ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

Online Edition - July 2002


 In This Issue...
The Role of Quality and Teams in the 21st Century

The Way They Saw It

Where Have We Been? Where Are We Going?

Book Nook

From Our Perspective

What’s Up?


  Return to NFC Index

Where Have We Been? Where Are We Going?

Does everyone foresee the same future for quality and teams? Of course not! News for a Change thought it would be a good idea to bring a diverse panel of leaders together and find out how they view the past and future. This article launches a three-part series that shares their perspectives.

Significant Developments of the Past

Each panelist was asked to review several lists and consider the question, “What do you believe were the most significant developments in the field of quality and teams during the 1980s and 1990s?” In the series, we’ve summarized those lists in sidebars: “Significant Historical Events That Changed Our World,” “Significant Historical Events That Changed Quality and Teams,” and “Publications That Changed Our Views.” Here are the panelists’ responses.

Donald Dewar:

  1. I think one of the biggest developments in the 1980s was the spread of team activities across the United States and the entire world. Additionally, I believe the growth of self-managed work teams is noteworthy.
  2. The launch of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) had a tremendous impact on the fields of quality and teams.
  3. I think another important event was the publication of Phil Crosby’s Quality is Free.
  4. Issuance of the ISO 9000 standards in the late 1980s affected quality systems around the world and led to many team activities.
  5. In the 1990s, quality and team activities moved into the schools. Programs such as Koalaty Kid have had a significant influence on the way the concepts and tools are used in education.
  6. Six Sigma, reengineering, and lean manufacturing all have impacted the history of teams and quality and are likely to continue to do so in the future.

David Luther:

  1. There are two questions in the statement. One addresses quality and one addresses teams. The following comments refer primarily to quality, with the thought that teams and teamwork are a subset of quality.
  2. A second thought that sets the stage for my response is the dual nature of what has come to be called quality. The original notion was a manufacturing shop-floor activity utilizing statistical approaches aimed at identifying and removing product defects. It has a long history and well-known champions.
  3. The second notion, the quality movement of the 1980s and 1990s had more to do with changing organizational cultures in a way that improved a much more broadly defined customer experience. The approaches were different, the people who were leaders of both groups were different from one another, and the people who were involved in each of these areas were, and are, different. The most commonly shared item was the word quality.
  4. The third notion is that quality followed the same pattern as many other waves of change. There were four stages, and it may be more useful to think of the quality movement in terms of the stages and assign the dates as a second step. The stages can have any number of labels, however, I find that “embryonic,” “growing,” “mature,” and “aging” make up a useful set.

Significant Developments in the Embryonic Stage (Early- to Mid-1980s)

  1. Probably the most significant development was an “initial event,” and it was the emergence of a mature Japanese production system that could produce the same products that the United States made, only better and cheaper. This was the event that introduced the quality concept to our nation’s boardroom, but as a competitive problem and not as an improvement strategy. This was posed as a major threat to not only our production capability, but to our way of life as well. It said that the United States was no longer no. 1 in commerce, and the prospects for regaining that position were grim.
  2. The production of “If Japan Can…Why Can’t We?” had a similar effect on the United States and awakened many to the notion that there was a better way to make and deliver products that did what they claimed they would do. It was as much a consumer “wake up” as it was a business “wake up” and had broad popular appeal. Consumers were buying Japanese products and, for much of the time, did not know they were Japanese. The show said to the man in the street that Japanese products were a better deal for him.
  3. A couple of books in this stage probably had a lot to do with describing the Japanese threat, plus, and this is important, describing how a U.S. response could be undertaken. In fact, U.S. examples were presented that showed that one did not have to be Japanese and live on an island somewhere to do quality work. For people in senior management positions, In Search of Excellence was probably the most persuasive in describing “what” had to be done. J.M. Juran, W. Edwards Deming, and Phil Crosby emerged with their approaches for “how” it was to be done but were really of more interest to unit managers who were asked to do something.
  4. Early adapting companies became change leaders. David Kearns, CEO of Xerox, in 1982, facing a potential Chapter 11, turned to quality. Florida Power and Light assumed Japanese dimensions in terms of teams, story boards, problem solving, and error-detection approaches. Motorola made quality the first agenda item for its board of directors. Quality, and how to get it, was a topic of increasing interest to the club that ran many of the Fortune 100 companies.
  5. The worker was discovered, both as an individual and as a team member. That the person doing a particular job knows as much about that job as anyone in the world became an accepted insight. This notion led to delegation of power, development of self-governed teams, change in work design that moved away from typical assembly-line features, and the emergence of the operator as champion, often as part of a team, but also as an individual. It moved responsibility for meeting the spec away from the inspector, and to the worker. Management layers could be cut out, and labor unions, already weakened and representing now about 12% of the private work force, had to join the quality movement, or at least not thwart it.

Significant Developments in the Growing Stage (Mid- to Late 1980s)

  1. A little noted but, in my mind, very significant trend was the appointment of senior officers as quality directors in large companies. Jim Baaken brought Deming into Ford. Kearns appointed a senior vice president for quality, as did Motorola with Dick Buetow and others. Bill Egleston, senior vice president, Europe, IBM, was brought back to run IBM quality. These people were generally line managers who were well regarded in their firms and had a history of doing things. They had the confidence and attention of the CEO. This was the signal to people in these organizations that “there was a new sheriff in town.”
  2. The Baldrige Award was a major change mechanism and its contribution was that it was the “Microsoft” of quality. It set a standard, and it marginalized the wars between Crosby, Deming, Juran, and Armand Feigenbaum advocates. It was not the best quality approach perhaps, but it did have the power to become the one most widely used as a road map for improvement. It became the standard. The Baldrige approach incorporated most of the requirements of a broadly based organizational change model, but it did so in a way that did not tell people how to achieve improvement—it only pointed to what the changes should produce. The introduction and subsequent success of the MBNQA is responsible for some significant portion of the improvement that subsequently led to the United States regaining much of its competitive advantage. The emergence of state awards magnified the impact. Its shortcomings were a failure to identify innovation as a vital component, and its lack of emphasis on the financial results of the enterprise.
  3. Networking, in various forms, became a major means for organizational learning. At the micro level, for instance, the Conference Board Quality Council, made up of 10 to 14 companies leading in quality improvement, met quarterly and shared lessons much more frequently. Sessions run by companies such as Motorola, Xerox, Corning, and Florida Power and Light, introduced thousands of people to knowledge and insights about improvement that would otherwise have cost the attendees a great deal. Endless seminars, the activities of ASQ, events like the “National Conversation on Quality,” and hundreds of speeches, all provided great opportunities for learning for those who wanted to get started.
  4. Information technology (IT) moved out from the control of the finance people and became a major workplace tool. The DEC/IBM wars went away as open systems took center stage. Distributed intelligence and subsequently distributed systems spelled the end of dumb terminals connected to large processors. Data—current, accurate, and retrievable—became the new currency, and many of the traditional quality enthusiasts were left behind; however, the door was opened, and IT moved away from looking inward and became a major means for looking outward to customers and suppliers. Process efficiencies emerged and speed became the sought after attribute.
  5. CEO as the corporate quality leader had one of its finest hours with a two-day meeting of the Business Roundtable devoted to quality management. The Business Roundtable, made up of 100 plus CEOs of the nation’s top firms, was described as the most powerful lobby in Washington. At that meeting, two-hour seminars, given twice, provided instruction on customer service, leadership, employee involvement, and process improvement. The people giving the seminars were Roger Milliken of Milliken & Company, Paul Allaire of Xerox, Harvey Golub of American Express, Jamie Houghton of Corning, Richard Allen of AT&T, and George Fisher of Kodak. Results were widely circulated and the word was out… pay attention to quality.

Significant Developments in the Mature Stage (1990s)

  1. Variations and extensions emerged for quality. Health care saw some very significant pilot efforts plus a lot of managerial attention as cost became a major driver of health care delivery. Even education tried some quality concepts, but with mixed results. Vice president Al Gore led the Reinventing Government exercise with dramatic results that generally are given little credibility. Various suppliers, consultants, and authors attempted to put their brand on what was rapidly becoming a commodity. Even topics like reengineering came and went, and were seen as part of the demise of total quality management (TQM).
  2. New business models emerged, and they did not worship at the altar of quality. Dell sold computers, did not have retail outlets, billed the customer before the parts supplier got paid, and became the dominant force in the market. Wal-Mart became the largest company in the world, applying IT to a very mature business. Outsourcing, supply chain management, and various systems approaches were seen as replacing the now somewhat tired TQM efforts. Below the surface, the same principles seemed to apply, but the titles on the conference doors changed.

Significant Developments in the Aging Stage (Late 1990s to Today)

  1. Six Sigma arrives, mainly because Jack Welch and General Electric (GE) made it work. It prevails because it does have value and does provide the bottom-line emphasis that many saw as missing in TQM. It is today’s buzzword, with all of its paraphernalia, i.e., Black Belt, Master Black Belt, and other macho terms. It is a blessing for the quality community and, for many in the original quality school, its redemption. Interestingly, some in the quality community are not supportive, stating that Six Sigma is simply old wine in new bottles. They get little attention.
  2. TQM public intensity declines. Major quality conferences show year-to-year declines, and the Baldrige Award struggles to maintain submission rates; however, many companies now have a good idea of what quality management is and how it should look, and have adapted some particular part, but not all, of the prevailing models. Other forces and news topics push quality off of the front page, and even the back page of business periodicals.

Jennifer Powell:

  1. I think the NBC white paper “If Japan Can… Why Can’t We?” is the first one because it stirred up a lot of people. The United States in general is fairly competitive, and none of us likes to be accused of being behind; we want to be ahead all the time. I think that show ruffled a lot of feathers and was a catalyst for change.
  2. I believe that the AFL-CIO announcing its plans to issue a guide to unions in dealing with quality circles also was significant. It was interesting to see such a large organization get concerned enough about the concept of quality circles to issue a manual and guide. I think there was a “ying and yang” to that announcement. Obviously, there was some sense of fear, but there also was a realization that front-line employees needed to get involved.
  3. I thought the U.S. House and Senate resolution (and subsequent presidential proclamation) for National Quality Month was significant. It was a major statement for the federal government to create a whole month dedicated to quality.
  4. The Malcolm Baldrige Quality Improvement Act really legitimized what the most conscientious companies were doing.
  5. Similarly, Florida Power and Light’s being the first U.S. company to receive Japan’s Deming Award is also quite significant.
  6. The downsizing/rightsizing/reengineering movement of the early 1990s was another two-sided coin. On one hand, a lot of dedicated positions and quality professionals were rightsized out of their organizations. On the other hand, this caused some companies to make a commitment on how to internalize quality, flowing it through the organization and making it everyone’s responsibility.
  7. Margaret Wheatley shook up the views on leadership and got a lot of attention with her book, Leadership & the New Science.
  8. In the mid-1990s, mergers began to take off, and I think that had a negative impact on quality and teams and created some chaos in some organizations. I also think, however, that this situation kept people from getting too complacent, forcing people to stand up and take note about what they are doing.
  9. The World Wide Web has greatly impacted teams and quality by changing the amount of information available and the accessibility of that information. People’s ability to communicate and share ideas has increased tremendously, and the whole concept of virtual teams in the companies is a side effect of that change. Some companies have done very well pulling teams together in remote locations and multiple organizations.
  10. The other significant development involved the beginning and explosion of e-commerce. It seems as if people believe that you can start any kind of business and make a million dollars in a hurry, and it doesn’t make any difference what goes on in the organization. Supposedly, you can burn people out, and they will come and work for you for the short amount of time you are around if you are paying them a lot of money! I think this has had a negative impact on people’s willingness to work together, creating a lot of “Lone Rangers” and people who focus only on personal gain.

Gregory Watson:

  1. The U.S. Model Uniform Product Liability Act of 1980 established guidelines by which corporations would be held accountable for product safety and quality.
  2. In 1980, NBC aired the white paper “If Japan Can...Why Can’t We?” which featured Deming and influenced the perception of the need for quality at the top levels of American business.
  3. In 1987, the Profit Impact of Market Strategy (PIMS) Study demonstrated that companies that pursued quality as defined using customer perception were able to significantly outperform their competitors in the measure that matters most to the corporate future—profitability.
  4. In 1987 the ANSI/ASQC Q90 series was introduced to define a model for the minimum acceptable features of quality management systems that would be required to satisfy third-party audits for commercial purposes.
  5. In 1991, George Fisher, Motorola CEO, announced that the entire corporation had improved quality to the 5.1 sigma level and that the cumulative savings from their efforts had passed $1.2 billion. Motorola registered “Six Sigma” as a trademark for their approach to quality management. In 1995, Larry Bossidy, CEO of AlliedSignal, announced a turnaround of the company based on the application of the Motorola Six Sigma methods, achieving savings of $1.2 billion in just 18 months and improving shareholder value by more than 165%. In 1997, Jack Welch, CEO of GE, announced that their forward-looking, business-improvement strategy would be based on the foundation of the Six Sigma methodology and that its methodology would be extended from problem-solving to product, service, and business design. GE set expectations for savings of more than $9 billion in the next five years, and stock analysts and institutional investors took notice.
  6. In 1995 and 1999, the American Society for Quality (ASQ) conducted future studies that significantly redefined quality into two significant value dimensions: 1) value added through design of the market promise based on understanding of customer needs and requirements, and 2) value added through conformance to the promise made to markets about product and service performance.
  7. Between 1995 and 1999, the Internet and requirements for conducting e-commerce changed operational definitions in the way that companies produce and deliver their products and services, raising new questions for quality related to both information security and personal privacy rights, as well as requiring new definitions for service quality performance standards.

Significant Current and Future Developments

What do you believe will be the most significant developments in this field during the 2000s?

Donald Dewar:

  1. I think there will be much recycling of earlier programs—everything from quality circles, MBOs, you name it.
  2. I think there will be growth in the area of education, where schools will introduce more programs, such as Koalaty Kid.
  3. Global competition will continue to increase, and the Internet will fuel its expansion—anybody will be able to buy anything from anywhere. This will drive the need for quality products and services.
  4. I think there is going to be a new emphasis on suggestion programs, which will be followed by a resurgence of Kaizen—not huge improvement efforts but many small incremental improvements that encourage everyone to contribute. When quality circles and teams are launched, people often get frustrated because their personal suggestions aren’t high enough priorities to warrant group effort. I believe that a new approach to Kaizen is going to emerge that will address some of this frustration. Every employee, including the president, will be required to identify and implement opportunities for improvement each month—independently in most cases. Not only will the individual workers feel that their personal ideas have been valued, but these small improvements will accumulate into big improvements for the organizations. I foresee big growth in this area.

Here’s a story that describes what I mean. I was leading a group of people on as study trip to Japan. At one of the companies we visited, the plant manager told us that everyone, including himself, had been required to come up with one idea a month and implement the improvement, in addition to the work that was being carried on in their quality circles. Four years later they increased the requirement to two ideas per month because the initial program was so successful. Several months passed, and they increased to three per month. Eventually, the requirement was raised to five per month!

David Luther:

If one believes the argument that the Japan threat was the event that got senior management to buy into TQM, is there a parallel that one could expect for the next eight years? The strict answer is probably no. It is unlikely that a competitive threat to the United States could emerge that would raise the concern level to that seen in the early and middle 1980s; however, there are at least four possible other scenarios.

One is a continuation of 9/11, and what that would do is anybody’s guess. The second is a war that would tax the industrial resources of the United States. That is also anybody’s guess. The third is economic meltdown, which would probably significantly reduce the level of commerce and move the focus to cost reduction, low-cost alternatives, and survival. The fourth is probably the most likely, and the one that provides the most guidance, and that is the increased application of the Dell and Wal-Mart business models. Gateway, for instance, has to change, or it will be out of business. Kroger may already be gone. The observation is that others will have to adapt some form of the techniques used by these firms, and it would seem that the quality people could take advantage of this opportunity to use their skills.

Jennifer Powell:

  1. One of the things that is exploding right now is the coaching field. I think coaching will be significant because there are lots of leaders who need support and attention, and organizations typically don’t have a way to provide it. What I did as a quality circle facilitator in the early days is very much what leadership coaches do now.
  2. I hope we will rediscover why it is important to look at the long view and not the fast buck. I think what happened in the dot-com world and what happened in the stock market will help us come back around to a longer-term perspective.

Gregory Watson:

  1. ISO 9000:2000 moved the definition of a minimum-acceptable quality management system much closer to the definition of performance excellence that is contained in the criteria of the MBNQA, signaling a closure of the perceptual gap in minimum standards for quality and best practice in managing for quality. This implies that quality is foundational in business management and that it is no longer an “elective” that may be selected to differentiate corporations.
  2. In 2001, AQP joined forces with ASQ to establish a more coherent and holistic foundation for the body of quality knowledge that would be required to meet the emerging technical and management needs of businesses in the face of the challenges of the new business environment.
  3. The need for new standards that define quality in the face of e-commerce and global business challenges will emerge into a coherent set of standards that grow the way businesses approach information security, privacy rights, and customer service.
  4. Quality management will be seen as an evolutionary process that has delivered a series of lessons about effective management that must be integrated with business culture to establish performance excellence. Six Sigma has been a major step in this direction, and its integration with lean thinking, policy deployment, and information systems technology is the next step in this integration.
  5. Technological solutions will be automated for delivery to the masses in organizations. This will leave integration to individuals and team members in the workplace who will design the factors that differentiate competitiveness between organizations. The human element of quality will become the dominant factor in defining, designing, and deploying quality systems to achieve business purposes.

Concerns for the Future

As you look toward the next five to 10 years, what concerns you most about the future of quality and teams?

Donald Dewar:

I think one of my concerns is companies launching team activities without regard to measuring team achievements. When the going gets tough in times of tight economics, such as we are facing now, teams that cannot demonstrate their success with measurable results become vulnerable because they appear to be a cost liability. Top management makes the decision whether specific programs and approaches live or die, and top management is concerned with the numbers.

Well-managed team activities can be very profitable, so why aren’t these activities measured more often? Much of the problem comes from the fact that the team facilitators don’t know how to measure team results in terms that are compelling to top managers. The steering committee needs to step up and provide facilitators with the appropriate training. Additionally,facilitators need to be put in touch with members of the financial organization and/or industrial engineering who can help them identify the best possible measurement systems.

David Luther:

  1. The biggest concern has to be the lack of concept renewal. In the 1980s, a quality professional could go into a boardroom and talk persuasively about the magic of run charts and control limits and show how they can improve profitability. Everyone knows that today. But, today there is nothing new to take into the boardroom, with the exception of Six Sigma, and that will not last forever. Another interesting thought is that the stuff that was peddled to senior management in the 1980s, in fact, had been around for a long time, and there were people who knew how to make the quality tools work. To my knowledge, no parallel situation exists today.
  2. A second concern has to do with the impact that IT-driven firms are having on the quality principles. An earlier concept about not shipping the product until it absolutely meets spec is not working in many fast-moving firms. The approach now in many places consists of managed improvement cycles, where an idea is tested, observed, considered, and either adapted or not adapted, and then on to another cycle. This approach is radically different from traditional quality approaches and may even discredit traditional approaches. The biggest example, of course, is Microsoft, with half the known world acting as beta sites, which amounts to putting customers to work finding your errors.

Jennifer Powell:

  1. One of the things that worries me is that in the face of reengineering, organizations believe they have “done quality.” They think they are ready for the next thing—moving from one management fad to the next—and that worries me. Because our society is always ready for the next thing, we better have the next thing ready to keep managers focused on some purposeful work to make their organizations better.

But the truth is that there hasn’t been a lot of new thinking coming out in the field of management theory in a long time. Instead, a few concepts have been taken and repackaged and thrown out there claiming to be a whole new concept.

This creates an interesting dilemma. On one hand, it creates a superficial way of interjecting seemingly fresh thinking in managers’ minds. On the other hand, I think this creates a mile-wide, inch-deep situation, where managers scratch the surface of a concept and say, “OK, I mastered that. Tell me what comes next.”

In fact, you can take a quality concept or management approach as deep as you want to take it, and you don’t ever have to change the name—you are still working on improvement in your organization.

  1. I also am worried about the virtual office concept and the loss of personal contact. I do a lot of work through e-mail, and I do find it to be effective, but to me there is nothing like sitting face to face and having a conversation with somebody.
  2. I guess the other thing that I worry about is how much we focus on top management. In many ways, I think this is a stall topic—it is a way of not having to do anything really meaningful or take any meaningful risks. If you say, “Well, we have to have top management support for this, and we can’t do it unless we have their buy in,” you’re making an excuse for not moving forward. I think the phrase, “Think globally, act locally” is so accurate. Real social change happens at the grassroots level—think of Cesar Chavez, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr.

Gregory Watson:

  1. A big concern is the constant bickering and infighting among professionals in fields related to quality, where each disciplinary area seeks to dominate others in terms of importance and the need for top management attention. Collaboration among professionals in those disciplines that deliver quality is a requirement for top management to accept that these methods apply to their system for doing business. Quality will no longer be accepted “one-tool-at-a-time” by senior managers—an entire system must be defined, and each element must contribute to the business goal, or it will be considered to be nonvalue producing and suitable for elimination or automation.
  2. Another concern involves the trend among business leaders to accept “executive excuses” for nonperformance, and the application of “root-blame analysis” to side-step personal accountability for the results that their organizations produce. Leaders who are held accountable for the results of the whole organization are more likely to accept a systematic perspective of those factors that contribute to the overall effectiveness of results produced. It is time that quality becomes defined in performance terms that relate to expectations for “role model” performance at every level of the organization—from the top team to the front-line team.
  3. The confusion between data analysis and opinion sharing is of considerable concern for me. Too many people believe in the value of brainstorming as a basis for making business decisions. Brainstorming and other tools stimulate creativity and human innovation, but these tools must be supplemented with analytical tools that help us to understand the relative merits of the alternatives produced by the more qualitative approaches. An integrated approach to innovation and human understanding must become more broadly applied—treating ideas as alternative hypotheses that must be tested and evaluated, not just opinions that are accepted by the force of emotional appeal or based on the perceived value of the person making an assertion. This is a driving requirement for integration of both hard and soft components into a holistic approach for defining quality, rather than as alternative approaches.
  4. The effective contribution by all levels of an organization is required to produce sustained organizational performance excellence; however, organizations do not always demonstrate to each level that their contributions are valuable. In the future, more consistent reward-and-recognition systems must be applied by organizations to assure that the contribution of all levels are valued—both to encourage future effective participation and to recognize the benefits of past contributions.

Promises for the Future

What do you believe holds the most promise for the future of quality and teams?

Don Dewar:

  1. I think the Koalaty Kid type of movement is very promising.
  2. I also believe that the increasing use of measurements also will help us succeed in the future. When coupled with appropriate goals, peoples’ attention will be aimed at the most beneficial outcomes.
  3. Virtual learning is going to be an increasing factor in our ability to enable people to achieve higher levels of quality in a global, more competitive environment. It also will enhance the ways that teams can interact and exchange information when their members are located far apart.

Dave Luther:

My guess is that the most promise lies in learning how Dell and Wal-Mart do what they do and adapting it to our own companies before the competition does.

Jennifer Powell:

  1. I am very encouraged by the work that is going on in the school systems. I just attended the Quest for Excellence Conference and saw the three schools there that received the first Baldrige in Education awards.
  2. I am also hopeful about the impact that team activities have on employees in organizations. Once people have a taste of team management or get involved in decision-making, they are changed forever. They see what is possible, and they will never be the same again. The organization may turn its back on any kind of formal commitment to teams, and the leadership may change, but the individuals who were touched by the work they did on the team will never be the same again. I think there is a lot of power in spreading the concepts or quality and team management one by one.

Gregory Watson:

  1. The first thing that excites me is that we already have produced a comprehensive body of knowledge with sound examples of applications that define excellence in quality. Excellence comes from flawless execution of the lessons that already have been learned. But, flawless execution requires two ingredients that are difficult factors: constancy of purpose and collaborative work.

Constancy of purpose is the job of the leadership team in an organization. It is essential that they establish the direction and constantly adjust priorities in order to apply their resources effectively (both financial and human), working with the end in mind to achieve the overall desired result. Leaders must ask themselves two basic questions: 1) What is the result that they wish to accomplish? and 2) How will they know that they are doing the right things to accomplish that result? These questions are the basic ingredients of a policy-deployment-based management system and require measurement of both process performance and results to assure that organizations remain on track.

Collaborative work comes from the effective participation of all workers. When they all believe that the work they accomplish as individuals is aligned with their own system of beliefs and values, and they can understand how that work contributes to the shared purpose of the organization, then they become more dedicated to their work and more creative in their contribution toward the shared purpose. Without top management’s constancy of purpose, there can be no collaborative work because the people will not understand how to align their efforts to produce the desired results.

  1. For me, the excitement of the coming decade lies in how we will put this knowledge into action. No one person can move the direction of the world—movement must come from the efforts of mankind to find a common purpose and defining direction that is worthy of our united efforts. In history, all great movements have found that they must have a basic uniting principle. I believe that in the years ahead this principle will evolve from the crisis that we face together in making Earth more sustainable environmentally—to ensure future generations of mankind will be able to exercise their “inalienable rights” to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. To accomplish this, we must have quality in life—in every dimension of our world—not just in communities, but also in countries and our environment. This is a challenge that requires a call for action for the greater good and can engage our energies fully as human beings for accomplishing something of value for everyone.

Our Distinguished Panel

DONALD L. DEWAR pioneered the introduction of quality circles in the United States in 1973 and co-founded AQP in 1977, serving as its president for three terms. His background involves industrial engineering, manufacturing, quality control, finance, industrial relations, and marketing. He served as an examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. He has spoken in 25 countries worldwide and has authored or collaborated on nearly 300 articles and papers, 46 books, and 97 training videos. Dewar is president of QCI International, publisher of Quality Digest, Timely Tips for Teams, and QualityInsider.



DAVID B. LUTHER retired from Corning, Inc., as senior vice president of quality, following assignments as vice president of personnel, and lead roles in finance, information systems, and manufacturing. He is past chairman of ASQ, co-founder of the Conference Board Quality Council, a four-term judge for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, and former chair of the New York State Quality Award. He is a member of the International Academy for Quality and served on the Visions for Governance project at the JFK School of Government at Harvard University.



JENNIFER POWELL has extensive experience in integrating human resource management with total quality and employee involvement, as well as organizational development and change management. She currently serves as president of AQP’s board of directors and has been involved as a leader and officer since 1986. She is currently chief of staff to a regional vice president of customer service at Aetna, Inc. Her previous employers include The Weather Channel and WJZ-TV/Westinghouse Broadcasting. Powell has presented at numerous professional conferences and seminars both domestically and internationally on the topic of employee involvement. She also has had articles published on this topic as well as the role of human resources in employee involvement.


GREGORY H. WATSON is past chairman of ASQ and was named one of its “21 Voices of Quality for the 21st Century.” He also has been a member of the AQP board of directors and received the AQP President’s Award. He has served as an examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, United States Air Force Quality Award (chief judge), Florida Sterling Award (judge), New York State Excelsior Award (judge), and Texas Quality Award (judge). He has written more than 70 papers and authored or collaborated on six books. Watson is managing partner of Business Systems Solutions, Inc. He previously has worked for Xerox Corporation, American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC), Compaq Computer Corporation, and Hewlett-Packard.


Return to top

July 2002 News for a Change Homepage

  • Print this page
  • Save this page

Average Rating


Out of 0 Ratings
Rate this item

View comments
Add comments
Comments FAQ

ASQ News