Charles Zeynel is President and CEO of ZAG International. He met Joseph Juran when Zeynel was quality director at Union Carbide. He took a quality seminar with Dr. Juran. He was interviewed for An Immigrant's Gift on October 29, 1991, in Atlanta, Georgia.
Here Zeynel talks about impressions of Dr. Juran.
CHARLES ZEYNEL: . . . (Juran had) a much more general approach -- what I would call a more of a user-friendly approach. It wasn't geared to just one facet of quality . . . It was much more attractive to those of us who were in what I would call general management. And it gave us things that we could apply very easily, across the whole spectrum, rather than just focusing in on production or one side of the business.
My first impression was what a quiet, unassuming man. . . I was expecting a giant, in terms of stature and I think just presence, and just saw a very, very meek and unassuming person.
Q: How have continued exposures to Dr. Juran altered your first impression?
ZEYNEL: He speaks his mind. He's not that meek and unassuming when he has something to say. That's really, I think, the main thing that struck me.
Q: What happens in rooms of executives when (Dr. Juran) walks into those rooms?
ZEYNEL: Well, the limited experience that I've had, typically, you take him in the room where you've got the CEO or the president or senior corporations. Most corporations who are used to having their own way, and used to, frankly, running their meetings where everyone hangs on their word. You see a transformation. Typically, they become almost child-like. It's like being back in school. The professor's walked in and they're back in their seats. And so you do see a transformation. But what I think (I am) really seeing is a tremendous amount of respect for his knowledge and his reputation.
My take-away: French and Raven (1959) described five bases of power: legitimate, reward, coercive, referent, and expert. We may not have legitimate power that comes with a formal position in an organization. Lacking legitimate power, we might be more limited in being able to reward or coerce another substantially, although an occasional "well done" or "nice working with you" can be a good reward. And not everyone has the personality that provides a basis for referent power. But everyone has the potential for expert power. I once had a boss who told me, "If you want to be an expert, just know your job better than anybody else." Great advice. Joseph Juran had abundant expert power. While he may have appeared unassuming, through his expert knowledge he towered above many others, a true giant of quality.
French, J., & Raven, B. H. (1959). Studies of social power. Ann Arbor, MI: Institute for Social Research.