Day 2 of ASQ World Conference: Back to Basics

[This is a guest post by Julia McIntosh of ASQ’s communications department.]

Another busy day at ASQ’s World Conference on Quality and Improvement 2014! The many workshops, sessions and events were sandwiched between two keynotes that addressed quality and leadership basics. The first, by Mike Abrashoff, former Commander, USS Benfold, was a great refresher in what makes a great leader. Abrashoff, after all, turned an under performing Naval war ship into a highly successful one.

Key takeaways: Practice humility as a leader. Empower staff and give them tools to accomplish what they need. Have high expectations–your staff want to succeed. Basic principles–but ones that are so often forgotten. Abrashoff’s keynote was a great reminder and refresher.

The afternoon keynote was by Alicia Boler-Davis, GM’s senior vice president of global quality and global customer experience. Boler-Davis spoke about the challenges and opportunities faced by the company in recent years.

Much of her address focused on customer experience–the key takeaway is that GM is not just in the business of making cars and trucks anymore. It’s in the business of delighting the customer. For example, GM is now developing “infotainment” features for its vehicles and has a social media command center that monitors online conversations about its products.

And on the lighter side, the day concluded with an extravaganza in the exhibit hall (yes, with Jenga games) and the annual networking reception with music and dancing–all held in the very chic Hilton Anatole hotel.

Wednesday highlights: A closing session featuring the International Team Excellence Award ceremony and keynote speaker Michelle Rhee, founder and CEO, StudentsFirst. And remember, you can stream a keynote by Simon Bailey, leadership expert and former leader of the Disney Institute (recorded Saturday for ASQ member leaders).

Read a summary of Day 1 of the conference-something old, something new.

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