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Hank Kolb, Director, Quality Assurance
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Hank Kolb was whistling as he walked toward his office, still feeling a bit like a stranger since he had been hired four weeks before as director–quality assurance. All that week he had been away from the plant at a seminar given for quality managers of manufacturing plants by the corporate training department. He was now looking forward to digging into the quality problems at this industrial products plant employing 1,200 people.
Kolb poked his head into Mark Hamler’s office, his immediate subordinate as the quality control manager, and asked him how things had gone during the past week. Hamler’s muted smile and an “Oh, fine,” stopped Kolb in his tracks. He didn’t know Hamler very well and was unsure about pursuing this reply any further. Kolb was still uncertain of how to start building a relationship with him since Hamler had been passed over for the promotion to Kolb’s job—Hamler’s evaluation form had stated “superb technical knowledge; managerial skills lacking.” Kolb decided to inquire a little further and asked Hamler what had happened; he replied: “Oh, just another typical quality snafu. We had a little problem on the Greasex line last week [a specialized degreasing solvent packed in a spray can for the high technology sector].