November Roundup: What Does Leadership Mean to Quality?

Leadership. If you work in any kind of business, you’ve probably heard a lot about it. It’s now accepted wisdom that we need leaders in the workplace. Are quality professionals leaders? How do we make them better leaders? That was ASQ’s topic for discussion in November. ASQ bloggers had interestingly diverse opinions on this topic. Some called for more quality training. Others said that being leader isn’t everyone. For more, see below.

What makes a great leader? Being a considerate person attuned to his or her team is a good start. Tim McMahon writes, “The reality is anyone can lead, but very few lead well. If you want to lead well, you can’t forget the human component.”

Scott Rutherford says leadership must be authentic and come from within—you can’t turn the leader persona on and off. He also writes about the importance of mentorship in leadership.  For John Hunter, “the key is managing with an understanding of respect for people and how that concept fits with the rest of Deming’s management system.”

And Dan Zrymiak writes that a different vision of leadership is now required for the quality field, going from control to transformation. Babette Ten Haken writes that quality leadership takes guts and risk-taking.

How should leaders lead? Manu Vora offers a refresher on leadership basics, and new Influential Voices blogger Luciana Paulise compiles her leadership advice. Jimena Calfa gives a reminder on the difference between leadership and management. Bob Mitchell writes about the role of transformational leadership. And Edwin Garro says we must find the leader within ourselves before we can absorb leadership training.

Leadership in action: Lotto Lai writes about Steve Jobs’ leadership at Apple. New Influential Voices blogger Sunil Kaushik shares examples of out-of-the-box leadership.

Do we really need leaders? Some choose to follow and do it well. Guy Wallace discusses those who don’t want to be leaders–what is their role? Michael Noble is also skeptical about the idea of leadership for all. And Jennifer Stepniowski wonders if quality professionals first need to be better communicators.

September Roundup: What's the Best Approach to Strategy?

Do you have a preferred way to approach challenges and opportunities? If so, you have a strategy.  In September, ASQ’s bloggers wrote about their approach to strategy after ASQ CEO Bill Troy shared his.

Approaches and methodologies: Tim McMahon approaches strategy with Hoshin Kanri, the process to select annual objectives that will give the organization the greatest possible advantage.

Nicole Radziwill developed a strategy called EASE, which stands for Expectations, Actionability, Sustainability, and Evaluation. Manu Vora discusses balanced scorecards, SWAT, and Hoshin. Lotto Lai wrote about Motorola’s Six Steps to Six Sigma deployment when developing a strategy for the Hong Kong Society for Quality.  Rajan Thiyagarajan uses a balanced scorecard approach to develop strategy. Bob Mitchell writes about strategies deployed by ASQ’s Statistics Division and the ASQ Minnesota section. Edwin Garro champions continuous improvement as part of strategy.

Implementing strategy: Unfortunately, there is  little focus on building the capability of the organization to execute strategy, writes John Hunter.  Similarly, Scott Rutherford discussed whether your strategic plan can survive when it first contacts reality.

Other Views: Jennifer Stepniowski writes about strategy in her personal and professional life.  And Dan Zrymiak explains how to use mission, mobilization, and governance to deploy strategy.

July Roundup: What's the Purpose of Vision?

Everyone agrees that a clear organizational focus is important, but how is it best achieved? In July, ASQ’s Influential Voices bloggers responded to a prompt about the clarity of focus at Volvo and Ikea, and offered their thoughts on how to achieve and articulate an organizational purpose.

What is vision and why is it important? Tim McMahon writes about the role of PDCA in finding organizational True North. Manu Vora says vision is an organization’s dream of the future. Jimena Calfa defines the differences between vision and mission. Babette Ten Haken writes about developing foresight as a leader. And John Priebe writes about the importance figuring out your direction before putting together the road map.

Is a vision really important? John Hunter writes that vision can be meaningful, but is often just pretty words. Guy Wallace is also wary of a formal vision statement—define one, but stay quiet about it, he says.

Which organizations have a clear vision? Dr. Lotto Lai writes about the vision and mission of two organizations in Hong Kong. Nicole Radziwill unexpectedly discovered a quality ethic during a trip to Japan. Bob Mitchell writes about 3M’s vision. Rajan Thiyagarajan writes about vision and clarity at Apple.

Jennifer Stepniowski writes about the success of Subaru’s vision. Dan Zrymiak ponders whether there is such a thing as a Scandinavian model of quality. Anshuman Tiwari gives three examples of companies in which he has worked that have a clear vision and what it accomplished.

On that note, both Scott Rutherford and Edwin Garro examine ASQ’s own mission and vision.

And finally, James Lawther suggests that vision is simply something you’re good at and that also helps people.

Blogger Roundup: The Quality/Education Connection

Many people don’t think of quality tools and philosophies being used in education, but the link between quality and education proved to be a hot topic at ASQ’s 2014 World Conference on Quality and Improvement.
Specifically, does poor education lead to a poor quality of the workforce (and, thus, of quality itself)?
World Conference speaker Michelle Rhee made this point in her very popular keynote. ASQ’s Influential Voices bloggers provided nuanced feedback on this theme.
See the summary: