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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.

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.

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