Message From The Quality Management Division Chair

Jerry Rice
Chair - Quality Management Division 2018-2019
It’s been a while since a message has gone out to our membership. I’ve been racking my brain to come up with something to share. Most of my tomes to date have been about how strong the QMD team is and all the cool opportunities we are taking advantage of. We have a great team, big plans and have accomplished some neat stuff. However, after a while the only thing more boring than writing about it is reading it.

The Quality Management Division leadership team is heading into our business planning session in a little over a week. That got me thinking about what we are going to do. Are we just going to talk about how great we are? Probably not. While we will certainly be giving ourselves high fives and extol our awesomeness, we will no doubt also spend time agonizing over where we are missing the mark and the potential hazards that can trip us up.  

So, the rose-colored glasses are coming off and I’m going to spend some time talking about the things that worry me. Disclaimer right up front… these are my personal opinions and they do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the QMD leadership team. I will be only one of many voices contributing to our 2020 objectives next week. I’m just making use of the bully pulpit while it is here.

Customer Focus

During the 8 years or so I’ve been involved with the QMD leadership team, we’ve had a Vice Chair Membership. This position goes back to who knows when. I even served a term as membership vice-chair. You might ask, “What does a vice-chair of membership do?” We have a position description if you care to read it, but the real answer is “not much”. In recent years they oversaw the member breakfast at WCQI, but I think that was only because they didn’t have much else to do. They also provide membership numbers from the monthly headquarters reports, try to come up with catchy ways to attract new members, and oversee the Voice of the Customer position that has usually gone unfilled.

That’s right… voice of the customer isn’t even a position on our leadership team. One of the most critical aspects of a customer focused organization is a second-string position that goes unfilled. Needless to say, QMD hasn’t done very well. My hope is we can provide some real focus on understanding our customers in the 2020 objectives. We need to consider elevating the VOC position and really think about whether a membership vice-chair is necessary.

Member leader management and recognition.

Our member leader team has grown considerably over the past two years and we expect even more growth over next year. By last count we have over 70 volunteers with most of them in thought leadership positions. The rest of the leadership team is positioned to support our thought leaders. It’s conceivable our team could grow to over 100 volunteers by the end of next year.

The truth is in recent years we haven’t been that good about supporting and recognizing our member leaders. It is difficult to track who comes and goes. As with any organization with this many people, the organizational chart is always in flux. Add to that controlling SharePoint access, providing headquarters with a list of who is doing what, recognition letters for RU’s, member leader orientation, succession planning, coordinating member leader awards, etc., it’s getting to the point we need our own HR manager.

If we weren’t very good at this with 30 volunteers on our team, it is unlikely we will be better at it with 100 volunteers. I think we can develop a strategy and begin putting the resources in place to provide the necessary support for our volunteer member leaders. We run the risk of a demoralized team with high turnover if we don’t pay adequate attention to the needs of the volunteers donating their valuable time and knowledge.

Division Governance

The Quality Management Division put considerable effort into providing resources to preach what we practice. Our Content Management Committees are filled with thought leaders organized around the quality management body of knowledge. These teams are beginning to get some traction.

It may be time we consider practicing what we preach. Similar to the Vice-Chair of Membership, we have always had a Vice-Chair Operations. The VC Operations has been responsible for maintaining our “Operations Manual”. The “Operations Manual” is an unwieldy set of Procedures, Position Descriptions, Forms, and other stuff we keep somewhere that has been a real bear to maintain. It is difficult to see a clear connection between our “Operations Manual” and member value creation. Our position descriptions are sometimes muddy as to what roles member leaders are to fill and even muddier on what activities each role is responsible for. In my opinion there is a lot of extraneous reading in the Operations Manual documents that has nothing to do with member value. We need a different approach.

Should we adopt an organizational excellence model as a blueprint for governance? Should we develop a concise operating system that places delivering member value at its core with clearer connections to QMD member leader activities and roles? Should we change the role of the VC Operations to coordinate our journey to excellence? If we choose to embark, this journey would take several years and span a few leadership changes. Stay tuned.

Our 2020 business planning meeting is in Milwaukee on August 23 and 24. While I see the three items above as areas of weakness and a risk to our division, the entire QMD leadership team will be identifying our strengths weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. We will learn more about the overall ASQ strategic direction and society objectives during our time in Milwaukee. Our 2020 objectives will consider how we can leverage our strengths and shore up our weaknesses to take advantage of opportunities while mitigating threats. The team will certainly see other things over the course of these two days. I’m going into this meeting with a sense of anticipation… eager to gain new insights.  

The QMD leadership team are members that volunteer their time and talent to serve you. They do this on top of their paying jobs and family commitments. I have supreme confidence that this team can deliver on the “Excellence through quality” promise we make when you become a member of the ASQ Quality Management Division.  

Best Regards,

Jerry Rice
ASQ Quality Management Division
Posted by Jerry Rice on Aug 15, 2019 12:27 PM America/Chicago