Another opportunity to stretch Toolkit!

picToday I received notification that workshop abstract submitted for the MUSC  (Medical University of South Carolina) 2017 Lean Six Sigma Healthcare Symposium was accepted by the Symposium Abstract Review Committee!

Abstract“Interactive Spaghetti Diagram (QI Starts with Awareness)” – an educational workshop (interactive audience participation).

To think that a few weeks ago I almost deleted the call-to-action email as spam!!!

For the past year, my responses to the “calls to action” seeking proposals for conferences and events, have provided invaluable opportunities for me to learn, share, contribute and be challenged.

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Brief: Spaghetti Diagram is a Lean tool that showcases the flow of materials, information and people through a process. It helps to identify waste in movement, transportation, motion and waiting. Tool is typically used in the Define, Measure, Analyze phase of the DMAIC process.

This Workshop is an engaging, innovative, interactive way of using a visual management tool to demonstrate the NEED for AWARENESS when it comes to Quality-Process Improvement.

Awareness sets the stage for Mindfulness which leads to better team dynamics (reduced conflicts = faster more effective & sustained solutions).

15 minutes: A generic floor map is provided | Volunteers from the audience (5x) |Assigned numbers, colored markers & instructions | Flow is generated on the floor map.

15 minutes: Discussion based on the activities from above (audience participation).

15 minutes: Q&A

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Notification: Speaker 1st ASQ European Conference

Received notification today. Proposal submission to the 1st ASQ European Conference was accepted.

Topic: “Achieving Effective Communication in the Age of Social Media!”

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Focus Area: Leadership & Management

What Level of Expertise Does your Session Target? : Basic

Who is your Target Audience? :  Managers of Quality Systems

Learning Objectives:
– List the 4 segments targeted for effective communication.
– Describe the various types of communication channels.
– Describe and use Quality Tools that aide in achieving effective communication.

Description:
Communication is a means of connecting people or places. It is an imperative, crucial, critical (important does not quite cover it) component to any endeavor, interaction, relationship, undertaking, initiative. Communication MUST be agile in nature, even if organizational improvement activities are sluggish. All channels within & outside of an organization must be “catered to” (traditional / electronic).
Gone are the days when control over information was the domain of the communications departments! Social Media is King whether we like it or not. Information real or otherwise can circumnavigate the world in a few clicks resulting in loss of reputation, impact to bottom-line, loss of customers, incredible promotion of goods & services or condemnation of same. Agility is key i.e. responsive, in front of issues (not “head in sand”), proactive. Therefore, Communicating Effectively to Customers, Stakeholders, Management, Executive Leadership (segments) is crucial.
Session will define these segments, how they relate & impact Quality Management and the Quality Tools that aide in achieving, providing (catering to) effective Communication!

– PURPOSE OF SESSION –
– Session will define crucial segments, how they relate & impact Quality Management;
– The various channels for effective communication;
– The appropriate Quality Tools that aide in achieving, providing (catering to) effective Communication.

– SUMMARY OF SESSION –
– INTRODUCTION –
Definition of Communication: “Two-way process of reaching mutual understanding, in which participants not only exchange (encode-decode) information, news, ideas and feelings but also create and share meaning. In general, communication is a means of connecting people or places. In business, it is a key function of management–an organization cannot operate without communication between levels, departments and employees.” (www.businessdictionary.com)

(1)
Communicating Effectively to these segments: Customers, Stakeholders, Management, Executive Leadership

1. Customers
– Who?
– Relation to QM?
– Impact on QM

2. Stakeholders
– Who?
– Relation to QM?
– Impact on QM

3. Management
– Who?
– Relation to QM?
– Impact on QM

4. Executive Leadership (the buck stops here (allocate/approve budgets, resources, set Culture, etc.)
– Who?
– Relation to QM
– Impact on QM

(2)
– Channels of Effective Communication – * Define the channels (what, examples, how used)
All channels within and outside of the organization must be “catered to”. Channels (traditional / electronic):
Traditional:
a. In-person
b. Telephone
c. Mail (letters)

Electronic:
a. Email
b. Web (Chat/IM)
c. Social Media/Networks: Facebook, Twitter, Discussion Boards

(3)
With the above in mind, how can one get a grip on communicating effectively? Quality Practitioners have several tools at their disposal that can be used to address communication needs/requirements. Every initiative would benefit from their use:

a. Communication Plan= matrix of Target Audience, Message, Delivery Type, Frequency (Cadence), Owner (Responsible), Objectives, Notes

b. Stakeholder Analysis= identification of individuals/groups to affect or be affected by an action – sorting according to impact on and of the action.

c. Voice of Customer via Quality Function Deployment= defining customer needs or requirements and translating them into specific plans to produce products to meet those needs.

d. Project Management Dashboards= central, real time, display of organization/operations/projects performance.

* Elaborate on the above with: what the tool is, purpose, benefits/why, how it aides in Communication, sample (image)

– CONCLUSION –
Agility is key i.e. stay in front of issues (not “head in sand”), being proactive and acknowledge outreach. The proper use of the appropriate Quality Tools will go a long way to ensure that effective communication is given to all the relevant segments!

– AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION / INTERACTIVE –
Invite attendees to share how they are addressing the Communication component with: Customers, Stakeholders, Management, Executive Leadership

– Q & A –

 

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 🙂

 

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Yikes!!! No pressure, eh 😉

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 :).

 

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 :).

Lessons Learned Abound…

Been on a year long hiatus from journaling. I’ve missed making my thoughts visible – so much in the mind one can’t easily convey thoughts, revelations, aspirations, lessons, etc. Thoughts and words juggling for release from a mind cluttered with thoughts and words. This blog will be the continuation of my Project Management Journal. The focus here would be on Quality Management moments. Precious “lessons learneds” realized through the consulting, facilitation, project leading, team mentoring, team coaching moments. It feels great to be back in the “flow” again – pray it isn’t lost again 🙂

Quality Management word associations.

Quality Management word associations.