ASQ - Government Division
ASQ Government Division
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In this Issue:
July 2007

Chair's Corner
Editorial Commentary
Featured Articles
New Information and Events

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Chair's Corner
by Guy Gordon

ASQ Government Division – Engaging Government Members in Delivering Value

Consistent with the theme of citizen and employee engagement I would like to remind you, the readers of this newsletter, of our commitment to providing members with an opportunity to become involved and engaged in the activities and programs of the division. As reported in the last newsletter, our recent survey of Government Division members told us that many of you are interested in tools and resources that can help you deal with specific challenges faced by quality professionals working in the public sector. Specific topics included contracting with Department of Defense and other government agencies, local government, and ISO, and the application of BPM (business process management). In addition, many respondents challenged the division to improve the utility of our Web site by including more tools, educational resources, and best practice examples.

Well, I am pleased to announce that the division is up to this challenge. The division leadership is committed to making the Web site a leading resource for public sector quality professionals. Already we have begun to post valuable tools such as webinars sponsored by the Government Division featuring leading quality practitioners and academics. This is to be followed by articles and reference material previously published by Government Division leaders. To be completely successful, however, we need your cooperation. Here is your chance to become a contributor to our community of public sector quality professionals. Click here for the easy steps to help us help your peers. We live in a networked world with immediate access to a world of information, there is no reason a group as large as our division cannot leverage the power of 1,000 members to achieve this goal.

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Editorial Commentary
by Howard Schussler

This issue of the Government Division newsletter has a theme that we’ve touched on numerous times over the years: participation. We have articles about participation by employees and participation by citizens in self-governance. I think the reason we come back to this over and over again is because there are no easy answers and no single best way to do it. While many public sector agencies have experimented with creative and dynamic approaches to involving employees and citizens in various aspects of management and governance, only a small number have documented real success and few have been institutionalized. There is a significant body of research that tells us that there is a clear link between meaningful participation, trust, and effective communication; yet our organizational structures reinforce hierarchy and paternalism, blocking participation and communication and resulting in mistrust and cynicism. I’m always excited to see new efforts and successes with participative organizational environments and I hope you’ll enjoy the articles and find some practical information in this issue. If you have any feedback or comments, please feel free to send them to us at: h_schussler@msn.com and we’ll consider them for the next newsletter. Thanks for reading, and enjoy!

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Featured Articles

This issue’s feature articles and many others can be found in the Government Division Forum Library. Click on the links below, or go to www.asq.org/gov. The Forum Library button is found along the left column; then click on Best Practices. You will need your membership number (or e-mail address) and your password. Call ASQ at 800-248-1946, if you have trouble logging on.

Improving Service Through Employee Engagement
Recognizing that employee engagement is critical to delivering citizen-centered service, the Region of Peel has developed and managed an improvement process known as B.E.S.T. (Building Employee Satisfaction Together). The process has two components: an annual employee survey process and a resultant action planning and implementation process.

Citizens and Performance: Neighborhood Eyes and Ears
A formerly down-at-the-heels industrial town in the central part of Massachusetts is on the leading edge of an ongoing experiment that marries citizen action and technology.

Public Involvement and Aspen’s Growing Toolbox
The city staff in Aspen, Colorado, has developed a robust box of tools with which to engage the community in a dialogue about the issues that confront the community and provide a way for the people that live, work, and visit there to have constructive conversations about how to deal with the issues that affect their lives.

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New Information and Events

Register for free membership in the Public Performance Measurement and Reporting Network
The National Center for Public Performance at the School of Public Affairs and Administration, Rutgers-Newark announces a Web-based network in partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Click here for more information: http://ppmrn.net

Government Division Leadership Book Club List
This issue’s list is from Howard Schussler.

“All people touched by the institution are to be served and not used or exploited. While being served, they grow as persons; they become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to be servants.”
—Robert Greenleaf

  1. Margaret Wheatley, Finding Our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time, 2005, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
  1. Josh Hammond & James Morrison, The Stuff Americans Are Made Of, 1996, Macmillan. This book may be out of print right now, but it is an essential resource for any organization beginning a change effort of any type in the United States.
  1. Eliyahu Goldratt & Jeff Cox, The Goal, 1986, North River Press. For anyone who is seeking to improve workflow for a process where this is a beginning and an end, and some product or service is provided at the end of the line.
  1. Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 1962, University of Chicago Press. This book should be called How change really happens.
  1. W.E. Deming, The New Economics for Industry, Government, Education (2nd ed.). 2000, MIT Press. This book provides a simple description of the quality guru’s system of profound knowledge, simple enough for even me to understand! It takes the reader away from the often formulaic approaches to TQM and toward a genuine understanding of Deming’s real message.
  1. Robert Greenleaf, The Servant-Leader Within: A Transformative Path, 2003, Paulist Press. For anyone who shares my commitment to collaboration and community as the key to leadership, this is a good read.
  1. Max DePree, Leadership Jazz, 1992, Bell Publishing. Another good collaborative leadership read.
  1. The Dalai Lama, Ethics for the New Millennium, 1999, Riverhead Books. I believe that many of us in the public sector start thinking of ethics as that code that the state or some governing commission documented and handed to us. Ethics and ethical behaviors exist and are necessary with or without our codes, and far too often in spite of them.
  1. Jonathan Walters, Measuring Up, 1998, Governing Books. This is the book I take to co-workers and peers who tell me they see no value in performance measures even though they really aren’t sure what that means. It turns resistors into champions. Walters has also been a friend to the Government Division over the years and so a shameless plug of his book can’t hurt us – the rumor I’ve heard is that he may be working on a revision.
  1. Kouzes and Posner, The Leadership Challenge (2nd ed.), 2002, Jossey-Bass. This book feels almost like the Reader's Digest version of servant-leadership, but I think it is a truly powerful, practical tool for thinking about leadership behaviors.
  1. Parker Palmer, The Courage to Teach, 1998, Jossey-Bass. This could just as easily have been called the courage to lead. A book I go back to often for inspiration.

While I won’t add any more books to this list, I will say that books on leadership and community coming from people like Margaret Wheatley, Joseph Jaworski, Peter Senge, and Ralph Stacey, who recognize how overwhelming life feels to so many people, are facilitating an international virtual dialogue on complexity and are producing some of the most interesting reading.

Three Easy Steps to add your knowledge to the ASQ and Government Division body of knowledge

1. Look around your work environment — 10 minutes.

Look for anything you or your organization has created that could help someone who is just getting started with quality.

What to look for:

  • Training documents
  • Cheat sheets and reminders
  • Checklists
  • “Top 10 tips” collections
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Project charters
  • Team charters
  • Templates and forms
  • How-to guides

Where to look:

  • The top of your desk – what do you keep handy?
  • The walls of your office or cubicle
  • Hallway walls and bulletin boards
  • Shop floors and break rooms
  • Your computer desktop
  • Your organization’s intranet

2. Send what you find to ASQ’s Web Editor — 5 minutes.

E-mail a copy of your materials to ASQ Web Editor Leon Lynn at llynn@asq.org. Or fax or mail your submission to Leon at:
American Society for Quality
PO Box 3005
Milwaukee, WI 53201-3005
Fax: 414-298-2504

3. Review our edits — Your work is done!

ASQ’s professional editors will:

  • Make sure that you and your organization have the necessary legal permission to publish your submission.
  • Identify the best print or Web publication venue.
  • Help with editing, formatting, and layout.
  • Share progress with you. We won’t publish anything until you sign off on it.

For more information on publishing opportunities with ASQ, call Body of Knowledge Administrator Noel Wilson at 414-298-8789 ext. 7304, or 800-248-1946.

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