The 2020 Quality 4.0 Virtual Summit

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WHAT AN INCREDIBLE EVENT!  

The Quality 4.0 Summit was a huge success! This past week, more than 200 quality professionals from around the globe gathered together online to learn how to draft a digital blueprint. Each of the three days was packed with amazing presentations and insights, followed by dynamic discussion.  With the variety of different events on the schedule, you had many options to chose from.  There was so much to see and do to engage with experts and peers.  There was even Happy Hour Trivia two nights in a row with the winners earning a free virtual registration to the 2021 WCQI event!  If you weren’t there, you missed an incredible Summit.   

Quality 4.0 aligns quality practices with the digital environment but we know implementing Quality 4.0 in organizations can be hard. This three-day digital event featured the most popular elements of the annual Quality 4.0 Summit–like innovative keynote speakers and future-focused sessions–while also adding new interactive components.  

For all of those who joined us for the 2020 Quality 4.0 Summit, thank you for being part of this first-of-its-kind virtual event! Keep reading to learn about some of the key take-aways from this week and put a reminder in your calendar now to plan for the Quality 4.0 Summit in 2021! 

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Sheryl Connelly presented “Confessions of a Corporate Futurist: Coming Trends that Will Revolutionize Your Business”. The future plays out in unexpected ways, despite the best efforts to prepare for the unknown. Most often, the success and failure of an organization comes down to two things: its ability to manage uncertainty and effectively identify how trends could have significant impacts to one’s business. Connelly revealed her secrets for how to think like a futurist, providing expertise and strategies necessary for effectively anticipating change. From the 10 megatrends that could change the world as we know it before the year 2050, to perspective that will forever change one’s approach to long-term planning and strategy, she delivered the insights necessary for organizations across industry sectors to prosper, innovate, and remain relevant in our world. 

Michael Gale led an interactive keynote presentation, “Excellence in a Digital Age: Where Quality Evolves in a World of Uncertain Opportunity”. Gale walked participants through the underlying shifts in thinking and architectures for the 28% of companies thriving with their digital transformations, and how they can apply that thinking to influence their own organizations. Gale showcased data from the research partnership between ASQE and Forbes Insights for the Insights on Excellence Benchmarking Tool and discussed how executives and quality professionals look at information. The session tapped into research for Gale’s best-selling book, The Digital Helix. Gale reintroduced and emphasized the five aspects of excellence, and how they can be used to implement Quality 4.0.  

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Mike Lipkin kicked off the third day of the Summit with his inspiring (and entertaining) keynote “Use Your Superpowers to Lead the Recovery”. Drawing on the post-pandemic reality organizations will have to adjust to, Lipkin provided examples of how the professional landscape is changing, and how listeners can breakthrough this new environment. Lipkin guided listeners through ten key forces that are shaping the immediate future and demonstrated the power of certainty, charisma, and conditioning.  

In the final keynote presentation, Radha Agrawal presented “Community Building 101”. She outlined the roles of attendee’s “friends”, “followers” and “users” and how all those relationships can still leave people feeling isolated. Radha Agrawal called this “community confusion.” She discussed how leaders need to cultivate their personal communities beyond business. When leaders find support, they create connections–both personal and within their teams—which studies show are key to happiness, fulfillment, and success. Radha shared the outcome of 18 months dedicated to synthesizing her key methods for community building called the CRAWL (core values, rituals, aesthetics, why, language) Method.  

This year’s event featured three focus areas that helped attendees customize their experience according to which part of Quality 4.0 was most interesting to them. Each focus area had a curated selection of workshops, and on-demand sessions. 

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For those just beginning their journey with Quality 4.0, or who want to brush up on their foundational knowledge, this focus area provided the building blocks of Quality 4.0, from terms and definitions to implementation strategies.  

In the session “Unleashing Quality to Support Industry 4.0” presenter Arron Angle outlined the issue that many quality professionals know to be true-only 15% of organizations believe that quality is a priority for executive management, but prioritizing quality can have large positive impacts to a company’s bottom line. Angle explained the value of Behavior Based Quality, or BBQ, to help executive leadership buy-in and promote a culture of quality across an organization. Angle laid out the ways that having a “breathing” BBQ can help aid participants in implementing their Quality 4.0 program.  

Attendees looking to contextualize their role within digital transformation found André Carvalho’s presentation especially useful. In “Why Digital is Not Enough: Finding Value with Quality 4.0”, Carvalho explained the limitations of technology-driven approaches to Industry 4.0. He gave examples of the ways that quality practitioner’s perspectives are valuable, even in organizational focus is heavily on technical innovation. With the variety of methodologies used in “traditional” quality, Carvalho emphasized the importance of creating an integrated approach to Quality 4.0, in order to identify the real value in the technologies, processes, and strategies adopted.  

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The ability to integrate quality into new technologies is critical for the success of Quality 4.0. With sessions highlighting data and automation, this focus area helped attendees see their role in digital transformation.  

Constantin Stan and Alexandra Niculae provided a great scope of information on the robotic process automation (RPA) in their presentation “How the 6 Sigma Belts Improve Robotic Process Automation”. They discussed how an improved process is more suitable for automation, and how a preliminary Lean Six Sigma project will bring even more results than the automation itself. The pair provided insights on how to prioritize the right processes for the robotic process automation, the right tools and deliverables for the process transformation, frequent errors – the efforts and mitigation plans, the Process Design Document which included content and traps to avoid for LSS professionals, as well as discussing roles and responsibilities of an LSS professional in every RPA project. 

In the presentation “Preparing for AI with Lessons from Your Gage R&R Past” Christopher Colaw explained how AI maturity depends on detection and classification capabilities, as well as an adequate source of training data, in addition to minimized hardware variation (visual cameras and lighting hardware). He grouped these focus areas can be grouped into two main actions for the organization; 1) qualification of the AI Algorithm, and 2) Attribute Gage R&R for the hardware which is used to capture the image and enable execution of the AI Algorithm. Colaw explained how only after these two actions are successfully satisfied can the Quality 4.0 organization display confidence in their efforts to ensure this new form of measurement variation is minimized. 

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This focus area aimed to help quality professionals understand how their organizations can build a cultural foundation of innovation through training, management, and measurement tools. 

Scott Burgmeyer and Tammy Rogers presented “Culture Through Self-Awareness & People Data”. During this workshop, participants delved into the science behind what drives people. By understanding the core drives, participants can use this people data to be an effective and productive team member and leader. Burgmeyer and Rogers used examples to showcase how understanding ourselves, our team members, and using people data builds high performance and positive employee engagement.  

Attendees of every generation found a lot of value in the session “Engaging the New Generations in Quality 4.0” lead by Luciana Paulise. Paulise provided relatable examples of the changing and evolving workplace, and how each generation behaves. It’s critical for leaders to learn how to attract, train, and engage the younger generations of quality professionals, and Paulise laid out ways to understand Millennials and Gen Z in order to build a new employee experience in Industry 4.0.  

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The Lighthouse Series helped attendees connect with the newest trends and emerging technologies in quality program implementation while learning from industry frontrunners. 

During “Easing into Big Data: From Logistic Regression to CART” speaker Kristine Nissen Bradley built upon quality professional’s foundation of data knowledge to explore the current machine learning approaches that are becoming common in the field. Nissen Bradley explains the Classification and Regression Trees learning technique and walks participants through how to interpret the analysis.  

In a very relevant on-demand session, Therese Costich presented “COVID-19-Forcing Digital Transformation”. Costich explained how the term disruption often connotes negativity when it should be considered an opportunity for positive change. In this session, participants discussed the opportunities that arise as a result of embracing disruption, how an organization can thrive by taking advantage of the opportunities, and how organizations in any industry can redefine how they do business by streamlining their digital transformation journey with an operational excellence platform. 

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On Wednesday, attendees got an exclusive preview of the new ASQExcellence offering, the Insights on Excellence Benchmarking Tool. ASQE chair Dani Picciotti and CEO Jim Templin led the presentation. The presentation highlighted how the Insights on Excellence (IoE) tool has been developed through the partnership with Forbes Insights, and described its functionality as an intuitive tool for a variety of employees within organizations. This tool will be a leading benefit of the new ASQE Organizational Membership levels, which are coming in early 2021.  

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Even though event participants couldn’t swap business cards in the hallway or chat over meals, the Summit created plenty of opportunities for the quality community to connect and learn from one another.  

Brain Dates, a new feature in the 2020 Summit, were small interactive sessions, that fostered group discussions around identifying solutions to common challenges. From learning how to publish a book, use storytelling to lead teams, to recovering customer relationships participants were able to get their questions answered and network with like-minded colleagues.  

Attendees also had the opportunity to learn more about the event sponsors, and ASQ and ASQE services through the Quality 4.0 Solutions Center. By clicking through this interactive portal, participants could explore new industry product and service offerings, download exclusive resources, and even pop into a video chat room to have real conversations with Solution Center representatives.  

At the end of the day on Monday and Tuesday, attendees were unable to unwind with Virtual Happy Hours featuring hosted trivia!  Both nights reflected an equal combination of competition and fun as attendees played to win a virtual registration to WCQI 2021.  It was a great way to end each full day of learning.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for a great Quality 4.0 Virtual Summit, we look forward to continuing to help you succeed with digital transformation, and we will see 2021!  

Be sure to keep an eye out for our upcoming events, including Medical Mondays in November. This new series will offer insights into how quality professionals in the healthcare community can not only manage the current conditions facing them but build meaningful quality processes and systems that will last.

This event would not have been a success without our sponsors and exhibitors!

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How to Be a Successful Virtual Manager

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As people around the world settle into a “new normal” of working remotely, professionals must adapt to digital workflows and leaders must learn how to manage teams and grow their careers in new and effective ways. To help facilitate this unprecedented change, ASQ has gathered some key resources to help you and your team navigate remote work successfully.


Leading Change Successfully

In this webcast from 2018, author and Journal of Quality and Participation contributor Rick Maurer guides readers through changing your organization while creating a culture of quality.

8 Ways to Manage Your Team While Social Distancing

This Harvard Business Review article by LeaderFactor CEO Timothy R. Clark provides specific tips for leading teams remotely that can help new and experienced managers.

Senior Management and Quality

Available as an e-book, Fin Rooney strips back the myths surrounding quality in this book and provides a framework for devising a coordinated quality strategy and showing how quality is an organization-wide value-adding service.

Culture is Everything

Jeff Veyera released Culture Is Everything this year, showing readers how to diagnose their company’s culture in terms of its suitability for their quality improvement approach, and providing guidance on how to tailor the readers approach to that culture, or change the culture to better suit their approach. This book helps prepare managers to be part of strategic decisions, and lead through quality improvement.

Process-Based Leadership

In Shane A. Yount’s keynote address from the 2014 ASQ Lean and Six Sigma Conference, Yount presents on business transformation, and how to create and sustain high performance from operations and employees.

Human Development & Leadership Division

One of ASQ’s 26 Technical Communities, the Human Development & Leadership Division is a hub for quality professionals looking to advance their leadership skills. Anyone can download free informational primers on topics like Measuring Performance and Employee Motivation. Your ASQ membership gets you full access to all division content, including exclusive discussion boards and networking opportunities.  

Change Management

How Can Successful Change Management be Achieved?

Prem Ranganath

Last year I was interviewed for a podcast where I was asked what about the biggest challenges I have observed with digital transformation. Some of the options presented to me were choosing the right methodology, talent, picking the right toolset, training and metrics. I acknowledged that those were certainly action items to keep on our radar, but to me the biggest challenge was our ability to shift the organizational mindset to embrace change by understanding the ‘what is changing’ and ‘why does it matter’. I have seen many organizations pursue transformation programs by chasing the actions that are more visible such as methodology and tools while a conversation on culture and change management is rarely even a line item on the plan.

Change management is typically not an area that organically invites many volunteers on transformation programs and therefore it should be a higher priority for leaders. In some organizations, I have seen change management being entirely outsourced because there is a belief that outsiders have a higher chance of influencing change. While it is helpful to have change management consultants mentor and coach leaders and managers, it is critical for the staff to see their leaders and managers lead the change. According to a McKinsey & Co. study, 70 percent of change programs fail to achieve their goals, largely due to employee resistance and lack of management support. The study further adds that when people are truly invested in change it is 30 percent more likely to stick. As the old adage goes, “be the change” is the simplest yet the most effective principle of change management.

In recent years, we have seen stories from early adopters of digital transformation and agile ways of working that they learned the hard way that seeing lasting outcomes from the changes and to sustain the initial interest and enthusiasm is no easy task. This is where change management comes in as real transformative change is about people, value systems and mindsets. While it might be tempting to associate transformation with apps, automation and tools sustainable transformation whose outcomes have an impact on hard and soft metrics, is really about people. If people believe in the change by seeing incremental and ongoing value realized then the probability of success jumps exponentially.

The only change framework that I have used for many years is Kotter’s 8-Step change model. I was introduced to this process by Dr. John Kotter’s groundbreaking work (and book) on ‘Leading Change’. As shown in the visual below, Kotter’s eight steps are anchored on the ‘Big Opportunity’ that is driving the changes. In many organizations, leaders and managers don’t invest enough time to frame their initiative within the context of a big opportunity. As a result, their teams are overwhelmed when the focus of change conversations is mostly centered on the volume of tasks that should be accomplished within a pre-determined timeframe. Imagine this situation to telling your family that they have to be ready for relocating to a new city in the next 2 weeks and the only context you provide is that “its going to be just great”. I don’t have to explain the imminent reaction!

Effective change management requires leaders and managers to invest time in framing the big opportunity and to build a coalition of change agents who can be pragmatic partners in enabling adoption throughout the organization. It is also important to secure buy-in from teams by planning for and demonstrating small wins so that there is improved visibility on ‘why do these changes matter’. I have to emphasize that change management cannot be done through PowerPoint or by publishing big updates to intranet locations. While internal social tools such as Slack can be very handy to push periodic updates on the program, stories on quick wins, testimonials from teams etc., the most effective tool is storytelling through conversations. Change management needs to be a social initiative and is also an exercise in building trust. Therefore, it important to humanize the what, why and who associated with the change initiative so that teams are excited about being part of the change and are willing to inspire their peers.

In a recent Forbes article focused on must-have CIO skills, the authors say that “CIOs have to learn to move from ‘trusted operators’ focusing on efficiency and cost to ‘change instigators’ and ‘business co-creators.”. This is consistent with several recent surveys and studies regarding adoption of agile technology delivery to large digital transformation initiatives. There is clearly a realization in most organizations that investment and commitment to soft initiatives such as change management is critical to energize the people for driving sustained growth, scale and competitive advantage.

After so many years of being dubbed as a topic for MBAs and management journals, I am excited to see organizations and teams look at change management as a core organizational capability. Change management is no longer tagged to a couple of roles. Impactful change can happen only when everyone in the organization is a change agent and commits to being the change. Now that change management is cool again, I have to recognize this achievement by giving it the #SOCOOL hashtag!

Babette Ten Haken

Change management is about creating a culture which is comfortable with change. Which translates into a culture of becoming comfortable being uncomfortable. The pace and cadence of Industry 4.0 technology advances often means that software interfaces, and hence machine capabilities, are continuously changing. However, their human co-worker counterparts are not so versatile. Why? Because being comfortable and complacent with the way things are is a human attribute, not a software or equipment one.

Achieving successful change management starts with hiring practices and human capital strategy. Instead of an HR department using a procurement model (I need one more data scientist or CNC operator), what happens when employees also are hired based on their receptivity to change? When that happens, the workforce persona is more proactive, anticipatory, strategic and innovative. Rather than remaining ready to react to a tactical issue which might have been prevented.

Successful change management continues with retooling and recalibrating current employees, who initially were hired as reactive order-takers to, instead, become innovators. Making it “OK” to question processes, practices and decision making and, in turn, offering their own ideas, processes and insights. Create an inclusive and collaborative workforce culture. Rather than continuing to exclude or marginalize employees due to differences in education, pay scale, employment tier, you name it.

Taking small steps forward, and capturing and quantifying their impact on productivity and profitability, reinforces the impact that people make on the processes, software interfaces and machinery side of Industry40 transformation.

Change is inevitable. People resist when they perceive their roles as inconsequential in often profit-driven corporate cultures. When Change itself becomes a valued human attribute, then the culture moves from an age of mass production cultural model towards an Industry40, proactive and change-based one. Taking the first step requires brave leadership decision making, to drive change-driven cultural transformation. Are your leaders ready to take that first step forward, one millimeter beyond their current comfort level?

Robert Mitchell

Another popular saying regarding change resistance is that the only people who like change are babies (infants). But change is constant, and the rate of change in today’s world is ever increasing. A mathematical model representing change acceptance is Q x A = E, where Q is the qualitative (technical) solution, A is the acceptance of change, and E equals the effectiveness of the project.

The successful change project recognizes that the team, stakeholders, influencers and the people directly impacted by the proposed change must first understand the change and how it affects them; their reservations, concerns and resistance must be acknowledged and addressed, and they must all embrace the change.

In an article titled “The 7 Dynamics of Change”, Kenneth Blanchard, author of The One Minute Manager, wrote that people:

  • feel awkward, ill-at-ease, self-conscious or fearful about change
  • focus on what they think they will have to give up
  • feel alone, even if others are going through the same change
  • are at different levels of readiness for change
  • can handle only so much change
  • are concerned they do not have enough resources to cope with the change
  • will naturally revert to old behaviors if given the opportunity.

The change adoption (aka rate of diffusion) curve illustrates the impact of change readiness.

Change adoption rate curve

Given the variability in change effectiveness, what strategies can be deployed to improve readiness and acceptance? GE developed its Change Acceleration Process (CAP) in 1992 as part of its overall strategy to improve its competitive advantage. GE’s CAP is a set of tools designed to accelerate and increase change effectiveness:

  • create a shared need for the change
  • understand and deal with resistance
  • mobilize commitment by building an effective influence strategy
  • continuous communication plan
  • address both the technical and human change strategies

The high-level GE CAP Model is shown below.

Change acceleration process model

In an article published by Fast Company magazine (2008), author Dan Feliciano states, “It’s not that people don’t like change… they don’t like ambiguity and punishment.” Dan offers, “Organizations need to focus on creating and communicating strategies to the employees… by creating goals, objectives, measures, targets, and identifying and resourcing key initiatives for your organization and then cascading the measure and initiatives to every person throughout the organization.”

Building an influence strategy not only involves the engagement of the organization’s leaders and managers, but also identifying the presence of any “Keyhubs” within the ranks of its employees. A keyhub is an individual, not on the org chart, who’s experience/ opinion/ insight is highly sought after and respected by peers and colleagues. “Understanding these informal networks enables leaders to align the organization with its strategic direction and move more quickly and effectively. Once you get the culture, you can execute on strategy [and change] with greater ease and efficiency”, Vikas Narula (@NarulaTweets), Creator and Co-Founder of Keyhubs (@Keyhubs).

Finally, holding the gains of any change effort requires the implementing of Systems and Structures that reward desired behaviors resulting in successful results, while making it difficult and even painful (more effort) to revert to old behaviors. Desired behaviors must be modeled by the organization’s leaders. Such behaviors will create the experiences necessary to instill the right beliefs leading to sustainable culture change. (Journey to the Emerald City by Roger Connors and Tom Smith).

John Hunter

Change Management: Create a Culture Seeking Continual Improvement or Use Band-Aids?

You can try to push change in an ad hoc basis by adopting some strategies to create a similar feeling about the individual change effort. But that isn’t as effective as establishing them in the culture are. Strategies such as: going the gemba, pdsa, build trust via respect for people…

These tools and concepts build trust within the organization. The do that by showing people are respected and that the change effort isn’t just another in the long line of wasted effort for ineffectual change. The first part can be addressed, normally the second part can’t be addressed effectively. Often that is at the core of the issue with why the change effort isn’t working

How To Create a Continual Improvement Culture

Very few organizations take the nearly enough time to train and educate employees. If you want to create a culture of continual learning and improvement you almost certainly need to focus much more on education and learning than you are. Education can be formal but also focusing on learning as you apply quality tools is extremely useful and very overlooked. Coaching is a big part of doing this well, but coaching is another thing that is massively under-appreciated. Most supervisors and managers should be spending much more time coaching than they are.

Building the capacity of the organization to successfully adopt improvements will directly aid change efforts and also will build confidence that efforts to change are worthwhile and not, as with so many organizations, just busy work. People will be skeptical if they have a good reason to be so, and poor management practices found in many organizations give people plenty of reason to be skeptical that their efforts to improve will be successful.

Why Do People Fail to Adopt Better Management Methods?

One of the most costly mistakes in management is neglecting methods that have been known for a long time due to the mistake belief that if it was better everyone would already be doing it. Plenty of better management practices exist. All you have to do to gain an advantage is start using them.

Communicating Change

I believe the best way to communicate such changes are to explain how they tie into the long term vision of the organization. This requires that such a vision actually exists (which is often not the case). Then all strategies are communicated based on how they support and integrate with that vision. In addition that communication strategy incorporates an understanding about what weaknesses with past practices are addressed by this new strategy.

Build Your Circle of Influence to Grow Your Ability to Lead Change

On some current issue, I may have a very low chance of success for getting the organization to adopt an improvement I think is best. But certain actions can build the understanding that will allow me later to have more influence. This can even be completely separate from how people normally think of circle of influence. By building an organization that moves toward data based decision making and therefore reduces HiPPO (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) decision making I increase my ability to influence decision making in the future.

Long term thinking is a very powerful, and much under-practiced, strategy. Your influence within an organization is limited today but has great potential to expand, if you act wisely.

Sarah Hayes

There are many approaches to Change Management – the Prosci “ADKAR” method and the “Bridges” method are quite popular right now.  My favorite, tried and true method is John Kotter’s 8 steps to change.  There’s a simple truth behind it:  people change what they do, not because they are given an analysis that changes their thinking, but because they are shown a truth that influences their feelings (Kotter, 2002).

1.create urgency – the proverbial “burning platform”.  So many executives want to downplay problems, to avoid panicking staff – they should be doing the opposite.  Create a shared understanding of the problem, and why it needs to be solved using different methods than those used in the past.

2.create a guiding coalition – those who really understand and feel the pain of the problem, and are best situated or prepared to lead the organization through change.

3.create a vision of where you want to obtain or achieve.  Not some vague statement like “become a world-class organization” (yawn), but something elegant, specific and motivating.  For example, when Steve Jobs was leading the development of the ipod, he referred to it as “a million songs in your pocket”.

4.communicate to get buy-in.  The goal with communication should be to catalyze people to action, not just keep them informed.  Acknowledge what people may be feeling, like anxiety, excitement, confusion, pride or anger.   One thing I’ve found to be very effective is to share examples of employees successfully “living the change”.  Keep communications simple, heartfelt, and frequent.

5.empower change agents.  Change agents are leaders (with a formal title or not) within the organization who have the ability and inclination to move the organization towards its vision from step 3.   Remember that you can’t hand out power in a gift bag – empowerment means providing an environment where people realize they are empowered.  For control freaks like me, this is VERY uncomfortable.  But if you have good change agents, the results can be amazing.

6.celebrate short-term wins.  These wins will build credibility and momentum for the longer-term effort.  Without them, the cynics and nay-sayers can sink any effort.

7.keep going.  It’s easy, after a few short-term wins, to declare victory and become complacent.  Or, you may reach a point in your change journey where you feel as if you’ve been doing this forever and you wonder if your organization is really any better off than when you started.  This is what Gartner refers to as the “trough of disillusionment”.  Use the momentum from step six to start tackling the tougher, more deep-rooted problems in your organization.  Don’t let up.

8.sustain the gains.  Re-inforce the changes you’ve made through promotions, new employee on-boarding, and employee incentives.  Don’t let old habits rise up and swallow your work.  While you can’t silence the cynics and pessimists, you can drown them out with messages and activities designed to support the changes you’ve made.

Change management is about shifting people’s behavior.  And the key to this shift is to engage people emotionally.  It’s messy, but it’s the only way to bring about meaningful, long-term change.  Wishing you the best of luck with your change management projects!

 Chris Moustakas

For a big organizational change to be successful, you really need to get everyone committed to the process. People tend to resist for many reasons, whether the implementation is a new policy, procedure, system, or some other form of restructure. There are some steps you can take to help get everyone on board and ensure a smooth process:

  1. Be open about the magnitude – Make sure individuals understand the magnitude of the change and how their roles will be affected.
  2. Communicate the long-term benefits – It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the possible short-term increase in work, so try to stay focused on how the change will benefit the team in the long-run.
  3. Handpick your champions – People will naturally follow those they respect, so encourage the ones who are already on board to spread the positivity (note: they won’t, and probably shouldn’t, be executives).
  4. Give everyone a way to participate – This one is crucial to getting everyone’s contribution. Give them a way to participate in improving on the change. Not only is this valuable feedback for management, but change should feel like a journey everyone is taking together, not a destination you handed them. You can gather suggestions, feedback, and improvement ideas with the use of surveys, meetings, forums, or software designed to facilitate change management.
  5. Celebrate wins, even if they’re small – Change doesn’t stop at implementation. Show your team the results of the change as they happen and how their participation makes a difference.
Lucina Paulise

Changes are more common now than ever, companies are going through changes all the time. It’s a new product, a new leadership team, a new safety program in place, new clients or new suppliers. The only constant is change. Understanding how to be agile to achieve successful change management has become a key skill to run a successful company, is not only for a big one-time project only.

Agile companies embrace constant change by disaggregating every project into small batches performed by small autonomous teams, developing leaders that are more facilitators of success than almighty heroes and providing support to the employees in the way of training, monitoring tools, verification, and communication.

The big problem with change is usually that people try to avoid it. People fear what they don’t know. So the greater challenge for companies is to work on how to make them feel safe about the change. And what is exactly that? You need to build a culture that provides them support. You need to care about the employees, how they feel and how they think. I call it the CARES culture. That helps employees getting ownership on the job, autonomy and therefore, more engagement to change.

Bruce Waltuck

A topic that has been central to my work and teaching for many years.  The shortest valuable resource I know for informing change, is the award-winning HBR article by Snowden and Boone, entitled “A Leader’s Framework For Decision-Making.”  This builds on the understanding that not all systems and challenges are the same.  There are problems whose solution is obvious and known to all.  There are problems for which experts have highly-reliable solutions.  But there are many kinds of problems and systems whose nature is uncertain, ambiguous, and complex.  Each type of system and situation have a different optimal pattern of response.  Today’s leaders sadly continue to avoid learning this, and too many change efforts fail (the Wall Street Journal once reported the failure rate at 75%). Leaders must overcome fear in its many forms, in order to explore the uncharted space of possibility in the face of truly complex situations I’d also urge leaders to revisit the fundamental teachings of W. Edwards Deming.  Far more than the statistician who tweaked the Shewhart cycle and brought TQM to the fore, Deming’s emphasis on “profound knowledge” and his “14 Points” for managers and leaders, reflect a deep understanding of the dynamical nature of organizations.  Mary Walton’s book “The Deming Management Method” is an excellent place to start.

To “cultivate readiness” requires the added skills of crafting and sharing a powerfully resonant, coherent narrative.  What is the story of the leader’s and organization’s intentions?  Of their vision and strategy?  Of the methods of dialogue and coordinated action that will include all, and adapt to emergent patterns of the situation?  Readiness comes from developing and practicing the ways of flexibility and adaptability.  These come from the capacities for curiosity, courage, inquiry, reflection, and learning.  All of which are predicated on the capacity for rational cognition.  We don’t “manage change” so much as we remove the fear of failure associated with trying multiple options.  We encourage all to think, ask, listen, learn, and try together.  “Continuously improving” not just the quality of the organization’s output, but the quality of its people’s capacity to change and improve.

In 2006 I gave a presentation at the ASQ conference to a standing-room audience on “a new definition of quality and the changing role of leadership.” The slides are on my slideshare page.

In 2010, the HD&L Division of ASQ published my Primer on Complexity and Quality Improvement.

Luigi Sille

When the management team identifies a need for change, it’s important to also manage that change. Just remember this: CHANGE MANAGEMENT is DIFFICULT, but VERY IMPORTANT, and without full support (commitment) of managers and employees it will FAIL.

All companies have to deal with change. You can’t hide or run from it. Change has to do with competitiveness, so you have to constantly keep changing if you want to survive. In other words, change is inevitable.

Another aspect that is almost inevitable is, resistance to change. Change is NOT easy for people (It’s human nature), so getting everyone on board is challenging. The success of change depends upon the people.

Strategies to help achieve successful change management.

  1. Start with an Objective: Where do you want to be?

Remember your objective must be aligned with your company mission and future vision.

  1. Communicate to your employees: Why the need for Change?

Getting everyone on board is very important. Remember to listen (listen to as many people as possible) to your employees concerns; ask for their input. Be open, honest, and keep an open communication channel.

  1. Support your people through the change. 

    Is there a need for additional training? Do your employees have the right tools for the Job? Do we need new systems, new methods?

  1. Learn as you GO

When you lead your organization through change, new and unexpected challenges will definitely arise. So you need to change /adapt to those challenges. Review, and continuously improve your change management process.

 

 

Influential Voices Reaction to Talking Quality to the C-Suite

November Roundup: The post by Influential Voices blogger Dr. Suresh Gettala, Talking Quality to the C-Suite, looked at how quality professionals, certainly experts in their field, may fall short in selling quality to top management and offered his perspective and advice. Throughout the month of November, ASQ Influential Voices bloggers contributed their ideas on talking to top management about the importance of quality.  This month’s topic certainly generated some very interesting and somewhat diverse opinions.

Pam Schodt responded that any quality discussion with the C-Suite should be tailored for that audience and provided suggestions for accomplishing that in her post Corporate Communication, 5 Keys to Success.

Jennifer Stepniowski agreed that getting the attention of senior executives can be challenging and added even more tips in her blog, C-Suite Speak… “Quality.” She advised that quality professionals remember a call to action which needs to be clearly expressed and not just implied.

Robert Mitchell agreed that quality professionals need to speak the senior executive’s language in his post Talking Quality with the C-Suite.  He wrote that his 34 years of experience in a global manufacturing company echoed and reinforced much of what Dr. Suresh suggested.

Dr. Manu Vora wrote that the easiest way to connect with C-Suites is to use the cost of quality approach which he explains in his post Talking to the C-Suite About Quality.  He says this tool lets executives know where there is waste in the system and how they can reduce the Cost of Quality through continuous process improvements.

Nicole Radziwill wrote that it’s important to let the C-Suite know that you can help them leverage their organization’s talent to achieve their goals, then continually build their trust.  In her blog, If Japan Can, Why Can’t We?  A Retrospective, she added that the key to talking quality with the C-Suite is empathy.

Edwin Garro recalls a fascinating lecture by Deming and his startling answer to an audience member’s question in his college days.  In his blog, Deming and the C-Suite.  A Life Time Lesson for Management and Engineering Students, he writes that Deming’s definition of an effective C-Suite manager was one who understood variation, not one who forgets the voice of the customer, employee and the process itself.

In her response and blog, AUDIT, a tool to talk with the C-Suite, Jimena Calfa agreed that talking to the C-Suite about Quality is a real challenge as senior executives often consider quality to be a waste of money instead of THE tool to increase profit.

Tim McMahon wrote that getting executives in your company to want to support and then adopt Lean Thinking may be difficult but not impossible.  In his blog, 5 Ways to Get Management Buy-in: What’s in it for me?, he shares a list of ideas to help you convince your management to start thinking Lean.

However, John Hunter had a different perspective in his post Making Your Case to Senior Executives.  He believes success will come from concentrating on short term financial measures while also crafting a story to make your case for long term improvements.

Scott Rutherford also shares a different approach in his post You are not selling Quality to C-Suite. You are selling short-term relief.  While changing corporate behavior from below is challenging, he believes there are ways for quality practitioners to have influence.