The Times, They Are A-Changin'

As this issue goes to press, the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks is upon us. Economic concerns continue. Given the climate, it's difficult not to get caught up in the past or present, and instead to look ahead.

But that's exactly what ASQ did earlier this year through its third futures study, which will be reported in next month's QP. For now, it's worthwhile to set the stage, because this year's results may portend more change for quality as a discipline and profession than either has experienced to date.

ASQ's first two futures studies in 1996 and 1999 marked only evolutionary transitions. Between the 1999 study and this year's, there's been a startling acceleration in the rate of change.

Perhaps none of this is news; you may have already experienced dramatic changes in your role (formal or informal) within your organization and possibly even your career. You may find your toolbox--your skill set and experience--missing a few key items, such as the know-how to explain the bottom-line benefits of quality to your CFO or CEO, or the ability to persuade co-workers outside the traditional quality arena to learn about and adopt continual improvement practices.

This and the next two issues of QP are dedicated to helping you obtain the necessary skills and knowledge for adapting to the changing world. This issue covers educational opportunities for quality professionals. Besides the futures study report, the November issue will include articles on using the PDSA cycle to improve your résumé and on examining whether performance management systems work. The December issue culminates with the annual salary survey report and an article on diversity in the profession.

license plateNo matter what the future brings, one thing will likely remain--the pride people in quality have for their profession and their desire to express that  pride. Case in point: the vanity license plate of reader Jd Marhevko of Saline, MI. She owned it while living in Tennessee a few years ago, and it drew attention. "One time, I was followed and ended up giving a parking lot class on capability," she says. "The person was an operations manager who recognized the intent of the plate and tried to educate himself."

Do you have a vanity plate showing your passion for quality? Please send your name, contact information and an in-focus, color photo of the plate. (If sending an electronic file, scan the photo at a resolution that allows for resizing the image while maintaining a resolution of 300 dots per inch. If you use a digital camera, be sure it provides two to three mega pixels.) Send the photo and information to Quality Progress, 600 N. Plankinton Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53023, or editor@asq.org.

Debbie Phillips-Donaldson

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