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!

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 :).