ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

Online Edition — December 2002

In this Issue
Customer-Supplier Communication Systems: 360° Communications Loops
Get Off the Island!
Bridging the Gap at Work
From Our Readers
Letter to the Editor
FISH! The Book and the Video: A Review
Chapter News


Book Nook
Our Readers Say...
Editorial: From Our Perspective
What's Up?

December 2002 News for a Change—Home Page

NFC Index

AQP Home

What’s Up?
A Quick Review of Issues and Events Involving People at Work

Interesting Ideas to Ponder

A Lot Easier Said Than Done: Parents Talk About Raising Children in Today’s America

No one ever said parenting was easy, but parents in Public Agenda’s latest survey say that American society is an inhospitable place to raise children. Parents say they feel they can never let down their guard in the face of popular culture, drugs, and crime. In fact, nearly half the parents surveyed said they worried more about protecting their child from negative social influences than about paying the bills or having enough time together.

Interesting Articles to Read

Across The Board

September/October 2002
Forced Ranking: Behind the Scenes
“Charlie’s better than Sam but not as good as Mary.” In a nutshell, that’s the operating dynamic behind forced ranking, the management practice that requires supervisors to assign employees into different categories based on both past performance and leadership potential.

At companies that don’t rank employees, almost every worker can come away from a performance-appraisal discussion feeling like the children of Lake Wobegon, that he is above average, particularly if a faint-hearted manager sets his/her standards low enough that even the village idiot can exceed them. With a forced-ranking system, however, managers are required to bell-curve the troops.

Business 2.0

October 2002
The Management Secrets of the Brain
Lift the lid and take a peek at the messiest, most complex organization around—the gray matter inside your head. You could learn a lot from something so well run. Your brain is the ultimate example of a complex, decentralized organization. Because we (usually) behave coherently, smoothly integrating new circumstances as they arise, the brain is also the epitome of an adaptive organization, a learning organization, and a shared-vision organization—in short, the ideal modern company.

Fast Company

November 2002
Yamashita Wants to Reinvent Your Company
Keith Yamashita may be the most influential consultant of whom you’ve never heard. For nearly a decade, his firm’s eclectic team of designers, writers, and technologists (plus a poet, a sociologist, an ex-attorney, and not a single MBA) has tackled tough problems for some of the world’s most powerful companies. Working from a sun-drenched, brick-walled loft space in San Francisco’s warehouse district, this unlikely band of strategists has produced a dazzling array of inventive tools and artifacts, among them short films, off-size books, gargantuan story scrolls, dynamic Web sites, unconventional events, and immersive customer environments. Less visibly—but with even more profound effects—Yamashita and his team have recast the work of strategy as a rich, human-centered, fast-paced, and results-oriented activity.

Forward to Basics
Operational innovation isn’t glamorous. It doesn’t come up at cocktail parties, but it’s the only way to win in the post-new economy reality.

Forbes Magazine

November 11, 2002
Labor’s Lingering Monopoly
American unions continue to lose the membership wars, yet some of them retain the power to put the economy through the wringer.

Fortune Magazine

November 11, 2002
Between Right and Right
It’s time to face the music and realize that a lot of business behavior that was commonly accepted now may be judged on stricter ethical criteria than ever in the past.

Jeep Builds a New Kind of Plant
Closely tied suppliers don’t make a vehicle’s parts until it starts down the assembly line.

HR Magazine

November 2002
Workplace Practices
Through preventive practices, HR can be the first line of defense against workplace violence. An anti-violence strategy, experts say, begins with a zero tolerance policy and a written plan backing it up. Must it be on paper? Absolutely, says Ron Libengood, principal consultant at SecuraComm Consulting in Pittsburgh, “A written plan may not work as written, but an unwritten plan never works.”

A typical zero tolerance policy prohibits intimidation, threats of violence (bodily harm or property damage), and acts of violence (regardless of whether they cause harm or damage). Intimidation generally means actions or words that cause another person to reasonably fear for his/her safety or the safety of others.

Extending the Olive Branch
Conflict resolution programs can defuse problems before they escalate to strikes or lawsuits, as well as improve employee morale, increase productivity, decrease absenteeism, and lower turnover.

“Most senior managers and line managers don’t recognize the incredible cost of conflict to organizations,” says Stewart Levine, author of Getting to Resolution: Turning Conflict into Collaboration (Berrett-Koehler, 1998). “About 20% of Fortune 500 senior executives’ time is spent in litigation-related activities.”

Inc. Magazine

November 2002
Employment Guaranteed, for Life
Are layoffs simply a necessary evil in today’s business climate? This company’s founding fathers don’t think so. And they’ve built a culture to reflect that.

Keeping it Flexible
Imagine a workplace where employees decide how many days a week they’ll work and how many weeks of vacation they’ll take each year.

T+D Magazine

November 2002
Change Leadership Today
Part one of a four-part seminal series on change—what’s causing it, how to manage it, and how to lead during chaos.

Interesting Places to Go

AQP’s 25th Annual Conference
The Association for Quality and Participation
February 24-26, 2003
New Orleans, LA

The keynote speakers for AQP’s 25th Annual Conference are:

  • Herman Cain: opening session on Monday, February 24, at 8:00 a.m. Topic: “Leadership Is Common Sense.”
  • Coach Herman Boone and Coach Bill Yoast: closing session on Wednesday, February 26, at 10:30 a.m. Topic: “Teamwork, Leadership, and Diversity.”

Business Excellence and Customer Satisfaction Conference
American Society for Quality
February 10-11, 2003
New Orleans, LA

Maintaining and enriching the customer experience is critical to organizational growth and even survival in the ever-expanding global marketplace. Being able to share customer information across the organization is another factor in managing the customer experience. With major portions of the ISO 9001:2000 quality management system, Six Sigma project requirements, and the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award all calling for awareness and consideration of customer requirements and customer satisfaction, organizations are being required to fully engage with their customers.

The 2003 Conference on Coaching for Business Results: An Interactive Forum to Explore Issues, Dilemmas, and the Future Direction of Executive Coaching
The Conference Board
January 28-30, 2003
New York, NY

This session’s focus is the future of executive coaching. Topics include:

  • Building coaching capability into your organization.
  • Strategic e-coaching for organization-wide results.
  • What makes a great executive coach and coaching relationship.

The 2003 Conference on Tough Issues in the Workplace: Real Solutions to Real Challenges
The Conference Board
February 24-26, 2003
New York, NY

In several facilitated sessions, participants will learn the facts, practice skill building, and exchange ideas with experts on workplace challenges. Topics include:

  • Disabilities in the workplace.
  • The ethical workplace.
  • Women in leadership.

Other Interesting Information

ASTD Announces Certified Performance Technologist
The International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) and the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) Certification Institute have affiliated in the Certified Performance Technologist (CPT) certification program. The CPT offers members of both organizations and others in the profession a new way to prove their value and gain recognition of their professional expertise. Developed by ISPI and launched in April 2002, the CPT certification was created in response to requests from public and private organizations for criteria to better distinguish proficient practitioners of human performance technology. The certification requires three years of experience in performance improvement work, demonstration of proficiency in 10 standards, commitment to the code of ethics, and recertification every three years.

The CPT designation is given to individuals who satisfy a set of requirements. Proficiency in the 10 performance technology standards is assessed through a combination of descriptions of previous work, attestations by clients or employers, and a review of documents by qualified reviewers. The certification is performance based and not tied to specific education requirements. Practitioners with at least six years of experience may apply for the certification under grandfathering provisions.

For additional information on the CPT program or ISPI/ASTD affiliation, visit or e-mail ISPI at or ASTD at .

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