Pay It Forward

Mentorship helps bridge knowledge gaps

A popular way of keeping in touch with friends these days is through the social networking site Facebook. And, as a result of this "electronic voyeurism," you often wind up knowing more about people than you normally would.

An old high school friend’s "status" (a brief description of what that person is thinking or doing) recently referred to an exhausting day spent in kaizen training at the manufacturing company he works for.

Excited by the reference to my own field, I started up a lively—and humorous—electronic exchange that included plenty of quality "shop talk."

Finally, one of his colleagues who had been following our conversation chimed in: "What the heck are you two talking about?"

If you are receiving and reading QP, you are—at the very least—already familiar with the fundamentals of quality. But, like my friend’s colleague, many of your peers and coworkers may not be, or they still have a lot to learn. This issue of QP is devoted to the basic tools of quality. "Building From the Basics" is a perfect reference for those new to the profession, but it also serves another purpose: a means for the more experienced to help others nail down the basics. Consider passing this issue on.

The nation’s workforce faces a "brain drain" of drastic proportions as baby boomers filter out of the workforce and millennials stream in. This changing of the guard requires knowledge transfer, and one highly effective way of doing that is mentorship.

Via ASQ’s mentor network, less-experienced members benefit from the experience of ASQ fellows, who can provide education and career advice. To join or to learn more, visit www.asq.org/members/communities/mentoring.

ASQ’s Each One Reach One program rewards members for recruiting new members. To find out more, visit www.asq.org/members/eoro.

Finally, all QP articles are archived at www.qualityprogress.com, including the bimonthly Back to Basics columns—a great place to begin a quality education.

We want to hear from you: Last month, QP launched a new, occasional column, Perspectives, in which current events are discussed in terms of quality. If you have a quality perspective to offer on a current event or situation, e-mail me at editor@asq.org.

Every profession is feeling the economy’s cruel pinch, and quality is not immune. QP is looking for personal accounts of how quality and your job or department have suffered in recent months. Do you have advice for others on surviving economic hardship? E-mail me your stories, and help us show others who may be struggling that they’re not alone.

Seiche Sanders

Seiche Sanders

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