A Fresh Perspective

The value of stepping outside the everyday

Attending a conference geared toward your professional interests is kind of like getting your teeth cleaned. On both occasions, you walk away feeling refreshed, reinvigorated, and—if you're lucky—with a smile on your face.

Such was the case for me when I returned from ASQ's World Conference on Quality and Improvement, held in May in Houston.

I returned to work with many new ideas and a renewed sense of purpose. Here are just a few highlights from my three days in Houston:

  • Keynote speakers: This year's lineup was phenomenal. I especially enjoyed astronaut T.K. "Ken" Mattingly's talk. He recounted the awesome adventure in teamwork that helped him lead the Apollo 13 space mission's crew safely back to earth. But, his story had a greater theme: the importance of having a clear-cut goal and aligning resources with that goal.
  • General sessions: I attended a few sessions based on the conference theme, "Generation Quality." Speakers offered some great tips on motivating and leading teams comprised of individuals of all ages. Leaders will get better results if they recognize and acknowledge the distinct differences among individuals in each age group.
  • Networking: Best of all, I was able to talk with QP readers from around the world. When you rely on readers' opinions to steer important decisions related to the magazine, face time is priceless.
  • Feedback: Finally, I led a focus group that allowed readers to critique QP and www.qualityprogress.com. What helpful feedback I received! In the coming months, you'll notice some of the suggestions incorporated into the magazine and website. This voice-of-the-customer feedback will help me continue to make QP what you want it to be: a tool to help you improve and excel in your professions.

If you'd like to comment on how we're doing, or if we're missing the mark in some way, you're always encouraged to e-mail me at editor@asq.org.

For more conference highlights, turn to "Conference Roundup".

This month's cover story, "The True Test of Loyalty", gives insight into innovative, more accurate ways of measuring customer satisfaction. A clearer view of loyalty can be found by measuring advocacy, purchasing and retention.

The 2007 recipients of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in the nonprofit category sought and studied voice-of-the-customer feedback, too. In "Now Hear This", read about how ARDEC—an Army weapons R&D center—and the municipality of Coral Springs, FL, focused on voice of their customers to make improvements that saved not only money, but—more importantly—human lives.

Seiche Sanders

Seiche Sanders

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