make decisions based on data, we must qualify the data, manage, and monitor the data. If we are not managing and monitoring the data collected, then why do we need to collect it?


  1. 31. Sitting on the sideline is comfortable if you are a spectator; however, building a quality company is not a spectator sport.


  1. 32. Some of the brightest talent in your organization has not yet begun to turn on their lights.


  1. 33. When addressing employee conflict, remove your and the company’s emotions from the deal, and deal only with facts and data.


  1. 34. Beware of a new name for an old problem.


  1. 35. Total Quality Management must be placed in the hands of the employees with leadership from a totally committed management.


  1. 36. Taking one step away from logical thinking and common sense, is a step in the wrong direction.


  1. 37. The best time to build business infrastructure is at the business conception and start. The best time is before you don’t have time.


  1. 38. You can’t have quality before you have a base foundation of doing what is morally and ethically correct, treating everybody as you want to be treated, and holding everybody accountable for that treatment.


  1. 39. We must move the quick fix, quick action, putting out the fire, instant gratification mentality to a long-term process of system improvement. Instead of jumping to the quick fix or quick solution, we need to ask why is that problem happening.


  1. 40. The open door policy in most organizations is shut.


  1. 41. The life of an organization is the development and training of its greatest assets—its employees.


  1. 42. The most undervalued asset in an organization is its employees and their potential.


  1. 43. An employee’s quality of work is in direct correlation with their quality of mental and emotional well-being.


  1. 44. Line-item management hardly ever provides long-term solutions for the improvement of the way we are doing business.


  1. 45. The program has found that 99% of employees in an organization are good employees. As the employees move through the program, we find that 5% of the employee base resist the program for a variety of reasons. Statistically, 4% of that 5% get on board the program usually between months eighteen and twenty-four leaving 1% of the employee base. Again statistically 1% of employees are bad employees and they will remove themselves from the program and more than likely from the company.


  1. 46. 99% the employees in an organization are good employees and accept and encourage accountability.


  1. 47. 1% of the employees in an organization are bad employees that eat away at the integrity of that organization. Don’t make rules directed at that 1% that affect the other 99% negatively, deal with the problem created by the 1%.


  1. 48. When resolving issues, don’t spend energy in a negative fashion by trying to justify or pin blame for that particular problem; spend that energy focusing on how to resolve the issue.


  1. 49. In order for an organization to become a quality organization, the owner/CEO/President has to have total support and buy off from his board as well as the share holders. In doing this, he must move from short-term thinking to long-term planning and direction. The CEO must lead this transformation via available tools designed to manage and monitor the process through accurate data.


  1. 50. Even though the sky of an organization is full of stars, they will never shine without the commitment and direction of leadership.


  1. 51. There is never the right or opportune time for an organization to start the implementation of a quality program—just start.



  1. 52. Growth without formalizing the way we do business, is a sure fire way to lose the personality of the founder of the organization.


  1. 53. With training, direction, and the right tools, most children of the founders can lead that organization into the next generation.


  1. 54. A quality organization moves from management holding employees accountable for quality to employees being responsible and personally accountable. They in fact don’t pass on or accept non-quality. This means that, in effect, employees are now holding one another accountable for quality in every process, step, procedure and system in that organization.


  1. 55. Departmentally, quotas and incentives usually build departmental walls which become barriers to quality. They do this by creating competition from one department to the other, resulting in one department winning and another losing. The ultimate loser is going to be the customer as well as the company’s long-term client base.


  1. 56. A positive company attitude is contagious and attracts customers.


  1. 57. A good positive attitude in the morning sets the tone for a good positive work day.


  1. 58. Take daily accounts of your wins and discard the negative. We have a tendency to discount our wins and focus on the negative.


  1. 59. Be the first worker to step up and show compassion, concern and respect for your fellow employee.


  1. 60. An organization being open and honest with itself and its employees is an important step in “breaking through the four barriers to quality.”


  1. 61. A company’s honesty and integrity cannot be left up to interpretation by its employees.


  1. 62. Trust cannot be bought; it has to be earned day in and day out by every employee within the organization. Trust is the foundation for change.


  1. 63. Given the opportunity to help, people will help one another.


  1. 64. Wanting to belong is not an option—it is a need.



  1. 65. When given the opportunities, leaders will surface and rise to the occasion.


  1. 66. The bigger the organization, the less likely you are to consistently bump into that 1% bad employee within the organization. This gives that 1% employee the opportunity to wreak havoc on your organization. The employees must be encouraged to hold each other accountable and be supported for their efforts.


  1. 67. The hardest thing in regard to succession planning in the BaseWork Systems program is the parent letting go of the business and letting his children assume the day-to-day responsibilities.


  1. 68. The integrity of your organization may not be reflected daily by your boss, so don’t judge your organization too harshly.


  1. 69. The best way to deal with an employee that is holding the company hostage is to remove all emotion from the deal and manage, monitor, and hold him accountable. This employee will process himself out.


  1. 70. Being and saying you are of quality and being held accountable for quality are two completely different things. You cannot be quality until you can hold quality accountable.


  1. 71. That extraordinarily talented employee that you seek is probably already in your employment.


  1. 72. The best way to get started training an organization is: Make sure you are committed long term to training. Budget 2% - 6% of payroll for that training. Plan and schedule your training a year in advance and hold everybody accountable.


  1. 73. The only way training within your organization will succeed is with the total commitment and sign off of the owner/President/CEO and Board. It will not happen any other way.


  1. 74. The quickest way to get the program moving is for the owner/President/CEO to step up and accept the responsibility and the burden for whatever is wrong in the organization. Now the company can move in a positive direction.


  1. 75. For training in an organization to be effective, everyone in that organization must receive job-specific training.


  1. 76. You cannot inspect quality into the product; you have to build quality into the process and system.


  1. 77. We are who we perceive ourselves to be.


  1. 78. A shut-down employee with potential is the biggest waste within an organization.


  1. 79. Let’s become aware of how we communicate with one another and focus on the positive side of life.


  1. 80. Look out for new packaging of old concepts with no substance.


  1. 81. To have a continuously improving organization, the value and basis of the quality program must be reinforced daily.


  1. 82. The key to success is delegating to a formal, well-trained, and defined organization and having the trust in your organization to let go.


  1. 83. Your employee loyalty is not built overnight, and it can’t be bought—it has to be earned.


  1. 84. Forget blame—focus on the solution and move on.


  1. 85. It takes greater strength internally to accept help than to give help when asked.


  1. 86. There is nothing more damaging to an organization and to a relationship than an employee of power with hidden agendas.


  1. 87. Only 1% of your organization does not welcome accountability.


  1. 88. Let’s start a new fad that pays incentive bonuses for keeping employees, growing the business, and improving the process.




These quotes and more can be found in Bruce Snell's, Breaking Through the 4 Barriers to Quality (see above link for details).




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