Thursday, December 2, 2010

Baldrige at Risk

This month in his blog A View from the Q, Paul Borawski addresses the potential elimination of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award program by President Obama's commission to reduce financial costs to the US government (National Commission for Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (NCFRR)). Is the Baldrige program viable or has it run its natural course?

Let me start by saying that I've never been a fan of awards. If you do your job and do it well, then you are duly compensated. I never understood why the Entertainment and Sports industries go a step further, after paying astonomical salaries, and give awards to those at the 'top of their game'.

That said, do I believe there is value to the Baldrige program? My answer is a resounding YES!!!! I say yes because Baldrige is not focused on the outcome, it is actually focused on the journey. Baldrige has laid the ground work for establishment of a sound Business Management System that allows any organization to achieve success. Like ISO 9001, Baldrige is the framework and how it is used it the choice of the organization.

Should the US government continue to support a program that addresses business success? Again, I say YES!!!! Our government excels at supporting programs geared toward bailing out other countries. I say we should focus locally. Earmark that money to drive business improvement and success within our own borders. If we continue to drive businesses to send their work centers off shore then what will become of us? We need our government to encourage US businesses to remain domestic and continually improve themselves, thereby bolstering our own national economy. The Baldrige program provides the tools any organization might need to better define and improve itself. Let's work to keep it going and drive its success well into the future.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Raising the Voice of Quality

In his first post for response by the ASQ Influential Voices team, Paul Borawski, ASQ Executive Director / Chief Strategic Officer asks, "So, what would it take to get the world’s attention to focus on that truth?" (That truth being, Quality really does offer answers to what organizations most need.) He then goes on to inquire, "What would it take to have the world realize the full potential of quality?"

I plan to address each of Paul's questions here...

What would it take to get the world's attention to focus on what quality really does offer to the organization. This is a most difficult question to answer. Difficult because of the hundreds of different cultural perspectives that exist world wide. Differences in political, social and religious beliefs continue to override our big Quality question. I believe that a world at peace will then have an oppotunity to address these greater / larger questions. In a world that is not harmonious the emphasis is placed on safety before all else. In other words, the world as a whole is at the lowest needs level in Maslow's Hierachy of Needs, while this question sits at the self-actualization level or Maslow's highest level of needs.

Yet, if we just look at this from the organizational perspective, and this applies to organizations anywhere in the world, then we can address the question. Quality must start with our senior leadership. If the organization leader does not live and breath the concepts and practices of Quality before all else, then even the smallest of initiatives is designed for failure. The methodology an organization applies might not be consistent from company to company, country to country, culture to culture, after all, one size does not fit all, yet, a focus on Quality as an organizational lead initiative is necessary and that lead must come from the senior most members of the organization.

Next, Paul asks, "What would it take to have the world realize the full potential of quality?" Again, we must approach this question carefully. As previously stated, one size does not fit all. We need to clearley define the different models that can work for different types of organizations and provide organizational leadership with the means to choose the best fit for themselves. For some an ISO 9001 approach may be best, while for others a Lean and / or Six Sigma approach might fit. The Baldrige model is a another good functional model for organizational excellence. A meld of several models could be another option. So long as the Organizational Leaders start the journey by consciously developing a Quality Culture for the organization.

For the world to realize the full potential of quality would require an outstanding advertising campaign addressing the power and benefits of a Quality Culture for all organizations. Sell it like a great product. Benchmark the best advertising campaigns and purse this greater good from a marketing / advertising perspective.

Influential Voices

I’m excited! The American Society for Quality (ASQ) asked me be a participant in their new Influential Voices initiative as a blogger. I am not yet sure how this will pan out as we don't yet have details on the discussions expected, but I am none-the-less honored that they thought of me. I am a Fellow of ASQ and I am an active Member Leader. I am also involved with ASQ as a blogger for the World Conference on Quality and Improvement (WCQI) every year.

This initiative kicks off on Nov 1, 2010 so come back often to learn more.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Quality Breakfast

I've always been a picky eater. There are foods I will not eat for a variety of reasons that I will not address here. On the other hand, those foods that I do like I like to be prepared properly. One of my favorite meals is breakfast and there is nothing I like better than a good egg sandwich for breakfast (okay Corned Beef Hash and Eggs is my first choice but not a common choice).

A Quality Breakfast must be prepared correctly. To make a Quality Egg Sandwich there certain requirements:
  1. Start with 2 real large or extra large eggs
  2. Mix them so yoke and albumen is thoroughly mixed (add a little water for fluffiness)
  3. Cook them like an omlete until they are browned (well done)
  4. Fold the eggs properly so the fit on the roll (which must not be toasted or buttered) then place on bottom of roll
  5. Add salt and pepper
  6. Cook the sausage or bacon until it is well done also
  7. Carefully place the sausage or bacon on the center of the egg
  8. Cover with the top of the roll
  9. Cut through (do not leave the bottom section of roll attached)
You may be asking, what about the cheese...I hate Eggs and Cheese together.
Others may be fuming because I did not add ketchup or hot sauce or salsa.
This is my formula for my perfect breakfast that can be eaten in the car, on the train, in your kitchen, anywhere I choose.

How do you like your breakfast to be prepared?
What is your favorite formula (I know it's a recipe).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Quality and Poker

I am a Quality Professional.
I am also an avid Poker Player.
I've been asking myself several questions lately related to each...

1. What makes me a Quality Professional?
2. What constitutes a Professional Poker Player?
3. Are their similarities between my vocation and avocation?
4. How can I use my knowledge of Quality to continually improve my poker game?

Let's take them one at a time...

1. What makes me a Quality professional is:

  • I've achieved ASQ Certification as a Certified Manager of Quality / Organizational Excellence (CMQ/OE)
  • I've achieved ASQ Certification as a Certified Quality Engineer (CQE)
  • I've achieved ASQ Certification as a Certified Quality Auditor (CQA)
  • I've achieved ASQ Certification as a Certified Quality Improvement Associate (CQIA)
  • I've achived RABQSA Certification as a Provisional Auditor to ISO 9001
  • I've studied and applied the tools and concepts of the trade
  • I've guided several organizations to ISO 9000 registration (to each revision of the standard (1987, 1994, 2000, 2008)
  • I've implemented numerous business improvements resulting in bottom line and top line savings for countless organizations.
  • Need I go on?

Many of these accomplishments were individual (my certifications) however the most significant accomplishments (the organizational improvements) were with the people of those organizations. To me Quality is all about People and how they interact with Processes.

2. What constitutes a professional (of any kind) is one that makes money through plying the trade. In Poker it might be defined a bit differently. Most professional poker players state that they earn their entire income through playing the game. If you truly examine their lifestyles you'll see that they bet on more that the card game. They also earn money (or lose it) through 'Prop' bets, sports betting, etc. They can win or lose any day of the week, however, they pay their bills and expenses through these games they play. I say if you are making money playing poker then you are a Professional Poker Player. Yes, we all have winning days and losing days however if your net bankroll at the end of a defined period (one year for instance) is positive, then you are a Pro.

3. The similarities between my vocation and avocation are numerous:

  • Both are all about people and how they interact
  • In both I am looking for continual improvement opportunities
  • Statistics play a big part in determine acceptance vs. rejection
  • The Quality of the Product speaks for itself
  • I learn more about continual improvement from defects/losses than from acceptable product/wins
  • I am always the enemy
  • A positive attitude can help in keeping me moving forward

4. How can I use Quality tools and techniques to improve my poker game is a question that has been gnawing at me for some time. I've read dozens of books on the game, watched countless training videos available through my on line training business opportunty (visit to learn more - be sure to fill in the first time visitor form and look for the video on 'the product') and I've played hundress of thousands of hands both face-to-face and on line. This is not enough. I keep statistics on my wins/losses in order to track my success (or failure). This too is not enough. I need to find a means to apply my trade tools to my passion. Any suggestions?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

ASQ World Conference on Quality and Improvement 2010

Once again I was a blogger at the ASQ WCQI along with Aimee Seigler and Dennis Arter. See what was going on during the learning filled days in St. Louis from May 22 - 26.