It Takes A Village…

Earlier this week, November 6-7, 2017, attended the 1st ASQ European Quality Conference (#AEQC2017) in Berlin, Germany. Theme: Sustaining a Culture of Excellence in a World of Disruption, Innovation, and Change! berlinI have been so excited for the event, ever since it was announced. Not just because my proposal was accepted for presentation, but because the event would provide the opportunity to interact with Europe-based Quality Practitioners.

Professionally, event is coming at a very pivotal point for me: post-sabbatical and deciding what industry to contribute to & participate in! Given the shifting tides of the Quality arena (Quality 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0) and questioning my role in the shifts e.g. being considered temporary head count (hired to address pain-point then cut at the next reshuffle), the  relevance & value of Quality in the overall scheme of organizations, the impact of future-tides i.e. Big Data, AI, Data Science, etc. It is with this state of mind that I attended the Berlin event with an open mind and neutral expectations…

The saying, “it takes a village to raise a child” is appropo to me and this event 🙂 I was privileged to meet some very inspirational, giving, sharing human beings. Sometimes you have no idea how people you come across impact you and your next steps. Or how similar life experiences turns strangers into friends. Or how supportive people can be at a time when you are at the crossroads! Lifelong friendships were made this week and I am looking forward to how our interactions pan out…

#AEQC highlights:

Day 1 keynote Greg Watson: very thought provoking session challenging the Quality

#AEQC2017 Greg Watson

#AEQC2017 Greg Watson

status quo 🙂 For instance, the current state of customer requirements is equivalent to wish, hope, prayer, hallucination! “Is it appropriate to characterize Quality as a science?” “Rethink Quality today: Do we treat Quality as an evolving science or a static system of beliefs?” ” “Different ways to evaluate data (Perl, R, statistics – not about math, it is about your mind!” “Need to reflect to make improvement!”

 

 

Day 2 keynote was Bharat Wakhlu @dilleye : his speech really resonated with my post-sabbatical state of mind – affirming, supportive, reflective, thought provoking! His content was inline with my thought processes, assumptions, inspirations, expectations. Takeaway points: Meta competencies are required – 1) Awareness meaning totally present & fully conscious; 2) Self Mastery meaning you are a work in progress refining & improving, what worked yesterday is useless today, reflect, learn, strive!

#AEQC2017 @dilleye wakhlu

#AEQC2017 @dilleye wakhlu

Quality of the future calls for these:
1 – Pursuit of self mastery (365 24/7 every moment learning process)
2 – Comfort in Ambiguity ( emotionally stable during crisis, open to experimentation, anchor for stability)
3 – Alignment of Enterprise (complex adaptive systems, divergent thinking)
4 – Decisiveness
5 – Collaboration & Cultural Sensitivity (learn, open, alert, not biased)
6 – Entrepreneurial & Networked
7 – Listening to Stakeholders
8 – Attracting & Engaging Talent (seek, nurture & engage with talent; encourage diversity)

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Presentation-Speaking Butterflies!

“Call for Proposals” received. Call answered, proposal developed (per conference theme & focus areas) and submitted for consideration. Wait to receive submission status…

Fast-forward to day of presentation. Counting down the hours till time-slot. Stomach tied up in knots. These thoughts racing and jumbling through my mind – Why did I sign up for this? What was I thinking? Why do you do this to yourself? I am not going to do this again!!! Yikes! Sigh!

These thoughts are blessedly FLEETING though! 🙂 The driver/motivation behind sending in a proposal has to do with:

  • Sharing experiences which would in turn, provide content that can provide Lessons Learned that attendees/audience can incorporate into their own Tool-kits.
  • Providing affirmation or validation (via content of presentation) of attendees/audience’s own techniques and practices.

Content for my presentations are derived from professional and  personal experiences (work, home, life, education) of the past 16 years. I am apprehensive about the reception of my presentations because:

  • Fear/Worry that content might not resonate/be relate-able with audience.
  • Presenting especially to other Quality Practitioners is daunting!!! This audience knows/lives the content – if it isn’t spot on not acceptable, every effort must be made by me to make my contributions meaningful, of value and on the day deliver an interactive, fun and engaging presentation!

So on to the next “Call to Action” – invaluable opportunities to challenge complacency & Tool-kit, continuous improvement, continuous education, self reflections and all things that “stretch & contract” for the better 🙂

 

SpeakingIcon

Yikes!!! No pressure, eh 😉

Time to Let Go!

The Quality Practitioner spends a lot of time chasing, advocating, championing, guiding, shepherding, seeking buy-in for Quality methods, support, resolution of conflicts, justifiable use of limited & dwindling resources, building a Quality-Team, et al..

The above takes place over a period of time (often times years) and naturally this becomes the norm. The Quality Practitioner out of necessity becomes the sole custodial of the Quality space within the organization.

Then something fantastic happens and if one is not aware can be a devastating set back to the whole endeavor.

The team start to take ownership. This starts manifesting as queries about “why we are doing it this way”, “we should find another way”, et al. Team members begin to make connections (daily work, organization strategy, improvement), take initiative, engage stakeholders, prep & execute deliverables, present status updates, etc.

Care should be taken not to categorize these fledgling steps to process ownership as resistance (which would lead to the Quality Practitioner reacting by using resistance-overcoming facilitation methods which would kill fledgling ownerships dead! This would be disastrous to establishing meaningful organizational relationships.

Note to self: Be on the lookout for the above moments – shifts from resistance to ownership! They can be so subtle that it can be easily overlooked, missed or worse dismissed! Sit back and luxuriate in the moment – rewarding moment that makes up for the long periods of resistance :).

Effects of Life Events
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Grass & Blue Skies (Tacoma,WA) ©Modinat2015
Grass & Blue Skies (Tacoma,WA) ©Modinat2015

Been a chore maintaining the electronic version of this journal!

It has been a lot easier and handier to marshal & journal my thoughts the old fashioned way – via pen and paper :). In my angst of realizing that the past 2 years haven’t been involved with aforementioned pursuits, I forgot that a contributing factor to the disruption of my routine, is that I have been in the midst of 2 simultaneous life events.

  1. Moving across the country with 2 cats to a new unknown environment. To,
  2. Start a new job in a new arena/sector.

It is no wonder that the same cadence utilized for my professional and creative pursuits was disrupted/interrupted.

Easy to get lost in trying to re-establish a new cadence to my various activities, as a result,  lose sight of accomplishments that have occurred. Achieved ASQ Six Sigma Black belt level certification in October 2013. The activities and preparations that preceded this major professional accomplishment are all a blur now looking back :). It is a wonder I kept my wits about me to get this done!!!

The effects of these life events on the rest of everything else were underestimated and unexpected :). Good grounding and learning experiences however. Personal exposure to change enables me to have a more sensitive approach during change management initiatives. Realization that contributing factors to change can sometimes be not as apparent, visible (in fact be underlying and not as easily accessible to help switch the change dial). Time and due diligence, using emotional intelligence especially where people are involved would help to uncover and resolve any inhibiting factors to change!

Year End Reflection: 2014!

The PACE of the private sector versus public sector and the challenge of adjusting.

Pace = the rate at which decisions, initiatives, projects, actions, goals, objectives are accomplished.

Come from a background driven customer requirements, needs, voice; shareholder expectations; quarterly, semi-annual, annual goals (strategy); market-share; competition (within & without the organization); 24/7 global multicultural environment; deadline driven. Palpable sense of urgency to get things done (do them right the first time – there might not be a second opportunity to get it right!).

New environment has a slower rhythm. Very palpable lack of urgency – the cause for my challenge. I was still operating on a corporate global driven cadence. Translates into how I conducted meetings, facilitated teams, managed projects & stakeholders. Conflict naturally arose – feedback of “We are not Google / Amazon!” in response to me pointing out lackluster attempts of executing strategic plans.

Lots of lessons learned – I have to adjust my cadence to match the pace of the organization. Failure to accomplish this would result in frustration, being excluded / marginalized, becoming a “squeaky wheel” – which would impact the value I am trying to bring to the organization (throw baby out with bath water comes to mind 🙂 ). I will use this Ah-Ha to better evaluate future opportunities – is this the right environment for me? Can I adjust my pace? Does the Culture of the Organization support what I have been hired to do? Would I be able to adapt & adjust to this new environment in order to successfully accomplish goals & achieve success?

I have been contemplating, cogitating, pondering, musing about this topic for quite some time. How to prevent passion, zeal, the relentless pursuit for excellence from turning into the squeaky wheel that must be silenced/marginalized/uninvited/eliminated?

The brave world of the Quality Practitioner :)…