November Is World Quality Month — Ideas For Celebrations

Join the Global Quality Community in celebrating the 6th annual World Quality Month in November.  World Quality Month provides a platform for acknowledging the efforts and accomplishments of quality and all who work to make it happen.

By this time, your organization has likely already begun planning the special events you’d like to hold during November.  However, if you are not that far advanced, the World Quality Month Celebration Guide and the World Quality Month Toolkit (in five languages, English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese and Portuguese) will be a tremendous help in getting you up to speed.It includes sample banners, e-tags, postcards, sample advertisements and power point templates that can all be customized for your organization. Coming soon, a sample World Quality Month proclamation will be added to the toolkit.  Share the wealth of information included in the World Quality Month toolkit with co-workers and others.

In addition, you can find an ROI of Quality fact sheet and a collection of fun quality trivia on the site.

Ideally, you should have a team designated to work on World Quality Month within your organization, determine who will help set up and run the event or events, and have a specific person for each role. Make sure you have backup help as well.

Work with your marketing, communications, or public relations department to create a news release about World Quality Month and quality at your organization.  Prepare information about World Quality Month and any planned events for your internal newsletter and intranet and share them with the editor.  Have employees add “World Quality Month” as a skill on LinkedIn and endorse one another (see the Celebration Guide for details).

You can also encourage your team to submit any quality-themed events taking place in October and November to so they can be added to the site calendar. We also invite you to submit your quality success stories.

And remember to have fun!  In October you can also take part in a social media contest, #quality2030, and submit your idea of what quality will look like in the future, on ASQ’s Facebook page (see the complete rules on Three winners will receive a bundle of World Quality Month souvenirs.  Also, we’re offering complimentary World Quality Month magnets in October as well. Again, you can order through the site starting October 1.

Remember–the world is full of organizations dedicated to quality.  This is our month to share our passion for quality with our global colleagues and other business professionals and government leaders from around the world.  It is a time to praise all that has been accomplished so far and dream about what greatness the future may hold.

Posted in Uncategorized, World Quality Month | Tagged | 6 Comments

How Does Knowledge Management Complement Quality?

Arun Hariharan is a quality, knowledge management, and performance management practitioner. He has worked with several large companies and is the founder and CEO of The CPi Coach (

His latest book, The Strategic Knowledge Management Handbook, provides “hands on” advice for implementing Knowledge Management (KM) – not merely with technology, but with the more challenging leadership, strategic, and culture / behavior aspects of KM. The primary purpose of this book is to enable the reader to implement a strategic KM program in an organization and derive business results. This book is particularly addressed to CEOs and senior management to help them understand how they can use KM as a strategic tool to achieve their business objectives.  Purchase The Strategic Knowledge Management Handbook from ASQ.

Arun spoke with ASQ about Knowledge Management, how it can be used effectively, and best practices.

What is Knowledge Management (KM)?

KM is an enabler to achieve an organization’s objectives better and faster through an integrated set of initiatives, systems and behavioral interventions – aimed at promoting smooth flow and sharing of knowledge relevant to the organization, and elimination of re-invention.

KM seeks to facilitate the flow of knowledge from where it resides, to where it is required (that is, where it can be applied or used), for achieving the organization’s objectives.

In your experience, what are the challenges that prevent some organizations from achieving results from Knowledge Management? How can these challenges be avoided or overcome?

The root of the challenge is that some organizations and their leaders seem to think that KM is all about technology. Examples abound of companies that have sunk truckloads of money in KM technology such as portals and collaboration tools, but did not get the results that they expected.

In my experience, there are four groups of factors, which I call the four pillars of KM, which will determine whether you get substantial and sustained results from your program. These are – in order of importance – (1) Leadership, people, and culture; (2) Keeping KM relevant to your business; (3) Measurement of KM (you need to measure both the enablers and results); and (4) Standardized KM processes and technology.  Your KM program will give you sustained results only if all four pillars are in place.

Does KM, with its emphasis on knowledge storing and reuse, kill innovation?

No, it doesn’t – KM only kills re-invention. And re-invention is not the same as innovation. If a particular type of work has been done by someone somewhere in the organization (or, ideally, even outside), another person re-inventing it or trying to get results through trial and error methods is not being innovative, but merely wasting their own and the company’s time and resources.

KM seeks to actively promote innovation by encouraging sharing of new ideas and at the same time eliminating re-invention. In fact, KM, by ensuring that your existing organizational knowledge is available in an organized fashion, facilitates further knowledge creation (in other words, innovation).

Our experience shows that every time existing knowledge from the organizational knowledge-base is reused, some new knowledge is created in the process of applying or customizing the existing knowledge to the present situation. Some companies that I work with also have KM initiatives such as IdeaExpress (a scheme for generating innovative ideas from employees), which are nothing but innovation factories.

Can quality and KM complement each other?

Absolutely. While Knowledge Management and quality are distinct disciplines, my experience working with both taught me that there are several ways in which the two can complement each other. Companies that have both a KM program and a quality program have the unique opportunity to get them get in tune with one another.

How KM can help quality: In several companies that I worked with, the KM program frequently helped us to identify potential quality-improvement projects. For example, some of our high-impact Lean Six Sigma projects were identified as a result of our KM program bringing in relevant knowledge in the form of competitor benchmarking information. Some of our best quality-improvement projects started as employee-ideas from our structured idea-generation initiative, a part of the KM program.

Also, successful quality-improvement projects were often done as pilot-projects in one part of the company. Once successful, these projects could be quickly replicated across the company through the best-practice sharing process that is in place thanks to the KM program.

How quality can help KM: On the other hand, we were able to quickly institutionalize best practices identified through the KM program by making them part of standardized business processes. This was possible because the company’s quality program ensured that it had a strong foundation of standardized processes, subject to continuous improvement. Secondly, the quality program ensured that critical business processes are clearly identified and mapped, making it easy to prioritize and focus KM efforts on these processes.

In companies where we implemented lean management, I added “re-invention of the wheel” to the list of different types of waste that lean commonly talks about. And, clearly, re-invention is one of the evils that KM seeks to eliminate.

In several companies, KM and quality are both important components of the business excellence program, and they complement each other beautifully.

The synergy between KM and quality is also borne out by the fact that, several years ago, well known excellence models such as Baldrige and EFQM added KM-related criteria. The revised ISO 9001:2015 also emphasizes the importance of KM in a new clause.

Is KM primarily about technology, or is there a strategic and/or culture aspect to it?

The differences between KM as a strategy and a limited technology-only approach is that a strategic KM Program has the following:

•    Senior management involvement
•    Link with broader organizational priorities
•    KM initiatives (such as knowledge bases, communities of experts and collaboration) centered around pre-defined “mission-critical” areas
•    KM roles clearly defined
•    Close-looped processes for knowledge-sharing and replication in mission-critical areas – not left to choice or chance
•    Technology as an important enabler, but clearly one component  of a larger KM program

On the other hand, a technology-only approach to KM is a narrow view that treats the implementation of some form of technology (usually an intranet / portal with features of document management, storage and collaboration) as the be-all-and-end-all of KM. In such an approach, KM is not linked to organizational priorities or employees’ performance.

Not surprisingly, organizations that take the technology-only view end up getting hardly any results from KM. What is the use of the best technology if we have an organizational culture where people are reluctant to share their knowledge with others, or unwilling to “copy” even proven best practices?

Posted in Knowledge Management, Management, Quality, innovation, leadership | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

August Roundup: Creating a Performance Culture: What Not To Do

Performance culture continues to be a popular topic.  Last month, ASQ Influential Voices blogger James Lawther asked the question, does culture drive behavior and performance?  He concluded it does, yet it doesn’t create a culture of high performance, it creates one of low performance and fear.

Throughout the month, ASQ bloggers reflected on ways to change company culture in a positive direction.  Tim McMahon offered seven practical actions to shape your organizational culture so that it supports Lean.

Daniel Zrymiak wrote if a business culture seeks and rewards legitimate quality and the identification and correction of root causes, that problems will be recognized, integrity will be championed, and whistle blowers will not fear for their jobs.

Nicole Radziwill brought up the question, rather than improving upon poor performance, why not seek out truly amazing performance and then just make more of it?  She lists three steps for creating an innovative performing culture.

Anshuman Tiwari wrote that when judging the impact of culture on performance, time is a very important factor.  A whip-by-the-minute culture can deliver superior performance in the short term but will not sustain.

Luciana Paulise suggests clearly defining what kind of culture you are looking for. Considering the most important things in a company are profits and people, the culture could be focused on making profit, taking care of your people, or both?  If you are brave enough to run for both, she offers her suggestions.

Dr. Suresh Gettala suggested that the first and foremost step of establishing a culture is to check whether or not the organization is ready for a cultural transformation. Manu Vora notes that creating a sense of urgency is key to jump-starting a change initiative.

Pam Schodt added that to keep company culture positive and relevant, employees should be involved in discussions about changing and maintaining that culture.  Company culture is fluid and subject to shift. Management must be vigilant to nurture and protect a positive culture and thereby drive good quality. On that note, John Hunter writes about why CEOs are often not aware of what’s going on in their organization.

César Díaz wrote that a successful culture begins with a common language that everyone use to first communicate positively with each other and then with customers to ensure their satisfaction.  He suggests that everyone end each day with this question, “What actions did I do this day to support the improvement of the culture of my organization? Prem Ranganath adds that quality is a set of collective experiences.

Dr. Lotto Lai shared his views on how to establish performance culture including an interesting workshop at his division, “Team Synergy and Creative Problem Solving.”

Sunil Kaushik articulated about the three types of intrinsic motivators (autonomy, purpose and mastery), and answered the question, what kind of work environment is the best fit for such a model?

Finally, Edwin Garro gives a real-world example of creating a performance culture in a small print shop in Costa Rica.

Comments regarding Creating a Performance Culture: What Not To Do

Suresh Lulla says:

August 10, 2015 at 9:01 pm

Building a culture is synonymous to building positive attitudes.  But do you know anyone who has been able to change attitudes?  HR professionals advocate ABC. First change Attitude; Behavior will then change; Commitment will be positive thereafter. Never works. But we continue this ‘mantra’ like a broken record.  Try the reverse CBA instead. Get Commitment (to chronic problems) first; define change in Behavior; and if you are lucky, Attitude may change over extended time.

P.A.Ipolito says:

August 19, 2015 at 9:08 am

I have been hearing about culture change for over 30 years. I have yet to see a shred of evidence it exists. I’m sure there are places where it may have worked under the reign of a cruel but fair leader but the gains never hold. In fact, ANY gain in quality is a sandcastle on a beach. How can a culture change take root when top management turns over every three to five years

Anna says:

August 19, 2015 at 2:26 pm

I agree where it says “poor performance plus excuses equals good performance.  Perception becomes reality.

Mike Harkins says:

August 19, 2015 at 2:40 pm

I’m glad this article quotes Deming at the end.  Improving performance of the individual does not necessarily improve the performance of the system.  It can only be done by management transformation, which was one of Deming’s most important teachings.

Posted in Uncategorized, culture | Tagged | 1 Comment

Does Mission Matter?

This is a guest post by Pat La Londe, ASQ Fellow and incoming ASQ board chair. La Londe is a retired executive in supply chain management with expertise leading teams in all areas of procurement including supplier quality.  She recently retired as an executive from CareFusion, a large medical device company.

How often do you consider a company’s mission when choosing a retailer or a business partner? As it turns out, probably more often than you think. At ASQ, we recently conducted a global brand and reputation study.

One of the most surprising findings of the study is that respondents rated organizational mission as highly important in their consideration of an organization that provides training, certification, membership or books/publications related to quality, continuous improvement or performance excellence.

These results are encouraging us to reflect on the value of ASQ’s mission, and how we’re bringing it to our audience—whether members, customers, or the quality community at large.

First, the ASQ mission is: To increase the use and impact of quality in response to the diverse needs of the world.

As stewards of the global quality movement, ASQ is advancing ideas, tools, techniques, and systems that will help the world meet tomorrow’s critical challenges.  Yet there remain significant opportunities to dramatically and positively impact public thinking around the role of quality.

What are we doing about these opportunities? We have identified the following themes that underscore our mission and developed plans to address them.

•   ASQ is aligned and united to grow and advance the Global Quality Community.

We’re continuing to expand our global footprint with offices in the United States, Mexico, India, China, the United Arab Emirates, and Brazil. Our aim worldwide is to enhance and sustain the role of quality, help those who need quality concepts and tools for professional and organizational success, and to demonstrate the value of quality. This is, of course, in addition to our established geographic, topical, and industry-specific communities that foster career development and facilitate professional networking.

ASQ is committed to and investing in member value, this year and beyond.

In the next several years, we’re making significant technological improvements to our technology infrastructure to improve the customer experience with ASQ. For example, we will be addressing our website experience, expanding offerings available in multiple formats (i.e. hard copy, mobile, Kindle), and optimizing the volume of emails sent from the entire Society.

•   ASQ in 2015 has its challenges, yet is responding, evolving and adapting, to ensure our members’ and customers’ success in a rapidly changing, competitive, global environment.

It’s critical to the future of quality that ASQ continues to evolve and grow with its members and customers to provide them with the up-to-date knowledge and tools. By systematically studying emerging topics and monitoring the future of quality, we’re working to ensure that we respond to the global needs of today and tomorrow.

For example, ASQ will be testing new membership and engagement models and programs, locally and globally, for individuals and organizations over the next year as well as increasing the Society’s attention to leadership and professional development programs. ASQ is also cultivating the next generation of leaders through programs designed for young professionals.

What is your organization’s mission? Do you update and refer to it on a regular basis? All too often, leaders tend to “shelve” the mission after developing it or we take it for granted. Through our research on Culture of Quality, strong leadership is essential to developing and sustaining a culture of quality.

If an organization is seeking to improve its culture of quality, a closer look at the three areas —vision, values and leadership—is likely a good place to begin. I encourage you to take a fresh look.

Posted in Global, Uncategorized, case for quality, culture, transformation | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

What Does “Made In…” Mean To You?

This is a guest post by Laurel Nelson-Rowe, ASQ managing director.

ASQ was among the invitation-only participants at a conference this month in Shenzhen, China, that carried an imposing title: “Huawei Big Quality International Seminar.” The brainchild of Victor Li, vice president, quality and operations, for the multinational telecommunications company, the event had lofty goals. It called together quality experts from a number of nations (China, Germany, Japan, the U.K, and the U.S.) and industries (including academia and business) to help define, map the implications, and create the call-to-action of “Big Quality” for the company and for the universal quality community.

In opening what he called a “milestone meeting,” Li said he hoped the sessions—attended by 50+ Huawei leaders as well as his invited guests—would help “build the foundation of Big Quality” and prompt Huawei thinking, planning, and action in areas such as its culture of quality, management systems, and the capabilities of its people, now and in the future. Li said he envisions an “architecture for Big Quality that will be for the globe, not just one enterprise, not just one supplier, not just one country…Big Quality and Big Quality Management Systems will be systems and services delivered through, accessed in the cloud.”

Li and Huawei are not alone in challenging the industry—and ASQ—to change, to rapidly move the tools, techniques, management, and systems ahead, and to develop new approaches and innovate in the era of big data, Internet of Things, industry 4.0 and cloud computing. In a series of country-specific reports, each speaker described the country’s quality root structure, how far the profession, practice, and the industry have come in their native lands, and the barriers and opportunities facing quality, management systems, business, and economies in the fast-change, technology-infused, big-data driven global economy.

I joined ASQ China General Manager Fred Zhang for a panel discussion where the common ground philosophies and the diverse characteristics of countries and of quality surfaced. We were asked to describe what “Made in ____” (fill in your homeland) means.

I’ve captured some of the words and themes (with input from seminar organizers Jack Pompeo, Huawei director for quality and customer advocacy and ASQ fellow, and  Nigel Croft of TCA Global Ltd, one of the leading authorities on the forthcoming ISO 9001: 2015 standard,):

Attention to Detail
Brand Image

Perhaps you can match the word or theme to the country for a little mental exercise. Multiple answers per country allowed.

But more importantly, how would you fill in that phrase—“Made in ___”—for your country, your culture, your quality? Did it mean something else yesterday? Do you want it to mean something else tomorrow?

To prep for the Huawei event, I posted a prompt on my LinkedIn profile, asking for answers to what “Made in the USA” means today. Lots of views, not too many takers. Now that I’ve added Big Quality, Big Data, China, Japan, Germany, and some voices, let the games begin.

Posted in Current Events, Global, Quality, Uncategorized, case for quality | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

July Roundup: Using New Technology in Quality and Beyond

Have you noticed how technology has changed what you do at the office and at home? You probably don’t think about it much, as technology is so seamlessly integrated into our daily lives. Last month, ASQ Influential Voices blogger Manu Vora wrote about experimenting with new technology—namely Google Hangouts on Air—to share knowledge with a wide network of contacts at low cost. In July, ASQ bloggers reflected on how technology helps them as quality professionals—both at work and beyond.

Aimee Siegler lists several ways in which technology has improved her daily life, such as making it possible to take online courses for her MBA. Pam Schodt shares seven practical ways to use the Internet for hobbies and professional development.

Edwin Garro asks some of his university students—Generation X and millennials—for their top-used apps and websites. Luciana Paulise also shares a list of useful apps for quality professionals—and how PDSA fits into their use Rajan Thiyagarajan writes about the power of social media, and Lotto Lai shares how the Hong Kong Society for Quality uses social media.

John Hunter makes the case that the rate at which we incorporate new technology into our work is still very poor—how do we improve?

Posted in Uncategorized, quality tools | Tagged , | Comments Off

Creating a Performance Culture: What Not To Do

This is a guest post by James Lawther, who describes himself as a middle-aged middle-manager. To reach this highly elevated position he has worked for multiple organizations, from supermarkets to tax collectors in a host of operational roles, including running the night shift for a frozen pea packing factory and doing operational research for a credit card company.

Based in the U.K., James is also an ASQ Influential Voice blogger and writes about quality issues at

There is a lot of talk about culture.
No doubt you have heard it before but Peter Drucker once said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”  Management gurus fling the word “culture” around with abandon, proclaiming that if you fix your culture it will fix your business.

If they are right, then your culture is worth worrying about.  So what is culture? As a concept it is a little nebulous and vague. I flipped open my laptop and Googled it. Here is the most relevant definition I found:

Culture (noun):  The ideas, customs, and social behavior of a particular people or society.

All of which leads to a question:

How can we manage ideas, customs, and behaviors to improve business performance?  How can we create a “Performance Culture?”
How do you create a performance culture?

Is it possible to manage behaviors and influence performance?

Of course it is.  Children are taught how to manage behavior from an early age.  Toddlers get chocolates if they are good and the “naughty step” or worse if they are bad.  At school the same approach is used.  Teachers give their pupils certificates for being good and detention for being bad.

Business schools reinforce the logic. They teach us that effective management is all about getting people to perform at their best.  The recommended approach involves SMART goals, targets, 360 degree feedback, and incentive systems.  The naughty step has morphed into “spending more time with the family.”

For all the management science it boils down to the same thing; the academics teach us to manage business performance with carrots and sticks.  Targets, bonuses, and performance ranking drive behavior and behavior drives performance.

What sort of behavior do they drive?
They drive a desire to hit the target, an overwhelming desire which manifests itself in a whole host of ways:

1. Jumping up and down on poor performance.
The minute something goes wrong it is corrected.  If a target-driven manager sees any adverse variation in the data (the enlightened call this common cause variation) he wants it explained and removed.  An inordinate amount of time is spent chasing data points that look bad.

Unsurprisingly, data points that look good are celebrated.

2. Challenging management information.
When it becomes clear that it isn’t so easy to explain the cause of poor performance, the logical next step is to challenge the data.  If there isn’t an obvious reason why performance is going the wrong way then the data must be wrong.

Any manager with a bonus (a.k.a. college fees or mortgage repayments) riding on the data will tell you that it needs to be right.

3. Changing the calculations.
Unfortunately challenging the measurement system rarely improves performance. The next approach is to change the calculations instead.  Many targets are ratios: customers served per man-hour or sales made per lead.  So denominators are pushed down and numerators forced up. This approach is guaranteed to improve performance (at least optically).

All it takes is a little brow beating of the measurement improvement team, who will in turn – when performance appears to improve – be applauded for their accuracy.

4. Blaming and shaming.
Sometimes the man in charge of measures is unwilling to be brow beaten.  If he refuses to yield he will be blamed for poor performance (how can you improve performance if you can’t rely on the numbers?) If the man from M.I. is big enough to shrug it off then somebody else is found to blame.  Blame a supplier, blame a customer, blame the person in recruitment, or the purchasing team.

Blame doesn’t improve performance, but it does create an excuse.  It is well-known that poor performance plus excuses equals good performance.

5. Emphasizing the positive.
Managers utilize bullet points to emphasize the positive.  With all the noise in the system there is always something on the up.
•    This week saw a 5 percent rise in sales.
•    Last week customer satisfaction reached an all-time high.
•    Retention rates (month-to-date) exceed last year’s performance (year-on-year) by a full three basis points (allowing for inflation).
If managers can’t find something that looks good they can always create more metrics until they identify something positive.

6. Minimizing the negative.
Nothing is ever reported voluntarily that looks below target or “Red.”  Anybody foolish enough to declare a “Red” level of performance will receive a real grilling about the situation.  This approach ensures that the “Reds” disappear…  Well, they certainly won’t be talked about or shown.

If there is no “Red” to be seen, then performance must have improved.

Does culture drive behavior and performance?
Of course it does. Though perversely “performance management” doesn’t create a culture of high performance. It creates one of low performance and fear.

Maybe Mr. Drucker was right, but his quote needs some context from his peers:

Culture Eats strategy for breakfast ~ Peter Drucker
Drive out fear ~ W. Edwards Deming

The way to create a high performance culture is to seek out poor performance, embrace it and fix it, not punish it.

What are your “dos” and “don’ts” of creating a performance culture?

Posted in Deming, Uncategorized, culture | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Social Responsibility: Making a Quality Difference Where We Live, Work, and Play

This is a guest post by Jennifer J. Stepniowski, communications director at Pro QC International, a third-party quality consulting and engineering firm. She is an Influential Voices blogger for ASQ, vice chair of ASQ’s Social Responsibility Technical Community, and Education Chair for ASQ Section 1508. Stepniowski is also an adjunct instructor for Hillsborough Community College and HCC’s Institute for Corporate and Continuing Education.  Her personal mantra is inspired by Peter Drucker, which includes “the best way to predict the future is to create it.”

ASQ recently announced the approval of a Social Responsibility Technical Community.  According to the Community’s charter, its responsibilities will be to establish and administer general policies related to society-wide SR activities and to serve as a member-leader advisory board related to the Body of Knowledge.

This is exciting news that further demonstrates the salience of this topic and its progression into quality.  Further support is found in the United Nations Global Compact that claims more than 12,000 organizations in over 145 countries have committed to showing good global citizenship in the areas of human rights, labor standards, anti-corruption, and environmental protection.

SR is of special interest to quality professionals for several reasons.  The big-picture reason considers the definition of quality as meeting or exceeding customer expectations.  With that, it was cited in a 2010 IBM study that “83 percent of CEOs believe customers will expect an increasing focus on social responsibility.”  In fact, ASQ’s 2011 Future of Quality Study identified global responsibility as “the most significant force shaping the future of quality.”

Want to know more? Additional resources that further demonstrate the quality/SR connection include:

Social responsibility continues to gain momentum, and with it come increased opportunities for us as individuals to make a difference where we live, work, and play.

In a 2007 Harris Poll, 31 percent of those surveyed indicated a belief that “people have a personal responsibility to make the world a better place by being actively involved with various issues and causes.”  And yet in the same survey, 25 percent of respondents indicated “social responsibility has little consequence in their lives.”  (See the Harris poll data.)

So, how do we increase awareness and engagement? How do we become more socially responsible as individuals?

I decided to ask around for some ideas and am grateful for the feedback received.  It turns out that as individuals, there’s a lot we can do.

•    Learn stuff.  Check out ISO 26000, or explore the recently posted Body of Knowledge that ASQ has posted on the subject. Fast Company lists 51 resources in this article. Be inspired to incorporate what you learn at home and at work. Walking meetings, anyone?

•    Review your investments and reallocate to more SR-friendly sources whenever possible.  Several studies indicate that socially responsible investment (SRI) mutual funds are competitive with their non-SRI peers. Socially responsible funds performed well even during times of economic turmoil: Large-cap SRI mutual funds outperformed the S&P 500 by 6 percent in 2009. Source.

•    Make conscious purchasing decisions.  Start with evaluating the top 20 percent of your expenditures. Get into the habit of checking labels before you buy.

Did you know? Some 52 percent of global respondents in a 2014 Nielsen survey including over 30,000 consumers in 60 countries say their purchase decisions are partly dependent on the packaging – they check the labeling first before buying to ensure the brand is committed to positive social and environmental impact. Sustainable purchase considerations are most influenced by the packaging in Asia-Pacific (63 percent), Latin America (62 percent) and Middle East/Africa (62 percent) and to a lesser extent in Europe (36 percent) and North America (32 percent). Source.

•    Join your Homeowners’ Association (HOA) if you have one. Granted, I wasn’t winning any popularity contests with this one. But, it felt good to have more trees planted in my neighborhood, hire an environmentally friendly pest control company, and organize events like community garage sales.

•    Give blood. It’s not something that can be manufactured and must come from volunteers. According to the American Red Cross, someone needs a blood transfusion every two seconds. As little as one pint can save up to three lives.

•    Find a cause and donate some time and/or money. Feed the homeless, help at an animal shelter, volunteer at the hospital, support a crowdfunding project or consider using a website like to get ideas more suited to what you’re passionate about. I’m working with my ASQ section to organize one SR speaker per year and a follow-up community event to “increase impact” and satisfy strategic objectives.

Did you know? According to a 2010 study, one in five U.S. adults (21 percent) feel that people should generally take part in things such as voluntary service, donating to charities or getting involved in community activities because it is the right thing to do.  Source.

•    Tune in and speak up. Communicate your opinions on policy or other issues and let your public representatives know how you feel.  Sites like create awareness and provide an opportunity for action.

Did you know? A 2010 Harris Poll revealed among those who have taken action as a result of following a cause online (39 percent), over half (54 percent) say they have talked to a friend or a family member after reading something on a nonprofit or charitable organization’s social networking site, a third (33 percent) have contacted an elected representative, 31 percent have made a financial contribution to the organization, 23 percent have made a financial contribution to a cause the organization supports and 23 percent have attended an event sponsored by the organization. Source.

•    Talk to kids. American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt provided some insight here when he said “we cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build out youth for the future.”

•    Support local parks and outdoor spaces. They’re perfect for family picnics and team building events.

What else?  Share your ideas in the comments!  And, contact me at if interested in ASQ’s Social Responsibility Technical Community.

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” ~William James

Posted in Social Responsibility, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

The Gift of Knowledge Transfer Through Technology

This is a guest post by ASQ Influential Voices blogger Manu Vora, chairman and president of Business Excellence, Inc USA. He is an expert in organizational excellence and the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, and blogs at Thoughts on Quality.

Most quality professionals are very proficient in technical knowledge. However, they generally focus only on the technical aspects of their work and overlook “soft” or support skills, which are also crucial for organizational success. In a global economy, professionals need to be more proficient in communication practices and principles to be successful.

One way to approach the development of communication skills and creativity is by experimenting with simple technology such as Google Hangout on Air to share knowledge with a wider audience. As an example, I will describe how this platform was used for a 12-topic leadership excellence series and presented to large audiences in organizations as diverse as Indian universities, large corporations, and ASQ member units, with more presentations planned for the future.

For working quality professionals, Google Hangouts on Air can be used for meeting with offsite colleagues, professional training, or nearly any other professional collaboration.

In regards to ASQ members in particular, with 240 ASQ Sections, 26 Divisions/Interest Groups, and 47 Local Member Communities (LMCs) outside the U.S., there are a large number of technical meetings and conferences being held almost year-round. The Google Hangout platform can easily be used to engage well-qualified speakers from around the world to deliver their topics of expertise. This platform opens up many new opportunities for member units to invite outstanding speakers with minimal time commitment and no expense for travel.


There are several advantages to using Google Hangouts on Air.

  • It’s a free, live video conference call (note that Hangouts on Air are different from Hangouts. The Hangouts are not recorded or publicly broadcast and are intended for private conversations).
  • Note that you can certainly record a webinar through a traditional platform like WebEx, but the advantage of the Google Hangout on Air is that it’s free and also immediately shareable through YouTube and, consequently, through other social media and blogs.
  • Up to 10 different participants can take part in the Google Hangout on Air call and there’s no limit to the number or people who can watch the call.
  • Hangouts on Air are automatically recorded and posted on YouTube post-call for easy sharing and viewing (no log-ins, subscriptions, or payment). This is similar to the massive open online courses (MOOCs) distance learning effort that has been gaining popularity in the last five years.

The technology requirements for hosting a Hangout on Air are fairly simple:

  • Stable Internet connection
  • Laptop with microphone and camera
  • Gmail account for the moderator or originator of Google Hangout On Air and the active participants (but not viewers, who only need Internet access).

If using in a conference setting:

  • LCD projector
  • Screen
  • Microphone for Q&A
  • Conference room

Wide reach, low cost:

Here are a few examples of how a Google Hangout on Air can have enormous reach through fairly little organizational effort (unlike, for example, a conference or a physical meeting).

  • The aforementioned leadership excellence series has been shared with more than 6,500 students at the Indian Institute of Technology (ITT-BHU), in Varanasi, India. This series will benefit students during their school years, in their job search, and at work. The leadership excellence series topics (LES), by the way, were: leadership excellence, effective teamwork, effective time management, effective meeting management, effective decision making, effective project management, effective risk management, effective talent management, voice of the customer management, effective operational excellence, sustainable change management, and effective supply chain management.
  • With the success of this program at the IIT BHU, in collaboration with ASQ India, a consortium of engineering and management schools was set up with eight or nine institutions to be on Google Hangout at the same time:
    –At ASQ Mumbai LMC, eight Commerce, Science, Arts, Engineering and Management colleges started the LES program using Google Hangout On Air (live audience of 1,000 or more).
    –ASQ India has collaborated with eight to nine engineering and management schools to initiate similar LES program using Google Hangout On Air (live audience of 1,000 or more).
  • For international students at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, a leadership excellence series will be offered using Google Hangout platform starting in August 2015. The resultant YouTube videos will be shared with the entire campus community (7,900 people).
  • The series was also presented via Google Hangout to eight to nine regional locations of Vinmar India starting in July 2015. This will benefit the entire company in India with new knowledge.

Caveats and Conclusions

As with any software or meeting program, Hangouts on Air are occasionally prone to glitches and setup difficulties. Below, I’m sharing links to several tutorials to help make your Hangout a smooth experience, as well as a video with more information on using Hangouts in Indian universities.

In the 21st century, knowledge can be transferred globally leveraging technology. Hangouts, as well as other technology platforms, provide tremendous benefits to manage scarce budget resources for learning, development, and training.

For Discussion

What kind of resources are you using in your organization or your personal life to share information? Do you experiment with new platforms or do you prefer traditional means of transferring knowledge?

Helpful Resources

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June Roundup: Using Quality Tools In Everyday Life

Quality isn’t just meant for the office. If you’ve ever followed a checklist when packing for a trip, you’ve used a quality tool in everyday life. In June, we asked ASQ’s Influential Voices bloggers how they use quality off the job. The kickoff post was by ASQ blogger Sunil Kaushik, who wrote about traveling in Egypt for $500. Many other Influential Voices shared their “real-life” quality adventures, showing that quality has a place far beyond our jobs.

John Priebe wrote about everyday risk management, while new blogger Suresh Gettala wrote about using PDSA in everyday decision-making. Luciana Paulise, too, blogged about using PDSA outside the office. Manu Vora shared his experience using Baldrige tools to manage a non-profit.

Jimena Calfa used SCRUM to navigate through the U.S. green card citizenship process, while Pam Schodt uses lean in home organizing and gardening.  Nicole Radziwill reflected on the many applications of DMAIC, including in loading the dishwasher. John Hunter wrote about using quality in many aspects of daily life, from travel to family life, when growing up. On that note, another new Influential Voice, Prem Ranganath, wrote about teaching children about quality. Lotto Lai discussed the personal lives of modern-day quality gurus.

Like blogger Sunil Kaushik, Aimee Siegler, too, used quality tools to save money while traveling. To use quality in “real life,” Cesar Diaz Guevera argues that it must be a way of life and led by example. And Scott Rutherford reminds us to remember the human consequences of applying quality outside its traditional realm—what may work in the office may not work in the home.

Finally, Edwin Garro had a different interpretation of the topic, writing a comical post—what if your company was a TV sitcom–poking fun at common archetypes in the quality field.

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