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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Customer Experience (CX) revisited…

Not so much revisited as called-out from my continuous improvement activities (operations-organizational excellence advocacy). My project management roots originated from developing and carving out end user fulfillment (returns, exchanges, refunds) within a global operations juggernaut (IBM). Fun times!

Most of my lessons-learned from this period is the basis for my Voice of Customer advocacy. I cannot separate this tendency from my OpEx leanings. These CX thoughts led to this summation of me in response to evaluation of my CX skillset (contributions):

  • Staunch Voice of Customer advocate, facilitator and process (systems) developer – multiple cross-functional engagements with Sales, Manufacturing-Supply Chain Services, IT, HR, etc.
  • Experienced as the bridge between the Customer and the organization (helping organizations connect the dots for the customers they have invested so much in acquiring).
  • Skilled at developing organization relationships which form the basis for penetrating and shifting siloed cultures.
  • Expert at process (systems) evaluation, assessment, optimization and re-engineering.
  • Champion of the “outside-in” approach to process (systems) improvements for “moments of truth” i.e. customer touch points.
  • Hands-on experience planning & deploying strategy i.e. from high level to tactical (daily tasks).

The journey continues…

 

 

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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Making Peace – Moving Forward!

I’ve been feeling blocked (lack of a more appropriate word) the past few months as it relates to the search for the past few months as it relates to the search for a new Quality role. Hesitating each time it comes to updating CV. Why the hesitation? Severe distaste contemplating undertaking the tedious song and dance that is the present job search process. SIGH!!!

Once one goes through the search experience, now comes the battle for the use and adoption  of Quality methods in order to achieve excellence-realize organization’s strategy (goals & objectives). Alas, therein lies the underlying reasons for hesitation!!! Going through it all only to face the crushing letdown of rejection i.e. What happens if the organization you have been selected to assist does not support what you are bringing to the table (meaning Tool-kit)? Rejection is what it is and it is a very difficult place to recover from.

One of the methods for recovery is taking a break to re-evaluate, reflect, recharge, return to center (highly recommended). My sabbatical period to date has been 8 months – spent pursuing arts & crafts projects (achieved bucket-list of learning how to pottery wheel  – a great way to let go of anal retentive tendencies and go with the flow – literally!!!), professional development activities (speaking-presenting at conferences, meetings, etc.) and hundreds of hours spent in reflection, contemplating and anticipating next steps and how to deal-handle rejection of my Tool-kit.

In a sea of unknown, I am sure that being a Quality Practitioner is a vocation that I LOVE GREATLY!!!. A lot is unknown (next organization) but KNOWN is my passion and core filter of CARE & NURTURE. Which translates into:

  • Doing & contributing my very best;
  • Following-Up and Following-Through!;
  • Guiding and Mentoring along the way.

Therefore, I will take the strength to deal with whatever comes from my core filter: Care & Nurture!

So bring it on – let the Human Element tendencies begin… 🙂

Grass & Blue Skies (Tacoma,WA) ©Modinat2015

Grass & Blue Skies (Tacoma,WA) ©Modinat2015

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 😉

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!