The title above is a famous phrase often mentioned by the late Tip O’Neil, former U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives. It brings to mind other phrases such as “grassroots” and “average Joe.” These are not just sayings meant to amuse people. They really do mean something and, if taken seriously, can make the difference between success and failure.
To put these clichés in context, consider that professional organizations exist for the benefit of their members. Sometimes that concept gets lost when leaders lose sight of what the membership really wants. So, what does that have to do with QA, ASQ, and EED?
First, we, the members at the grassroots level, which includes our local ASQ sections, are the ASQ and the EED. But have you ever felt like a subscriber, rather than a member, and wondered what could be done? Well, one of the answers to that question is you must be heard. But, where does one go and what does one do (because we all are very busy)? How about starting right at home at our local ASQ section. Does it sound too simple? That’s because it is. If we really want the ASQ/EED to provide the service, information, and guidance that will help us advance professionally, the local, division, and headquarters leaders need to know what we want. Here is how it could work.
Let’s take what is happening in the Boston Section, ASQ. But, first some background. After forming the Waste Minimization and Pollution Prevention Committee within EED, we held meetings at each national EED conference. However, this was only twice a year at different locations. Something more was needed to tie things together so people could continue to give, get, and exchange information during the Six months between conferences. Then I remembered Tip O’Neil's words, “All politics is local.”
So, with that in mind, we approached the Boston Section Leadership Team with the idea of forming an Environmental Committee, which would be affiliated with EED. They were very interested and supportive, especially after it was pointed out that it would be another service added, could possibly increase membership, would cost nothing, and might possibly make money. That was in 1995. Since then the Environmental Committee has branched out. We conduct an open Environmental Management System (EMS) Roundtable on a quarterly basis and have added a course on EMSs, which makes money for the section.
In July of 1997, a new procedure (3.15) was introduced into the EED Management Handbook. It is entitled “Guidelines for Establishing Local Environmental Committees,” and it contains “how to” information.
So what do ASQ EED members want? Imagine being able to get together locally and then going to EED conferences and meeting with other members from all over the world.
If all of the 220 local ASQ sections had an environmental committee, no matter how small, the potential would be tremendous. Even if only 50% or 25% of local sections had an environmental committee, that Number would represent a vast base of knowledge, feeding into the division for all to share. This gathering would converge twice yearly at the EED conferences as local representatives internationally brought and took the latest and greatest.
Coming back down to earth, if you want more from EED, then look into how easy it is to get a local environmental group together. For a copy of the procedure and other information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, (617) 626-1088, fax (617) 626-1095.