About This Blog
A QualitEvolution is intended to capture positions and experiences as a participant in the evolution of the Quality profession into the 21st century. From its origins as the brainchild of Corporate Industrial Statisticians, our profession has transformed and evolved to incorporate and adapt to the demands and expectations of our modern existence.
The scope of the subject matter within A QualitEvolution extends to the furthest ranges of quality, business transformation, management science, and quality issues especially pertinent to the members of ASQ in Canada.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
The analysis was relevant and I don't disagree with the diagnosis or conclusions. The citation of Deming is always compelling, as his work is the foundation of a large portion of our profession.
In fact, I would like to approach this from two perspectives:
- emotional integrity
- sustainment of principles in difficult circumstances
If a leader of an organization is analogous to the parent of a family, then the mentality of that leader (maybe they were the founder or are currently the proprietors or primary investors) would match that of the parent. When it comes to families, relationships and dynamics can be emotional and complicated.
If a well-intentioned individual volunteered their unsolicited parenting advice, this would be met with guarded reluctance by the parent. Even in distressed circumstances, the emotions of the parent would be very defensive and at times irrational. In the same way that a parent's identity is reflected in their children, the identity of the organization reflects personally on the senior executives. Comments about deficient quality would be received as a personal attack.
When such information is shared or disclosed, communications should be sensitive and respectful, and objective as defined by actual events relative to expectations. Quality practitioners need to be empathetic and apply their emotional intelligence to their solutions and outcomes.
The second perspective is to consider the company culture when difficult circumstances arise. It is easy to advocate and promote enlightened practices during times of prosperity, when financial targets are being met and exceeded.
It is an entirely different matter when the company is experiencing losses, late deliveries, controversies, and antagonistic stakeholders. The temptations are high to exert a command and control mentality where bad outcomes are suppressed and problems are deflected. In this environment, the culture shifts to toxic and hostile work environments where quality is seen as an obstacle to rapid delivery. These business models may have dramatic short-term improvements but history has shown that these results are impossible to sustain, largely because integrity is lacking.
Culture is defined by principles and dominated by the virtues and vices held by the senior leadership. A company that praises and rewards employees for working during their personal time sends the message that a work-life balance is not a desired attribute. The managers who abuse their staff to deliver on time are seen as leaders who can "kick asses" and make things happen.
Conversely when companies remain true to their principles and virtues even at great cost, this will resonate over time. Two examples from the 1970s are still frequently mentioned.
- The automakers were aware of safety hazards of their respective models (GM - Corvair, Ford - Pinto), and deliberately chose to disregard this information, put the vehicles to market, and caused death and injury as a result of their hazardous products with known design flaws.
- Johnson and Johnson, in response to a packaging tampering issue, recalled their existing inventory and unilaterally, without regulatory requirement, took on the additional expense and commitment to design safer packaging that would protect against or reveal improper handling and tampering.
Culture may be defined in times of tranquility (sunny days), but how the company responds at the 11th hour, in the face of potentially conflicting priorities, will determine precedent for future decisions. A culture that rewards proper behavior will entrench it, but when this is steamrolled in favor of urgent and questionable actions, the the culture will never recover.
Sunday, November 29, 2015
Ad-hoc participation on a committee can be credited toward Recertification Units (RU) (0.9 per year)
Friday, November 13, 2015
In 1960, the Republican candidate for U.S. President was Richard M. Nixon, a young but distinguished legislator in the U.S. Congress and Senate, who had served two full terms as the Vice-President of the United States under President Eisenhower. When asked for an endorsement and to attest to any examples of Nixon's independent ideas that were adopted into law or policy, Eisenhower had a famous response that resonates with contempt and dismissal.
"If you give me a week, I might think of one. I don't remember"
Eisenhower, who himself had been a protege of such eminent generals as Pershing, MacArthur, and Marshall, would have been fully aware of the power that a mentor has to vouch and confirm the attributes of his Republican successor. This non-endorsement was very damaging and may have contributed to the 1960 defeat as President, and subsequent 1962 defeat as Governor of California.
55 years later, that same Republican party is in the process of selecting its current presidential candidate. However as political campaigning is now a multi-billion dollar industry of event planning, communications, and lobbying, the attributes of the prospective candidates are much different. Because of the constant television and internet coverage, the entertainment value of the prospective candidates is assessed as a priority.
Consider the current front runners; a celebrity businessman, a prominent past Fortune 500 CEO, a distinguished neurosurgeon, and a collection of past and present governors and senators. The presidency is the senior executive officer of the public sector, operating as the head of not only the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, but also the military Commander In Chief.
As the candidate is the standard bearer for the Republican Party, it is the responsibility of the party to properly qualify its candidates. Using simple diagnostic questions, the party should be able to quickly refine its pool of candidates to those with a reasonable background.
Describe and elaborate upon your most successful accomplishments:
- As an executive officer in the public sector (i.e. governor, cabinet secretary, military leader)
- As a legislator in a national body (senate, congress)
- As a policymaker or regulator
- Building consensus among those with differing positions to accomplish a new law, regulation, or government initiative
- As a leader or influencer with respect to justice and/or law enforcement
- In specific areas of federal government oversight (i.e. health and human services, foreign policy, trade and commerce, environment, energy, agriculture, etc.)
- Of a personal or professional nature in the private or academic sector
What does this have to do with Quality? In order to have the best leader, there should be a vetting process to attract and select the best practitioners, while eliminating those who are not qualified nor capable of serving in high public office.
Aside from the aforementioned President Nixon, the political parties in the US are hesitant to recycle prior presidential candidates who were unsuccessful in their initial attempts. Qualified and proven leaders like Al Gore, John Kerry, Joe Biden, John McCain, and Mitt Romney, who have executive experience, are not running for the 2016 presidency, despite their qualifications and positive national profile. Elder statesmen like Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Walter Mondale, and Dick Cheney no longer have youth and vitality on their side, but are technically still qualified to serve as President.
If politics is now entertainment, then the natural progression is to select the candidates who appear most frequently on the gossip tabloids for their unsavory lifestyles and rumors. One wonders how Eisenhower, a decent and principled patriot, would evaluate this cadre of presidential candidates. Ultimately he would look past their demographic makeup and base his assessment on their actual performance. It is no coincidence that quality gurus like Deming and Juran arose from the Eisenhower era, as their emphasis on facts and data reflected the "show me" mentality of midwestern USA.
Inspiration and the ability to incite passion and devotion are certainly admirable campaign credentials, but governance is based on experience and past performance. I have read a few books by Bob Woodward and through his writings, have personally formed my own opinion of the most impressive public servant over the last 15 years, who would undoubtedly rise to the challenges of being Commander In Chief more effectively than any civilian or politician. Unfortunately this individual is not a political candidate, and should he decide to enter, he would undoubtedly restore the ethic and prestige of the office not seen since the Eisenhower era.
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
As I contemplate the traditions and possibilities within my own country, Canada, I thought that it would be appropriate to take a moment to clarify exactly what is meant by ASQ Canada. During my short time as a Regional Director of Region 4, I have observed some confusing and conflicting impressions and communications.
The source of information about ASQ is naturally the ASQ website at www.asq.org. I have identified some very important references which I will share.
1. ASQ Timeline
The ASQ Timeline provides an interesting diverse history of ASQ, following its progress into the global professional organization into which it has currently evolved. In 2004, there was an official recognition of the ASQ Region 4 to be classified as ASQ Canada.
ASQ’s board of directors voted to change the name of Region 4, which represented all 15 Canadian Sections, to ASQ Canada.
This is reinforced by the official description of ASQ Canada in a subsequent page.
2. Canada - Global Community
This is a dedicated page that summarizes ASQ as a professional organization for Canadians in Quality, and provides a link to the ASQ Sections in Canada and their chairs.
Post your job opportunity and reach quality professionals in Canada.
Just to clarify, although the sections are located in Canadian cities and provinces, membership is available to citizens and residents of USA or international countries. Mobility of membership and proximity to customers and business operations may create an advantage to joining a Canadian section.
3. ASQ Community Development
I am delighted to work with the ASQ Community Development team. This exceptional team of ASQ staff members is based in the Canadian-adjacent state of Wisconsin, in the warm and welcoming city of Milwaukee. There are dedicated employees who support the teams of volunteers and member leaders in Canada with administrative, communications, and professional assistance. For this reason, ASQ does not have a distinct office in Canada itself, nor should one be required when we are a toll-free call (1-800-248-1946) from receiving exceptional Customer Care from ASQ.
While ASQ Sections may have mailing addresses and business operations in Canadian cities, there are no full-time staff members permanently located in Canada. All society-related communications and publicity is managed from the ASQ head office in Milwaukee, WI, USA.
4. Organization of ASQ Canada
As mentioned above, ASQ Canada refers to the geographic segmentation of ASQ into manageable units. The link redirects the user to the ASQ Organization Manual which communicates the leadership from the top levels of ASQ to its constituent member units.
- Executive Council
- Board of Directors
- Section Affairs Council (Which includes Region 4 a.k.a ASQ Canada)
- Regional Director/ Deputy Regional Directors (as appointed by RD)
- Section Chairs
- Section Leadership team
With respect to Divisions, there is a Technical Communities Council which governs the various ASQ Divisions, Interest Groups, and Technical Committees. There are also committees, interest groups, and certification teams shown in the ASQ Leadership Manual.
It's very simple and straightforward. The Section Chair of an ASQ Section is the ASQ Canada leader for that geography, and should be treated as such. As the current Regional Director, I serve as a liaison between the ASQ Sections and the Section Affairs Council (think of it as a parliamentary body), and in turn work with the Sections to ensure that required levels of vitality, activity, and compliance are met.
The ASQ has other Technical Communities with regional or international councilors. These individuals are certainly welcome to work with the section at the local level, or the RD or DRD across Canada. However with respect to ASQ Canada as a regional entity, there are no officers or official roles beyond the elected Regional Director or the appointed Deputy Regional Directors. To claim otherwise is in violation of ASQ Bylaws (2.3.6) by which Members shall not claim to represent the Society in any unauthorized manner.
5. ASQ Canada summarized from membership upwards
- ASQ has different types of members, ranging from Organizational to Student, Associate, Full, Senior, Fellow, and Honorary members.
- ASQ Members in Canada generally belong to one of the ASQ Sections, primarily assigned by geographic proximity. This can be amended at the request of the ASQ member.
- ASQ Sections in Canada comprise Region 4, which in 2004 was approved by the ASQ Board of Directors to refer to itself as ASQ Canada
- ASQ Canada is part of the portfolio of ASQ regions, and is represented by a Regional Director (as a voting member of ASQ Section Affairs Council) and Deputy Regional Directors (non-voting members of ASQ Section Affairs Council)
- ASQ Section Affairs (SAC) reports up to the ASQ Board of Directors, which is led by the ASQ Executive Council.
These are the legitimate positions within ASQ Canada, as documented within the current ASQ references and policies. If there are any questions or clarifications required, please contact ASQ Customer Care at 1-800-248-1946.
Saturday, October 24, 2015
In this context, we all have an opportunity to function as Ambassadors of Quality. Using a sports analogy, this is similar to the effective and successful engagement of sports teams to make their fans feel that they are part of the team's success. In this context
WE ARE ALL QUALITY AMBASSADORS!!!
This is a tremendous privilege, but also bears responsibility. In an effort to effectively harness the enthusiasm and channel all efforts to realize the best outcomes, without disrupting or undermining the progress made to date, I am proposing a simple guideline of DO's and DON'Ts for this type of initiative. As a consequence of World Quality Month, we all want our ASQ to be stronger, more robust, more diverse, and more sustainable in order to enable those who follow us to have the same opportunities that we have.
DO: Do advocate quality and ASQ when interacting within your employers, customers, acquaintances, and communities. Conduct and project yourself in a way that represents your profession and affiliation in a positive and inspiring manner.
DON'T: Don't purport to speak on behalf of an official ASQ Body (i.e. ASQ Board of Directors) or Member Unit (i.e. Section, Division) without first securing permission from the current presiding officers of that group. Doing so will create confusion and be detrimental when that legitimate ASQ body or group communicates their own message. For clarification, please refer to the official ASQ Leadership roster at this location.
DO: Do demonstrate the honor and stature that comes from being a respected professional. Display with pride your hard-earned and well-deserved legitimate credentials, ASQ certifications, and recognitions.
DON'T: Don't create misleading impressions by unilaterally enhancing your credentials with extended descriptions (i.e. referring to yourself as a Master Black Belt when you only have a Six Sigma Green Belt) fabricated titles or appointments. Instead, be authentic and aspire to gain your stature through legitimate means and actions.
DO: Do engage and interact with other professional societies and organizations. I especially encourage interaction with your alumni association from your university or college.
DON'T: Don't mislead or falsify your level of authority within ASQ to attempt to further your own personal interests or acquire gifts or free admission to events. This might create the expectation of reciprocation by ASQ. If there are any commercial interactions, the best approach is to clarify the relationship or arrangements with a official Memorandum of Understanding between ASQ and the external organization.
DO: Do express personal opinions and positions which advocate for the good of quality and society at large. We all support quality and social responsibility, and the world will be a better place for having more voices support altruistic endeavors.
DON'T: Don't invoke the brand equity and reputation of ASQ to purport endorsement of a particular political figure or movement. In one case, I had to intervene when a random individual took it upon himself to express the "wholehearted support" by ASQ of a Conservative political figure during a federal election year.
DO: Do follow ASQ's bylaws, policies, and guidelines for publicity and social media. If you are not familiar with these, I suggest you consult ASQ directly at 1-800-248-1946 to speak to a knowledgeable ASQ resource first-hand.
DON'T: Don't mock up or fraudulently make unauthorized revisions to ASQ templates (i.e. by inserting your personal home address as the official press contact - yes that really happened!). Again it is misleading and confusing when the public at large is provided with multiple points of contact (both legitimate and illegitimate).
DO: Do interact respectfully and politely with ASQ Staff and Member-leaders. ASQ is here to assist and support the quality profession, and wants all members to effectively success individually and promote quality globally.
DON'T: Don't interpret your role as an ASQ member and patron of ASQ's products and services as a license to berate and abuse employees and member-leaders. No ASQ Staff member should have to endure antagonistic and emotional ramblings or overt threats made by a disgruntled character who in their confused state takes on a most indefensible opinion or position, particularly if it is easily refuted with verifiable facts and actual events.
The opportunity to create and sustain the Magic of Quality throughout our organizations and communities is a privilege which demands from all of us the correct and appropriate approach. I hope by communicating this, I will have provided some necessary guidance to get the most from this opportunity, with the fewest problems.
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Unfortunately our data-driven management systems reward companies that pass the tests illegitimately, until they are finally caught. Like performance-enhanced athletes, the companies who skirt regulatory scrutiny can prosper and dominate.
Where does the ethic start? Who among us can cast the first stone, so to speak?
Having been involved in software quality, I know that there are conditions upon which the same product can be shown to pass, or to fail the test. The scope and breadth of the test is as important as the result, along with the conditions and potential interactions. Seasoned testers can break a system with very little effort, often by incorporating a few known failure modes into the equation. For example, adding a name with accents, hyphens, and apostrophes to a database operating concurrently with anti-virus software could cause a performance issue leading to data corruption.
I also know that having set up multiple product demonstrations for sales presentations, the end-to-end display of the features is not always reflective of actual operating conditions. User choices and options are often reduced to show only those working features, and results pages are often hard-coded to show the expected outcome, rather than take the chance of an error message or interrupted function appearing. This is best demonstrated in the movie Tucker, where the prototype automobile was being fixed on the stage immediately prior to its display.
Here is an administrative example related to the new ASQ budgeting format. The revenues and costs are structured to distinguish between General and Administrative (G&A) and Member Value (MV), with the target that ASQ Member Units should have 70% of their budget emphasizing Member Value items (known as the PAR Ration - Performance Awards and Recognition).
Friday, September 18, 2015
For reference, this story has been corroborated across multiple web publications as shown below.
The summary is that between 480,000 and 500,000 (482,000 by multiple accounts) vehicles will need to be recalled. These cars had software known as a Defeat Device installed to activate all emissions control capabilities during testing, and disable the majority of those controls during normal operation, when the emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) would be estimated to be 10-40 times higher than the emissions released during testing.
I consider this to be "Contrived Quality" because the vehicle was designed with a feature to demonstrate a particular result under a particular configuration that was not reflective of normal use. (This is like a roofing company boasting about having no water leaks during a drought, but changing their statement once it actually starts raining).
These outcomes were discovered by an independent emissions study conducted in West Virginia, and the reports of that study were communicated to both the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board. After initial resistance, VW was forced to disclose the presence of the defeat device.
In addition to the recall of multiple diesel models, the overall VW brand is tarnished. Consumers who had paid a premium for a vehicle with emissions control are now disappointed that their "clean diesel" cars are not legitimate. All future purchases from VW will be made with extra caution based on this act of noncompliance.
With respect to Social Responsibility, this is an excellent example of a product which was marketed as a Socially Responsible solution, but due to its technical manipulation was actually Socially Detrimental. Nearly half a million vehicles are on the road with excessive emissions, adding to the contribution of nitrogen oxide in our environment.
This is not without recent precedent. In November 2014, Hyundai and Kia were fined a combined $300 million for violating the Clean Air Act. The Financial Times estimates a fine of $37,500 per vehicle, which could result in a combined fine to VW of $18 billion. How is that for a Cost of Quality and Cost of Social Responsibility?
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
With respect to the article, it was very well written with many questions posed. I will respond to the questions with my own comments and observations. For visual purposes, the text captured from the article is in italics and credited to Patricia La Londe. I also have set my comments to a different color.
Monday, August 24, 2015
I have encountered reporting situations and the ultimate result is that more energy and effort is spent on creating a convincing report than on attending to the task at hand.
While this applies to any management initiative, I will use quality as an example.
Imagine that you are an independent used car salesman, and you have a car of questionable and uncertain capabilities. It may or may not be a lemon.
If you were to use this vehicle for a cross-country trip taken by your family members, consider the extent to which you would go to ensure safety and reliability. No cost would be spared and no effort would be too great to protect your loved ones from harm. I refer to this as "legitimate quality".
Now, being a proprietor of a business, you have to sell this used car before it consumes your inventory and becomes a burdensome cost. In order to convince a prospective customer of its value, a series of convincing checks and inspections are made and passed with full check marks. Additional enhancements are made to give the impression of superior quality (paint touch-ups, adjusted odometer, over-inflation of tires so that "kicking the tires" returns a firm response). I refer to this as "contrived quality".
Executives love their dashboards, but the culture will determine how they are used. If the culture is punitive, where "green" indicators are rewarded and "yellow" or "red" situations incite hostility and rebuke, then the implicit message is to conceal problems until they can be assigned elsewhere, deflecting blame and accountability. Comparative numbers will always be positive because baselines and references will be skewed to always reflect a "good news" story.
If the culture seeks and rewards legitimate quality and the identification and correction of root causes, then problems will be sought and recognized. Integrity will be championed and whistleblowers will not fear for their jobs or reputations, but appreciated as contributors to quality improvement.
The best data manipulators will eventually be caught and called out. People have an inherent pride in their work, and when they are constantly being asked to overlook or conceal findings and details, they will become jaded and cynical. In such situations, the "rats and weasels" will thrive and prosper, tainting the overall culture to adopt similar traits. "Eagles" will soar elsewhere.
The cultural differences between organizations that penalize and reprimand employees for reporting bad news, and those that embrace the opportunity for improvement are revealed over time by the order of magnitude in product and service quality and employee engagement.
What is our solution? Repel the contrived approach and always strive toward legitimacy and integrity. Work as if your family's safety was dependent on your efforts and decisions.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
In my opinion, Quality should continue to embrace and advocate Social Responsibility and STEM. Following a recent visit to the "Science Center" in my city with my family, I recognized how much positive advocacy the scientific community is providing for better living.
All three of these disciplines (Social Responsibility, STEM, and Quality) apply fact-based reasoning and objective methods to guide and drive society toward a greater good. The Taguchi Loss Function is a very good example of how quality is oriented to minimize those negative outcomes which extend beyond business and organizations to affect society at large.
I hope that this message resonates with like-minded people who want, and are willing to act, towards a mutually beneficial society. Social responsibility is not social entitlement, the burdens are placed upon each of use to adopt a mentality of stewardship and sustainability.
Saturday, May 30, 2015
The challenge will be to demonstrate quality in a convincing way. It is no longer acceptable to communicate in vague terms. More objectivity and precision will be required for our businesses and organizations.
In our era of excessive marketing and publicity, it is increasingly difficult to convince the public at large, but particularly the regulatory bodies of the legitimacy of quality claims.
This part of an overall communication challenge where the inputs from our Big Data and Analytics must be refined, summarized, and expressed in a way that is both accurate and palatable.
The future of Quality will be defined by our ability to provide this information and have it ready before it is demanded by the stakeholder: the customer, the public at large, the regulatory bodies, and the business environment who demands answers.
We are already doing this reactively in response to a product recall or critical incident investigation. We have to move from getting the details leading to a "confession" of fault and liability, and toward a "profession" of our capabilities and attributes.
This will also help to put an end to "pseudo-savings". Consultants who claim to save $50 million from an operation simply by adopting 5S in the warehouse, but then do not have corresponding reductions in headcount or operating budget, can be more easily identified when the reporting details do not match the narrative. This progression will enhance the credibility and stature of our profession, and ensure that the Future of Quality is clearly understood and embrace.
Monday, May 18, 2015
In addition to my long-term membership commitments to the ASQ Quality Management Division (where I have offered my additional services in support of the Quality Management Forum publication), I have subscribed this year to join 7 other divisions.
This is largely a reflection of the positive interactions which I have had from the leadership of these particular ASQ technical communities. There is certainly relevance in all of these areas, and I have no doubt that I will benefit intellectually.
The most important consideration comes from the opportunities to collaborate and contribute to presentations and programs. The starting point has to be the trust and rapport which is formed with the key individuals.
In joining these divisions, I am acknowledging the contributions of the member-leaders who attended the exhibit halls and hosted networking events. In their own way, they accepted me as a quality practitioner, so in turn I will reciprocate their acceptance with my affiliation.
To the general ASQ membership, I encourage each of you to explore the various Divisions, Interest Groups, and Technical Committees within ASQ. There are abundant opportunities to advance your own professional contributions through the various events, programs, publications, presentations, and touchpoints. As we are in an era of virtual communication, it is possible and even encouraged to get involved remotely.
WCQI is a gathering of practitioners, but after the gathering has disbursed, the extent to which the quality flame burns within you will determine your path.
Friday, April 10, 2015
As an ASQ Regional Director, I have access to various member databases. One collection is the list of Unpaid Members, which is a collection of members who have not renewed their ASQ membership since their last expiry date, and are at risk of either attrition or termination.
My observation of the Unpaid member profiles revealed two key characteristics:
- none of these members belonged to any ASQ Divisions, Interest Groups, or Technical Committees
- less than 1% of the members possessed ASQ certifications
The implication of this is that Engaged ASQ members are those who do belong to one or more Divisions, Interest Groups, or Technical Committees, and possess 1 or more ASQ Certifications. This post is intended and directed to those who are engaged, to convey the benefits of attending conferences.
Before I outline and summarize the benefits, I will reveal some personal disclosure. As a result of years of ASQ involvement and tactical selection of activities, I have been able to earn, procure, or acquire discounts for certain ASQ events. I strongly recommend that each ASQ member inquire and pursue member benefits that would enable them to save money on these opportunities. One almost has to adopt the mindset of a post-secondary student seeking scholarships or sponsorships to support their further education. If you do get sponsored or supported, it behooves you to follow through and enjoy the benefits offered to you.
Now a true advocate of ASQ conferences should be willing to justify why they would attend if they had to do so without sponsorship or financial assistance. In this context, the pros and cons are more meaningful and important to consider.
Given my home location in the Pacific Northwest region of Canada, my proximity to conference locations will determine whether or not I attend. Although there is an excellent conference in Orlando, Florida, where the Technical Communities meet, the travel across three time zones, an international border, and 8 hours of flight time each way make the trip relatively burdensome and expensive. The additional travel time has to be considered when taking time away from work supporting my clients and professional practice.
When attending, a prudent approach is required in order to secure the desired schedule and accommodations for a reasonable cost. Delays and late bookings will increase the transportation costs and reduce the available options, reducing the overall value for money spent.
In addition to cost, scheduling is also important. In our professional and personal lives, our various commitments create priorities that may conflict with conference events. Whether it is a long-planned family gathering, timing of university exams, or a critical path project milestone, sometimes conferences simply do not work and have to be skipped for that time period.
As far as justifying attendance, in my opinion ASQ conferences support the efforts and aspirations of the engaged member. The focus at conferences shifts from section activities to divisions, and provides members of ASQ divisions, interest groups, technical committees, and other initiatives a chance for face-to-face interaction and constructive teamwork. As a personal example, I can catch up with my various groups and continue the engagement and involvement, as well as supporting the efforts and initiatives of the member units. This is also a chance to explore and adopt new groups in which to become more closely involved. For example, I became an ASQ Influential Voice blogger as a result of attending WCQI in 2012.
For the ASQ member interested in attaining or retaining their ASQ certification, ASQ conferences offer multiple"fast-track" options including:
- Professional Development: (attending a 3 day ASQ conference annually will fulfill the category maximum of 9.0 Recertification Units)
- Courses - Student Credit: Most ASQ Conferences schedule additional courses immediately adjacent to the conference, either before or after.
- Committees: The proximity and presence of ASQ divisions, interest groups, and technical committees will enable attendees to attend committee meetings and earn credits toward their recertification.
- Certification/ Exam Proctoring: Most ASQ conferences offer examinations, and ASQ members can apply or arrange to be either examinees or proctors, providing additional recertification units.
- Electronic Media: ASQ conferences like WCQI provide the presentations in a format that can be downloaded and viewed after the conference. This can support learning by obtaining the material one may have missed due to time conflicts, and also can add important recertification units.
- Publishing: Taking notes and submitting a summary of the presentations is not only suitable for learning, it can provide additional recertification credits if the articles are published in ASQ newsletters, journals, magazines, or other publications. This is an excellent way to support personal learning and build visibility and professional stature.
Conferences are social activities, and one must be prepared for frequent and constant interaction. I believe that if an ASQ member is already engaged, then conferences would enhance their ASQ member experience and enable them to get value for their membership dollar, thus building up Loyalty Capital.
Friday, April 3, 2015
A recent post on a Lean Blog takes issue with particular characterizations of Lean by certain publications. As the examples arise from personal anecdotes of a self-styled "life coaching consultant", the intellectual rigor and supporting references cannot be referenced to support or dispute his assertions.
A counter-opinion is offered on Scott Rutherford's Square Peg Musings. The point is to move the discussion away from the nuances separating the different "tribes" within the performance improvement domain, and focus on working with organizational leadership constructively to adopt quality practices. I agree with this approach advocated by Scott.
One of my prized personal references in my library is Juran's Quality Control Handbook, 4th edition, which was published in 1988. While this massive tome does not specifically reference either Lean or Six Sigma, many of the practices and principles now claimed by both "camps" are shown and demonstrated in considerable detail. When I qualified as an ASQ Certified Quality Engineer in the mid-1990s, I did so without having to declare myself as a proponent of either Lean or Six Sigma. In my opinion, I belong to neither camp because my involvement in the profession predated both brands.
In addition to being a quality practitioner, I can say with modesty and humility that I possess certain rank and stature within ASQ, both as a leader and a thought-leader. I can personally attest that the various bodies of knowledge within ASQ are inclusive and have enthusiastically embraced Six Sigma and Lean practices as essential components of Quality knowledge. One cannot decouple Lean or Six Sigma from Quality; they are now core practices. Juran's Quality Handbook, 6th Edition, includes detailed summaries of Lean and Six Sigma, along with its relevance to the Quality practitioner. Therefore, as I have mentioned previously, when a Lean practitioner makes inflammatory comments about Quality or Six Sigma, they are inadvertently insulting their precious Lean, which is actually a subset of the Quality Body of Knowledge
In my professional role, I am presented with increasingly demanding challenges to deliver solutions to clients in a competitive and time-sensitive manner. If any practices from Lean or Six Sigma pertain to the situation and promise to support the overall objectives, I am at liberty to deploy the most effective methods at my disposal for the benefit of my team and my client. Through my experience, I have found this to be most effectively performed within the confines of a structured management system supported by senior executives. Without the management system setting clear objectives and holding individuals accountable for personal performance, both Lean and Six Sigma can potentially devolve into detrimental and costly programs that conflict with their intended aims.
In my role at ASQ, I must aspire to show leadership and embrace divergent communities of practitioners whose views may not agree with my own. While others have the luxury of making inflammatory comments, I owe it to my Quality Profession to bring together the respective virtues of the different communities into a Grand Confederation of practitioners. A confederation does not imply uniformity of opinion, but a healthy respect for diverging views and a quest for synergies and common ground. I welcome dialogue and commit to seeking to understand different viewpoints before drawing conclusions and expressing opinions.
I call upon those using social media to use their communication forum in a positive and progressive manner. If we as a profession do not work from a common body of knowledge and commit to scholarly research and due diligence in our practices, our profession is at risk of diminishing and deteriorating our stature and livelihood.
The enemy of Quality is negligence and apathy. When inflammatory remarks are made, this fuels the cynicism and diminishes the respect and stature which should be rightly due to a virtuous and altruistic group of professionals, seeking improvements not just for our clients and companies, but for the greater society at large.
Thursday, March 26, 2015
· Leave more resources for the next generation
· Grow the enterprise continuously
· Govern organizations effectively
· Have an ethical and competent organization culture
· Promote corporate social responsibility, customers' and employees' satisfaction and ethical workplaces
· Preserve a green and lush environment
· Protect our profit, planet, and people
Friday, March 13, 2015
In Canada, there is a program and website, Let's Talk Science which targets children aged 3-17 and emphasizes interesting programs in science and technology. This program draws from and engages educators, volunteers, industry, government, and parents in this initiative. The success of this program effectively creates the impetus for students to take action and cultivate their STEM knowledge.
From a professional perspective, I am currently engaged on a project requiring a specialized combination of business and technology skills to support a large, complex product development program. It has proven astonishingly difficult to staff these types of projects with qualified and motivated resources. Our viability as a society is at risk if we are unable to fulfill business opportunities and have to resort to foreign imported workers in order to acquire the necessary STEM skills. This diminishes us as a society and inverts our standing as a first-world economy, while exporting talent and experience to our international competitors.
STEM knowledge is essential, not only for the individual earning potential of our future generations, but for the very viability of our national economies, which are being eroded and compromised by competition from nations who have prioritized STEM within their cultural norms and educations systems.
Saturday, February 21, 2015
Feb 15. 2015
Annual financial Report/ Audit due
Treasurer, Audit Chair
Please work with ASQ Finance to get confirmation
Apr 30, 2015
Section Quarterly Financial Report due (Q1)
Jul 31, 2015
Section Quarterly Financial Report due (Q2)
Oct 31, 2015
Section Quarterly Financial Report due (Q3)
Nov 1, 2015
Section officer and committee lists due
Dec 15, 2015
Section Budgets due
Dec 15, 2015
Section Business Plans due
Dec 31, 2015
Required Section Positions filled with eligible ASQ members in good standing
Sections – all
Sent: Friday, February 20, 2015 11:19
Subject: RE: Agenda: ASQ Canada Section Leader Teleconference: February 20, 2015