Meet New ASQ CEO Bill Troy

My name is Bill Troy and I assumed the duties of ASQ CEO on April 21. While I have had the opportunity to meet many from the ASQ community, I know there are many others who I have not yet had the privilege of meeting.  Therefore, in this, my first blog post on View from the Q, please allow me to introduce myself and tell you a little about my professional career.

I spent my entire career in the U.S. military and it was a life and mission I loved.  When I retired I was hoping to find something that would allow me to put into practice some of the leadership and management lessons I learned at the feet of wonderful leaders; and if I could do it in service to a cause I believed in, I would be doubly blessed.

When this opportunity at ASQ presented itself, I felt it would be a good fit, both in terms of what I could offer, and what I could learn.  The U.S. military, like any good military, runs on standards, qualifications, and certifications.  We do dangerous things in training and on operations, and they cannot be done safely and effectively if the standards are not well-defined, properly communicated, and rigorously adhered to.

ASQ feels like a good fit to me because I believe in what we are doing in the quality community.  I follow a CEO, Paul Borawski, whose strong but compassionate leadership and bold vision have made an indispensable contribution to ASQ.  We are making workplaces more effective, efficient, safer, and more in touch with the needs of the people who work there.  I like that mission.

When I started this job  I also knew I could learn a lot and I am learning every day.  I am a big believer in lifelong learning. Not only do I have an opportunity to lead a great organization and passionate community, but I’ve also been introduced to the incredible world of tools, techniques, and insights you possess.  I am proud to join you and lend whatever abilities I have to making ASQ bigger and better in every way I can.

Posted in ASQ, Uncategorized, career | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Educating a Quality Workforce

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

Just as last year, ASQ’s World Conference on Quality and Improvement provided some great topics for discussion on View From the Q. One especially “hot” topic emerged during the last keynote of the conference, and this was the link between quality and education.

As summarized here, education reformer Michelle Rhee spoke about the poor quality of education in many U.S. public schools. Low-quality education results in a low-quality workforce, she said. Another challenge, according to Rhee, is that students in the U.S. are praised for poor performance or for “just showing up.” As a result, they expect to be celebrated for mediocrity, rather than for quality.

This message resonated with the audience more than any other idea expressed at a keynote–or maybe even the entire conference.

What do you think? Do you see a correlation between the quality of education in your country and the young people entering the workforce? Does your culture celebrate success or is any attempt considered “good enough”? And finally, what is the role of quality in improving public education in any nation?

Posted in Education, Uncategorized, World Conference on Quality and Improvement | Tagged | 1 Comment

Day 3 of ASQ World Conference: Celebrate Quality

[This is a guest blog by Julia McIntosh of ASQ's communications department.]

Michelle Rhee at ASQ's World Conference 2014. Photo by Elias Monreal

Perhaps one of the strongest pro-quality messages at the entire 2014 ASQ World Conference on Quality and Improvement  came during the final keynote of the event. Education reformer Michelle Rhee spoke of turning around a failing school district. Although Rhee doesn’t work in “quality” per se, her speech energized the audience to stand up and clap in agreement. Her conclusion was saluted with a standing ovation.

Rhee’s key points? Education is a priority because it determines the quality of the workplace we will get. And, in the U.S., we overpraise our children and give out too many unearned trophies and awards during the course of their education. We celebrate mediocrity, rather than quality.

Rhee’s closing keynote was preceded by the International Team Excellence Awards

Parade of teams at the International Team Excellence Awards ceremony. Photo by Elias Monreal.

process ceremony–an  antidote to mediocrity if there ever was one. Team Excellence recognizes the best quality improvement teams worldwide, and is the only international team recognition process of its kind in the world. This year’s winners are:

Bronze level:

  • Volkswagen Argentina Cordoba Plant, Contact Zone team
  • JCYM Continuous Improvement Team, Johnson Controls, Shanghai
  • Genpact, Transforming Order to Cash Process team
  • Max Life Insurance Co., Proactive Retention team

Silver level:

  • Team Blitz, Khazanah Nasional Berhad

Gold level:

  • Dubai Aluminum, DUBAL Stub Repair Reduction Team
  • Matter of Time team, Tgestiona

Matter of Time team, Tgestiona. Photo by Elias Monreal.

And this concludes our coverage of the 2014 ASQ World Conference on Quality and Improvement. Conversations are ongoing on Twitter with the hashtag #WCQI14. Thank you for a fantastic, energetic event! We hope you can join us next year in Nashville, May 4-6.

What did you think of the conference? Leave a comment or email us at social@asq.org.

World Conference Kickoff roundup

World Conference Day 1 roundup

World Conference Day 2 roundup

Posted in Education, Uncategorized, World Conference on Quality and Improvement, international team excellence award process | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Day 2 of ASQ World Conference: Back to Basics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Uncategorized, World Conference on Quality and Improvement | Tagged , | Comments Off

Day 1 of ASQ World Conference: The Tried, True, Innovative and New

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

Welcome to Day 1 of ASQ’s World Conference of Quality and Improvement in Dallas, Texas! Today’s theme seemed to be: something old and something new. Something old, as in classic and time-tested. And something new, as in innovative and edgy.

New: Morning keynote speaker Erik Wahl, who drew in a full house with standing room only. Wahl, a graffiti artist, author and entrepreneur, spoke about the power of risk-taking and innovation. The key takeaway was: If you risk nothing, you get nothing. The quality connection? It’s good to know your trade, the quality profession, but it’s not enough anymore. You must innovate and step outside your comfort zone to succeed.

The afternoon keynote speaker, Bob Pence, CEO of Freese and Nichols Inc., a multiservice engineering, architecture, and environmental science firm, spoke about the success of tried-and-tried quality tools and methodologies. He also touched on ethics (do what’s right when nobody’s watching), innovation (it’s not enough “just” to solve the problem anymore), and organizational sacred cows (let them go). Remember, you can watch Bob Pence’s entire keynote here.

Other events on Monday included quality impact sessions (live team case studies as part of the International Team Excellence Awards process), lighthearted “After 5” sessions on topics like the quality-baseball connection, and many workshops and sessions. Networking was in full swing, with many meetings, receptions, and connections in the exhibit hall.

Highlights for Tuesday:

  • Morning keynote by Mike Abrashoff, former commander, USS Benfold, andauthor.
  • Afternoon keynote by GM’s global quality and global customer experience VP, Alicia Boler-Davis. You can watch a live stream of this keynote.
  • The exhibit hall extravaganza, 2:15 p.m.-3:45 p.m.
  • And the evening networking reception.

Read a summary of the conference kickoff on Sunday.

Posted in Uncategorized, World Conference on Quality and Improvement | Tagged , | Comments Off

ASQ World Conference 2014 Kickoff

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

And we’re off! ASQ’s World Conference on Quality Improvement 2014 kicked off today in Dallas, Texas.

If there’s one trend that’s obvious so far, it’s making connections. Connections between ideas; connections between people. This year’s conference has a strong focus on networking, and what’s a more fun way to network than to literally “build connections”through Legos and Jenga in the exhibit hall?

This was just one of the fun icebreakers at the opening reception–and the games will be available throughout the conference. In addition, conference goers are encouraged to start a “meetup” in the ASQ Center on any topic of interest (look for the sign up boards in the Center).

Here are some highlights for tomorrow:

-Welcome and opening keynote by Erik Wahl, a graffiti artist, among many other things.

-Afternoon keynote by Robert Pence, president and CEO, Freese and Nichols, Inc.

-Quality impact sessions and live team case studies.

-”After 5″ sessions, featuring the lighter side of quality.

-A photo booth offering professional portraits, ASQ Center, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Posted in World Conference on Quality and Improvement | Tagged , | Comments Off

5 Tips On Making the Most of ASQ’s World Conference

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

Just as last year, we’ve received some great tips and advice from ASQ’s Influential Voices bloggers on “surviving”–and making the most of–conferences and events. This may come in handy if you’re attending ASQ’s upcoming World Conference on Quality and Improvement in Dallas May 5-7, or any other professional events.  If you are going to the World Conference, be sure to follow the events on Twitter with hashtag #WCQI14. And if you are not attending, you can stream the keynotes live this year, which is a great e-learning opportunity.

Now, on to the advice!

1. Prepare and follow up. Do research on relevant sessions and speakers before the conference and follow up with new contacts afterward, says ASQ blogger Tim McMahon.

2. Take photos! ASQ blogger Lotto Lai suggests taking lots of photos so you have a souvenir and a reminder of what you’ve learned and who you’ve met.

3. Talk PDCA and root cause. ASQ blogger Jennifer Stepniowski notes that you can “talk shop” with conference-goers. Where else can you chat about quality with the person in the Starbucks line? Take advantage of this opportunity!

4. Follow the conference on social media. That’s the advice of Influential Voices blogger Bob Mitchell. This year again, there will be a live Twitter feed at the World Conference in the exhibit hall. And, we’ll be live tweeting keynote speeches and live blogging about daily events (as mentioned above, you can live stream the keynotes and follow the conversation on Twitter. Hashtag is #WCQI14).

5.  Keep your schedule full. You should always have something going on at the conference, says ASQ blogger Dan Zrymiak. Attend the “must see” events but make time for sessions and speakers outside your industry. You’ll learn a lot.

Do you want to share your conference advice? Leave a comment on this blog or email social@asq.org. We’ll compile feedback in a future blog post.

Posted in Networking, Uncategorized, World Conference on Quality and Improvement, career | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Conference Survival Guide 2014

It’s that time of the year: Preparation for ASQ’s annual World Conference for Quality and Improvement (WCQI). This year, it will be held in Dallas, May 5-7. I don’t think I’m bragging when I say that I’m a WCQI veteran. By my count, I’ve attended 28 conferences in the years I’ve been with ASQ.

So this year again, let’s talk about conferences and events.

1. Which networking events, conferences, or workshops do you typically attend? How do you decide they’re worthwhile? Is it more about the learning or the networking or both for you?

2. What are your tips and advice for making the most of the events you attend?

My advice is pretty basic: Wear comfortable shoes! You will be walking or standing much of the time at conferences.  And take the chance of introducing yourself to someone you don’t know and asking them why they’re attending the event. You’ll hear remarkable stories.  I know you have other wisdom to share. I encourage you to blog about it or leave a comment. We’ll do a summary before the conference.

And, of course, I hope to see you in Dallas.  In fact, I’ll be disappointed if I don’t.

Posted in Uncategorized, World Conference on Quality and Improvement, conferences | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

A Time for Change

It’s been a busy few months, and, consequently, a quiet time on View From the Q. Thank you, bloggers and readers, for your patience. Let me give you an update. As you probably know, I’m retiring from ASQ as of mid-May.

My successor, Bill Troy, will be starting on April 21 as the CEO of ASQ.  We’re very excited to welcome Bill to “the Q”! You can learn more about him and his various accomplishments here.

In sum, Bill’s experience is built on service, high-performance and integrity through the U.S. military. Bill also served as a Senior Fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard in 2001 and spent much of his time working in different regions around the globe, and in a variety of settings, interacting with military, government and business leaders.

I will take part in this year’s ASQ World Conference in Dallas—and when it’s over, my wife and I will begin what we’re referring to as  “Our year of sabbatical.” We will be moving to Door County, a beautiful, nature-filled area in the northern part of Wisconsin. I’m putting a woodshop together and look forward to the days of making sawdust and considering how to put my gifts and experience back to work.

I’ve enjoyed nearly 28 years at ASQ and have learned a great deal about quality and the difference it can make in the world.  But it’s time to step back and provide myself the opportunity of distance and reflection as I, and we, consider the next phase of life.  Your commitment and dedication to quality and ASQ have been a source of immense inspiration. I know in whatever I do that I will take what you’ve so patiently taught me.  I will keep the torch for quality lit. Of that you can sure. I rely on you to do the same, and to pass the torch of quality onto others.

This is a time of change for ASQ.  A change in leadership and transformational changes in the nature of the organization.  Quality remains a great opportunity for the world as it struggles with opportunity of ever greater proportion.  I have great faith that you and ASQ will rise to the occasion.

Posted in Current Events, career | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Engineering Survey: Engineers in Leadership Roles

In a recent survey for ASQ conducted by Kelton Global, U.S. workers identified honesty and communications as key traits they want to see in corporate leaders. A poll by ASQ of its global member engineers worldwide shows they, too, feel honesty and communications are essential to successful leadership.

However, it’s those same traits that workers surveyed by Kelton say are the most lacking, with 20% saying communicating well and 16% citing honesty as leaders’ shortcomings.

In advance of Engineers Week, we also asked workers what backgrounds best prepare CEOs. According to the Kelton Global survey, only 9% said engineers would make the best corporate leaders, falling severely behind those in the fields of Operations (23%), Finance (17%), Marketing (14%), Academia (13%), and Sales (11%).

Engineers have a different view, though, with 69 percent saying their skill set provides a solid foundation for a successful CEO, according to the ASQ member survey — citing skills like analytical thinking and problem-solving.

According to the Kelton Global survey, workers value to the following traits in company leadership:

  • Honesty—30%
  • Communication—22%
  • Critical Thinking—11%
  • Commitment—10%

Traits most lacking in company leadership

  • Communicating Well—20%
  • Honesty—16%

As we start National Engineers Week, this information is as valuable as ever. In the survey conducted of ASQ member engineers, 61% were already in a leadership position, and of the remaining, 16% indicated a high interest in attaining a leadership role. For those looking to advance, how can engineers break the stigma of lacking integrity and having poor communication skills?

About the Surveys

The ASQ leadership survey was conducted by Kelton Global between Jan. 2 and Jan. 9 among 1,027 nationally representative Americans ages 18 and older using an email invitation and an online survey. Margin of error = +/- 3.1 percent. The poll of ASQ member engineers was conducted between Jan. 2 and Jan. 16 among 444 ASQ members around the world who identify themselves as engineers using an email invitation and online poll.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments