2011 – A Quality Year in Review

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In his latest post, Paul Borawski urges the quality community to think about this year’s successes and disappointments.  He hit a big one by calling out the government and their failure to continue supporting the Baldrige program.  I would suggest the quality failure there is the result of a much larger issue that would make for an interesting post in itself!  But, I digress…

For this introspection, I took a more “micro” approach…  Reflecting back, what were my personal quality wins and fails for the year?

Pro QC’s Online Presence -

I feel really good about how Pro QC’s online presence has developed this year. This is a big win for me personally, because it always feels good to see ideas turning into results.  Through our social media efforts, we’ve solidified our position as a company that adds value to the quality community by adding informative, useful content.  I’ve worked hard to get the blog up and create content that people both new and seasoned to the industry can benefit from. I created our Facebook page as a way to primarily communicate with our team.  As a company spread across thirty countries, I wanted a way to connect with everyone outside of daily work email.  The photos and sharing of events and industry news has proven to be a valuable addition to our online presence.  It improves the quality of our team.

While this is an obvious win, it did also fail to meet my expectations to some degree. I’ll admit my expectations regarding involvement were much higher.  One of my goals for 2012 is to take a deeper look into what we’ve done so far, how it can be improved and figure out what new things can we try.  My biggest obstacle is time… there’s never enough it, and most people share in this observation.  But, I don’t think people in general truly understand the benefits of getting involved with social media and the limited time it really takes vs. the overwhelming benefits of being connected.  How do you get people engaged?  Where is the “on” button? How do I get people as interested in quality as I am?

Overall, let’s just say that I’m very pleased with the results so far and am excited to see how we’ll grow and continue reaching even more people with the importance of quality and the role we play in that process.  I wouldn’t be a true quality professional if I didn’t shoot for continuous improvement!

ASQ’s Influential Voices - 

Being a part of ASQ’s Influential Voices has given me the motivation I needed to “raise the voice” outside of my daily work activities.  It reinforced the idea that quality isn’t just what I do… it’s part of who I am.  And, it’s connected me to the larger quality community, whereas I’ve learned quite a bit!  One of my goals for 2011 was to increase my blogging content, and A View from the Q is a large contributor there.  I’m hoping to keep up the momentum and double my average number of posts this year.

While  I would definitely suggest the Influential Voices initiative has been a success, I think the program would largely benefit from additional cross-commenting and communications between bloggers.  I’m guilty of this… posting something and then failing to read all of the other follow-up posts.  I think it really comes down to the time issue again, but additional comments really would create more of a conversation.

And, the winner of the most significant quality event of the year goes to… 

I would be crazy not to mention my adventures in China a few months back.  How does that relate to a quality win for the year? Well, the adventure gave me some much needed perspective.  I needed to remember what production looks like and step into the work of others that I’m often so quick to try and improve or change.

Standing in front of people I’ve worked with for years and only knew via email was pretty cool.  And, my realization of how the Chinese culture interacts (or rather doesn’t interact) with social media in the same ways we do, really had an impact on how I need to get things done in the future.  It was an “ah ha” moment for sure!  From a marketing perspective, I suppose it was more of a “duh” moment…

Taking a video camera into the factories and producing content that gives others an idea of what it’s like to produce “stuff” and the role quality assurance and control play within that process has been interesting, to say the least.  A visual representation of the complexity was just the answer I was looking for.  My only regret is that I didn’t get enough video, but my hope is that I’ve planted the seed and will continue to get footage from our offices that I can edit and post on an ongoing basis.  It’s going to be great…

And, on that note, here’s to a quality 2012! May our successes always outweigh the disappointments… And, may we always learn and adapt when things fail to meet our expectations.

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