#WCQI17 – Time for Replenishment!

The 2017 American Society for Quality (ASQ) World Conference on Quality and Improvement took place this week (April 29 – May 3).

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This is an annual opportunity for me to replenish the “Quality Kool-Aid”! This event singularly resets and re-calibrates my mindset, toolkit, outlook and joy for all things Quality.

Something new this year, I signed up to be a Site Committee Volunteer. Duties entailed 8 hours of work to include session room monitor (attendee & speaker assistance), manning an information desk. Options were given to select the sessions we were interested in. I opted for sessions selection as well as being placed where ever assistance was needed.
Back-end view provided an invaluable opportunity to glimpse the immense amount of work & resources that go into the planning & execution of a world conference. ASQ being ASQ means that top-notch effort was exercised. For instance, volunteers vetted via online customer service training & quiz, 1 hour onsite in-person training, always with the request to provide feedback to inform continuous improvement of the process (talk about walking the talk, eh?).
Compulsion to provide the best customer service and contribute positively to the attendees experience. Volunteers were required to wear blue ASQ branded vests (on shift) – this provided a great opportunity to identify, chat and connect with fellow volunteers.

Looking back on my WCQI conference experiences since I started attending in 2011, I realized that my reasons for attending & takeaways have shifted over time (to coincide with my Quality experience maturity).

A few years ago it was all about voraciously gobbling up Quality knowledge i.e. fundamentals and foundation such as getting to know DMAIC (phases and the appropriate tools). Nowadays, it is about how to apply & utilize the abundance of acquired knowledge. I’m especially drawn to lessons learned and project report-out sessions (project experiences such as what worked/not, conflicts & resolution, team & project management, resources allocation, dealing with buy-in, etc). The opportunity to connect with fellow Quality Practitioners is priceless!

See you in Seattle, WA for ASQ WCQI 2018 (#WCQI18). Hope to share conference with friends based on the West Coast who were unable to attend this year!

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New Year. Transitioning into Post Sabbatical phase…

I took some much needed time-out to regroup, rejuvenate, reflect, review & rehash lessons learned. This week has been chuck full of professional affirming activities: Women in Data Science meetup, speaking engagement at the local ASQ Raleigh Six Sigma group, Prosci webinar and potential next step opportunity to wrap up the week!

These activities have been nectar to jump starting my post 8-month sabbatical transition 🙂

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To continue the post sabbatical momentum, I am speaking at the 2017 Lean and Six Sigma conference on February 27. Session: M16.  Topic: Selling Lean and Six Sigma (Securing Buy-In). I hope content stimulates robust discussion by the attendees. Looking forward to the opportunity to learn & share!

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2017 is shaping up to be a full-on year on many, many levels. It will be anything but boring/predictable. Bring it on…

Post ASQ ITEA Preliminary Judging Experience…

About the award: ASQ’s International Team Excellence Award is the world’s premier team recognition program—awarding achievements in improved performance in businesses
of all sizes.

 

Day 1 On-Site ITEA Criteria training:

We were split up into 4 teams – each team had a mix of new and experienced judges (my team had 7 people). Site Judge (Head Trainer) reviewed the agenda for the 2 days. There was a quiz to determine knowledge of the ITEA Criteria. The feeling of signing up for such a daunting-highly responsible task persisted for the 1st half of the day. There is no way I would be able to do this! I didn’t have a comprehensive insight into what an ITEA Judge would be doing (despite all the copious amount of material the Pre-Work section had entailed). I couldn’t let down the Teams that had submitted their presentations for review & scoring!
Experienced team members were very reassuring, supportive, empathic and instructive in clarifying the ITEA Criteria. By the end of Day 1, I was feeling more confident about my ability to apply the Criteria.
Looking forward to Day 2 when the scoring of actual presentations would begin…

Day 2 Preliminary Judging:

Our team had 2 presentations to score. Teamwork & Communication skills came into play. Ability to work successfully together – open mind, listening to each other, being respectful, speaking up to clarify position, ability to collaborate & arrive at consensus, sharing the load (dividing up Feedback content amongst the team). Time management was also used to ensure that we scored and arrived at the Feedback phase for each presentation, before we left for the day.

My takeaway from the experience:

Renewed confidence in my ability to undertake new & challenging opportunities (doing something completely foreign that I didn’t have any previous reference). Learned and came to appreciate, immersing myself into uncertain, uncomfortable, apprehensive situations (periodically) is a great way to sharpen-test-expand my Toolkit (jolt to a complacent mindset!).
As with any ASQ related activity, this was an invaluable opportunity to meet, collaborate, learn and share with other Quality Practitioners 🙂 – PRICELESS!

Notification: Speaker @ 2017 Lean and Six Sigma Conference!

I received an email today, notifying me that my proposal was accepted to present at the 2017 Lean and Six Sigma Conference in Phoenix, AZ on Feb 27-28, 2016!!!!!!!! Wow!

The title of my presentation is: Selling Lean and Six Sigma (Securing Buy-In). I will start fine tuning my PowerPoint slides in September and aim to submit final version in October. Looking forward to having an interactive lessons learned session with attendees!

I am still on sabbatical (i.e. not working) but my Quality Practitioner activities are very much alive and kicking. My interests are leading to uncharted professional areas. I am getting some invaluable opportunities to stretch my knowledge, skill-sets and tool-kits. So empowering and rewarding to put my brain to use 🙂

How Things Have Changed…!

One of the ways that I decompress is by watching Brit Comedies. I grew up watching these classics Steptoe & Son, Only Fools & Horses, Dad’s Army, Are You Being Served, Only When I Laugh, Father Ted, Bless Me Father, One Foot in The Grave and so many more…

On deck is a comedy set in the 1970s. There is a scene in which blood was taken – no gloves were worn and a cotton swab was applied to the injection site afterwards. Fast forward to present day, health and safety practices involve the use of very stringent procedures & guidelines. At the very least gloves are mandatory, all the way up to the use of safety suits, safety goggles when it comes to bodily fluids and potentially infectious contagion.

TV programs reflect and are sometimes based on reality. In that moment, I was struck by how far the health prevention field had evolved.

We do, we try, we learn from, we modify-adjust-change AND repeat. 🙂

Selling Lean and Six Sigma (Securing Buy-In) — title of proposal submission

2017 Call for Proposals: Leading the Culture of Excellence Through Lean and Six Sigma

2017 Lean and Six Sigma Conference | Feb 27-28, 2017 | Phoenix, AZ

So I crafted the response below for the Lessons Learned session. Content is based on my experiences over the years as it relates to achieving organizational excellence. it was like a purge LOL (Quality Practitioners can understand what that is like). An opportunity to reflect, relate, ponder, evaluate, grow, laugh, cry, rejoice!

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” Quality Practitioners spend a lot of time within their organizations, seeking BUY-IN for the adoption, implementation and utilization of Lean & Six Sigma methodology. Despite well publicized, validated and proven benefits from Lean and Six Sigma methods, BUY-IN for adoption-utilization of Lean and Six Sigma is still elusive! Organizations of all types are still struggling to achieve missions, visions, goals, and objectives. Achieving organizational and operational excellence is dependent on taking a thoughtful, mindful approach to how organizations operate. Lean and Six Sigma methods provide this approach. As such, it is CRUCIAL for BUY-IN to exist as it forms the foundation for the use of Lean and Six Sigma.
Session will provide valuable insights, lessons learned, cautions and examples on how to secure and maintain BUY-IN within organizations. Takeaways will include:
– How to build/establish organizational relationships.
– How to demystify Lean and Six Sigma!
– How to get on the “invited” list
– Crucial component: Leadership and BUY-IN.
– How to sustain BUY-IN.
Audience participation is encouraged (share your experiences).”

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Here goes – push send and see if my proposal is accepted…

Working Our Way Out of a Job…!

During a team meeting some years ago, a teammate made this statement “We are working our way out of a job!”. I was at the beginning of my Quality journey so this statement was especially jarring! The teammate had 30 years of Six Sigma experience to back up this claim. My reaction of course was horror – how can this be, Quality is inherent in everything, how can the Quality professional be disposable (LOL – I can now laugh at my reaction).

Fast forward to now… Reflecting on that jarringly significant moment this is how the statement has evolved for me:

  • In my freshman Quality frame of mind, this statement meant making myself indispensable to my clients – showing how valuable I can be to their organizations.
  • In my junior-senior Quality phase, statement meant that it is okay to move on to other opportunities to collaborate.

Hopefully I have:

  • Been successful in sharing, learning, collaborating, participating with my clients in the various initiatives geared towards excellence and achieving organization goals & objectives.
  • Brought value by relieving pain-points, resolving conflicts, streamlining processes, improving the bottom line, embedded the practice of using data-based decision making, improved the customer experience.

Overall, my contributions might evolve to a more strategic advisory resource not so much in the thick of it because like raising nurturing caring of a wee-one, our teams have become self-facilitating. Brings to mind a line from the Nanny McPhee movie, “When you don’t want me you need me, when you want me you don’t need me!”. Project leading & ownership has been transferred back to the organization. Evolution could even involve relocating elsewhere so that the journey of ‘Teach a man to fish’ vs. ‘Give a man a Fish’ can begin anew :).