Thursday, May 11, 2017

ASQ: Moving ahead towards a foggy future—do we have a compass or oars?


I recently attended (April 29 – May 3) ASQ’s World Conference on Quality and Innovation (WCQI).  I include the April dates because the weekend before is what I consider the most important part of the conference:  the member leader oriented “Community Leader Institute (CLI)”.     As part of Saturday’s agenda, there was something called ITAG (Ideas to Action Group) which was spawned from a 2006 member leader revolt.  This is usually the venue where member leaders get to sound out on the direction of the Society.  Unfortunately, this year’s ITAG was directed towards how many times and ways we can say “TRANSFORM” and keeping to a schedule rather than anything substantive.
CEO Bill Troy has been putting out monthly messages about the process in which ASQ is “transforming.”  It must be an interesting process because it has been pretty small on details.   But we seem to be making progress because that is what Bill has been stating we have been doing.  This has been going on for about a year. 
The most telling question asked at ITAG was, “What is ASQ transforming to?”  The answer:  “We haven’t finished collecting the data yet, but we will know in June!”  It reminds me of that old military axiom, “Take that hill!”  “Which hill?”  “That one!”  The company runs up the wrong hill and takes needless casualties.
To my fellow volunteer leaders on the ASQ Board of Directors, let me offer a suggestion on what we need to transform to.  We need to be an organization that supports all the individual pieces of the organization as collective and not individual entities (silo mentality).  When was the last time that Corporate Development worked alongside member units to develop models where the objective of developing new enterprise members coincided with the needs of the member units.  How can we defeat the perception from member units that enterprise memberships drive away local membership?  How can we defeat the perception that ASQ Learning Institute takes away revenue opportunities from sections and divisions?
From ASQ Global, why are we not leveraging local talent in translating ASQ products?   Why is the HQ infrastructure so thin when the greatest opportunities for growth exist outside the US?  Besides country counselors, why are we not cross pollinating between ALL member units to get our word out?
Lastly, why are there so few corporate level quality professionals attending WCQI?  Why are there so few corporate level CEO’s/COO’s attending the conference?  I was taught that if the boss was interested in something, you better make sure you were.   Sounds to me like a compass direction we need to pursue. 
Bill, Eric, Elmer, I am tired of hearing the word TRANSFORM.  The mission of ASQ is not going to radically change as a 3M or DuPont or HP transforms.   What I and other member leaders want is leadership action and direction not promises of such.

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