Chair’s Message | Peggy Milz

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Fall has traditionally been associated with a time of change—the weather changes, leaves change color, summer days give way to school days, pumpkin-flavored beverages and baked goods return to your local coffee shop, football season kicks off, you get to wear your favorite sweatshirt again, and much more. For many years, my family and I spent a long Labor Day weekend at Walt Disney World. Orlando at the beginning of September is still quite hot—so it does not feel like fall. However, September is when Disney transitions to their fall décor. One day we would walk through a park, and it would look like it usually looks throughout most of the year. Then the next morning when we arrived, we could not help but notice that the park had been transformed overnight. As we walked through the park, the kids pointed out their favorite fall decorations and were excited to see them. As they marveled about the Disney magic, my engineering brain was busy imagining and speculating about Disney’s processes required for such a transformation. I just could not help myself. I wanted to know how they could manage all that change so quickly and efficiently. Eventually my husband and I went on a Keys to the Kingdom tour, which provided me some insight into their processes, which are of course quite impressive.

Out of all the things I heard and learned from my professors at Purdue University, one of the most memorable was from my first human factors class. The distinguished head of the department, who taught the class, came in on the first day of the semester and lectured on how “people resist change.” As a young engineering student, that sounded logical to me. However, at the time I had no idea what the true impact of that statement was. I suspect the reason his words stuck with me over the years is that throughout my career (and my personal life) I have routinely been reminded just how much people do resist change.

It is not hard to figure out why people resist change. We all get comfortable with things the way they are (the status quo) and do not want to upset the apple cart. Additionally, many people fear the unknown. One thing we realize or must accept is that change is inevitable. Whether the change is big or small, planned or unplanned, well managed or poorly managed (or not managed at all), it is going to happen. The best way for change to be successful is for us to embrace it instead of resisting it and view it as a challenge to accept rather than as something to fear and run away from.

There have been many changes in ASQ throughout the recent transformation. I am proud of the Quality Management Division member leaders and members who have embraced the changes and stepped up to the challenges presented during this journey. Of course, in addition to the changes associated with the transformation, we have also been embracing changes because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The QMD recently hosted our first virtual conference with the Software Quality Division. Without the dedicated member leaders who took on the challenge, the conference never would have been possible.

That conference is just one example of how we have embraced change. There are many more, including transition from a printed quarterly QMD Forum to an electronic publication in order to realize a significant cost savings. We added numerous webinars over the past 18 months as in-person events were postponed. In August, the QMD Council held its 2022 strategic planning meeting. It was the first time we had been able to meet in person in two years. It was so wonderful to have the team physically together planning for the future. Denis Devos, chair elect, did a great job leading the team through two days of strategic planning. In the end, we had a 2022 business plan and budget that are focused on bringing value to QMD members. We are all very excited about our outlook for 2022. As always, the plan includes some changes that we will all be able to embrace.

Best Regards,
Peggy Milz,
Chair, ASQ Quality Management Division
News Quality Management Division 11/11/2021 4:15pm CST

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