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46 The PCB Magazine • November 2015 Although I taught basic statistical process control (SPC) tools to my clients, I noticed that many people were fearful of learning to use these tools. This was especially true of non-technical workers and managers who didn't want to look foolish with their lack of mathematical back- ground. Leaders too, in many cases, showed little desire to learn or use the tools. For some, English was a second language, making learn- ing still more difficult. People do not learn well or easily when in fear. We found that, in order for people to learn, use, and eventually own the tools, we had to reformat the tools, making them simple, user friendly and even fun. Once people realized they could be successful using the simplified tools, it was not unusual to have people up and doing good systems improvement work in only a day or two. Remember, if your front lines are not us - ing the tools on a daily basis, you're not systems- based. When your organization is people-based, you are asking for the fires you put out yesterday to be burning brightly sometime in the near fu- ture, along with all the associated costs. What and how you measure are the two most important criteria for your business in do- ing data collection for the purposes of improv- ing systems and processes. If you get the what and how of data collection correct, you will be well on your way to solving your most intrac- table problems and creating ever better quality and customer service at ever lower cost—the ul- timate competitive advantage. As a consultant or trainer, I almost always work with people-based companies. Systems- based, data-driven companies probably have little need of my services. The calls I get are from companies that are usually experiencing recurring systems problems that are negatively affecting current and future financial perfor- mance or customer satisfaction. Just because you're collecting data or have implemented a systems-based quality program such as Six Sig- ma or Lean doesn't make you a systems-based organization, just as GM or Chrysler will never be Toyota or Honda. Whether it is a PCB, assembly, design or oth- er interconnect-related business that is having ongoing or recurring problems, the source of those problems is almost always systems based. However, the cultures of the companies is peo- ple-based and so puts on pedestals the best fire fighters. Also, these companies tend to look at technology as the source of solutions, which in many cases is, at best, only a partial solution. If your company has recurring problems that significantly affect the quality and cost of your products and services, you'll want to learn how to identify what to measure and how to measure and take right action based upon that data. How- ever, before you do all that, take a look in the mir- ror and examine the thinking that has brought you to this point in your business. It's not what you don't know that is hurting your business. It's what you "know" that isn't so. PCB FeATure THe PoWer oF DATA: THe MoST IMPorTAnT QUeSTIonS Any LeADer MUST ASK David Dibble is a keynote speaker, trainer, consultant, executive coach, and systems thinker. For more than 25 years he has consulted and trained in the workplace, with a focus on his systems-based book, Four New Agreements for Leaders and Managers.

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