2019 conferences (speaking, judging, volunteering)…

Alas, the time has come to prep for 2019’s professional activities. Inbox held several call-to-action messages about submitting proposals for conferences, participating on judging panels, hosting workshops, continuous improvement training – coaching… The past week was spent delving into my brain-space, recalling-reliving past experiences and sorting through suitable content.

These ‘calls-to-action’ provide opportunities to contribute, learn-share lessons learned and best practices (invaluable continuous improvement channels).

I was a speaker in 2017 during the ASQ Lean and Six Sigma conference in Phoenix, AZ – session topic: “Selling Lean and Six Sigma (Securing Buy-In)”. Session was well received and this encouraged me to respond/submit a proposal for the ASQ 2019 Lean & Six Sigma conference. Submission follows (notification of proposal acceptance/not is pending…):

Focus Area: The Human Side of Lean and Six Sigma
Presentation Level: Intermediate
Presentation Audience: Manufacturing, Service/Transactional Delivery, Healthcare, Government

Learning Outcomes:

  • Process improvement cannot happen without human engagement – showcase examples of Toolkit expansion beyond LSS methodology (change management, Scrum, emotional intelligence).
  • Examples of human element aspects: tribes within organizations (Stages 1-5), personality traits (DISC, Myers-Briggs), adult learning pointers…
  • What it means to have Quality Practitioners Neutrality!

Presentation Summary: This session is coming from how a Quality Practitioner tackled the human side of LSS. To secure buy-in, the goal of the conversations Quality Practitioners have with stakeholders is to reassure them that process improvement (organizational excellence) is not personal, a witch hunt, blame game, etc. – it is about the processes and systems of how organizations run. It doesn’t take too long to see that the root causes to why LSS methodology is needed stems from human team dynamics, management-leadership engagement or lack thereof, conflicts due to resources allocation, etc.

The following become consistently clear:
– conversation to gain buy-in from stakeholders for LSS is akin to being invited into someone’s home (involves trust, safe environment, comfort = all human tendencies);
– LSS is surrounded by humans – humans work the processes, processes develop the services & products for humans;
– organizational optimization|excellence will not & does not happen without the recognition & resolution of human element issues.

With the above in mind, in order for me to be an effective Quality Practitioner, needed to expand my Toolkit beyond LSS methodology to include skills tailored to effective human engagement and ultimately achieving project goals and sustaining results.

Toolkit enhancement has included:
– change management (Prosci method): the people side of change is a crucial factor to consider and address
– social responsibility learnings led to discovering organizational tribes (Stages 1-5), the art of influencing
– human personality types (DISC, Myers-Briggs) – awareness that humans are not all the same. Caution: like all good things intent can become negative – in this instance leading to labels which can have the opposite & negative effects
– emotional intelligence: adjusting communication to audience, scanning the audience for reception (reading body language), active listening, empathy, meeting people where they are (define this)

Conclusion: Most of the time it is not personal :=) It is about maintaining neutrality so that goals can be achieved. Quality Practitioners are looked upon to resolve issues that impact multiple stakeholders with often times conflicting needs & requirements. The impact & effect of the Human Element should not be underestimated.

Presentation Description: This session is coming from how a Quality Practitioner tackled the human side of LSS. It doesn’t take too long to realize that the root causes to why LSS methodology is needed stems from human team dynamics, management-leadership engagement or lack thereof, conflicts due to resources allocation, etc. The following become consistently clear:
– conversation to gain buy-in from stakeholders for LSS is akin to being invited into someone’s home (involves trust, safe environment, comfort = all human tendencies);
– LSS is surrounded by humans – humans work the processes, processes develop the services & products for humans;
– organizational optimization|excellence will not & does not happen without the recognition & resolution of human element issues. With the above in mind, in order for me to be an effective Quality Practitioner, needed to expand my Toolkit beyond LSS methodology to include skills tailored to effective human engagement and ultimately achieving project goals and sustaining results. Toolkit enhancement has included: change management, social responsibility learnings, human personality types, emotional intelligence!

Conference Inclusion (justification): The Human Element is at the core of “why & how we do what we do”- any insight into this complex topic should be included!

Categorization: Lean and Six Sigma

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I also applied to be a preliminary judge for the ASQ ITEA 2018-2019 program. Based on the experiences from my participation in 2016 and 2017, I expect to be thoroughly challenged & grow exponentially from almost 3 days of intense training, teaming and application of ASQ ITEA standards :). Notification on application status pending…

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Lots of cogitation happening in my head – some make it to hand written notes in journal, on post-its, scraps of paper, ideas board, notes function on my mobile phone. However, none of this content is making it to this platform :). Not going through a dry spell per se, but change is definitely in the air. On the crossroad contemplating which path to follow. Feelings of creativity stifled (in retrospect this has been insidiously happening for a while) which I am realizing is very much tied to ability to creatively brainstorm, resolve problems, engage, contribute…

Current status is not acceptable or sustainable. As a quality practitioner, this is invaluable experience. It brings to life that the struggle (change) is real!!! This is sure to successfully fuel stakeholder engagement, project-initiatives management, etc. all leading to achieving goals & objectives.

Change is imminent!…

2017 Year in Review (RECAP) – Part 1

This incredible year’s experiences and activities began in May 2016 (the beginning of a period I called “Sabbatical”). Sabbatical in the sense that I needed time off to regroup in every sense of the word – in retrospect professionally, emotionally, physically. There was no time limit or plan – the focus was to heal and rejuvenate. Not as easy to do as I thought LOL – I found it a real bugger to shutoff, winddown, tune out!!! It took about 3 months to be okay about not being on a schedule but once this state was achieved, it was the most liberating state I could have gifted myself!

blogPicDec2017Now that 2018 has begun, I find myself recapping the events of 2017. The Quality Practitioner related ones I will recap in 2 posts (Part 1 & 2).

One of my goals for this time-off was to reset the ways & means of advocating for Quality practices (completely burnt out by April 2016). Mid-2016 to the end of 2017 was spent attending conferences, facilitating workshops, speaking about OpEx, attending numerous webinars, volunteering for a few nonprofits, pursuing certification in Social Responsibility improvement and more. Aim: continuous improvement of my Quality Practitioner Toolkit!

Presenting at conferences is especially affirming, challenging, intellectually rewarding. These are some of the things that go into it:

  1. The conference itself (Quality, Social Responsibility, Healthcare…).
  2. The theme & focus areas e.g. 2017 ASQ WCQI was “Grow Your Influence”: Risk & Change, Quality Fundamentals, Focus on the Customer…
  3. Review of my Toolkit and experiences and what I would love to share.
  4. Develop PROPOSAL with the above and the audience (potential attendees) in mind.
  5. Await response of acceptance or rejection of proposal.
  6. Acceptance (YAY) – now to flesh out, develop presentation (based on presentation guidelines set by the conference organizers) and send in for review and approval of presentation content.
  7. Once presentation content is approved, move on to prepping for presentation delivery. Practice! Practice! Practice! 1-hour timeslot, I aim for 40 minutes delivery – 20 minutes audience participation, Q & A – 5 minutes wrap up
  8. All the above is done with the audience in mind. The goal is to facilitate a sharing, participating, interactive session.

*List of conferences et al will be posted before the New Year…

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…!

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!