Browsing the archives for the quality tag.


World Quality Month… Yeah, Quality Matters

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What’s World Quality Month, anyway?

“The purpose of World Quality Month is to promote the use of quality tools in businesses and communities. Quality tools, such as flowcharts and checklists, reduce mistakes and help produce superior products. Quality principles could reduce headline-making errors, like food safety, toy recalls, and financial disruptions. World Quality Month calls on people who use quality tools to share their knowledge by submitting their stories to illustrate the value of quality principles.” (ASQ)

“The purpose of World Quality Day is to promote awareness of quality around the world and encourage development and prosperity” (CQI)

This year, I decided to help out ASQ’s Education Division and work with them to organize the Quality Education Conference & Workshop (QECW) that was held in Houston, TX this past weekend. I figured the best way to spread the word is to contribute my time to something that would raise awareness.

First, let me say that that I have gained a whole new level of respect for people that organize conferences.  The behind-the-scenes efforts of volunteers and others is just unbelievable. The passion of ASQ members is unparalleled, and the QECW experience was nothing short of awesome.  I tweeted for the division, so more info can be found here. And, another member took some great photos for us.

My presentation related to critical thinking and STEM was well received, but I am most grateful for all of the amazing people I met at the event.  Educators truly are special people! And, there’s no doubt education is where we need to start if we’re going to integrate quality into our personal and professional lives.

This World Quality Month also marks a few personal achievements of which I still can’t keep smiling about!  First, I am honored to be among the Fresh Faces identified in the November issue of Quality Progress. Wow.

Secondly, I received an email notifying me that my nomination as Fellow was accepted. I won’t lie… achieving this took a ridiculous amount of effort, and I count it as one of my proudest achievements. I truly feel special to be among such an elite group of quality professionals. I’m more motivated than ever to make a difference! Thank you so much to my ASQ friends that supported and helped me achieve this… You know who you are!

“Fellow Membership is an honor bestowed by other ASQ Members. A Fellow represents the upper echelon of the quality profession and serves as the backbone of the Society.”

Finally, I got word that my two proposals for presentations at the World Quality Conference in May were accepted.  I’ll be able to share information regarding social accountability audits in the manufacturing sector and also an After 5 session related to living a socially responsible life. I can’t wait!

I’ve written a few posts in the past related to World Quality Month as well:

You don’t have to be in quality to recognize World Quality Month! As Deming famously said… “Quality is everyone’s responsibility.”

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Quality Tools for Critical Thinking & K-12 STEM Success

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This will be my first year attending ASQ’s annual Quality Education Conference & Workshop.  I’ve had a lot of fun volunteering and working with the Education Division, so I have no doubt the event will be exceed expectations.

I submitted to speak this time because I wanted to share some insight I’ve gained as someone who has instructed sessions related to critical thinking in the workforce. But, I’ve also used these quality tools as a parent and have done a fair amount of research related to importance of critical thinking & decision-making as it relates to STEM success. I’m excited to have been chosen and am in the process of polishing my presentation.

Critical thinking allows us to use our own creativity and curiosity to research, design test and improve solutions.  “Critical thinking is a skill that is impossible to teach directly but must be intertwined with content.” ~Christodoulou

Highlights of my presentation include:

  • Critical Thinking & STEM: Making the Connection
  • Keys to Success
  • Games & Activities
  • Applied Tools
    • Affinity Diagrams
    • Fishbone Diagrams
    • Six Thinking Hats
    • Mind Mapping
    • Grid Analysis
  • Additional Resources

If you’re interested in QECW, check out the site here. Bill Troy, ASQ’s CEO is just one keynote I’m looking forward to. And, the other speakers and their sessions will be hard to choose from. This will be my first conference volunteering also, so I’m leveling up on the fun!

2016-QECW-Im-Speak

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Video: Quality for Life & Me…

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For all the times I’ve stood up and encouraged people to challenge themselves and stretch their comfort levels, I must announce a person win.

My SWOT analysis consistently reveals a weakness related to my video presence. Somewhat surprising is that I’d say public speaking is a strength, but that camera changes everything. I’m told it’s quite an entertaining sight to see.

Long story short, I’ve responded to ASQ’s call for participants to share stories for a few years now. And, each year I’ve found that my expectations of looking like someone physically suffering have materialized.  Each year, I’ve requested they don’t post the video even before I saw the final copy.

Not this year.

I decided to give the video thing another try this year at WCQI because, why not? I had a message I wanted to share and a personal obstacle to overcome.

It surprises me that I forgot about the video, but I did… A friend recently texted a link to none other than myself looking mostly normal on the ASQ site.  I’m so excited to be able to share this information in a format I challenged myself to improve in. Yay.

Quality for Life: Using Quality Tools in Your Personal Life

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My Top 10 World Quality Takeaways – #WCQI16

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FullSizeRender (2)ASQ’s World Conference on Quality and Improvement has once again come and gone, this year celebrating 70 years of quality in Milwaukee, the association’s current headquarters.

I think this is my 7th WCQI, or at least that’s how many badges I’ve retained.  This year, as ASQ reflected on seven decades, I considered my own journey. I was inspired to see a local quality superstar, Ken Stephens, acknowledged for over 60 WCQIs. I have a long way to go!

The first few years of attending WCQI, I did so to gain more knowledge about quality because it was the industry I worked in. I also thought networking among the community would be good for both my personal and professional endeavors.

As the years went on, I continued to get inspired to be one of the people you notice walking around the show either presenting or participating as an obvious part of the member-driven association leadership. When a good friend of mine asked me to consider a position as our local section’s Education Chair a few years ago, I saw the value of ASQ and my experience at WCQI go up significantly.

You miss a lot at WCQI as just a passive observer.  You’d be misled to believe the key value of the show includes what you learn from the sessions. Underneath is a close community of like-minded individuals that participate and make ASQ what it is. Participation is mandatory here.

My top 10 takeaways from this year’s WCQI include:

  1. It is such an honor to return again as a speaker at this event. For real. I’ll admit I was a little apprehensive about my time slot coinciding with a local tour, but I was relieved to see a good number of people attend. Connecting personal wellness and quality tools was personal. It was cathartic.
  2. There is never enough time to spend with everyone you want to at this annual event! Throughout the year, I connect with so many seemingly wonderful quality professionals that I look forward to spending time with. But, it goes by so quickly. When I do see a new face with a name I recognize, it’s always a joyful feeling and a welcome personal introduction.
  3. Hospitality suites must be managed carefully. I have yet to perfect attendance here.
  4. Exhibitor life is not nearly as fun as that of an attendee. I’ll just say it like it is.  Setting up a booth, hanging out in the booth and taking down the booth can at times seem daunting.  But, I’d be lying if I said talking to people that stop by doesn’t completely recharge me. This year, Pro QC generated some solid leads and added a few auditors to the team. The “<3 Quality” pins I had made were a hit! – I also worked the Social Responsbility Technical Community booth for a couple of hours. With limited resources, we really pulled together something that definitely helped spread the word. We collected ideas on a flip board that we’ll be following up with via the LinkedIn Group over the weeks to come.
  5. One person, or a small number of people, can really make a difference.  There are only a handful of us leading the SRTC currently, but we worked together to get a few minutes of time at the SAC meeting.  And, I believe we were successful in communicating the SR purpose and educating leadership on how their respective sections can make a difference within their own communities. That’s good stuff right there.
  6. I finally did OK with the ASQ TV taping.  For the past few years, I’ve been asked if I would like to participate in sharing a brief story with ASQ TV. But, this  is the first year where I think I’ve actually represented myself well. Laugh if you will, but that camera turns on and I get stupid. I challenge myself each time they ask because that’s who I am and it’s advice I give to others. So, I tried and tried and think I finally came up with something acceptable this year.  I’m taking props on that one. Personal win.
  7. The Tuesday evening networking event is a must-do. ASQ did such a great job this year getting attendees to and from the Harley Davidson Museum. It was a great environment to follow-up with a few of the people I had met earlier.  Dancing is always fun too, although my karaoke version of Son of a Preacher Man on the first evening did leave something to be desired.
  8. Milwaukee was a blast! Sure, it was chilly for a Florida girl… But, it is a beautiful city with a pretty good selection of local brew and a complementary local culture to match. I checked out the Wicked Hop and Bryant’s as local dives. Both were awesome!
  9. This is my first year volunteering with the Education Division. I recently stepped down from the local section and have gotten more involved here.  I’m so thankful for the new connections I’ve made, and I can’t wait for the Quality Education Conference & Workshop (QECW) coming up in November! I’m excited to be working with them on the conference and with social media in general. Check out our Twitter page for pics and posts from WCQI. Fun group! Great mission!
  10. Turkeys mating. Thanks for ruing the breast Dubner!  

Counting down to next year…

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Engaging Quality in the Workplace… Priming the Workforce

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ASQ has reached out to members asking about employee engagement… More specifically, to what extent do organizations engage about the importance of quality? And, how should companies approach the issue and make a real difference?

To what extent dTVRBNA==o organizations engage about the importance of quality?

I play a little game with myself and make a note whenever I see “quality” referenced.  I find myself chuckling regarding the saturation of the word in our marketplace vocabulary. We want stakeholders to associate us with quality and figure saying it a lot or putting it in the company name is going to do the trick. We think adding signs around our workplace or inserting the word into our mission statements will do the trick. Not terrible ideas… But, it doesn’t seem to be that simple.

How should companies approach the issue and make a real difference? 

I’m currently reading Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell.  In this book, I found the inspiration for my response here… Priming.

Priming is a nonconscious form of human memory concerned with perceptual identification of words and objects. It refers to activating particular representations or associations in memory just before carrying out an action or task. Additionally, priming can also refer to a technique in psychology used to train a person’s memory in both positive and negative ways.” (Source)

What if employers used priming to engage (influence) employees regarding the importance of quality? For example:

  • Conceptual Priming – Determine what related ideas are necessary to prime the response. What words do employees associate with quality? Use this to prime people before shifts, during meetings, within written communications, etc.
  • Non-Associative Semantic Priming – Same as above, but consider concepts instead of words.
  • Repetitive Priming – Repeat communications related to quality to influence later thoughts.

In the absence of my recent association with Blink and considering I have little experience in this particular field of psychology, I’d offer more traditional suggestions like this:

  • Incorporate quality into KPIs and associated incentives. Research has shown this isn’t enough on its own, however.
  • Offer and support ongoing training.
  • Consider the focus on quality within the metrics you’re using to evaluate performance. If I’m pushing you for sales or production numbers and don’t incorporate or support quality metrics within that, I’m basically telling you to get sales and/or produce at any cost.
  • Create a true culture of quality, which is defined as “environment in which employees not only follow quality guidelines but also consistently see others taking quality-focused actions, hear others talking about quality, and feel quality all around them.”  There’s an excellent Harvard Business Review article where that definition originates.  In the article,  Four Essentials of Quality are discussed. These include:
    • Maintaining a leadership emphasis on quality
    • Ensuring message credibility
    • Encouraging peer involvement
    • Increasing employee ownership and empowerment

The bottom line:

“Employees who ranked their company in the top quintile in terms of quality reported addressing 46% fewer mistakes in their daily work than employees in bottom-quintile companies. In our surveys, employees report that it takes two hours, on average, to correct a mistake. Assuming an hourly wage of $42.55 (the median for CEB client companies), a bottom-quintile firm with 26,300 employees (the median head count) spends nearly $774 million a year to resolve errors, many of them preventable—$350 million more than a top-quintile firm. Although figures will vary according to industry and company, here’s a broad rule of thumb: For every 5,000 employees, moving from the bottom to the top quintile would save a company $67 million annually.” (Source)

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