December Roundup: Looking to 2012

Once again, it’s time for New Year’s resolutions. In my December post, I reflected on the successes and disappointments of 2011, and invited ASQ Influential Voices bloggers to reflect on the year ahead. I’m heartened that they’re heading into 2012 with goals and optimism, raising their voices louder than ever.

Guy Wallace writes about raising the voice of quality locally and globally—through ASQ, by writing and publishing articles, and by being part of the International Society for Performance Improvement. He concludes his post with a reminder that success “takes a village – or rather, villages. And cooperation, collaboration, and sharing. Lots of sharing.”

Anshuman Tiwari writes that he is encouraged by quality professionals’ ability to make impactful decisions in troubled times and reminds his readers that Six Sigma and Lean theories were born out of such times. (One sign of troubled times, says Anshuman, is the U.S. government’s decision to cut funding for the Baldrige program. He hopes that the program will become international now that it’s not financially associated with the U.S. government.)

Jennifer Stepniowski cites her foray into social media—both for her company, ProQC, and as an ASQ blogger–as a success that she plans to continue into 2012. She writes that she worked hard to get a blog running for her organization and drafted content that would reach and inform both experienced and new industry professionals. And, of course, she did an excellent job blogging for ASQ as an Influential Voice.

Robert Mitchell, like many Influential Voices, describes his disappointment in the government’s decisions to cut Baldrige funding. But he also discusses the elevation of quality in C-suite levels of business through sustainability, corporate social responsibility and Total Customer Experience. This indicates an emphasis on performance improvement overall, writes Robert. Despite economic hardships, he is confident the global quality community’s influence will continue to grow in the future.

Chris Hermenitt also laments the government’s decision to cut Baldrige funding. This not only demonstrates a lack of understanding of quality and performance excellence, Chris says, but also a shift in the United States’ dominance in business leadership. Interestingly, Chris details his time working in China, and writes about similarities between his customers’ needs and expectations in China and in the U.S. This signifies the shrinking world of quality, he writes. In his current position, Chris is working to motivate his colleagues to bring more value to the customer. The first step, says Chris, is finding a common ground of understanding.

David Levy charts his professional goals and achievements over the last year—such as developing and implementing an improved QMS system for his division, improving his understanding of FDA regulations for his business, and pursuing Lean Six Sigma Black Belt training. This should inspire us all to create a project plan for professional and personal goals in 2012.

Rajan Thiyagarajan picks up on a significant shift in thinking about the quality community, commenting on the prominence of the word “voice” in the last year. “Voice” has almost replaced “member,” he writes. Appropriately, Rajan reassures his readers that ASQ’s Influential Voices will continue to spread the voice of quality, but also urges them to work together.

Dr. Robert Burney also notes a trend. He believes the term “quality” is too abstract and broad to convey the importance of quality in different industries. He discusses failed quality initiatives in the healthcare industry, and whether “quality” should have a more specific definition.

Finally, Bruce Waltuck writes about the three “Bs”: Baldrige, Berwick, and Beginnings. He is disappointed that Baldrige program funding was cut, but looks to new opportunities. He also discusses Dr. Donald Berwick’s departure as the top U.S. Medicare official and reflects on the U.S. health system. Finally, Bruce writes about his understanding of quality–that it is a relational and dynamic process that can change as the customer changes. Bruce concludes with his own wish for 2012 and the future of the quality movement. He hopes “that it will look into the Q-ball, and see only the bright reflection of its own potential to become better tomorrow than it was yesterday.”

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