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A QualitEvolution is intended to capture positions and experiences as a participant in the evolution of the Quality profession into the 21st century. From its origins as the brainchild of Corporate Industrial Statisticians, our profession has transformed and evolved to incorporate and adapt to the demands and expectations of our modern existence.

The scope of the subject matter within A QualitEvolution extends to the furthest ranges of quality, business transformation, management science, and quality issues especially pertinent to the members of ASQ in Canada.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Quality on Canada Day

As we enjoy Canada Day and celebrate the national holiday of Canada, recognizing our Confederation, Dominion and formation as a sovereign nation, I can't help but contemplate the unique nature of what could be termed as a Canadian approach to Quality.

In these turbulent and challenging times, Canadians have been protected from the financial and political turmoil that is appearing in other countries.  For a country founded on "peace, order, and good government", an approach emphasizing caution and moderation has served us well and shielded us from the excesses of our peers.  Looking ahead in 2012, my view is coloured with optimism and opportunity for myself and those around me.  (The word "Coloured" is intentionally spelled in the Canadian manner, not in the shorter Webster version "colored")

From my personal perspective, I view the role of the Quality function as being one that instills "Canadian values" within an organization.  Those ideals to which we aspire as professionals, namely quality and social responsibility, are very closely aligned with Canadian ideals.  While other nations celebrate generals and revolutionaries, Canadians recently voted in a poll to honor a dedicated political leader, Tommy Douglas, who used his executive power to legislate and deploy a public medical system.  In 1962, 50 years prior to the judicial debates on "Obamacare", Canadian citizens were already enjoying a prototype medical system that supported them in their times of need.  As our conservative columnist, Diane Francis, opined, a population that does not have to hoard its personal resources to shield itself for basic needs is more confident and capable to spend, invest, and support recovering economies.

As I reflect on my personal experiences with the American Society for Quality (a misnomer as ASQ is a truly international organization which includes Canada), I contemplate and question that a nation famous for "peace, order, and good government" is not more widely represented within this body.  Canadians have distinguished themselves as members, leaders, authors, conference participants, and award recipients.  However these contributions come with an international professional perspective in that when I write or speak, I do so primarily as a professional, with my distinct Canadian characteristics pushed to the background.  I believe that Canadians who strive and do well in their field of endeavour should wave their flag as a signal for other Canadians to step up, struggle and emerge. (Luctor et Emergo)

The emergence of Social Responsibility is a very positive development in that business enterprises are recognizing the financial benefits of sustainable operations - put another way "doing well by doing good".  Social Responsibility is not something found exclusively in the gemba of the factory floor, nor the engineering lab.  Social Responsibility is something that requires inclusion where diversity and cultural contributions are necessitated.  In this regard, the Canadian approach to multiculturalism provides many tangible lessons and experiences that can be shared and applied towards many positive outcomes.

I am proud to be a Canadian, but what does that truly convey?  I am not a Canadian because through a generous act of Providence, I reside on a particular land mass.  I am a Canadian because I live and project Canadian values and strive for peace, order, and good government with a lifestyle that extolls the virtues of caution and moderation.  I respect others and strive to earn their respect through merit and support of our mutual endeavors.  These values and ideals have allowed our country to be shaped by participants from every other nation in the world - truly an example of a global experiment.

A Canadian approach to Quality can be summarized with five key points:
- Our involvement is welcomed,
- Our credibility is accepted,
- Our contributions are valued,
- Our initiatives are supported,
- The outcomes of our efforts are trusted.

The name Canada was from a First Nations expression, "Welcome to the Village".  On those ideals, I salute my fellow Canadians (and Canadian Fellows (Fellow Members of ASQ)), and aspire to make the world more like a Canadian village characterized by peace, prosperity, optimism, and hope for the future.

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