Older Certifications Still Important

Thank you for the October article “Climbing the Career Ladder: It’s Up to You” (H. Fred Walker and Justin Levesque, p. 28). It’s about time the relative ranking of ASQ’s certifications was made clear.

For quite a while, I have maintained that my training to become a certified Six Sigma Green Belt (GB) and Black Belt (BB) was clearly using the same tools as the quality engineer certification I already had, but with a define, measure, analyze, improve and control methodology. Many organizations and individuals have implied GB and BB certifications were higher on the certification ladder even though they have a more narrow perspective.

The certified quality engineer program is comprehensive and includes a wider scope of operation. Thanks for keeping it from becoming extinct due to the Six Sigma tidal wave.

Rolls-Royce Corp.

‘Quality Trigger’ On the Money

Douglas Miscikowski and Eric Stein’s article, “Empowering Employees to Pull the Quality Trigger” (October 2006, p. 43) was outstanding.

I’m an adult going back to school to finish my degree, but I have plenty of work experience. The ideas expressed in this article were right on the money. Sometimes it seemed the employers I’ve worked for were still tapping on stone tablets with a hammer and chisel. If more employers listened to the points made in this article, they would have a happier and more productive staff. Companies today are focusing more on productivity than they are employee loyalty, empowerment and even quality.

Keep great articles like this one coming.

Fairborn, OH

Audit Feedback Has Its Roots in Baldrige

I applaud the “One Good Idea” by Dave Parker and Anne Marie Parker (“Turning the Frown Upside Down,” October 2006, p. 88) for encouraging balanced audit feedback at an audit’s conclusion. Many times the auditee has little or no idea of the strengths the auditors identified, placing a major emphasis on negative findings.

Readers might like to know the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award program has been providing this kind of balanced feedback since the 1980s in the form of a written feedback report.

The major difference between the Baldrige approach and that of the Parkers is that the Baldrige team spends considerable time after the audit to reach consensus on the strengths and opportunities for improvement. This discussion allows the team to offer comments that have been reviewed and agreed on by the whole team, which considers the importance of the comments to the individual organization.

Nevertheless, it’s good to see the ISO 9000 folks are applying best practices from the Baldrige process.

Process improvement consultant
Somerset, NJ

‘QP’ Discussion Board

“QP Mailbag” occasionally publishes edited excerpts from Quality Progress’ online discussion board, open to all ASQ members. To post your thoughts, go to www.asq.org/pub/qualityprogress and click Discussion Board, under Resources. The following letter is from the discussion board.

‘12 Keys’ Missing an Important One

John Oltevig’s “12 Keys to Career Success” (John Oltesvig, October 2006, p. 22) was a good article, but I think one important—perhaps the most important—key was missing. That is to choose a career, job or role you are passionate about.

Too often, we presume a career you are able to do well is the career you should be pursuing. Also, many people are drawn to careers, jobs and roles that give them notoriety or more money—essentially, more ego boosting.

Having one’s ego stroked is no long-term substitute for having a career or job doing something you truly love and are passionate about.

Juran and Deming were truly passionate about quality and statistics and how these concepts could add value to how people do things. The notoriety came second.

One excellent reference for career success is P.T. Barnum’s The Art of Money Getting, written in 1880. Barnum noted many of the keys listed in Oltesvig’s article, and his language is quite entertaining.

My favorite tip from Barnum is “Do Not Scatter Your Powers,” which is the same as Oltesvig’s No. 8, “Get Focused.” This one made a significant impact on my career four years ago when I found myself constantly distracted by various internal and external ideas and ventures.

Because it is now in the public domain, Barnum’s book can be found in many places online. Here is one: http://fourmilab.to/etexts/www/barnum/moneygetting.

If you read closely, you will see Barnum might have been a visionary quality thinker in his time.

Luling, LA

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