ASQ World Conference Day 1: The Science of Motivation and Much More

[This is a guest post by Julia McIntosh of ASQ’s communications department.]

Welcome to Day 1 of ASQ’s World Conference on Quality and Improvement! First thing conference-goers thought of this morning was: What motivates you?

That was the theme of the opening keynote by Daniel Pink, who spoke about the science behind motivation. Key takeaway: Self-direction, autonomy, mastery and purpose are the real motivators in the 21st century.

Other key points.

  • Rewards are great for simple, short-term tasks. Not so great for complex, creative and long-term tasks.
  • Short-term motivators have outlived their use for 21st century work. Dr. Deming figured this out years ago.
  • Fact: Money is a motivator—it’s the standard of normal fairness. Pay enough to take issue of money off the table.
  • Besides money, the three key motivators are autonomy, mastery and purpose.
  • The technology for engagement isn’t management, but self-direction over time, tasks, team, and technique.
  • Hire good people and get out of their way. Autonomy is the pathway to accountability.
  • Every person in an organization is sitting on a process improvement–and no one’s ever asked them.

In the afternoon, Karen Martin, president of The Karen Martin Group and Shingo Prize-winning author of The Outstanding Organization, tackled the disconnect between quality professionals and the C-suite. Key takeaway: Quality professionals must take  steps to bridge the gap by becoming teachers and coaches in their organizations.

Other key takeaways:

  • Quality professionals don’t think of themselves as sales people. But the executive is the quality professional’s customer. It’s a matter of being able to speak the same language.
  • Find wasted efforts in your company. Get rid of clutter. Talk to your executive about the quality department’s goals.
  • Become a teacher in your organization. Become part of an army of problem-solvers. Become a coach.
  • Empower people to see and resolve problems. Quality professionals are natural problem solvers.

Monday was a hopping day at the conference! A few additional highlights:

  • Quality impact sessions/live team case studies by International Team Excellence Award finalists.
  • A buzzing exhibit hall and ASQ Center. Did you know that you can have a complimentary professional photo taken for your LinkedIn profile and resumes? Look for a mini photo studio in the back of the exhibit hall.
  • Book signings by the keynote and featured speakers.
  • “After 5” sessions on “lighter” topics, such as Yoga at Your Desk and using 5S de-clutter your life .

And coming on Tuesday, May 7:

  • Keynote speaker Jamais Cascio and featured speaker James Melton.
  • Career fair in the exhibit hall.
  • Unveiling of the Global State of Quality research.
  • Exhibit hall extravaganza.
  • Be sure to catch a quality impact session by the Team Excellence finalists if you haven’t already.

As always, you can see all details on the ASQ World Conference on Quality and Improvement site. And remember, the conference Twitter hashtag is #WCQI13.

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