Educating a Quality Workforce

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

Just as last year, ASQ’s World Conference on Quality and Improvement provided some great topics for discussion on View From the Q. One especially “hot” topic emerged during the last keynote of the conference, and this was the link between quality and education.

As summarized here, education reformer Michelle Rhee spoke about the poor quality of education in many U.S. public schools. Low-quality education results in a low-quality workforce, she said. Another challenge, according to Rhee, is that students in the U.S. are praised for poor performance or for “just showing up.” As a result, they expect to be celebrated for mediocrity, rather than for quality.

This message resonated with the audience more than any other idea expressed at a keynote–or maybe even the entire conference.

What do you think? Do you see a correlation between the quality of education in your country and the young people entering the workforce? Does your culture celebrate success or is any attempt considered “good enough”? And finally, what is the role of quality in improving public education in any nation?

Day 3 of ASQ World Conference: Celebrate Quality

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

Michelle Rhee at ASQ's World Conference 2014. Photo by Elias Monreal

Perhaps one of the strongest pro-quality messages at the entire 2014 ASQ World Conference on Quality and Improvement ¬†came during the final keynote of the event. Education reformer Michelle Rhee spoke of turning around a failing school district. Although Rhee doesn’t work in “quality” per se, her speech energized the audience to stand up and clap in agreement. Her conclusion was saluted with a standing ovation.

Rhee’s key points? Education is a priority because it determines the quality of the workplace we will get. And, in the U.S., we overpraise our children and give out too many unearned trophies and awards during the course of their education. We celebrate mediocrity, rather than quality.

Rhee’s closing keynote was preceded by the International Team Excellence Awards

Parade of teams at the International Team Excellence Awards ceremony. Photo by Elias Monreal.

process ceremony–an ¬†antidote to mediocrity if there ever was one. Team Excellence recognizes the best quality improvement teams worldwide, and is the only international team recognition process of its kind in the world. This year’s winners are:

Bronze level:

  • Volkswagen Argentina Cordoba Plant, Contact Zone team
  • JCYM Continuous Improvement Team, Johnson Controls, Shanghai
  • Genpact, Transforming Order to Cash Process team
  • Max Life Insurance Co., Proactive Retention team

Silver level:

  • Team Blitz, Khazanah Nasional Berhad

Gold level:

  • Dubai Aluminum, DUBAL Stub Repair Reduction Team
  • Matter of Time team, Tgestiona
Matter of Time team, Tgestiona. Photo by Elias Monreal.

And this concludes our coverage of the 2014 ASQ World Conference on Quality and Improvement. Conversations are ongoing on Twitter with the hashtag #WCQI14. Thank you for a fantastic, energetic event! We hope you can join us next year in Nashville, May 4-6.

What did you think of the conference? Leave a comment or email us at social@asq.org.

World Conference Kickoff roundup

World Conference Day 1 roundup

World Conference Day 2 roundup