I’m a self-proclaimed quality geek, and that’s OK. I knew weeks in advance that the ASQ World Conference on Quality & Improvement would be the only place where others would appreciate my “got quality?” shirt as much as I do. I wasn’t wrong about that one!
While the 2014 conference came to a close in Dallas last week, I’m still riding on the excitement of having spent that time in what I like to refer to as the “quality bubble.” It’s the one place I’ve discovered over my last fifteen years in quality where you don’t have to spend too much time explaining what you do and find genuine interest in similar pursuits. It’s very motivating… and fun.
Exhibiting for the first time did make attending sessions a challenge, but I made it to a couple of good ones and even learned a little more about the ITEA process sitting in on the Nielson Quality Impact Session. Those teams sure do work hard, and their enthusiasm is contagious! I’ll admit that being a judge would be a pretty cool gig as well.
So, I’ll be the first to brag about our booth site selection though. I knew the ASQ Bookstore and Division booths were where the action was, and even our VP that attended with me agreed that I nailed that one. I had a blast talking to everyone that stopped by. The Software Division is a fun group, and here’s to Innovation moving forward! (I’m an Innovation Developer. What are you?) From people interested in working for the company, to existing clients, to personal friends, to sales inquiries… there wasn’t a dull moment.
Oh, I will say there was some controversy with the cheerleaders that Quality Council of Indiana presented as a way of generating booth interest. As their booth neighbor, I did have a front row seat to what went from an empty booth to one where people were lining up to take photos with two cheerleaders of some team I don’t even recall. While I didn’t support the booth by standing in line, I do have to give props to Chad Walters, fellow ASQ Influential Voice, for speaking out against that particular primitive sales technique. I do think the general consensus of professionals is that this isn’t in good marketing taste. In reality, I didn’t see anyone hanging around to buy the books.
But, the keynotes at the conference were impactful! I’ll admit I was surprised by Mike Abrashoff‘s discussion on leadership. I wasn’t expecting to be glued to my seat filled with emotion as he discussed his life and the decisions he’s made along the way. That guy was inspiring, no doubt. I didn’t even look at my phone during his presentation, and that speaks volumes! Michelle Rhee closed out the conference with a standing ovation. I was familiar with her story from Waiting for Superman and wish more people in public education had the strength and courage to push the agendas that best serve our kids and our future. Like Michelle, I think education is the key and where our priorities should be.
I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention the good times to be had in the evenings throughout the conference. Hanging out with new friends and those that I haven’t seen since Anaheim and Pittsburgh was kind of awesome. It’s really nice to spend time with people who share your passions. Our VP also mentioned that the ASQ crew was different than associations he has been involved with in the past, simply by how connected we are to the industry and to each other. There’s a sense of commitment and camaraderie that you just don’t see in other professions.
I always come back from WCQI pumped and ready to make a difference in the world through quality. I discovered that I have enough points to apply as a Fellow, which is AWESOME. And, I’ve got enough content to write about for months and even have a few speaking ideas for our local meetings. Good stuff… Good times.
A few quality peeps I enjoyed closing down the reception with…
(Me, Chad Walters AKA Lean Blitz, & Heather Hegger – Photo credit to Daniel Zrymiak)
The art at the Hilton Anatole was pretty cool. One individual I met shared a sketchbook that I had to include as further example that quality people are consistently cool. Daniel E. Sniezek, thank you for letting me share this one!