Changing Company Culture: December Round Up

Luciana Paulise, ASQ Influential Voices blogger, reflects on what determines organizational culture and how factors define a company’s culture in a recent blog post. She concludes that company culture is modeled on top management behavior, as they control which habits and behaviors are rewarded or punished.   Listing four human types of intelligence, Luciana emphasizes that leaders must first change their behavior, and “walk the talk” if they want to change the entire company culture.

Throughout the month of December, ASQ Influential Voices bloggers contributed their thoughts on how culture is changed within an entire organizations in response Luciana’s ideas.

John Hunter posts in his blog that for significant changes to culture, transformation of the individual is required. Citing W. Edwards Deming, John states that changes to the culture come from significant changes in how people think.

Daniel Zrymiak recommends that leaders apply the AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Decisions, and Actions) method in order to change the culture of quality within an organization. Expanding on these four points, Dan notes that there are no immediate solutions, and incremental improvements must be reinforced with each resolved issue.

Pam Schrodt suggests that companies center on understanding and respecting people to create a workplace that promotes cooperation to reach goals.  She also provides links to a helpful video and a previous blog on the topic.

Manu Vora brings his decades of professional experience in his perspective on strengthening a culture of quality: leadership commitment, engagement, involvement, and support are crucial in creating Zero Defects Organization Culture.

Luciana Paulise, ASQ Influential Voices blogger, reflects on what determines organizational culture and how factors define a company’s culture in a recent blog post. She concludes that company culture is modeled on top management behavior, as they control which habits and behaviors are rewarded or punished.   Listing four human types of intelligence, Luciana emphasizes that leaders must first change their behavior, and “walk the talk” if they want to change the entire company culture.

Throughout the month of December, ASQ Influential Voices bloggers contributed their thoughts on how culture is changed within an entire organizations in response Luciana’s ideas.

John Hunter posts in his blog that for significant changes to culture, transformation of the individual is required. Citing W. Edwards Deming, John states that changes to the culture come from significant changes in how people think.

Daniel Zrymiak recommends that leaders apply the AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Decisions, and Actions) method in order to change the culture of quality within an organization. Expanding on these four points, Dan notes that there are no immediate solutions, and incremental improvements must be reinforced with each resolved issue.

Pam Schrodt suggests that companies center on understanding and respecting people to create a workplace that promotes cooperation to reach goals.  She also provides links to a helpful video and a previous blog on the topic.

Manu Vora brings his decades of professional experience in his perspective on strengthening a culture of quality: leadership commitment, engagement, involvement, and support are crucial in creating Zero Defects Organization Culture.

Posted in Influential Voices, culture, leadership | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Top 11 Insights From ASQ’s Future of Quality Study

Every three years, ASQ publishes a study on the future of quality. The 2015 edition, which you can read here, is unusual in that it’s a compilation of essays mostly from experts outside the field of quality.

Unlike previous editions of the research, most of the topics are not about quality exactly, but rather about fields that will impact quality directly and indirectly in the next decade. The topics range from city planning to global aerospace and defense, to the Internet.

In this post we’ve compiled the “key” insights from each of the 11 essays in the Future of Quality research. Interested in reading more? Remember, you can access the entire complication at the Future of Quality site.

Adaptable leaders must be rewarded on attributes like self-awareness and constant
learning, not only on meeting a sales quota or exceeding a revenue target.

Stanley McChrystal and Rodney Evans, from “The Future of Leadership: From Efficiency To Adaptability.”

Unlike the proprietary counterparts that it soon eclipsed, the Internet has no main menu, no CEO, and no business plan. Anything could be built on top of it without permission of a central authority… To see the multidimensionality of quality in the information space is to understand the breathtaking array of choices and trade offs.

Jonathan Zittrain, from “The Future of the Internet: Balancing Security With Openness in the Internet of Things.”

We must also use quality and continuous improvement to eliminate design features or flaws that can be exploited….Interconnectedness…increases the need for quality at the component and the system level, so that errors and failures are eliminated before their effects propagate through the system.”

Stephen Rosen, from “The Future of Global Aerospace and Defense: Implications of International Trends for Quality.”

(Smart manufacturing) and the roles for new IT capabilities in a manufacturing enterprise must grow from the interoperation of physical, cyber, and workforce elements… Can enterprise performance with new IT be predicted so that entry points for smart manufacturing systems can be identified?

Jim Davis, from “The Future of Manufacturing: Briding Seams and Transactions to Integrate Next-Generation Information Technology.”

Quality concepts and the spirit of continuous improvement will be crucial to consolidating a new culture of public administration.

Izabel Christina Cotta Matte, from “The Future of Cities: Quality, Planning, and Excellence in Public Sector Management.”

“The advent of digital technology, big data, and customization will impact education at all levels and of all types…In the future we will have more data about student learning than ever before, and we will have better systems to help us analyze it.”

JoAnn Sternke, from “The Future of Education: Quality Teachers for the 21st Century.”

The nature of energy will be shifting from being focused on acquiring and distributing commodity resources to being centered on knowledge-driven and technology-based renewable energy…In the future, buildings will be hubs of energy production and storage as well as consumption.

Zheng Mingguang, from “The Future of Energy: Long-Term Trends and Global Implications.”

As the customers’ experience with the product or service develops over time, so they will tend to develop trust and confidence with the brand, provided their experience is positive…Customers don’t know what they need, and different customers perceive their needs based upon their unique psychological experiments.

Gregory and Andrew Watson, from “The Future of Customer Experience (CEx): CEx Becomes the Dominant Design Force Influencing Markets.”

The good news is that large, complex, unstructured problems are exactly the type of
problems that the statistical engineering approach was designed to handle.

Ronald Snee and Roger Hoerl, “The Future of Quality: Getting Better All the Time.”

In the highly competitive future environment emerging in the global market, there is a need to develop a concept of quality for sales that has to be practiced in addition to quality for cost.

Noriaki Kano, from “The Future of Quality: Toward Quality for Sales in Addition to Quality for Cost Through Enhancement of Customer Satisfaction.”

Less than 15 to 20 percent of the world’s population can afford any of the surgeries of the heart, brain, joint replacement, or those standard in cancer treatment…Scaling health access more broadly moving forward will require rethinking business models and similarly expanding and efficiently utilizing pools of resources.

Devi Shetty, from “The Future of Healthcare: Toward a Global Medical Universe.”

Posted in Futures Study | Tagged | Comments Off

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.

Posted in ASQ, Deming, Influential Voices, Management, Quality, Voice of the Customer, lean | 1 Comment

ISO 9001:2015 is now available!

In order to keep standards current and relevant for the marketplace, all ISO standards are reviewed approximately every five years whether to withdraw, revise, or confirm them.
Some of the key updates in ISO 9001:2015 include the introduction of new terminology, restructuring some of the information, an emphasis on risk-based thinking, improved applicability for services, and increased leadership requirements.
To help prepare and adjust your organization to the new requirements, ASQ has made available supporting products such as training programs, case studies, and articles. Access the ASQTM TV Standards Channel Video Library featuring ISO experts, the ASQ Standards e-newsletter, and ASQ Standards Central on
ISO 9001:2015 is available in three formats: published hard copy, PDF e-standard for immediate download, and site license for posting an electronic version to your Local Area Network or Intranet.  This document provides the fundamental concepts, principles, and vocabulary for quality management systems.  Members receive a discount—20 percent off the retail/list price—by buying the American National Standard (ANS) version through ASQ.  The ANS is identical to the ISO version.
In March of 2012, countries from all over the world voted and began the process to revise ISO 9001.  Organizations must re-certify to ISO 9001:2015 within three years.  This means that organizations have until September 2018 to migrate their quality management system to the 2015 revision.
Here’s what others are saying about ASQ materials on ISO 9001:2015:
Excellent – of all the articles I have read – this series was the best!!
–Daryl Schwald, 09-10-2015
Agree on the inclusion and focus on risk-awareness and management of risk are hidden treasures on the road to performance excellence   even when other quality practices are mature in an organization.
–John Watson, 09-23-2015
Extremely informative and relevant given the anxiety regarding the changes seen.
–j. Scott-Brown, 09-12-2015
Want more details on the changes? Visit for a variety of resources!
Posted in ASQ, Standards, iso 9000, quality tools | 1 Comment

Big Data and Quality Professionals

Based in Dallas, TX, Ponmurugarajan Thiyagarajan  (Rajan) is a business development manager for Digital Enterprise at Tata Consultancy Services and a senior member of ASQ.  He is passionate about quality, digital reimagination solutions and is a “Mac head.”

He blogs at Quality Matters,

Were you pleasantly surprised when the receptionist at a hotel proactively identified you with a greeting as you were about to check-in?   Did a relevant coupon pop-up in your smartphone when you were shopping at a retail store recently?  Did you receive a reply to your tweet in social media from your telephone company with an apology note for the service inconvenience caused?  If you could answer “Yes” to any of these questions, then big data is mostly that magical element that helped those companies to manage and deliver this customer experience for you.  Big data has evolved as an effective tool that can be used by companies to continuously improve aspects such as customer experience, product quality, business processes etc.

Big data is in play when data size is huge (Volume), moves in high speeds (Velocity), comes in variety of forms (Variety) and in varied quality (Veracity) which conventional database systems cannot efficiently process.

Analytics built over big data enable organizations to process structured and unstructured data to derive useful intelligence and provide actionable insights for end-users.  The advent of high-speed network connectivity, commodity computer hardware, and open source software such as Hadoop and Non-Hadoop (for example: NoSQL) technologies have made big data a popular technology choice.

There are interesting use cases of big data that can help organizations that are committed to differentiate, innovate, and embrace disruption of conventional processes.  For example, wearables (watches, bands, etc.) and connected devices (Internet-of-Things glucometers, connected cars, connected homes, etc.) utilize big data technologies to collect and process huge amounts of real-time data from machines (logs), people (social), and other sensors (internet of things).   From these data, organizations get to understand customers’ 360 degree view and derive the ability to contextualize and deliver a personalized experience.

That being said, big data is still a buzzword for many and often perceived as a misused terminology.  While some organizations have tested it to work, to a good extent, other companies are still researching it, and some are even hesitant to adopt it at all. One of the key challenges that I can think of is the accuracy and uncertainty around the quality of data that is gathered and processed.

Lack of good data governance is a major cause for this challenge.  Also, outliers and incorrect data misdirect users during the decision-making process.  Business users demand high quality of data to derive actionable insights.   Being an emerging technology area, I believe that big data has to be further researched from a quality point of view.  I have these questions for the quality professionals:

All of this has interesting implications for quality professionals who may become involved with big data efforts. Assurance of quality is key in such projects: data clean-up must happen in an automated fashion and reconciliation reports to be produced in real-time to track quality parameters. Thus, relevant tools needs to be built for quality assurance. It will be interesting to see how quality tools such as Plan-Do-Check-Act, the 7 quality tools (Fishbone diagram, Check sheets, Control charts, Histogram, Pareto Charts, Scatter Diagrams, Flow Charts) etc., can be customized for a big data project.

I believe there’s a lot of possibility in this area for quality professionals, as I’ve yet to see any concrete maturity models around big data. This is a potential topic for future research.

To conclude, let me state an example of a large corporation that probably is making the best use of big data.  It is Google that really attempts to help users, like me, to plan vacation or business travel in a modern digital way.  Right before a recent trip, Google provided relevant notifications and guidance to my smartphone on when to start to the airport, the best route to take to avoid delays, the status of the flight with gate information, hotel booking information, etc.

Google seems to collect a lot of information from users’ mobile devices, emails, internet browsing history etc., to derive and offer useful analytics.  It is interesting to note that users, like me, are ready to slightly compromise on privacy (by opt-in) for the benefits we can enjoy.  I think this is another good example to demonstrate big data in action.

I invite you to share further thoughts and views on big data and how quality professionals can play a vital role in this digital era.

Posted in Customer Service, innovation, quality tools | Tagged | 8 Comments

Facing Cultural Barriers by Leaders to Strengthen a Culture of Quality

This is a guest post by Luciana Paulise, the founder of Biztorming Training & Consulting. She is a speaker, author, and examiner for the National Quality Award and Team Excellence Award in Argentina.  She is also a columnist for Infobae, Destino Negocio, and a blogger for ASQ Influential Voices.  You can visit Luciana’s blog at:

Something was not going well at an organization we’ll call Company ABC, a small business within the automotive industry in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Some improvements were being made, many procedures were being followed, and employees were adopting new control processes.

Still, turnover was high, as well as frustration with certain processes that had not shown any improvements at all—while profitability was decreasing. Managers said that line employees were the problem; they were generating issues and not solving them. On the other side, employees were convinced the problem was in the communication channel to top management.

Even though it was a small business, communication from the bottom up was as difficult as in a larger corporation. The owners were asking for feedback on issues, but they were not providing ways to actually receiving the feedback. E-mails to leaders were not being replied to, approvals took longer than expected, and meetings were almost impossible to schedule.

What went wrong in this organization? How could managers and employees bring issues forward as required by a quality culture? How could they strengthen the culture of quality in this environment? What were the main barriers?

Experts says that the employees’ behavior is based on company culture, but what is organizational culture, exactly? As per Wikipedia, “Culture includes the organization’s vision, values, norms, systems, symbols, language, assumptions, beliefs, and habits.” But who determines these factors in organizations so as to define the culture?

Usually top management defines which habits or behaviors are right by rewarding or punishing them. Therefore, company culture is modeled upon top management behavior.

That was my “a-ha” moment. The main cultural barrier to making this company a better place was actually the top management. They thought the problem in the organization was their people, but they had not considered themselves as part of the problem. They were not “walking the talk.” And people were noticing it.

Then I recalled Gandhi’s quote: “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” Leaders needed to take the first step, and needed to be trained to do so. So now the question was, how best to train them?

Edwards Deming developed a leadership model that could be really useful here to train the top. The “System of profound knowledge” that he introduced in his last book, The New Economics, has four interrelated areas: appreciation for a system, knowledge of variation, theory of knowledge, and psychology. Managers were probably not going to get this theory easily, but an analogy could help.

I compared the four areas with four human types of intelligence, so that leaders could understand that they needed to manage their behavior in an integral way so as to solve all the problems at the same time:

  1. Spiritual: understanding the company in a holistic way, as a system, is appreciating the business as a network of interdependent components that work together to accomplish the same aim. These components includes planning, context, competition, processes, shareholders, customers, suppliers, employees, the community, and the environment. Like an orchestra, it’s not enough to have great players. They need to play well together. Leadership needs to focus on all the parts that affect the organization and how they work. The leaders wanted their middle managers to work together, but they didn’t have common objectives, so each of them just focused on their part of the game.
  2. Intellectual: In any business there are always variations, like defects, errors, and delays. Leaders have to focus on understanding these variations. Are they caused by the system or by the employees? Usually employees are blamed for the errors, but 95% of them are really caused by the company system. Distinguishing the difference between variations by using data and statistical methods, as well as understanding its causes, is key to management’s ability to properly remove barriers to profitability. At company ABC in this case study, leaders were focused on the people, while many delays were due to late approvals, lack of the right tools, and lack of training, which the people (i.e. employees) couldn’t handle.
  3. Physical: Leaders assert opinions as facts based on hunches, theories, or beliefs, but they don’t always test those opinions against the data before making a decision. Leadership needs to focus on contrasting their ideas with real data from the operations. The automotive shop started to use daily physical scorecards on the walls to capture and communicate real performance numbers, so that leaders and operators could act on them together.
  4. Emotional: Finally, in order to get real data from the operations, leaders need to work with their people. The problem is that people perform based on how they feel. They are primarily motivated by intrinsic needs, including respect and working with others to achieve common goals, in contrast to simply being motivated by monetary reward. So leadership has to focus on understanding and respecting people so that they can all work together to solve issues. One of the managers used to push a lot on his employees because his monthly payment was based on performance. When his salary was moved to a flat rate, he started to work much better with his team, they all were motivated and happy at work.  Turnover decreased sharply.

So my “a-ha” moment in regards to strengthening a culture of quality was that leaders need to change their behavior first if they want to change the entire company culture—and they have to do it through a systemic model considering four types of intelligence.

What about your company? How is leadership helping to develop a quality culture?

Posted in Deming, Strategy, Training, case for quality, culture, manufacturing, quality tools | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

Talking To the C-Suite About Quality

This is a guest post by Dr. Suresh Gettala, a director at ASQ India. He holds a doctorate in quality management from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai, and is also a recipient of the renowned post-doctoral fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt  Foundation, Germany. He is a quality expert with a unique blend of academic/research as well as industry experience spanning several years in various aspects of quality management across multiple industries. He has published many research articles in reputed, peer-reviewed international journals. Suresh blogs on LinkedIn.

Disclaimer: Suresh is part of the ASQ Influential Voices program and is also employed by ASQ India. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of ASQ or ASQ India.

If you look at any survey, study or a research work on the critical success factors for the success of quality initiatives, it will invariably list “top management commitment and leadership” as the top most criterion. Needless to mention, on the flip side, the reasons for the failure of most quality initiatives will also list “lack of top management commitment” as the key.

It is quite palpable that top management commitment is central to the success or failure of any quality program. Therefore, as quality professionals, how should we harness the support of C-suite leaders? Unfortunately, quality professionals are experts only in the quality field and they lack the nuances to build a business case to sell quality to the top management.

In order to effectively talk about quality and convince the C-suite about the importance of the same, we need to first understand the intricacies of the C-suite mind set. Focus on what the executive needs to know rather than what you want them to know. Essentially you should apply the lean principle of “pull” in contrast to “push.”

Portray quality as a means of building the capability of individuals as well as the organization so that the C-suite perceives some tangible value in investing in the quality initiatives.

Given this backdrop, I would like to discuss the following five rudiments that are indispensable, in my view, when you are talking about quality to the top management.

1.    The long term – short term continuum
C-suite personnel have the uncanny knack of marrying the long-term vision and strategy with the short-term operational elements. Therefore, when you are talking about quality to the C-Suite, it is mandatory to ensure that your talk on quality addresses both of the above aspects so that it keeps them engrossed in what you are saying.

Jack Welch, former GE CEO, felt that the job of the C-suite is to deliver profit in the short term and strength and sustenance in the long term. It can be argued that there is no long term without the short term. In other words, what they perceive is a multitude of short- term links that make up the long-term chain.

For instance a methodology like lean or Six Sigma could provide profits or bottom-line savings in the short-term. They may also help the organization focus on getting some early wins. However, if those methodologies have to be institutionalized across the length and breadth of an organization, a culture of quality has to be fostered. A business-level framework such as the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award could help in adapting to a new culture, thereby addressing the long-term requirements of the leadership.

2.    The Language of Metrics
Before talking to an executive, do enough research on the background of the issues or the improvement opportunities faced by the company. Present your case with enough evidence in terms of metrics, instead of your personal views and surmises. Metrics are very swaying, as the executive’s decision to a great extent will depend on what he/she sees as hard evidence.

Talk about metrics that are important from strategic and tactical levels rather than operational levels. Metrics can also be presented in terms of enterprise level (focusing on shareholders), business level (focusing on external customers) and operational level (focusing on processes). Again, more focus should be laid on shareholder and customer- related metrics.

Try and quantify the risks of taking no action so that it is hard to say no to your idea. With the advent of big data analytics, most executives will rely on a fact-based approach for decision making. Therefore, the metrics that you present should provide them with enough evidence in terms of improvement opportunities.

3.    Economic Case for Quality
The lexicon of the top management is quite different from the language of the quality professionals. In order to validate quality’s effect on business, you need to talk the lingo of business – which is money and nothing else.

The primary customer for the C-suite personnel is the shareholder and hence the focus of executives is to ensure a streamlined management process that yields the maximum benefits to their shareholders. One of the salient characteristics of the executive leadership is their ability to tie actions with quantified financial benefits. Show the top management where money is lost due to poor quality and eventually they will focus on how money can be saved or accumulated due to good quality.

Make them realize that money spent on quality initiatives should be viewed as investment and not cost. Develop an economic case for a wider application of quality through models such as Cost of Quality and illustrate to them how bottom-line savings can be achieved through the astute use of the concept. Philip Crosby’s seminal work, “Quality Is Free” accentuated the importance of right first time instead of doing rework that would be piled up in the hidden factory.

If you can provide a strong case for value creation, you have effectively put across your quality idea to the leadership.

4.    Success Anecdotes

Metrics are important, but it is equally important to weave a story around them. Top executives work in a high-pressure environment that encompasses daily problem-solving to long-range planning. Flooding them with only facts and figures will not pass muster.

Tell a story that has lots of similarities to the challenges faced by the executives.
Storytelling is an art. Developing a story requires a sagacious mix of information evidenced in the form of critical metrics and having an emotional appeal to the success story. Create enough anecdotal evidence to make a compelling story that quality indeed pays. Lace your story with examples about how others achieved success through the vehicle of quality.

Senior leaders are always interested in comparative information and competitive positioning. Talk about how Fortune 500 companies benefitted from a quality initiative. Present the success stories of the Baldrige winners. Try to stick to case studies in their own industries so that the executives can coherently relate to how a similar approach can be applied in their organizations. Always close the story with a “before” and “after” state so that the benefit of the quality approach is intelligibly discernible.

5.    The Big Q Approach

“Big Q” is a term coined by Juran in the 1980s in order to broaden the scope of the quality initiatives so that quality would mean improving every aspect of everything the company does. On the other hand “small q” basically refers to the quality of a product or a service on a limited basis. While small q connects to the short-term span, BIG Q epitomizes the long-range perspective.

Research on the traits of C-suite personnel indicates that comprehension of business fundamentals coupled with strong leadership is far more important to them than technical and functional expertise.

The Big Q approach to quality is highly imperative to get a positive response from the C-suite. It will provide them with a holistic view on the usefulness of the quality philosophy from a business point of view. Top management will not be too concerned about improving some aspects of the business via a “silo” mind set. For them the entire business is extremely important.

The need is to emphasize how the quality approach could be leveraged to address all aspects of the business.

I have discussed some of the possible approaches while talking about quality to the C-suite. Fundamentally, one needs to understand that when you are talking to the top leadership, you should operate at the strategic level and talk the language of money using metrics that could help create value and improve the organization as a whole.
“Quality makes money” is a phrase that should resonate in the minds of the C-suite.

If, as a quality professional, we can help with this task, our job is complete. In addition we should clearly communicate the message that “quality approaches” have the potential to yield high-quality products/services, streamlined processes, highly satisfied customers, supremely energized employees, increased market share, and sustained excellence in everything that we do.

Human beings, by nature, tend to resist change. We need to openly accept this and look at ways of presenting facts and stories on the efficacy of quality initiatives so that the resistance is minimized. Accentuating on ASQ’s mission – “To increase the use and impact of quality in response to the diverse needs of the world” – will go a long way in getting the acquiescence of the C-suite towards quality initiatives.

Posted in Case Study, Uncategorized, case for quality | Tagged , | 18 Comments

Welcome To World Quality Month!

Welcome to the sixth annual World Quality Month!  This event has truly grown into a global celebration of quality, a better understanding of its impact on the world, and focuses on quality practitioners whose knowledge, experience, and passion make improved quality available for virtually anyone who asks.

Those who work in quality sometimes struggle to explain its value to “outsiders”—or even “insiders”–at their own organization. There’s no better time to remedy this than the month of November.  We encourage you to take a proactive role in World Quality Month this year!

If your organization hasn’t made any plans yet, it’s still not too late. You can download ready-made World Quality Month posters and display them in your office. Host a quality “open house” for your department and invite colleagues from other areas (be sure to offer snacks).

Download the fact sheets on the ROI of quality and fun quality trivia to share with your colleagues and business associates.  Take the sample World Quality Month Proclamation to your local government officials and ask them to sign it.  Invite them to your site for a World Quality Month tour.  The proclamation or a photograph of you receiving it can then be sent to your local media and used to recognize your company’s or organization’s contribution to quality and your celebration of World Quality Month in November. See more details in the World Quality Month celebration guide.

Also for a simple, last minute idea to celebrate World Quality Month, put an etag in your email signature to let your co-workers and business associates know how much value you believe quality offers to the world, not just during November but throughout the year.

For those events you have planned, now is the time to confirm times, staffing, and logistics for each event.  Send a reminder about the event, either through internal newsletters or email to all staff.  Hold planned events such as lunch and learns, open houses, games/trivia as scheduled. However, several days before the event, make the reception and security departments aware of the event in case they get any questions about it.

Test any technology you will be using (laptop, projector, etc.) at the event the day before in case there are any problems.  On the day of the event, set up your space (e.g., projector, snack table, etc.) and take photos to document the fun activities and send to your local media and/or for your social media accounts.

Also, it’s not too late to submit your quality success stories, case studies, and events.  The World Quality Month site welcomes visitor content and we will continue adding new content throughout the month of November.  Visit the World Quality Month site frequently for updates and new materials.

Happy celebrating!

Posted in Uncategorized, World Quality Month | Tagged | 2 Comments

World Quality Month Begins In November

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Current Events, Global, Quality, World Quality Month, excellence, social media | Tagged | Comments Off

ASQ Global State of Quality 2 Survey

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

The Quality Community is one that — to a person, or across a global enterprise — delves into data, feasts on facts, trounces on trends, and puts lazer beam focus on benchmarks. All that and more occurred with the release of the ASQ Global State of Quality Research in 2013. The series of quantitative and qualitative reports, the panel discussions around the world, the media reports, download after download of the data, information graphics — it all seemed to add up to success and impact for the work, its sponsors and stakeholders.

Previous View from the Q’s by now-retired ASQ CEO Paul Borawski highlighted the importance and scope of the inaugural research; ASQ Influential Voices picked up some of its data points and themes as well. After all, where else can you compare quality organization structures, governance, training, industry standards, pay scales and incentives, measurement system models from 22 countries? Those topics were just a few highlighted in numbers, graphs and case studies.
Well, that was then. This is now. And ASQ and our Global State research partner, APQC, need your very active engagement to get the word out and get response rates up from companies and institutions around the world in the ASQ Global State of Quality 2 survey. The link is Additional information on the research can be found at, where the qualitative and quantitative data will be available following data collection. The call-to-action is clear. It’s up to you to shape the Global State — and check back here for some early returns on the data in the weeks and months to come.

Posted in ASQ, Global State of Quality, Quality, Research, Standards | Tagged | 2 Comments