About Learning; About People
ASQs World Conference on Quality and Improvement has two purposes to me. It is about learning what's going on in the world of Quality, what new opportunites lie out there for quality professionals and practitioners, what others inside and outside our various business sectors and arenas can share with us that will provide us opportunites to improve our businesses and ourselves. And WCQI is about people. Its about making connections with old friends and colleagues that we may not have seen since last WCQI or even longer ago and its about making new connections.
A bit on the learning opportunities I had on Monday first.
Keynot speaker Gregory Baby from Bayer Materials Science prvovided us with a stimulating overview of a major improvement process that, through his leadership, has lead to an enterprise-wide improvement for Bayer. Their NTO (No Touch Order) team addressed three key areas within the organization - Systems, Processes and Behavior. Per Babe, "Everyone is part of someone elses supply chain" and without involving people and their behavior you cannot improve a process or system.
At the Women in Quality (WIQ) Networking Session (yes, I am a member of the WIQ) both women and men had an open discussion on four topics:
- Work / Life Balance
- Reaching out to young women involved with quality and technical careers
- How do you (the WIQ members) want to network?
I participated int he Work / Life balance discussion and captured a few key items including:
- Balancing home life between partners and with the whole family has to be established in orde to allow for a real work / home balance.
- Your organization's and / or immediate boss' leadership / management style truly has a direct effect on the balance. An autocratic time manager will never allow an individual to reach a true balance while a task oriented leaders will allow you to achieve a true balance.
- Working from home greatly improves a true balance
- It was suggested that if each person develops a time budget they will identify 'spare time' available during each and every week that they can better allocate to achieve a good balance...start with 168 hours in your week and then determine how you use this time on average during the week. When you are done removing your regular activities (yes, even sleep time) you will find that you do truly have some spare time that can be reapplied where you want to apply it, even to ME time!!!!
I also spent much of the day networking with old friends and meeting new people. I had a wonderful time with the people I met during the conference day and in the social network opportunities throughout the evening. Some examples include:
- Michael McDermott and I had a very interesting discussion on the Service Quality Body of Knowledge which is being developed by ASQs Service Quality Division. A key point of this discussion was what constitutes Service. We both agreed that Service exists in all business sectors, yes, even inside a Manufacturing plant!
- I had lunch with a fabulous group of member leaders frome the Greater Fort Worth section including Jack Marlett, Peter Stamps, Dolores Harris, Bob Mitchell, Reba Barker and Teri Savage. We discussed a whole bunch of issues going within ASQ and what their section is continuing to do to truly serve their members.
- Tim Koester, Region 6 Director, introduced me to a Member Leader from his home section of Seattle. Caroline Babcock lives in the Seattle area but spends much of her work time in the New York Metro area and was interested in connecting with someone from my home section - the Tappan Zee Section, since she is in Westchester county most weeks. This lead to some fun for me. When Caroline handed me her business card (I also handed her mine) I spend a moment studying the card, then looked up and asked her a couple of questions about the location of her office in Westchester. The look on her face during these questions was priceless as she had no idea where I was headed. In the end I asked her if she ever drove about half a mile past the parking lot entry to her office's business park and she said yes. I told her the next street she would come to on the right would be Cross Road then I said, "now look at my card". She then noticed that my address (work and home) was on Cross Road in the same town. This new friend works around the corner from where I live! She is now, truly connected with an alternate section on the opposite side of the country from where she lives!
- I hooked up with two old friends during the FD&C / Biomed Division joint reception. Phil Reger, Paul Blixt and I have been taking a 'fun photo' together for about 8 years...who can tell which head belongs to whom?
- I was thrilled to run into my friends from the Monterrey Mexico student branch. And even more excited that some of these young professionals have remained ASQ members even as they have moved from Student to members of the working world. Andres has move from Mexico to Raliegh, NC and is applying his tools of Quality to improve the manufacturing of plastic eating utensiles. Mónica Martínez Castilo is working with Mexico's largest convenient store coumpany also guiding them in the use of Quality Tools and techniques as they grow. By the way, that's Will LaFollette along with Monica and me.