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A Galactic Lesson in Quality

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Every spot in the photo is a galaxy, not a star. Each of them contains perhaps 100 billion stars, and along with them, probably hundreds of billions of planets. The center area is a super cluster of galaxies, colorfully labeled CL 0024 + 1654, which is five billion light years from us.

The photons that are hitting your retina when you gaze into the night sky at this super cluster (using our amazing new telescopes), left roughly 500 million years before the planet you’re standing on and our own sun was formed; our solar system is approximately 4.6 billion years old. This boggles the imagination! The civilizations that might have inhabited this super cluster may be long since extinct, as many of the stars in this photo no longer exist—they exhausted their nuclear fuel billions of years ago.
In Professor Lawrence Krauss’ entrancing book, A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing (Atria Books, 2013), he explains that the blue elongated images to the left of the center are all the same object. They are the highly magnified and distorted images of a galaxy that is an additional five billion light years behind this super cluster. Meaning that this galaxy is 10 billion light years away from us. How can we see this faraway galaxy not once but multiple times? As Krauss explains, this is due to “gravitational lensing,” and is proof that space curves in the presence of matter. In this case, the mass of of the supercluster is sufficient to cause space to curve in such a way as to act as a lens, like a cut-glass goblet that when held up shows magnified multiple images of the same object. In the absence of this phenomenon, we wouldn’t even know that that galaxy existed, simply because the supercluster was in front of it blocking our view. The math is complex and I deeply admire those that can comprehend it’s magnificence.
The quality corollary
There’s a direct corollary to the phenomenon of space curving in the presence of matter: Behaviors bend in the visible presence of a leader’s commitment to quality. The greater the mass (visibility) of the commitment, the more it bends behaviors. The unfortunate truth is that the mass of a leader’s commitment is only marginally increased by slogans, policies, training courses, newsletter articles, and so forth. What really matters is how visible the display of commitment is, or more precisely, visible personal interest in the issue at hand. The great Walt Disney bent the behaviors of his managers and employees by showing his unmistakable passion for fun family cartooning, with his sleeves rolled up working right next to the lowest level cartoonists. The late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computer, constantly displayed his passion for beauty and elegance in design, constantly bending behaviors by leading innovation with his intimate involvement (unlike his three predecessors before returning to Apple in 1997). Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX debates and argues grand ideas as well as the little details—like his cars’ placement of hinges, rivets, and screw head covers—out on the shop floor. He communicates a passion for a standard that bends behaviors from the chief engineers down to the front-line assembler of Tesla’s breathtaking electric cars. Herb Kelleher, retired founder of Southwest Airlines, was infamous for his constant trips aboard his airplanes, not travelling so as to be unnoticed, but jumping up to serve drinks and snacks.

How to curve quality space, aka bend behaviors
“How can we convince everyone that this is not just ‘another’ program that top management is really serious about it?”: Create a quality policy. Inform everyone about the plan. Make sure everyone is trained. Publicize team results.
But nothing came close in effectiveness to visible personal actions by middle and top management.

Increase “mass” to bend behavior even more

Physics teaches us that the greater the mass, like the super cluster above, the greater the curvature of space. Professor Krauss explains that with sufficient mass producing gravitational lensing you can see objects that that are behind an object in space. In the same way, increasing the visibility of your leadership’s personal commitment to quality bends the behaviors of the organization, because it changes the way your team looks at the world; it helps them see behind and make sense of your words. It was impossible to be a flight attendant on a Southwest Airlines flight with Herb Kelleher on board having fun serving passengers peanuts, and not feel the contagiousness of his joy and laughter... and the mass of his commitment to customer service. “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”

Article Reference: Quality Digest




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