World Quality Month Begins In November

The 6th Annual World Quality Month is set to begin in just a few weeks. As in prior years, the mission of World Quality Month is to bring together the global quality community and help raise awareness of the vital importance of quality.

The 2015 World Quality Month website and will continue to be updated with new content, events, story submissions, and much more now through November.  This is your one-stop resource for trusted event planning information as well as new ideas for 2015 such as the World Quality Month Proclamation, ready to be filled in and signed by a local dignitary.  Versions in other languages are currently being developed.

Remember, in October you can submit ideas about the future of quality to ASQ on Facebook (contest hashtag is #quality2030). See the complete contest rules on the World Quality Month site. Prizes for the top three entries include a variety of World Quality Month coffee mugs, magnets, notebooks, luggage tags, and a World Quality Month jigsaw puzzle. Entries must be received by October 30. Everyone can vote for the contest finalists from November 9 to noon on November 20.

Also on the World Quality Month site, you can also request a free World Quality Month magnet through October 19 (extended to October 23 or as long as supplies last).  These are a great way to raise awareness of the event or events in your organization and start conversations.

Other things you can do in October, especially if you work in an organization: Hang World Quality Month posters in visible locations. Work with your marketing, communications, or public relations department to send the news release created in September about World Quality Month to the media.

Begin to promote your organization’s main event or events internally.  Create event-related posters to hang around the building. Be sure to include information in your internal newsletter and on the intranet. Send invitations for events (via email or internal newsletter or through internal mail, etc.).  See the World Quality Month Celebration Guide for details and more ideas.

There’s a lighter side to World Quality Month! Start sharing one of the fun facts from the quality trivia fact sheet each day with your colleagues or add a new fact each morning to your email signature.

As always, you can submit quality-themed events taking place now through November to the World Quality Month calendar.  We also invite you to see the World Quality Month guidelines and submit your quality success stories.

September Roundup – Does Mission Matter?

This guest post by Pat La Londe, ASQ Fellow and incoming ASQ board chair, asked the question how often is a company’s mission considered when choosing a retailer or business partner.  Following a global brand and reputation study, ASQ found that many respondents rated organizational mission as highly important in their consideration.
Throughout the month of September and into October, ASQ bloggers reflected on mission and the value placed on it.

Blogger Tim McMahon responded that vision, leadership and values are key, that companies must determine what its vision and direction will be, and management must decide what core elements are to be deployed.
Daniel Zrymiak did not consider that mission mattered since missions are aspirational. He wrote that he is more inclined to look at the track record and reputation as a predictor of future expectations.
Scott Rutherford also took issue with some aspects of Pat’s blog, adding that he had a different take of Mission, Vision and Values.  “Maybe it’s me but I was taught that an organization’s vision is what they strive to be and the mission is the how the organization executes the vision…Vision is aspirational, mission is clarity, and values are the bedrock from which to move.”

John Hunter writes that it doesn’t matter if it is just words on paper that has no impact on how business is done. And sadly that is more common than having a mission that actually matters because it actually guides how decisions are made and how the business delivers products and services.

Bob Mitchell writes that his experience in leading the ASQ Statistics Division, the Minnesota Section of ASQ and his 34 years professional work experience reinforces the importance of an understood, well-deployed, consistent mission to developing the organization’s strategic plan and then working the resulting business plans to achieve excellence.

Dr. Lotto Lai agreed that looking at vision, values and leadershipis a good place to begin and writes about the history of Hong Kong Science Park and how it has evolved over the last 14 years.

Luciana Paulise suggests that mission does matter and it should start working together with the purpose the new sharing economy.  She added that more and more companies are starting to focus not only on defining a mission, but also a purpose, which emphasize how the organization should view and conduct itself.

Author Aimee Siegler concluded that mission does matter and there is no way you’re going to be able to get where you’re trying to go if you don’t know why you’re going there.

Dr. Manu Vora concurred with Pat’s views and offered that the mission should be realistic and not a pie-in-the-sky statement.

Other Influential Voices Blog Responses:

Rajan Thiyagarajan responded to Arun Hanrahan’s post on Knowledge Management commenting on recent trends that are helping organizations transform knowledge management.

One Response to How Does Knowledge Management Complement Quality?

1. Jim Judge says:

September 16, 2015 at 10:22 am

Interesting that this is capturing an audience once again. In 2000 my Masters Thesis was on implementing a KM system in a QA environment. Actually bought the software and tried to make it work. Discovered that folks didn’t want to share their knowledge as that was considered the key to them keeping their jobs.

Hope that this generation will accept the concept now. There are so many advantages.

Charting A Strategy For Quality–And Beyond

Before joining ASQ, I spent my entire career in the U.S. Army. As you may guess, strategy was an essential part of my education.  I was fortunate to attend the British Army Staff College and the Naval War College, the Army having given up educating me at an early age. I had the chance to help develop and implement strategy at several stages in my career.

In recent months I have had the opportunity to work with the ASQ Strategic Planning Committee and see how the board and the staff work together to develop ASQ’s strategy.  I have been impressed by the passion, openness, and collaboration that characterized our process.

I am someone who loves the study of strategy and I firmly believe that the underlying principles of strategy apply to almost any field of endeavor, whether you’re working in a corporation, a nonprofit, a small business, an NGO, an educational institution, healthcare–you name it.

The purpose of strategy, after all, is to answer this question: How do you get from where you are to where you want to be?  What is your path?  How are you going to get there, what steps do you need to take, and in what order?

This month, I’d like to offer five key questions about strategy that you may find useful as you work on your own strategic planning. These principles served me well when I was in uniform, and I think they will serve ASQ well now.

One caveat: Determine how much time you have to spend on strategy and act accordingly. We all must get things done, so we must not fall to “paralysis by analysis.” We can only admire the problem for so long. A good rule of thumb many of us learned in the military is the one-third, two-thirds rule.  Each level of command (or management) takes one-third of the allotted planning time and leaves two-thirds to their subordinates.  If each level of command disciplines itself to that standard, there will be a fair allocation of planning time for everyone.

1.  What are your key facts and assumptions? All strategies are based on certain essential facts and assumptions. My suggestion: Write down your facts and assumptions.  Having them in your head isn’t enough. Expose them to the scrutiny of your boss and your colleagues.  If one of your key assumptions is the availability of a certain material, is it safe to assume it will be available to you at the price and in the quantity you need?  Finally, be especially aware of hidden assumptions—these are dangerous.   It’s an assumption you may take as a given, but, in fact, it may not be.

2.  What is your theory of victory? That is a way of saying,  okay, let’s say you can accomplish all the components of your strategy- will it get you to where you want to go?  There are many examples of both nations and corporations successfully accomplishing the vital aspects of their strategy only to find their theory about where it would get them was fundamentally flawed.

3. Can you actually accomplish each aspect of your strategy? I call this the feasibility test. Something in your strategy may sound good, “be first to market,” or “cut our price by 50%,” but can you actually do it?  If the honest answer is no, it cannot be part of your strategy.

4. Is your organization doing things that sit outside your strategy? These things may be good to do, but if they seem to be outside your strategy you should question them.  They are consuming resources – time, people, and money–, but you are not balancing their cost and benefit compared to the rest of your strategy.  I am very suspicious of activities that seem to be outside my strategic framework.

5. Have you left enough planning time to test your strategy? You must test your strategy before you deploy it.  The testing might be as sophisticated as thousands of computer-run simulations or it may be as simple as a bunch of your best staff people sitting around a table trying to poke holes in your strategy.  Ask others, especially other leaders, for feedback on your strategy before it’s finalized and presented.  I have learned that an 80% solution that has been tested can often be quickly improved and you will be far better off than a more polished product that is deployed with little or no testing.

That’s my approach to strategy. What’s your approach–in your organization, your business, your professional association, or even in your personal life?