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OPERATIONS

The calendar method

Keeping employees focused on goals by using a master calendar of work to be done.
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FEBRUARY 1991

How do you keep your employees focused on strategic goals? At Cleveland-based Globe Metallurgical Inc. managers use a master calendar that shows which team members are working on what. The calendar keeps the 30 managers at the $100-million-plus producer of metal alloys on track for the year and lets them know who they can go to for help.

On the calendar the blocks for each day contain shorthand references to Globe's five-year plan for improving quality and cutting costs. That plan is a 20-page list of nearly 100 numbered items. So one day's calendar entry might read, "#56 -- Curt Goins, visit Union Carbide Corp., perform supplier quality audit." Managers can refer back to the numbered plan for more details and deadlines.

"It's not so much a matter of accountability as what we need to do and when," says Goins, who serves as director of quality at the 250-employee company. "The calendar prods you." Measures like this helped Globe win the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 1988.

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