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.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Walking With Steve Jobs Toward Improved Creativity

In an article within the "Financial Post" business section of the Canadian newspaper, the National Post, there is a very interesting article relating the benefits of walking to creative thought.

As cited within the caption, "Taking a long walk was Steve Jobs' preferred way to have a serious conversation".

This aligns with the ethic of "Management By Walking Around" (MBWA), which was promoted by the legendary Peter Drucker, reinforced by Tom Peters et. al, and translated into Japanese as the "3Gs" (Genga, Gengutsu, and Genjitsu, which translate into “actual place”, “actual thing”, and “actual situation”).

The Lean practice of "Going To The Gemba" supports the creativity of initiatives like Kaizen, not just because people are immersed in the environment where the actual work is performed, but the very act of walking stimulates the necessary creativity needed for problem solving and continuous improvement.

The article backed this up with historical and scientific references.  Intellectual icons like Charles Darwin, Friedrich Nietzsche, Charles Dickens, and Ludwig van Beethoven were referenced within the article as examples of historical figures whose tendency for long walks contributed constructively to their respective compositions and publications.

A recent study by Marily Oppezzo and Daniel Schwartz, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology in 2014, revealed the comparative results of participants when taking Guilford's Alternative Uses Test.  This is a test used to measure creative thinking by coming up with alternative uses for everyday items, and scoring these uses across multiple evaluation criteria: originality, fluency, flexibility, and elaboration.  A summary is provided below:


Guilford's Alternative Uses Task (1967)

(For more information, contact Gayle Dow, Indiana University)
In Guilford’s Alternative Uses Task (1967) examinees are asked to list as many possible uses for a common house hold item (such as s brick, a paperclip, a newspaper)


Name all the uses for a brick:

  1. A paperweight
  2. A doorstop
  3. A mock coffin at a Barbie funeral
  4. To throw threw a window
  5. To use as a weapon
  6. To hit my sister on the head with


Scoring is comprised of four components:

  1. Originality - each response it compared to the total amount of responses from all of the people you gave the test to. Reponses that were given by only 5% of your group are unusual (1 point), responses that were given by only 1% of your group are unique - 2 points). Total all the point. Higher scores indicate creativity*
  2. Fluency - total. Just add up all the responses. In this example it is 6.
  3. Flexibility - or different categories. In this case there are five different categories (weapon and hit sister are from the same general idea of weapon)
  4. Elaboration - amount of detail (for Example "a doorstop" = 0 whereas "a door stop to prevent a door slamming shut in a strong wind" = 2 (one for explanation of door slamming, two for further detail about the wind).
*You might have noticed that the higher fluency the higher the originality. This is a contamination problem and can be corrected by using a corrective calculation for originality (originality = originality/fluency).


The comparative results from the study showed an 81% increase in the creativity scores resulting from walking.  This is a remarkable outcome, which is supported by current business leaders like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Square's Jack Dorsey, who employ walking as a catalyst for deeper thinking and conversation.

I encourage everyone to walk and be mobile, not just for the inherent health benefits, but for the positive effects on creativity and composition.  This very article was composed following my habitual aerobic exercise on an elliptical trainer at a nearby YMCA.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Quality - Epiphany of Value, Purpose, and Function

The article by Brooks, referenced in View from the Q, uses terms like conversion and epiphany to describe the recognition and adoption of quality.  Deming is compared to the famous evangelist, Billy Graham.

My own conversion was at the feet of the Billy Graham of quality, Dr. W Edwards Deming. I had the great good fortune to attend six of his four-day seminars during the final years of his life, and even had some brief conversations with him. My conversion was literally an epiphany.

In this context, an epiphany can also refer to secular discoveries (i.e. Pythagoras and the 47th problem of Euclid (sum of squares in sides of right-angled triangle = square of hypotenuse a.k.a 3-4-5 unit right-angled triangle) or Archimedes (water displacement in the bathtub to measure volume, to which he cried "Eureka!").

A Quality Epiphany or "Eureka Moment" can be generated consistently in three ways:

- Demonstrating cost reductions by controlling losses and penalties by meeting and complying with requirements, regulations, and customer specifications.

- Projecting revenue expansions by increasing business opportunities and entry to new markets demanding higher levels of quality assurance and performance.

- Realizing improved operational efficiency and predictability by optimizing methods and practices to reduce waste, improve predictability, and increase capacity with existing resources.

How do we explain this in a simple and memorable manner?  I have an example below:

In response to the latest View from the Q posting, I wanted to provide a very simple and timeless explanation of Quality, from which more detailed explanations can be made to fully understand our profession.

To summarize:

- The PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) cycle is the core of all activities related to Quality, with the Quality function at the center point of all activities.

- The scope of the PDCA cycle (represented by the area within the circle) reflects the domain of the Quality function, and its influence within its parent organization

- The repetitive and continuous PDCA cycle (originating from Shewhart and popularized by Deming) reinforces the constant and perpetual progression from uncontrolled chaos to predictable ideals.

- The two parallel lines bordering the circle have different meanings.  The left line represents the minimum levels of compliance, conformity, and "good enough" quality.  The right line represents the desired state of having quality-driven breakthroughs, innovations, and extensions to the solution.

- The role and value of the Quality function can be shown visually in this context, as a way to continually perform PDCA-related actions to not only guarantee compliance and conformity, but to advance the organization toward competitive advantages.

- Imagine that the PDCA cycle is not only in continual motion, but is progressing along a maturity track from the boundary of minimal compliance toward the infinite possibilities of unlimited innovation and extensions.  Consider the progression of Honda over the last 50 years from scooters and outboard motors to vehicles and aircraft.

The best way to take this from theory to practice is to demonstrate quality in all of its forms (Lean, Inspection, Process Controls, Management Systems, Risk Management, Business Process Improvement etc.) and show where value and gains are added for the organization and the people involved.  

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Five Questions To a Solution

Five Questions To A Solution

As we advance in our organizations to leadership roles, we are approached to find solutions to a variety of situations.   I would like to share a protocol of five questions which I have adapted from my work with clients, as I help to transform their businesses.  This is a generic and simple method which can be applied to clarify a situation and support the determination of appropriate solutions.

1.       What are the Expectations?

This should precede any report or description, in order to help set the context for everyone involved.  It also should help to reveal whether the report or update is compatible with the standards of performance.  For example, if an ASQ Section provides a report of accounts, there should be expectations of a precise dollar amount, a period (last month, last quarter), and a way to validate an reconcile the expenses claimed with actual items received.  If the report is associated with a defined protocol (e.g. ASQ PAR > Performance Awards and Recognition), then some of those expectations have already been explicitly and objectively defined. 

Without clear expectations, then a report or update can take on varying forms and content.  With expectations, the report has references against which to demonstrate success or challenges.

2.       What Issues have been identified for resolution?

This summarizes what obstacles or obstructions are presently delaying or preventing the achievement or fulfillment of the intended actions.  Once raised and escalated, issues should be assigned or escalated so that they can be resolved.  By having a sense of the outstanding or open issues, a leader can prioritize what has to be fixed or corrected first, based on the impact that each issue has to overall success.

3.       What Risks show potential for a future problem?

Along with issues which have already occurred, risks can be identified predicting problems in the future.  This could be something like identifying a leaky roof on a sunny day, which while not damaging the building in the summer, could be devastating once rain and snow appear.  Rather than taking a pessimistic or negative view, risks should be elicited as a way to help improve or correct conditions or situations early before significant damage is done.  If the risk is not able to be mitigated and removed, then contingency plans should be made (i.e. tarp over the leaky roof, barrels on a scaffold to catch water that penetrates the leaky roof).

4.       What Decisions have resulted?

There should be more to a business meeting than eating lunch, drinking coffee, and determining the time and location of the next meeting.  If the right people are in attendance, then decisions are made.  These decisions should be recorded and kept on a register until they are fulfilled or implemented.  The decisions can be positive or corrective.  The health and vitality of the organization can be measured by the connection between decisions made and decisions successfully implemented. 

5.       What are the Action items?

A recommended practice is to highlight the action items, their owners (people accountable and responsible for completing the actions), and the expected completion dates (linking back to expectations).  The external dependencies should be considered with each action. 

So with these five items (Expectations, Issues, Risks, Decisions, Actions), member-leaders and participants can more objectively assess situations and progress toward solutions and fulfillment of good intentions.  If these items are captured and summarized, this information can be reviewed.  Strategic decisions can be made based on knowing and addressing these items.  Alternatively if there is no movement on these initiatives (i.e. Particular action goes for years without being completed), then it can be escalated or reassigned.

If member-leaders are receptive to this approach, then the interaction across committees, sections, regions, divisions, interest groups, and similar entities can be synthesized into a consistently constructive dialogue.  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

ASQ Vancouver Message

At the recent ASQ Vancouver Section meeting, I provided the following comments.


It is my pleasure to address ASQ Vancouver as the incoming Regional Director for ASQ Region 4, Canada.  As a Regional Director, I serve as a liaison between the ASQ sections in Canada and the ASQ Board and Section Affairs Council.  My role is to support the section chairs and member-leaders across Canada to provide a consistent and positive member experience. 

I am very proud to have been a member of ASQ Vancouver since the mid 1990s, nearly two decades ago.  The approach taken by ASQ Vancouver has some very positive attributes which I would like to see applied across Canada.  Specifically I would like to emphasize the following four characteristics: Member-value, Social, Development, and Community.

This is a priority for ASQ, and will be supported and reinforced by the adoption of the Performance Award and Recognition (PAR) program, which will be used to track and improve success in this area.  ASQ Vancouver has demonstrated value to members through its programs, tours, testimonials, hands-on examples, and lessons learned from those who live and drive Quality within their organizations.  ASQ members should perceive their relationship with ASQ as a loyalty program, where efforts and contributions can materialize into benefits and advantages.  I commit to working with our members and member-leaders to help realize these advantages and ensure a rewarding ASQ member experience.

While some are content to enjoy their ASQ membership remotely, there are many benefits to participating in the social elements of a professional organization like ASQ.
-          Social Involvement: The team-oriented approach and servant leadership mentality make ASQ a positive and encouraging organization to volunteer and participate.
-          Social Networking: ASQ Vancouver has distinguished itself as a leading participant on various networks including linkedin, facebook, and twitter.  According to ASQ HQ specialists, a strong internet presence actually draws in global participants and extends an international reach.
-          Social Events: This includes the meetings, tours, interactive presentations, breakfast sessions, and other initiatives which permit direct face-to-face networking.
-          Social Responsibility:  The Community Good Works program sponsored and supported by ASQ Vancouver is a tremendous example of the positive application of quality practices and principles toward the benefit of society.  According to a recent Globe and Mail article, leading companies in Canada have recognized that a Social Responsibility program is a positive differentiator when recruiting and attracting talent.

ASQ provides opportunities for development at multiple levels and perspectives:
-          Personal: Safe and supportive environment to develop as a member-leader, author, presenter, or project leader.
-          Professional: Through refresher courses, certifications, and credentials, ASQ supports the professional growth of its members and participants.
-          Career/ Business:  ASQ aids in the networking and connections needed for transitions or advancement

ASQ Vancouver and Region 4, Canada, is under-represented in ASQ initiatives and recognitions.  Canadian organizations should explore the International Team Excellence Award Process.  Canadian ASQ Senior members who have been in the profession for over 15 years, have attained ASQ certification, have contributed to ASQ as member-leaders, instructors, authors, presenters, and have distinguished themselves among quality practitioners should pursue personal recognition as an ASQ Fellow Member.  The programs are available (like a breakfast buffet at a fine hotel) and it is up to each ASQ member to “whet their appetite”.

ASQ Vancouver has been very effective at building and sustaining an active membership by appealing not only to the traditional quality community, but by engaging other groups including:
-          Student connection, particularly from British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) where there has been a mutually positive, symbiotic relationship.  In addition to developing a new generation of members and practitioners, the vitality and innovation from students have strengthened and revitalized our section and society to be relevant in the current digital age.
-          International STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) professionals who can readily participate in the Canadian workforce through the Quality profession.
-          Complementary professions (i.e. project managers, risk managers, engineers, business analysts, tech support agents) who, without having the word “quality” in their official job title, apply and deploy quality in their functional roles.
-          Career transition specialists and experts including recruiters, career and leadership coaches, and hiring managers.

I look forward to working with ASQ and the ASQ Sections in Canada over the next two years to support the various programs and initiatives intended to provide and improve the value delivered to ASQ members and member-leaders.  Quality is a diverse and vibrant profession which benefits society and encapsulates many positive ideals and virtues.  I am honored and humbled to have been nominated by Dave Muncaster for this important role, and I look forward to expanding the positive influence of ASQ Vancouver across all of the sections in Canada.

ASQ Mining Interest Group

For World Quality Month 2014, I provided the following address to the ASQ Mining Interest Group.


Having recently returned from ASQ headquarters in Milwaukee, I am pleased to share that we are all part of a vibrant and dynamic organization, which continues to adapt and evolve to address the changing needs of our respective global professional communities.  In this regard, I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to observe and partake in the progress of the ASQ Mining Interest Group.

As a global society, ASQ has committed to taking those constructive steps which it believes will enhance and improve member value.  This includes a greater commitment to improving information technology and financial controls.  The sustainment of these endeavors will be managed through the ASQ’s Performance Awards and Recognition (PAR) program.  I encourage all ASQ members to familiarize themselves with this program in order to make their respective member units more effective.

The ASQ Mining Interest Group falls within the framework of the ASQ Technical Communities Council (TCC) which manages Divisions, Interest Groups, and Technical Committees.  As a Regional Director for the ASQ sections in Canada (Region 4), I will work constructively to assist and encourage the integration of ASQ Mining events with ASQ Section activities, ensuring that quality practitioners aligned with ASQ in Canada can benefit from the innovative and dynamic programs.

I can personally attest to the high caliber of the annual gala event in Saskatoon, held in October 2014 at the Sheraton Cavalier.  It was remarkable to be part of a prestigious panel of speakers, spanning executives, practitioners, public servants, and professional leaders.  I particularly enjoyed the direct testimonials from mining employees with “hands-on” quality experiences.  The time went very quickly and by having the meals in the meeting rooms, this permitted programming to continue and be enjoyed concurrently with networking and social contacts.  It was a very efficient and fulfilling day which raises the standard for other ASQ events.

ASQ Member Value is gained from constructive and memorable experiences.  I think that the ASQ Mining Interest Group is on a very constructive track to becoming a thriving ASQ Division and an essential part of the TCC.  Unlike the ASQ Sections and Regions, Technical Communities like the ASQ Mining Interest Group are not limited nor constrained by geography.  For example, I was delighted to know that there were contributors from Australia who were working to refine a distinct body of knowledge and intellectual content, pertinent to the mining industry.  This is truly representative of a global professional organization.

Overall, based on the presentations, my impression is that the leadership within mining has embraced quality as an essential practice.  It was particularly compelling to hear speakers from different backgrounds and perspectives consistently emphasize the importance of quality to success in mining, and share specific examples of successful implementation and outcomes from quality deployment.  This makes the program relevant for those outside of mining, who can then use these actual examples where theory has been transformed into practice.  I look forward to continued growth and success.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Quality Power

This post is in response to the timely and provocative question from the ASQ CEO, Bill Troy.  In his View From The Q post, the challenge is made to members of the Quality community to expand their capabilities to include leadership.

The Quality profession has two sources of influence and power from which it must deliver its intended function:
  • Inspirational power derived from the passionate convictions of sincere appeals to a shared positive mission and vision. (Transformational)

  • Punitive power gained by enforcing specifications, requirements, regulations, and compliance to official policies. (Control)

In my view, leadership capability is a necessity.  Our profession has evolved from being control-oriented and reactive (consider that the original name of our organization was American Society for Quality Control) to being transformation-driven.  The ASQC-era definitions of quality are summarized below:

  • Conformance to requirements
  • Fitness for use and purpose

These reflect restraining forces, where the Quality function would provide data collection and process control services to refine existing work, and prevent undesirable outcomes.  In this context, Quality would exert power primarily as an enforcer of customer requirements and industry regulations.

In the current ASQ-era, a grander vision is sought, which extends to driving forces of organizational excellence, business transformation, social responsibility, and personal achievement.  Leadership is required for the successful mobilization and transition from the status quo to a higher level of greater enlightenment, versatility, and robust operations.

Unlike the control mentality, where influence is built upon defensive reactions to potential maladies; the transformation mentality requires its influence to be drawn from leadership characteristics and principles:

  • An optimistic and competitive vision of the future
  • A call to urgent action and consistent accomplishment
  • Alignment of common priorities with the promise of mutual gains
  • Pursuit of innovative breakthroughs and evolutionary advancement
  • Continual motivation to overcome obstacles and challenges

Without a determined and deliberate approach, and the proper application of effective and contextually appropriate leadership methods and techniques, the necessary transformations and aspirations of excellence will not occur.  Quality without leadership is reduced to a bureaucratic function, tolerated only by its minimal necessity.  In contrast, when visionary leadership is applied, Quality becomes the driver of all organizational activities, and the foundation of personal and professional success and excellence.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Build Relationships to Improve Member Engagement

The recent post from View From The Q concerns the challenges faced by organizations when attracting and retaining members and volunteers.

I have been very impressed with the thoughtful and constructive posts from our new ASQ CEO.  Among the best selling points of an organization are the caliber and capabilities of its leadership.  I have a very high regard for leaders, particularly those of immense stature, who draw others in and elicit their opinions with sincere and genuine interest.  I hope that this content will be graciously received and faithfully applied by our ASQ Leadership.

A popular organization, Toastmasters, provides some excellent guidance when engaging new members.

There is a link to their Club Leadership Handbook which specifies the duties and responsibilities of an assigned role (Vice President - Membership) in cultivating and sustaining a roster of active and engaged members.  The conversations are very deliberate and begin at the earliest stages of interest.

A key strategy to having a strong roster is to

The Toastmasters approach, where a Club Officer functions as a Host and Guide for new members, is beneficial.  In order to sustain and grow the involvement and participation of the individual member, other relationship dynamics should be formulated.  Without these relationships, the member's interest will wither and fade over time until they are completely disengaged and unmotivated.

Among the many relationships that could emerge to attract and retain members and volunteers, I have profiled four:

  1. Buddy System
  2. Mentor and Protégé 
  3. Cohort
  4. Comity

1. Buddy System

This is a partnership between two or more peers to support each other in challenging situations or encounters.  With a partner or buddy, there are social and professional drivers which encourage continued involvement and participation.

Spending time at an association among people is worthwhile when members and guests are among sincere, authentic, respectful, courteous, and appreciative people who inspire each other and create enjoyable moments.  Without a buddy or trusted peer, new members can get disengaged, particularly if they are introverted or uncomfortable.  From this dynamic, members can more readily "dive in" to the association activities.

2. Mentor - Protégé

The mentor and protégé relationship is one of the implicit benefits of a professional association, and it is a dynamic which helps both mentor and protégé.  I personally believe that many practitioners of life and career coaching have succeeded financially and professionally by replicating this relationship dynamic.  However, if this can be obtained more cost-effectively within a professional association, it will solidify the commitments and recurrence of attendance and involvement at events.

This relationship dynamic inspires attendance and follow up encounters in order to have those valuable face-to-face direct conversations.  The cultivation of mentors within ASQ is essential and necessary for personal advancement, particularly when nominees or sponsors are needed to validate applications.  Adopting a mentor also creates opportunities to engage additional networks and programs for involvement and development.

3. Cohort

This is a group of students or practitioners who progress through a program together, often participating in group projects. ASQ facilitates this dynamic with different groups convened to study for peer certification exams, community projects, or conferences and events.

This relationship dynamic inspires individuals to progress and advance along with their respective peer groups.  As members attain new heights and gain acceptance among greater peers (i.e. Member-Leaders, ASQ Fellows, Quality Press Authors), the expectations grow in breadth and depth promoting additional involvement and contributions.  The driver of positive peer pressure encourages attendance, involvement, acceptance of leadership roles, and sustained contributions.

4. Comity

This refers to professional acceptance of credentials by people in a different region or domain.  As ASQ becomes increasingly global in its scope and capacity, the opportunities for international comity and legitimacy of professional quality credentials expand.  Comity can also apply across industries so that a quality professional with experience in one industry can laterally move to a different industry without being required to start at junior or subordinate level positions.

This relationship dynamic inspires members to become involved and qualified in order to have their credentials accepted internationally.  For example, this has been a driver of membership growth and participation in India, Argentina, and the Middle East, where exceptional individuals are enhancing the reputations and competitiveness through quality improvement. This is also a motive to encourage industry specialists to share their expertise, thus raising the overall knowledge levels of the Quality domain.

Monday, September 29, 2014

ASQ Awards linked by 5 key attributes

Oct. 1 is the upcoming deadline for ASQ Awards.  In an effort to clarify what these awards recognize, it is important to distill them down to their essential components.  A quick review of the past medalists of ASQ awards reveals that a number of people are multiple recipients of ASQ recognitions, including ASQ Fellow and Honorary Membership designations.

I have created this list of 5 attributes in order to encourage those who may not yet realize that they are in fact qualified and capable of attaining these recognitions.  These attributes are frequently cited across the ASQ Awards, so building up these credentials will enhance the suitability of anyone interested in additional recognitions.

1. Education and Professional Background

This is a key prerequisite. As the quality profession has many distinguished participants, it is essential to measure up to and surpass the standard expectations.  This is necessary to filter out the more transient practitioners who attempt to "reinvent" themselves as quality experts without having the necessary depth or breadth of professional or educational accomplishments.

2. Technical Competence and Contributions

This is important to demonstrate the distinctive contributions that have innovated and expanded the value of Quality to its constituents.  At a minimum, anyone aspiring to be recognized should first consistently demonstrate their capabilities and credibility.  Without this step, the value and importance of ASQ recognitions would be severely diminished.

3. Practical Application of Quality

This is where the value of the work to the profession and society is conveyed and compared.  Quality is often derided as "theory" by those who are resistant to change and protective of their particular status quo.  Only when Quality is convincingly demonstrated to have beneficial effects on outcomes, costs, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement will the methods or techniques be truly embraced and sustained.

4. Publications, Presentations, and Communications

This is a critical component as no ASQ recognition is possible without fulfilling the requirement of a nomination form, which in and of itself is a communications endeavor.  A common evaluation criteria is the array of publications and presentations, particularly those produced within the last 2 years.  It is therefore important to not only be productive in this area, but to diligently track such publications and their impacts. For example, work done through ASQ Press or ASQ Journals is captured in the archives and easily referenced within ASQ.

5. Leadership in the Quality Profession

This refers to leadership within the employer or firm, and within professional societies like ASQ.  Leadership is viewed at multiple levels, along with the accomplishments attained.  The impact of the individual on others, whether fellow Quality practitioners, organizations, clients, or geographic territories (i.e. cities, states, countries, sub-continents), must be tangible.

To emphasize the importance, I have pasted the criteria provided by ASQ on their nomination form for selection to the ASQ Board.  From this list, the characteristics of leadership should be cultivated and expanded over time.

Leadership Competency

1. Fostering a Shared Vision
Communicates a clear and inspiring vision for change, attains the commitment of others to accomplish the vision
2. Strategic Thinking
Takes a long-range perspective, understands trends affecting ASQ, considers competitive benchmarks when making decisions, proposes strategies that align with ASQ's mission, vision, and values
3. Customer-Driven Focus
Seeks and considers data-based information on the perspectives of members, member units, and other customers; prioritizes projects based on alignment with customers' expectations; relies on customer satisfaction data as the primary basis for decision making
4. Staff Partnership
Seeks and considers data-based information on the perspectives of staff, takes staff perspectives into account when prioritizing projects, relies on staff satisfaction data as the primary basis for decision making
5. Stakeholder Considerations
Seeks and considers data-based information on the perspectives of other stakeholders, takes stakeholders' perspectives into account when prioritizing projects, relies on stakeholder satisfaction data as the primary basis for decision making
6. Decision Making
Manages by fact but is sensitive to time constraints that limit the depth of data collection and analysis, takes calculated risks when significant opportunities are involved, willing to make difficult decisions that will improve ASQ's future, articulates the rationale associated with decisions, adopts decisions "as own" when they differ from original perspective, assumes responsibilities for the decisions that are made and their results
7. Leadership Development
Identifies potential leaders, seeks opportunities for potential leaders to learn and practice, provides specific performance feedback to potential leaders
8. Living Within Boundaries
Seeks to understand roles and boundaries of position, focuses attention on areas for which accountability and authority are clearly established, provides feedback on work accomplished in other areas without expecting changed approaches or decisions
9. Accountability
Accepts appropriate assignments that don't jeopardize routine duties and previous assignments; meets expectations within time, budget, and other constraints; accepts responsibility for setbacks
10. Teamwork
Understands when to use teams to achieve goals, participates equally well as a team leader or member, avoids dysfunctional behaviors, coaches team members through challenging work
11. Flexibility
Welcomes new ideas that don't fit with existing perceptions, demonstrates a high tolerance for ambiguity and change, seeks win/win strategies for planned changes
12. Communications
Listens actively to others' comments and presentations, invests time and effort to understand others' written and verbal documents and presentations, communicates thoughts clearly and concisely both verbally and in writing
13. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Understands ASQ's portfolio of products and services, demonstrates proficiency in most areas of ASQ's Body of Knowledge, seeks to increase learning and keep abreast of new developments in the field
14. Global Perspective
Seeks to understand cultural differences and their effect on projects and decisions, incorporates global considerations into all planning efforts, endorses projects that expand ASQ's reach globally
15. Social Responsibility
Seeks solutions that minimize wasted time, efforts, materials, etc.; exemplifies ethical behavior; supports total transparency of ASQ's governance actions (except when members' confidential information is involved)
16. Personal Approaches
Behaves with openness and predictability, maintains a realistic but optimistic outlook for the future, faces adversity without excessive stress or regrettable behaviors, demonstrates consistent values that align with ASQ's values, balances needs for authority with a strong need for accomplishment

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Membership Development: Seek First To Understand

As we approach Quality Month, the opportunity for membership development is something for which ASQ sections and divisions should prepare.

It is important to promote and reinforce the positive attributes, and establish the relevance and alignment between the personal priorities of the prospective member and the organization.

Involvement in any organization requires costs and time which have to be justified.  This is especially true in our current age when there are many competing and conflicting pursuits.  For this reason, ASQ, or any organization, must deliver member value commensurate with the time and money invested by its members and participants.

In order to understand where ASQ, or any organization, must align its approach, it is essential to, in the words of St. Francis of Assisi, popularized by Stephen Covey in his many books, Seek First To Understand.

With a better understanding of the passions, aspirations, and life journeys of existing and prospective members, organizations like ASQ can provide a membership experience with more impact and relevance.

Involvement in any activity or organization must be enjoyable in order to build and sustain the necessary fellowship, personal connections, and professional bonds.  Engagement is highly driven by friendships and relationships based on trust and common motives and values.  ASQ attracts like-minded idealists and strives to create a community of choice for Quality practitioners.

The development of long-term membership loyalty extends beyond the individual member to include the spouses, families, and communities of those member.  Consequently it is imperative that there are abundant examples of the positive impacts of ASQ on the community and society.  This reinforces the ethic of being part of something beneficial, and is a source of pride.  The motive then becomes one of continuity and expanding upon a legacy of virtue with even greater achievements.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Strategy: Surviving Contact by Using Mobilization and Governance

This post is in response to the latest View from the Q blog on Strategy.

I don't have anything to add to the formation of a strategy, as Bill Troy addressed this subject concisely and effectively.  Instead I will place focus on the next step, namely to follow through and execute upon the defined strategy.

I am reminded of a quote by the noted German military leader and strategist, Helmuth Von Moltke.

     "No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy"

This reminds us of the importance not only of crafting a suitable strategy, but managing its execution in such a way that the overall purpose of that strategy can be fulfilled, even in changing circumstances.

Consider the recent release by Apple of its iPhone 6 from the context of its competitors Nokia and Blackberry (Research In Motion).

While, there is no doubt that all three organizations had a strategy, the presence and eventual predominance of Apple had a devastating effect on both Nokia and Blackberry.

Even if the technology solutions are equivalent between the companies, the marketing and promotional advantages of Apple have transcended technology to instill a memorable and indelible impression in popular culture. For example, the involvement and engagement of the band U2 has drawn considerable interest and traffic to Apple in a way that neither Nokia nor Blackberry could have imagined.

So what is needed to ensure that our strategies survive contact with the enemy, which in the context of a business strategy would be a competitor?

I propose three key practices: Mission, Mobilization, and Governance.


Having a clear mission which defines the vision of success is essential to have all of the participants overcome their petty differences and jointly embrace and pursue the common good.  The greater the mission, the more compelling the dedication and devotion will be to the fulfillment and achievement of that mission.  For this reason, it is essential that the mission and vision align with the values of the organization and its people.

In the absence of clear and unifying mission and vision objectives, the Quality profession tends to fall into a destructive pattern which I refer to as Quality "Indig" Nation.  Rather than focus on the tasks at hand, the participants will devolve into these damaging archetypes which can impair and undermine the overall strategy.

Cynics: The quest for defects and faults will exceed into farcical proportions so that the Quality function will be a voice of negativity and defeat.  While everyone else within the organization is pursuing the objectives, the Quality function takes upon itself the role of contrarian, repeated expressing why "it will never work".

Purists: The dogmatic natures of certain "believers" will oppose any adaptation or modification if it is deemed "apocryphal" and violates the Canon of the "Holy Saints" Deming, Toyota, ISO standards, or whatever technical reference is deemed scripture.  Spirited and emotional debates can consume valuable time and energy without accomplishing or fulfilling the strategy objectives.

Tribalists: The Quality profession does not have a homogeneous background, but has evolved through the combined efforts of different types of practitioners with their particular expertise.  However when one of these groups loses sight of the greater good and mutual respect, and seeks to dominate at the expense of the others, it is like the person with the hammer who sees all problems as a nail.  Rather than addressing the overall problems, the emphasis is on promoting a particular concept or set of practices, and opposing balance and diversity of the solution.

Blockers: There are those who have invested so much of their time an energy into a particular management system that they are resistant to change, lest a newly introduced dynamic threaten the sanctity and continuity. The resistance to change will inhibit progress, innovation, and prevent organizations from making the necessary adjustments and adaptations.

Esoterics: Often the work of Quality practitioners is accompanied by unusual terms and trends.  Engineers and project managers often adopt the nomenclature of spiritual pursuits or martial arts.  For example, one does not have to be a Sensei, a Black Belt, nor a Guru in order to track late deliveries using a control chart.

From a Quality perspective, the object is not to flaunt your knowledge and expertise, but simply to use the best mix of techniques and methods to fulfill the mission in a way that supports the greater good of the organization.  As a profession, we must overcome our negative archetypes to serve and lead in the effective execution of our defined strategies.


In order for the strategy to be effectively deployed, the necessary capital, materials, and resources should first be identified, procured, acquired, or obtained.  One cannot assume that everything will be available on demand for the duration, and often a business case is needed to justify why this strategy requires the priority allocation of goods and services.

An improper mobilization could actually be more harmful in the execution of the strategy, as interrupted or incomplete work will be viewed negatively as a failure of the overall strategy.  Nothing succeeds like success, so mobilization is important to ensure a continuous set of progressive victories.

Symphony of Work: This approach requires that all participants are aware of their particular part in the overall effort.  In this context, the timing is as important as the overall fulfillment, as there are many interdependencies.

Coordinated Advancement: The advancement must be coordinated to ensure that all components are able to make the necessary gains.  In some cases, this requires adjustments which are not favorable to the high performing units, who must divert from original objectives to support their peers for the greater good.  A military example of this was found when Gen. George Patton, having led the 3rd Army through France, was summoned to redirect his army north in order to assist with the Battle of the Bulge.

Constraints Management:  This practice, as referenced in Goldratt's reference, The Goal, advises that progress and pace are determined by the constraint or bottleneck within the system.  By managing the bottlenecks or critical project paths, the overall speed will improve.

Effective mobilization will help the strategy survive contact by ensuring adequate materials and resources, and coordinating the logistics and constraints to overcome interruptions and improve progress.


Governance is essential not only to strategy but also to Quality.  Without Governance, the lack of transparency and visibility of actual results and accomplishments will lead to future estimates being based on inaccurate assumptions.

Accountability:  In any venture, it is important to have a work breakdown structure which clearly reveals the parties responsible and accountable for fulfillment of that strategy.  From this structure and framework, the interdependencies are revealed and can be managed.  With accountability, expectations can be refined so that future estimates will be more accurate.

Action: When the Governance function reports that the strategy may be compromised, the execution steps must change.  The organization should determine whether this requires an adjustment in resources, or a particular mitigation or contingency step.  Once the actions have been identified, they must be effectively mobilized and rapidly deployed.

Adaptation: It may be necessary to shift strategies within the overall environment.  This may be done in response to both negative risks and positive breakthroughs.  For example, Pfizer had developed Sildenafil as a treatment for hypertension and angina.  However after clinical trials revealed a particular side effect, Pfizer marketed this drug as Viagra, which became a highly profitable medication to combat erectile dysfunction.

Acceleration:  If the strategy is being successfully deployed, the the next step is to accelerate the implementation to increase the scope, scale, and impact of the strategy.

By following a strategy with a compelling Mission, adept Mobilization, and responsive Governance, the rate of successful fulfillment will be substantially improved.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Evolution - Lean Six Sigma examples

There is a discussion as to whether the future of Quality will progress along an Evolutionary or Revolutionary path.  This will show how Quality has evolved from its origins to is present form.

One observation I would like to share is the convergence of practices into a single collection of knowledge.  ASQ has compiled a QBok (Quality Body of Knowledge) from which practitioners can draw and apply their expertise to help companies achieve new levels of performance, quality, cost, delivery, and assurance.  This convergence is evident in the Lean Six Sigma domain.

In the recent (2009) ASQ Press publication, The Public Health Quality Improvement Handbook by Ron Bialek, Grace Duffy, and John Moran, there is an excellent visual display showing how what we call Lean Six Sigma evolved from various influences.

This document reflects a convergence of practices into a common category.  This viewpoint is corroborated in similar peer-reviewed publications.

Juran is cited as one of the early influences of the Quality profession.  The prolific and pertinent contributions from Juran have been a cornerstone of our profession, and predated the concepts of both Lean and Six Sigma. The passage below is from page 748 of Juran’s Quality Handbook, 6th Edition, and expresses the high-level distinctions between what we term as Lean and Six Sigma. This reference aligns with the diagram above.

Lean Six Sigma is a combination of both Lean and Six Sigma quality approaches.  The underlying tenet of the Lean approach is efficiency, whereas that of Six Sigma is effectiveness.  The integration of the two approaches provides a balanced approach to quality.  By applying the Lean tools, the processes become stable, constraints and costs to operations are reduced, and the speed is optimized.  Six sigma tools can then be applied to identify key variables in the process, establishing operating ranges, and implement control methods to ensure the problems are corrected.

The Public Health Quality Improvement Handbook elaborates on the distinctions between Lean and Six Sigma, both in text and visually.  

The "House of Lean" captures the key practices and characteristics of Lean, and also establishes the scope and limitations of Lean as a singular approach.  For overall improvement, Lean is not the sole solution, but one of several practices recommended by the authors.

More complex improvement initiative require the thoughtful and deliberate diagnostic approaches reflective of a Six Sigma project, as shown in the image of the Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control cycle.  One particular question within the Improve category (What specific activities are necessary to meet the project's goals) channel directly into the proven, tactical Lean techniques and practices.  In this way, Six Sigma and Lean are not conflicting, but complementary and synergistic activities that when conjoined, enhance and expand their respective effectiveness.

By having a unified Body of Knowledge, the respective advantages of Lean and Six Sigma can be combined. Rather than mutually exclusive "either/or" scenarios, the Quality practitioner can select and apply the most appropriate and relevant practices to fit the situation and serve the best interests of the client or organization.  Many of the practices listed in the table above are common (i.e. failure mode and effects analysis, run charts, five whys method) or use common methods (i.e. brainstorming, kaizen).   

If this is reflective of the overall Quality profession, then it shows that over time, Quality will continue to evolve to incorporate more complementary practices, thus becoming more robust, relevant, and capable of serving our constituents.  

Thursday, August 14, 2014

What's Your ASQ Loyalty Capital?

Last month I had the eminent privilege of addressing the quality community with a guest posting on the illustrious View from the Q blog.  With such a broad global audience, I felt that my opportunity would be best served by advising the ASQ Membership and professional community at large on how to get the most from their ASQ membership.

I believe that optimal value can be realized by actively participating in the programs and benefits available to ASQ Members, and by supplementing these with ongoing tracking for recertification and awards (i.e. ASQ Fellow Membership, ASQ Medals).  From this perspective, I view ASQ as a professional loyalty program.  I can personally testify that upon achieving certain levels of achievement and advancement, more privileges and opportunities are available within ASQ.  Through this forum, I aspire to create awareness of and draw attention to some valuable elements of ASQ by which the optimal value for membership can be obtained.

What’s Your Loyalty Capital?

Having been a member of ASQ for approximately 18 years, I believe that the aggregated benefits and privileges can be characterized as a tangible asset, to which I will assign the label of Loyalty Capital.  By clearly understanding the value, the decision to renew and sustain continued membership can be tracked and calculated objectively.  The concept of Loyalty Capital can be generically applied to other organizations or pursuits, where the value is defined and tailored on a personal level. 

At a WCQI focus group session in 2012, I was part of a group of international ASQ members tasked to calculate the relative Return on Investment by comparing the costs of my membership relative to the aggregated benefits.  What most people don’t realize is that the benefits are compounded by years of experience and exposure.  The interdependency and interconnectivity between the individual member and the available resources and expertise within ASQ provide a positive multiplier.  The compounded benefits of membership can take years to accumulate but can be continually harvested for substantially longer.  This is why I refer to this asset as Loyalty Capital.

Not every organization is appropriate, and not every member is suitable for a particular organization.  Only when there is alignment of personal and organizational principles, can the foundation of a long-term membership relationship be established.  ASQ aligns with my own attributes in the following ways:
·         Professional: ASQ is oriented for academic and vocational growth in the Quality profession.
·         Participatory: ASQ welcomes and encourages its members to have involvement and influence
·         Provocative: ASQ explores issues and takes positions reflective of quality ideals.
·         Prudent: ASQ is deliberate and measured and conscientious of personal and organizational budgets
·         Passionate: ASQ supports energetic and enthusiastic pursuits for thought leadership and innovation.
·         Persistent: ASQ provides continuity and constant support across industries, generations, and nations.

Build Your Personal ASQ Loyalty Capital

It is not enough to simply join an organization or subscription to realize benefits.  The initial burden is placed upon the member to make a reasonable “bona fide” effort.  Just as an airline or hotel loyalty program would require you to actually be a passenger or hotel guest, an association or society places certain expectations.  For a professional association like ASQ, some effective ways to build loyalty are summarized below:
·         Get connected on multiple outlets for Social Media. Many of the programs within ASQ are becoming increasingly dynamic and dependent upon having ASQ membership reachable through channels including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, and other online community groups, particularly the one hosted from the society website at www.asq.org.
·         Present yourself as a respectful professional.  This applied to both personal and online presences.  When attending a meeting, be appropriately attired and groomed.  Conduct yourself in a positive and pleasant manner.  Respectful behavior includes timely arrivals, minimal disruption, and polite indulgence of programs and speakers.  Networking is intended for exchanges, not high pressure sales pitches. 
·         Explore areas of interest.  There is no shortage of diversity within ASQ, which spans many countries, industries, and levels of professional and academic accomplishment.  I personally believe that the Quality profession should be sufficiently versatile and portable to be equally effective across multiple domains.
·         Step up into new challenges.  ASQ presents many opportunities to advance and grow at various scopes within communities (e.g. local, regional, virtual), within roles (e.g. auditor, metrologist), within industries (e.g. automotive, software), or in areas of broader scope.  In addition to participating as an attendee or passive reader, ASQ offers the following experiences to its members:
o   Organize: Assist with the setup and operation of programs or initiatives.
o   Facilitate: Lead the interaction or connection between ASQ and its constituencies, stakeholders, or audiences.
o   Research: Investigate and explore successful approaches applied within the Quality profession.
o   Write: Prepare and submit compositions for publication.
o   Speak: Participate as a panelist, event speaker, or facility “tour guide” to enlighten other members.
o   Mentor: Share insights from experiences to benefit others
o   Instruct: Serve as a clinical instructor within meetings, at training sessions, or formal education programs.
·         Pursue certification and professional experience.  This member benefit provides exceptional value for money, and allows the time spent within ASQ to be effectively leveraged to the benefit of your career.  As a personal example, I leveraged the combination of an ASQ Certified Software Quality Engineer peer recognition and ASQ presentation experience to enable eleven years of recurring Software Quality teaching engagements at three post-secondary institutions in my vicinity, realizing a substantial return on investment for professional and financial gains.

Retain The Value of ASQ Loyalty Capital

Imagine the loyal customer who has faithfully flown or booked rooms with the same organization, only to miss out on benefits they had earned.  The same principle can be applied to ASQ.  By having the mentality of a loyalty program, I have included suggestions that should be vigilantly applied to protect and capitalize on the beneficial contributions already made.

·         Hold Your Gains.  To avoid having your work vanished or eliminated through neglect, it is important that attention is placed upon certain tasks which prevent potential difficulties and frustrations.
o   Remain in Good Standing.  By paying and renewing membership fees in a timely manner, interruptions are avoided.  While continuous membership is an acceptable norm, a disrupted or intermittent record may create restrictions or lost opportunities for certain benefits.
o   Track your achievements and accomplishments as they occur.  This is an easier approach and permits recording with a maximum of accuracy and thoroughness.  Delaying the tracking may cause important accomplishments to be forgotten and not properly credited.
o   Complete your recertification.  Unless you take great pleasure in writing 4 hour multiple-choice exams on a frequent basis, the steps to recertification will permit you to retain your professional standing by submitting your validated records of professional involvement without requiring repeated testing.
·         Quick Wins. Having made a “bona fide” effort as a member, there are certain practices and benefits from which a member can realize greater gains.  The collective benefits from these Quick Wins far outweigh the level of effort needed to complete, making them essential for the savvy and opportunistic member.
o   Upgrade to Senior Membership. This member level is available after ASQ members have attained or achieved levels of experience and fulfillment in particular areas (i.e. certification, career level, duration of membership).  While the annual membership rate has a higher price than that of the regular member, the immediate financial benefit can be realized from the free journal, the value of which exceeds the incremental membership cost.  ASQ Senior Members also have clearance to take on additional levels of responsibility and influence within ASQ.
o   Membership Pricing and “Early-Bird Specials. The incremental price difference between members and non-members is often (deliberately) set to match or exceed the cost of membership.  For a frequent conference attendee or patron of the ASQ Press book catalogue, the member discounts can justify the annual cost of membership consistently.
o   Volunteer benefits Those ASQ members who devote their time as reviewers, authors, presenters, moderators, curriculum developers, or intellectual property contributors may be eligible for additional rewards which can include gifts, discounts on ASQ merchandise, honoraria, subsidized or complimentary conference registration, and recognition events.

Realize Long-Term Dividends of ASQ Loyalty Capital

Having been a member of ASQ for nearly two decades, I can attest to the continuity and constant connectivity which has sustained multiple roles and employers.  In addition to the explicit incentives which include the relevant and readable Quality Progress subscription and the pertinent Monthly “bundles”, there are implicit professional benefits which I have been fortunate enough to receive directly and observe being enjoyed by others.

·         Access to career opportunities.  This can range from the frequent, high profile notifications to informal insider tips on “hidden jobs” which are revealed through personal contacts. 
·         Growth of expertise.  The exposure to the subject material over time will permit a long-term member to expand their own personal competency and proficiency.  This will have a beneficial effect on the reputation and prestige of the member, who will be more frequently consulted and sought for opinions and recommendations.
·         Conference and event hospitality and fellowship.  It is a delightful experience to be met in a strange location and unfamiliar hotel by cordial and supportive people with common interests.  This is most evident at the annual World Conference on Quality and Improvement.  I can honestly attest that during my time in Dallas at WCQI 2014 I never dined alone during the four days but was always received and welcomed at ASQ society or division events and hospitality suites.
·         Unlimited knowledge base.  This dividend combines the wealth of intellectual property retained through collections of publications, as well as the exposure to global expertise from experienced and successful practitioners, academics, and authors. 

Rise Above to Breakthrough Levels of ASQ Loyalty Capital

If an ASQ member is inclined to limit themselves to enjoying membership discounts, conference hospitality, and recertification renewals, they will have realized substantial value in their membership, and their loyalty will have been rewarded many times over.  However for the exceptionally savvy and opportunistic among us, ASQ provides a top echelon of member experience, where ASQ Loyalty Capital can be compounded and optimized.  This can be described as the “Good to Great” chasm.  I will offer some suggestions which I have used to cross this “chasm” and realize a very privileged experience within ASQ.

·         Explore New Peer Groups.  This requires members to initiate and engage people outside of their comfort zones and natural coterie.  When I first joined ASQ my focus was on ISO 9001 registration for a manufacturing company.  ASQ has created and supported resources to facilitate the operations of different peer groups, termed as “ASQ Communities”.  By diversifying my peer groups, I expanded my career scope and reach to include software, services, consulting, education, and social responsibility. 
·         Cultivate Mentor/Protégé Relationships.  It is essential to have relationships in both direction whereby one is always learning from experienced elders while concurrently indulging the next generation of practitioners with experience and insight.  Professional “career coaches” or “executive coaches” command hundreds of dollars per hour, and thousands per engagement.  In contrast, a professional mentorship relationship conducted within the context of ASQ can be arranged over a conveniently arranged meal or cup of coffee,
·         Pursue Senior Leadership and Governance.  As a participatory organization, ASQ provides those willing to make the necessary time and travel commitments with opportunities for selection into roles of authority and influence.  This provides exceptional opportunities to demonstrate leadership and interact with corporate and government leaders.
·         Position For Higher Honors.  This is a category which a limited number of ASQ members are fortunate enough to attain. Ranging from the ASQ Fellow Membership and Honorary Membership grades to the array of ASQ Awards, these recognitions profile outstanding members.   In order to withstand the scrutiny and competitive selection process, a personal portfolio must be sufficiently robust and reflective of diverse and versatile professional and personal accomplishments.  Conversely, any gaps or deficiencies revealed in this process can stimulate the desire for additional efforts in particular membership areas.

Having encountered this level of ASQ membership, I can personally attest to the personable and devoted dedication of the ASQ core staff, several of whom I now consider trusted personal friends.  The involvement and support of the key operational liaisons and facilitators reflects a commitment beyond that of a typical employee.  Even when problems or misunderstandings emerged, I found that their cordial and professional manner enabled positive dialogue and satisfactory resolutions.  When I visualize ASQ, I don’t perceive a logo or a remote building; my impressions gravitate to those particular ASQ staff members with whom I have the most frequent contact, and toward whom I have the highest personal regard and professional respect.

Preserving ASQ Loyalty Capital

As ASQ is not for everyone, not everyone will be supportive.  The ideals and virtues of a life spent pursuing and promoting Quality often run contrary to contemporary trends or fashions.  Even within the profession, there are disgruntled practitioners who view with suspicion and contempt those who aspire to levels of outstanding accomplishment and innovation.  It is important not to let the ill will of others diminish or taint the precious and valuable Loyalty Capital before it can be fully matured and enjoyed.

Attempting any worthy pursuit brings the risk of disappointment, failure, and discouragement from others.  There will be those who, having become frustrated with their own modest limitations, will seek to diminish your goals and aspirations with their attempts at mockery and malice.  This can go beyond constructive critiques to be detrimental and potentially limiting.  This unfortunate circumstance is not unique to high achievers, and when confronted with this, I take solace in the wise encouragement of President Theodore Roosevelt (amended for gender neutrality). 

“It is not the critics who count; not those who point out how the strong one stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the one who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends one’s self in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if one fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that one’s place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” 

To get the most from the Loyalty Capital you have cultivated over time, it is imperative that you rise above those who would limit or derail your ambitions.  Strive for the promise of your full potential, and all that awaits you within ASQ, and wherever your passionate pursuits may lead.