Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Dissecting ASQ’s Mission

In July 2014 I wrote a blog post asking the new ASQ CEO Bill Tony to clarify ASQ’s vision because it was pretty murky as to where ASQ is heading.  This month, incoming ASQ Chair Pat La Londe talks about the ways ASQ is moving forward in executing its mission.  I also found enlightening Dan Zrymiak’s critique of Pat’s blog post. 
Maybe it’s me, but I have a different take of Mission, Vision, and Values.  I was taught that an organization’s vision is what they strive to be and the mission is the how the organization executes the vision.  The values are the things that an organization will not compromise in its path on executing the mission.   Vision is aspirational, Mission is clarity, and Values are the bedrock from which to move. 
ASQ’s Mission:  To increase the use and impact of quality in response to the diverse needs of the world.
Sounds more like a vision statement to me. It’s funny, but on the same web page that contains the ASQ Mission and Vision statement I found a more executable and clarifying Mission Statement: "… provide local access to the quality community, career development, credentials, knowledge, and information services related to quality" (italicized words are my addition).   Although this statement was attributed to the ASQ Global offices, I would think that the ASQ Leadership would be extremely happy if this were done by all member units of the society. 
Let’s go a little deeper in what Pat is presenting. 
·         ASQ is aligned and united to grow and advance the Global Quality Community.  Unfortunately, that is not true. As much as ASQ HQ want this to be true, the devil is in the details and ASQ HQ has to go a LONG way before the field is in sync with HQ.  I commented about this relationship in my March 2015 post.  Sometime bureaucracy gets in the way of collaboration and ASQ HQ and ASQ Global needs to find a happy medium to get in sync.
·         ASQ is committed to and investing in member value, this year and beyond.  This is long overdue. The great challenge is that ASQ does not have a rising revenue stream that creates the ability to provide member value through technology.   HQ does not have web page designers or website experts that allow the development of a member-friendly web presence so the society gets what it gets.  HQ personnel are interested in expanding the use of technology; the dollars just aren’t there to do everything the society needs.
·          ASQ in 2015 has its challenges, yet is responding, evolving and adapting, to ensure our members’ and customers’ success in a rapidly changing, competitive, global environment. Again, my opinion, but I think this is code for “US membership is declining dramatically; international membership needs to increase significantly if the society is going to survive in the future.”
Unfortunately, what is not addressed is how we are going to win the hearts and minds of leaders to accept quality as a VALUE rather than a governance characteristic.  There is no strategy to address the Quality Body of Knowledge as standard curriculum in MBA or other academic leadership programs.  To their credit, ASQ is initiating a “Young Leaders” program to develop future corporate leader. I see that more as a flight of fancy rather than something that will be truly lasting.   
There is a lot of work to be done.  Unfortunately, the society still does not have a clear, actionable mission statement that can be easily translated and accepted by member units her in the US and globally.  So, if you were new to ASQ, what would you think of the Society’s mission statement?  Would you partner with us?

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