In response to “Sea Change” (April 2019, pp. 16-22): It’s true that you must embrace change and be able to adapt to it quickly. New programs, ideas and forward thinking are vital for businesses to thrive and grow. You must assess whether change is necessary and what the results are. To measure continuous improvement, there must be targets. These targets must be tangible but challenging enough to hold interest. In the end, will the change bring in money?
Matti A. Koskinen,
Harrington Park, Australia
THE MISSING LINK
I love the article “Standard Issues: It’s All in the Approach” (April 2019, pp. 54-57). It highlights the missing link in our quality arsenal, which the author briefly describes as process mapping versus flowcharting. The real issue is system mapping, which is a new discipline for quality. ASQ's Quality Management Division is running an article on this and ASQ's Government Division is championing a new system management standard. I think ISO 9001 should be used for organizational alignment of certified processes and systems—that is the future of quality.
Richard E. Mallory,
RIDE THE WAVE
“Bigger, Better and Smarter” (March 2019, pp. 40-47) offers an excellent approach to maintaining quality in smart factories. As quality managers, we must shift toward this new wave of quality in our manufacturing and service organizations.
The Reaction Gauge
This month’s question
Erin Urban, career coach and author of this month’s feature article “Career Painkiller,” estimates that the vast majority of professionals take a backseat in their career development. They don’t regularly invest in their professional growth, assuming their organizations will tell them what skills to learn. According to Urban, professionals must invest in their own continuous improvement plans to achieve their career goals. How do you approach professional growth? What, if any, assistance does your organization offer?
Last month’s question
Many organizations offer mentorships to new employees to help them learn the ropes and provide career guidance. But mentorships also help the mentors—for example, by helping the mentor identify his or her abilities and limitations, and giving the mentor insight into how younger generations think and operate. What are your experiences with mentoring or having a mentor? What was the experience like and how did it influence your career?
Timothy Whetten, Fort Collins, CO, writes:
We use mentoring primarily as an information transfer tool as people change job responsibilities. We used to have a more formal mentoring program, but it seems to have been lost after we experienced corporate splits and mergers.
Frank Benarth, Sahuarita, AZ, says:
I participated in the mentor/mentee program at a previous job. I enlisted a mentor who was a positive role model and well-respected senior manager. We met as often as I desired without apparent constraints. My mentor made astute, helpful observations, encouraged me to do the right things and steered me to make the right decisions.
The problem was I didn’t realize what a great situation it was. I did not avail myself to seize the day and be present. I was too busy working day-to-day, trying to impress and satisfy my boss. I wish I could do it all over again and take full advantage of the opportunities I was given to succeed and turn myself into a much more strategic thinker and software manager. I have been retired for six years now, but I look back and see what I had and what could have been.
Bottom line: Maybe organizations need to ensure that the mentee sees the big picture, appreciates the opportunity and takes time to be present in the moment instead of merely seeing it as something that makes others happy.