Getting Leadership Responses to Member Questions

14 Replies

Getting Leadership Responses to Member Questions

Posted by Harry Rowe on Dec 20, 2018 7:08 am

How about a dedicated thread where members can post questions and receive timely and authoritative responses from ASQ's elected leaders or senior staff? I frequently see, and occasionally post, questions that I believe merit a leadership response but none is forthcoming. We know that staff monitors posts, ostensibly to make sure they go to the proper category. Surely they could monitor one thread for questions and pass them on to the appropriate party to respond.
Harry Rowe Certified Manager of Quality and Organizational Excellence ASQ Senior Member

Re: Getting Leadership Responses to Member Questions

Posted by Daniel Zrymiak on Dec 20, 2018 9:13 am

Good morning Harry Rowe‍ 

There are a few extra machinations involved in the crafting and delivery of responses by an ASQ Leadership figure.  The guiding principles of ASQ's BoD, available at the hyperlink below, include the following passages:
http://rube.asq.org/about-asq/how-we-do/pdf/guiding-principles.pdf

"For high visibility decisions that will generate member interest, prepare talking points in real time with active Board participation to ensure we are all enabled to speak with one voice as ASQ senior leadership"

"We are stewards of the best interests of ASQ.  Outside our meetings, we speak with one voice, acknowledging divergent points of view respectfully."


The reason that our elected representatives from TCC and SAC/GCC have not yet responded is because they have not yet received their talking points from ASQ Headquarters or Executive Leadership.  Based on the video by the ASQ Chair available at https://my.asq.org/news/21/208 ; the talking points of ASQ's Executive Leadership are scripted and delivered in lock-step synchronicity with HQ staff.

In controversial situations, the best response is to deflect and leave questions unanswered: this mitigates the risk of contradictory and conflicting statements requiring damage control and uncomfortable explanations and deflections. Consider how the November 2017 resolution to dissolve divisions was subsequently explained by Elmer Corbin‍ and Daniella Picciotti‍ as a misinterpretation; the dissolution referred to the termination of current policies, not the member units themselves. 

ASQ Leadership will respond to our "divergent points" (respectfully, of course) when ASQ's Strategic Communications Manager provides them with their talking points and instructs them on the appropriate communication approach.  


 

Re: Getting Leadership Responses to Member Questions

Posted by Cynthia Nazario on Dec 20, 2018 11:02 am

Harry Rowe‍, thank you for the feedback. It was earlier shared that the purpose of myASQ is to support quality professionals in their knowledge and use of quality, and particularly, in some locations to not expect response because other channels are used to communicate Society business and governance. To support the intended purpose, and the needs of members to engage in membership-focused conversations, we will continue to evaluate how to facilitate that in terms of design and coordinated community moderation, which should involve both staff and members. 
myASQ Community Manager

Re: Getting Leadership Responses to Member Questions

Posted by Dan Burrows on Dec 27, 2018 7:16 pm

Harry Rowe‍ asked a legitimate question of why ASQ Leaders are not engaging and responding to relevant questions and issues that members are raising on myASQ.

Daniel Zrymiak‍ predicted that responses would not be forthcoming and that we would just get approved talking points instead of answers to the questions asked and issues raised.

Cynthia Nazario‍ responded exactly as Dan Z predicted.  And I understand that she is just doing her job as it was most likely defined to her and hopefully getting paid overtime for monitoring myASQ outside of normal ASQ HQ working hours, on weekends, and holidays.

I know, Harry, that you don't care much for the points earning scheme on myASQ, but doesn't Dan Z at least deserve a Bingo! on this one?
Dan Burrows ASQ Reliability & Risk Division - Chair

Re: Getting Leadership Responses to Member Questions

Posted by Daniel Zrymiak on Dec 27, 2018 8:38 pm

Well Dan Burrows‍  ,  thank you for the round-up.

In an optimal system. the questions could be routed through the chain of command to the first point of contact.  However, this ideal breaks down when (hypothetically) the RD is a no-show for the SAC booth at WCQI or simply shrugs off the questions posed from the membership. On the TCC side, if you asked the 25 member unit chairs, you would likely get 25 different perspectives and interpretations.  

Harry Rowe‍ is a reasonable and formidable ASQ member, who is held in high enough regard that any questions from him should merit the due time and consideration for a thoughtful and deliberate response.  Harry is also representative of a very valued tier of ASQ members (I think Bill Brody‍ defined this persona as the Faithful Veterans of ASQ; may each and every one of these honourable members and their tender hearts continue to be filled with their Passion for Quality).  

Sometimes when I pose a question in myASQ, it is not intended for a response, but is more of a Socratic rhetorical question intended to provoke thoughtful contemplation by the readers like Amanda Foster‍  , Luigi Sille‍ , John Chivers‍ , and other myASQ luminaries.  Also, the non-response represents the fear and timidity that often accompanies the hesitations and trepidations of those who must now bear the responsibility for a course of action which has now set ASQ on its irreversible concentric trajectory toward its eventual destination. It takes courage and integrity to respond frankly and authentically to difficult questions.

I will share some examples, which can be augmented by others:
  • Were all of the voting members of the BoD in 2017 and 2018 confirmed as Senior or Fellow members of ASQ?  (there is one who has not declared himself as such, nor demonstrated proof of his qualifications).
  • Given that the MUOA represents a fundamental and explicit alteration of Article 1 of ASQ's Bylaws, which according to Article 9 require a majority vote of a quorum consisting of a minimum of 2,500 Regular Members, WHEN WILL Elmer Corbin‍ SCHEDULE THE MEMBER VOTE TO GAIN THE REQUIRED 2/3 MAJORITY?
  • Given that ASQ's bylaws make no mention of the recently applied member structures like Segments and Region Centres; does the endorsement of the MUOA actually represent the contravention and violation of multiple ASQ Bylaw terms and conditions within Article 1 and Article 4? 
  • Given that some of ASQ's Financial polices were not updated in 21 years, why is it suddenly such a priority for Member Units to "seal the deal" of their MUOA within weeks?
  • Given the frequent and repeated promises that Member Units would have fewer financial and administrative burdens, why does the MUOA still assign full responsibility and accountability back to Member Units (within the fine print of the details)? 
  • Given that organizational and brand risks are so prevalent, why have global Member Units been spared the requirement to endorse the MUOA?
  • If ASQ's General & Administrative costs represent 40% of total expenses, does the centralization and reallocation of Member Unit funds simply exacerbate a systemic malady within ASQ?
  • If recent operational deficits were mitigated by superior financial returns from investing in a bull market, how will the bear market of 2018 and recent stock market losses affect ASQ's current operational deficits?
  • Given the recent revelation that ASQ was "short-changing" the taxman in Canada, is ASQ exposed to any other tax violations and penalties in any of the other countries in which the Society currently transacts business or has individual or organizational memberships?



 

Re: Getting Leadership Responses to Member Questions

Posted by Luigi Sille on Dec 28, 2018 9:33 am

Not responding has nothing to do with FEAR.

What Is Fear?

Fear is one of the most basic human emotions. We are equipped with the survival instincts necessary to respond with fear when we sense danger or feel unsafe.
Fear helps protect us. It makes us alert to danger and prepares us to deal with it. 

People fear things or situations that make them feel unsafe or unsure. 

But not responding here has nothing to do with fear.

I don’t say you are wrong with all the data you are putting on the table, but it’s not helping the cause right now.

I am a true believer in communication, and sometimes the end result is something we do not agree with. BUT we have to move on, and on the way try to fix it together.

Misunderstandings are bound to happen in any relationship. With your partner. With your kids. With your family and friends. With your colleagues. This is normal and natural.
Sometimes, we might let a slew of small irritations build up, which only triggers resentment and negative feelings over time. It leads us to withdraw from our loved ones, and be less present in our relationships.
Other times we might blurt out our frustration in the heat of the moment, screaming words we might later regret. Neither approach is good.

Modern ways to communicate are excellent, but not to resolve misunderstandings, and problems. 

These ways to communicate are definitely no way to resolve issues. It just make it worst, everybody is reading and interpreting it in his or own way.

So at the end of the day the lack of a response does not have to do with fear. It has to do with the fact that answering difficult questions might take a long time, in order to minimize misunderstandings that might occur from others’ interpretations.
 

Re: Getting Leadership Responses to Member Questions

Posted by Daniel Zrymiak on Dec 28, 2018 10:23 am

Hello Luigi Sille‍ . You are a very intelligent Quality professional with inspired and thoughtful comments.  I fully appreciate your profound perspective.

I concur with your argument that Fear does not necessarily drive the refusal by senior member leaders like Sylvester Newton‍  , Luis Morales‍  , James Kittredge‍ , James Creiman‍ , Daniella Picciotti‍ , or Mark Moyer‍  to respond to thoughtful and pertinent questions, posed sincerely and respectfully by long-term, recognized members like me, Dan Burrows‍ , Doug Sadtler‍  , Harry Rowe‍ , and others with genuine concerns about our Society.

However, by virtue of their particular nomination to the BoD as representatives of SAC and TCC, they and others are accountable to represent the voices of their constituent divisions and sections, and to abide by ASQ's Articles of Incorporation and the Bylaws (particularly Article1, Article 4, and Article 9).  Their misunderstanding of BoD member obligations back to the TCC and SAC bodies which they purport to represent, compounded with their fundamental disregard of ASQ's Articles and Bylaws, enabled this so-called Transformation to occur and inflict its long-term, irreversible damage to ASQ and the Quality profession.

If even our representatives on ASQ's BoD are unwilling to respond as men (and women) of honour, then their obedient silence and obsequious acquiescence to the current regime of lavishly compensated ASQ executives, middle management, and consultants speaks volumes.  A careful review of past BoD minutes reveals that our top tier of executives in Milwaukee are more concerned with renovating their offices than with funding scholarships to students and future professionals.

If the silence by our ASQ Leadership is not, as you so insightfully claim, based on fear and timidity, then the only alternative is utter contempt and abject disregard for the trusting and loyal ASQ membership they purport to serve and represent.

 

Re: Getting Leadership Responses to Member Questions

Posted by Luigi Sille on Dec 28, 2018 11:07 am

Daniel Zrymiak‍ My friend, as always you have some    Good points. 

But maybe we need to focus on a more positive and pieceful approach.  And I really do understand your point of view.

 

Re: Getting Leadership Responses to Member Questions

Posted by Dan Burrows on Dec 28, 2018 3:07 pm

Luigi Sille‍ 
Please explain how us putting the facts and data out there for the Members of ASQ to see for themselves what is being done and decide for themselves if the current course of action of ASQ Transformation is warranted is not "helping the cause".  Or maybe explain to us what you believe the cause to be, since what of ASQ Transformation that has been presented in the talking points and FAQs do not match the reality of the true challenges that ASQ is facing and the measures being put in place that only serve to consolidate power - governance, operations, finances - at ASQ HQ, which is not their job.

Also please explain how ASQ BoD, SAC, and TCC leaders and ASQ HQ leaders not discussing our legitimate concerns out in the open is helping the cause.  We don't all have to agree on everything here, but a true dialogue from those pushing ASQ Transformation is sorely lacking.  In fact, many would say that it is incumbent on those making such a drastic and sweeping change must justify their position and their actions.

At least you have the courage to come out in the open to present and discuss your views, so you do get my respect for this.

These are my opinions based on my experiences with ASQ Transformation, submitted in good faith.
Dan Burrows ASQ Reliability & Risk Division - Chair

Re: Getting Leadership Responses to Member Questions

Posted by Amanda Foster on Dec 29, 2018 9:41 pm

Daniel Zrymiak‍ I hope you realize the volume of documents I have been reading in my spare time because of your thought provoking posts! I should at least be able to get RUs for them!

Just kidding.

Truly, you are worlds ahead of me, along with Dan Burrows‍, Harry Rowe‍ and others. I am running to catch up!
Amanda Foster, ASQ CQA

Re: Getting Leadership Responses to Member Questions

Posted by Daniel Zrymiak on Dec 29, 2018 11:49 pm

Thank you Amanda Foster‍ , I am touched.

I am still playing catch-up, and have much to learn about associations.  As for the history of ASQ, the best resource were the back issues of Quality Progress.  With 12/year from the most recent 22 years, that should offer even more ways to consume your spare time.  :)

Re: Getting Leadership Responses to Member Questions

Posted by Amanda Foster on Dec 31, 2018 8:39 am

No kidding! I have a little over a decades worth anyway. Spare time is a hot commodity though.
Amanda Foster, ASQ CQA

Re: Getting Leadership Responses to Member Questions

Posted by Luigi Sille on Jan 10, 2019 6:31 am

Luigi Sille:
Not responding has nothing to do with FEAR.

What Is Fear?

Fear is one of the most basic human emotions. We are equipped with the survival instincts necessary to respond with fear when we sense danger or feel unsafe.
Fear helps protect us. It makes us alert to danger and prepares us to deal with it. 

People fear things or situations that make them feel unsafe or unsure. 

But not responding here has nothing to do with fear.

I don’t say you are wrong with all the data you are putting on the table, but it’s not helping the cause right now.

I am a true believer in communication, and sometimes the end result is something we do not agree with. BUT we have to move on, and on the way try to fix it together.

Misunderstandings are bound to happen in any relationship. With your partner. With your kids. With your family and friends. With your colleagues. This is normal and natural.
Sometimes, we might let a slew of small irritations build up, which only triggers resentment and negative feelings over time. It leads us to withdraw from our loved ones, and be less present in our relationships.
Other times we might blurt out our frustration in the heat of the moment, screaming words we might later regret. Neither approach is good.

Modern ways to communicate are excellent, but not to resolve misunderstandings, and problems. 

These ways to communicate are definitely no way to resolve issues. It just make it worse, everybody is reading and interpreting it in his or own way.

So at the end of the day the lack of a response does not have to do with fear. It has to do with the fact that answering difficult questions might take a long time, in order to minimize misunderstandings that might occur from others’ interpretations.
 

 
 

Re: Getting Leadership Responses to Member Questions

Posted by Luigi Sille on Jan 10, 2019 11:17 am

HELLO DAN,

i was trying to correct a word (not typed correctly). Sorry for the inconvenience.


Luigi

Re: Getting Leadership Responses to Member Questions

Posted by Dan Burrows on Jan 11, 2019 12:07 am

Luigi Sille‍ 

William Troy‍ , ASQ HQ CEO, had my original response removed claiming that I violated the community guidelines.  I'll try to write it in a more acceptable manner so that Bill does not feel the need to again censor a Member Leader.  I would rather have Benito Flores‍ weigh in on this as the ASQ BoD Chair since the ASQ BoD Chair is the highest level leader at ASQ, not the ASQ HQ CEO.

I indicated that it is not fear that is my concern but rather what is fair.  But fear is certainly in play here...

In my opinion there have been some very concerning things said to motivate people to get behind ASQ Transformation or face serious repercussions....

August 2017 ASQ BoD Meeting, Brian Savoie‍ , ASQ HQ Chief Financial Officere made the following statements: "ASQ will have an operating deficit"  "By mid way through 2020, the ASQ reserve fund held at HQ will be depleted. This would then trigger emergency financial measures."  This is ASQ HQ's CFO indicating that ASQ's operating deficit would trigger emergency financial measures.  Would that not be concerning to anyone on the ASQ BoD?

November 2017 ASQ BoD Meeting, Catherine Jordan‍ , ASQ HQ General Counsel provided this reminder to the ASQ BoD, "Ann remarked on the direct correlation
between organizational risk and potential liability for board members."  This is ASQ HQ's General Counsel warning the ASQ BoD that the risk that ASQ faced could result in their own liability.  Would that not then be very concerning to anyone on the ASQ BoD?

So, in August 2017, ASQ HQ's CFO details the dire state of ASQ and in November 2017, ASQ HQ's General Counsel makes it clear that the ASQ BoD could face liability for this.

The quick fix, but not the fair fix?  ASQ Transformation, especially as it applies to the Divisions since in the November 2017 ASQ BoD Meeting the TCC Transformation Resolution was passed that set the stage for fundamentally altering the governance and operations of Divisions, but most importantly centralized the $4.5 million that Divisions rightfully held and made this available to the ASQ General Fund.  Crisis averted.  At least for ASQ HQ.  Not really fair to Divisions since it simply shifted the crisis onto Divisions, in my opinion.

But it didn't stop there since Divisions and Sections were recently sent the new Member Unit Operating Agreement.  In this document, it states not once but twice that violating this agreement could result in legal action.  Would that not be concerning to any Division or Section leader?  It concerned me but it also came off to me as being way too heavy handed to invoke the possibility of legal action against Divisions and Sections.  I will not sign a document that indicates that legal action can be taken against me just for trying to serve ASQ.  The other signer of this document is Benito Flores‍ and I sent him a note to ask him if he thought that this document in its current very flawed state is fair since I as the other signer was allowed no say in it..

And it didn't even stop there since Catherine Jordan‍ was nice enough to inform me after I indicated my reluctance to sign the flawed Member Unit Operating Agreement that, "member units are required to execute it (as written) as a condition of continued good standing in the Society."   Would this statement not be very concerning to any Division or Section leader?  And is it fair that now, failure to sign this flawed document may result in the ASQ Reliability & Risk Division, the division that leads in member growth and member retention and the division that was made to hand over 5 times our operating budget to the ASQ General Fund, being found to not be in good standing and possibly dissolved?

I know that I may seem contentious here, but I did not start this.  All I ever did was serve ASQ Members.  All my Division ever did was serve ASQ Members.  And we did this with our volunteer sweat, not a paycheck and not sitting in a fancy headquarters building.  The crisis that ASQ is in is not the fault of the Divisions.  I think you will find the root cause, and Quality professionals should be all about finding and fixing the root cause, if you just do like I have and read the ASQ BoD Meeting Minutes and the ASQ Financial Reports and ASQ's IRS Form 990.  And then I believe that you will also agree that ASQ Transformation is not fair and resisting the egregious aspects of it is not contentious but the right thing to do for the true future of ASQ as a Member Led Society.

These are my opinions based on the events and documents and communications and finances as I understand them, submitted in good faith.
Dan Burrows ASQ Reliability & Risk Division - Chair