About This Blog

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.

Monday, December 31, 2012

WCQI Program - So Many Choices, So Little Time

The Program for the upcoming WCQI 2013 is now available online.  This is a very impressive selection of compelling speakers and interesting topics.

    SessionNumber SessionTitle
Taz Daughtrey ISE02 (Software) Software Reliability Engineering Contributions to Software Security
Ron Snee ICQI 06 Creating Stable Operations: A Systems Approach
Prashant Hoskote ICQI 07 Implementing an Enterprise-wide Quality Management System
Deborah Hopen M05 When David Has to Satisfy Goliath
Lori Dellinger M10 Navigating a Multigenerational Workforce
Duke Okes ICQI 12 4 + Uses for SIPOC
Eric Michrowski M20 Social Media: Key Opportunities for Quality Professionals
Linda Westfall ISE05 (Software) Panel: Software is Everywhere - and How to Live With It
Taz Daughtrey ISE05 (Software) Panel: Software is Everywhere - and How to Live With It
Jd Marhevko ICQI 16 Driving a Quality/Lean Steering Committee
David Walker ISE06 (Software) Leveraging the CMMI to Pursue Excellence in Software Development
Burton Liebesman ICQI 19 Linked Quality and Financial Case Studies
Denis Devos T14 Creating a Lean Culture at Ecolab
Linda Westfall ISE08 (Software) Risk-based Configuration Control  Balancing Flexibility With Stability
Connie Borror ICQI 21 Seven Super Tools for Healthcare Improvement
Tracy Owens ICQI 23 Innovation Live!!!
Grace Duffy ICQI 24 Use a School of Fishbones for Process Improvement
Elizabeth Cudney ICQI 25 Continual Improvement in Large Health Networks
Ron Meier ICQI 28 Implementing Enterprise-wide Risk Management
Lars Sorqvist W13 Cross-functional Support Process Management
Peter Merrill W18 Collaborating for Creativity and Change

I have drafted an initial Itinerary for myself, but as one can observe, there are many schedule conflicts.Having been a member of multiple divisions, committees, and peer groups, I have had the opportunity to cross paths with some very impressive practitioners.  While the list above represents a small fraction of the speakers, I can personally attest to having collaborated or partnered with them in the course of my ASQ involvement.  While some are peers and "fellow travelers", others have been inspirational mentors to me and would be valuable resources with whom to gain additional insights.

In creating this list for myself, I really find myself at a loss of which individuals to select for attendance.  While I believe that all are deserving of my time and attention, I also have to consider which would reinforce areas which I already know, compared to which topics would effectively stretch and expand my professional knowledge.

This list includes selections from WCQI, ICQI, and ISE, and I am very proud to have previously had the privilege to speak at all three of these conferences in 2011 and 2012.  The interesting thing is that I have drafted an itinerary solely on the basis of being acquainted with the individual; there are so many more options for a conference attendee to partake and enjoy.

I have listed below how I am acquainted with the selected speaker.  In all cases, their interactions with me were positive and impressive, and I could vouch for the value they will deliver to conference attendees.

Taz Daughtrey (ASQ Fellow, ASQ Software Division editor and author, co-collaborator on upcoming ASQ Cost of Quality book)

Ron Snee (ASQ Fellow, IAQ Academician)

Prashant Hoskote (ASQ Quality Management Division Member-Leader)

Deborah Hopen (ASQ Quality Management Division award recipient)

Lori Dellinger  (ASQ Service Quality Division Chair, ASQ Committee Chair)

Duke Okes  (ASQ Quality Management Division Member-Leader)

Eric Michrowski  (Fellow Canadian - Vancouver resident)

Linda Westfall  (ASQ Software Division author and speaker - generously gave me one of her ASQ Press books in 2010 for attending her ISE session - a practice which I emulated in 2012)

Jd Marhevko (ASQ Fellow, ASQ Quality Management Division - Past Chair and Mentor) 

David Walker (ASQ Software Division - generously provided me with opportunity to address 2012 ISE)

Burton Liebesman   (ASQ Fellow, ASQ EEC Division Chair, ASQ Quality Management Division Technical Committee member - Mentor)

Denis Devos  (ASQ Fellow and Fellow Canadian - ASQ Quality Management Division Canadian Liaison)

Connie Borror (ASQ Fellow, past Division Chair)

Tracy Owens (ASQ Quality Management Division - Member-Leader)

Grace Duffy (ASQ Fellow, ASQ Quality Management Division - Past Chair and Mentor)

Elizabeth Cudney (IAQ Associate, ASQ Awards Committee (Feigenbaum Medallist) member)

Ron Meier (ASQ Quality Management Division - Member-Leader)

Lars Sorqvist (IAQ Academician, Vice-President)

Peter Merrill (ASQ Quality Management Division - Member-Leader; Canadian Quality Congress Keynote Speaker)

I have provided the connection to the speakers, which in turn can help anyone connected to me through Influential Voices or any of the ASQ initiatives in which I have been involved.  If there is a lesson to be reinforced it is this
- Get involved with the ASQ Divisions and ASQ Committees to obtain connections to influential and prestigious leaders in our profession.
- Aspire to be included in select groups (ASQ Fellow, International Academy for Quality) to entrench your international network.
- Support your peers and colleagues, and promote their successes.  If you believe that "A rising tide lifts all boats", you will benefit by positive association.

Enjoy 2013 - the best years of Quality are ahead and waiting to be realized.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Peace On Earth - Goodwill Towards All

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a joyful and fulfilling 2013.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The 5 Ps of Quality Career Rewards

If you're reading this, you are curious about how to fulfill the implicit promise from ASQ to obtain that RAISE.

CAUTION:  Any career advice is opinion only based on my unique experiences, and you should apply this at your own discretion.

I want to be careful because what has worked in my career is reflective of the economy that existed between 1991 and the present day.  As our economy is now characterized by automation, globalization, and financial uncertainty, every employee or contractor should primarily be concerned with retaining and preserving their ongoing commitments and connections to their employers or clients, and doing their level best to fulfill obligations and provide those valuable contributions which have always characterized quality practitioners throughout the years.

In deference to the "4P Alliteration" relating quality to marketing principles, I will provide some additional P's to organize my points, and support my conclusions.

1. Perspective

When evaluating your current situation, it is important to have a clear perspective and keep everything in balance.  If you allow your career or profession to define you, at the expense of family and other enjoyable pursuits, there is a risk of missing out on the rewards of a balanced and fulfilling life.  Work exists to sustain life, not the other way around.

Having expressed that sentiment, each person in our workforce owes their present position three conditions which, if violated, could affect their employability:
- Being independently trustworthy and productive in their role
- Working harmoniously and constructively with colleagues, partners, and customers
- Operating within their allotted budget

Before having the audacity to approach your boss or organization for a raise, ensure that you have a consistent track record and reputation of fulfilling these three basic principles.

When establishing perspective, also consider fair and ethical compensation, as part of social responsibility.  In this sense, if you have evidence that you are deliberately being under-compensated based on your gender, race, or illegal discrimination, I suggest that you consult with an attorney or mediator to obtain the proper expertise to resolve your situation.

2. Preparation

Before approaching your employer for a raise, it is important to prepare and understand the facts of your profession, your business, your industry, and your alternatives.  The negotiating reference, "Getting To Yes" introduces the term BATNA to help determine a Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement or contingency plan if the desired outcome does not occur.  Without a firm BATNA, the negotiation tactic can turn tragic, like Willy Loman in the play Death of a Salesman who drops his expectations from a raise to a desperate plea to retain his job.

3. Position

In most organizations, the salary range is reflective of the role and level of authority, and should incorporate market intelligence and competitive salaries for the same type of role.  Obtaining the raise often becomes a linear relationship where pay is increased with an expansion of the role or level.

There are additional considerations:
- Risk and reward:  An employee may obtain more opportunity for additional pay if they take on a greater portion of the business risk.  A typical example is found when a consultant becomes a partner in the firm, and shares in the investment, losses, and ultimately the gains and profits.
- Essential vs. Discretionary: In my career I have been in roles which were both essential to the core operations of the business and those which were termed as "nice-to-have".  In a particular case, I was performing quality on an innovative web banking product developed alongside a legacy banking solution.  When the web product did not obtain the sales to justify the product development costs, the program was substantially reduced, and resources were shifted to the "core" legacy product maintenance efforts.  If a business area is discretionary and at risk of reduction or cancellation, obtaining a raise would be less likely.
- Alliances and supporters: In addition to your own direct impact on the company, your work should have an accelerated impact or multiplier effect on other departments.  The greater the span of positive impact, the more effective would be the case to identify benefits supporting a raise.

4. Patronage

The fourth P is given from the viewpoint of the boss or organization, attempting to justify why an employee should obtain a raise.  The underlying condition is that giving the employee a raise aligns with the long-term strategic interest of the organization.  This should be distinguished from any gestures of social responsibility or charity, which may occur.  As an example, a firm may close its production facility during a low season, but continue to meet its payroll in order to preserve the financial stability of a community.

Before approaching your boss or organization for a raise, it is important to understand why raises would be provided.  I have listed some examples:
- Correct a demonstrated imbalance or shortfall.  This can occur if employees were hired before salary levels increased, and the old salary level has experienced employees paid less than the newcomers they are expected to train and mentor.
- Recognize an employee who has accepted, or will accept, additional workload and responsibilities.  This may sound positive but could actually be a source of employee abuse when the workload previously performed by multiple team members is bundled into the portfolio of a single employee.  I have personally observed on multiple occasions where I have left a role, only to have my individual workload spread across two or more successors.
- Retain a valued employee and/or preserve an essential skill set or knowledge base.  This goes beyond just hard work and best efforts to demonstrate that the capabilities of the employee align with the priorities of the organization.
- Reward exceptional performance beyond the expectations of the role and level.  This is easier to demonstrate at lower levels, but more difficult when advanced or senior roles come with higher expectations.

5. Personal Brand

Before making the pitch or delivering the case for your persuasion, it is important to ensure a reasonable and frequent series of interactions, in order to have a progressive ongoing dialogue.  While an aggressive and robust case may be more persuasive in the short term, it is important to support promises and claims with actions, success stories, and a consistent track record over time.  It is important to shift from infrequent "take it or leave it" discussions towards an ongoing valuation of your capabilities relative to the demands of the organization.

The current business trend is to build your Personal Brand.  While at first this seems selfish, it actually requires collaboration and constant feedback to refine and solidify the desired manner in which you want to be received and treated.

The 5 P's I have listed (Perspective, Preparation, Position, Patronage, and Personal Brand), will not guarantee a raise in 2013, but will provide awareness and enlightenment to both employee and supervisor.  The analytical approach will also identify potential gaps which may have been obstructing or diminishing your chances of getting raises to this point, and which correction could have beneficial outcomes.

As a final point, you should consider that stewards of an organization who are entrusted with shareholder capital are exhorted to spend or invest that money as if it were their own.  As a boss and hiring manager, I would only advocate for extraordinary raises if:
- I would be prepared to personally support the raise from my own money
- I would not be hesitant to have that subordinate make a higher salary than I was making
- I would be prepared to take a personal stand on the issue

If that compelling conviction was not in place, as a boss I would defer to the organization.  With that in mind, if you really want that raise beyond the normal pay and performance structure that your employer has set for your particular role and level, you must win over your leadership so that your cause becomes their cause, and through their personal advocacy and influence, you are able to benefit and reap the rewards of your quality career.