Quality Progress June Cover Story Focuses on Generations in the Workforce. Your Thoughts?...

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Quality Progress June Cover Story Focuses on Generations in the Workforce. Your Thoughts?

Posted by Seiche Sanders on Jun 1, 2018 8:48 am

In this month’s QP cover story, two ASQ members from different generations describe challenges and opportunities in today’s age-diverse workforce. http://asq.org/qualityprogress/ We want to hear from you:

What experiences have you had as a member of your generation, and with others? Are there specific advantages or disadvantages when age groups fuse? How do you work with or manage these different types of employees and styles of work? What holds back progress, and what bridges any divides?

Also feel free to post specific questions for the article’s contributors, Erin Wichtoski and Grace L. Duffy. They’re ready and willing to answer questions or comment further!



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Re: Quality Progress June Cover Story Focuses on Generations in the Workforce. Your Thoughts?

Posted by Grace Duffy on Jun 1, 2018 12:12 pm

Thank you for posting. I look forward to hearing the differing perspectives. 
Grace L. Duffy

Re: Quality Progress June Cover Story Focuses on Generations in the Workforce. Your Thoughts?

Posted by Daniel Zrymiak on Jun 1, 2018 3:10 pm

Grace, I enjoyed reading your perspectives and sharing your insights.  My own ASQ experience was greatly enhanced by our initial connection at the WCQI in Seattle in 2005.  You represent the ideals of the TQM generation of ASQ, when Quality was more unified and deliberate in its approach.  You were a great influence and mentor (and still are), and I am humbled by your continued example of prolific thought-leadership and active involvement.

I was always cautious and hesitant about my ASQ involvement.  I actually did not consider myself sufficiently worthy to submit an abstract to present at WCQI until after I was recognized as an ASQ Fellow in 2009.  In contrast, the audacity of the Millennial generation is such that they are not only more assertive about their own capabilities, but some see their placement among ASQ's speakers and luminaries almost as an entitlement.

I see this serving in ASQ Awards Committees as well.  I recently had the honour of interacting with the 2018 ASQ Award recipients.  Linda Westfall and Dan Sniezek in particular were especially gracious and modest, given their exemplary accomplishments (to the extent that in 10-20 years, ASQ will be presenting worthy candidates with the Westfall Medal for Software QA excellence and the Sniezek Medal for Quality Measurement achievements).  In contrast, there are entitled young professionals who, having achieved a modicum of stature and credentials, have a much higher and less patient sense of entitlement for ASQ recognitions.

I view myself as a bridge between what I perceive as self-entitled Millennials, and the comparatively modest and humble Greatest Generation and Boomer Generation members who selflessly and voluntarily built and sustained ASQ and the Quality Profession to our care and stewardship.  I want to extend due respect and recognition to those who came before me, and offer whatever guidance I am able to support the direction and inspiration of our future leaders and thought-leaders.  
 

Re: Quality Progress June Cover Story Focuses on Generations in the Workforce. Your Thoughts?

Posted by Grace Duffy on Jun 1, 2018 3:30 pm

Dan; your comments are kind. Thank you. Yes, you and I have a long relationship with our work in the Quality Management Division and a number of Headquarters based committees. I agree with you that my early training was one of respect for authority and that meant anyone older than I was. I still find myself saying Yes, Sir and Yes, Ma'am to people who may be younger than I am, simply because they "appear older than I am" and probably don't really. Younger professionals may by encouraged to view colleagues of all ages as equals. Maybe even to see older individuals as less skilled or less flexible. We may be. I know I have to laugh at myself sometimes when I teach Change Management and realize I get the same knee-jerk reaction to change that many others do. The trick is to be aware of our own perspectives and withhold reaction until we truly assess the situation. I am glad you have "pushed the envelope" in your business life to be more aware of your talents. You have helped so many with your mentoring over the years. Not just with the Fellows program, but with encouraging young professionals to write for journals and to submit proposals to speak at our ASQ conferences. 

I, too, am impressed by the humility of leaders such as Linda Westfall and Dan Sniezek. There are others, as well, who have incredible credentials and are so willing to share their talents with others. I have always been impressed with ASQ members. There is so little competitiveness in sharing ideas. Yes, we copyright materials to make sure we realize the value of our ideas, but rarely do we withhold information from colleagues that will help the whole Quality Body of Knowledge grow. We subscribe to the academic model of throwing out an idea and seeing who can run with it toward an even better application. My thought is that the younger generation are still testing their wings. Once they have the same "scar tissue" that you and I have from pushing the envelope, embarrassing ourselves by pushing too far and recovering from the experience, they will far surpass the achievements of our Traditionalists and Baby Boomers. 

I hope we get some good input from these newer professionals to test our observations and theories. I know my 30 - something niece is out there listening......
Grace L. Duffy

Re: Quality Progress June Cover Story Focuses on Generations in the Workforce. Your Thoughts?

Posted by John Chivers on Jun 11, 2018 8:58 am

Daniel Zrymiak:
In contrast, the audacity of the Millennial generation is such that they are not only more assertive about their own capabilities, but some see their placement among ASQ's speakers and luminaries almost as an entitlement.
[...]
In contrast, there are entitled young professionals who, having achieved a modicum of stature and credentials, have a much higher and less patient sense of entitlement for ASQ recognitions.
[...]
I view myself as a bridge between what I perceive as self-entitled Millennials, and the comparatively modest and humble Greatest Generation and Boomer Generation members who selflessly and voluntarily built and sustained ASQ and the Quality Profession to our care and stewardship. 

It's incredible how often I hear that "millennials are entitled" without actually addressing what they feel entitled to have.

Awards and recognition (apart from maybe a lifetime achievement award) have no age/experience requirement.

Everyone should be able to have their voice heard. Millennials especially, form a large population point who will for the most part be taking over from boomers as they retire. I think that millennials are sometimes best placed to speak on certain topics because they have the knowledge and ability to turn complicated technology and new ways of thinking into something that can be understood by all.

I believe millennials are assertive because they have evidence to back it up. I personally removed the need for 4 administration-based jobs in my company in a year through automation. Why should I feel that I have to spend 5 years at a desk job punching numbers into spread sheets when I can automate the whole thing in a few days? We are confident because our peers are able to make massive societal change, and have already. More technology will only make this change faster.

Millennials and boomers are as polarised as ever and we should be actively working as a society to close the gap. Millennials will come and probably change ASQ to something completely brand new, we have a different set of values and our own vision of what it should be. Our generations should be in collaboration to deliver the goal of ASQ, using quality to improve the world we live in.

Re: Quality Progress June Cover Story Focuses on Generations in the Workforce. Your Thoughts?

Posted by Roy Stone on Jun 13, 2018 2:24 pm

I've been essentially providing quality support to manufacturing of one product or another, for most of my working life. This began in earnest in 1988 with Motorola Subscriber in Schaumburg, IL. While there I took many training classes in the quality arena and earned certifications, including Six Sigma Green Belt. While at Subscriber my main priority was supporting the manufacturing of printed circuit boards and subsequent assembly of them into final products. My focus was on solder paste screening, robotic surface mount technology component population and solder reflow. During my tenure with Motorola and ever since then, I regularly interacted with many diverse age groups. Many times the "older" "experienced" workers discounted ideas from us "younger" workers. There were more than few times when the ideas from us younger folks, that had been dismissed earlier, suddenly were being pursued, with the credit going to some of the "older" workers. Integrity is something that always needs to be present. Respect is another attribute that needs to be stressed. Accountability goes hand in hand with them. Personally, I have not had any problems listening to ideas. Most of us know the team approach always provides the best ideas, in the shortest time. I've experienced age discrimination. By this I mean a much younger engineer, at a more recent job, had a severe ego problem. He felt because he graduated from a pretty good engineering school, everyone around him, to whom he did not report in any way, couldn't possibly know more than him. He was always resistant to inputs from the three of us who had to use test programs he put together. The combined experience, training and education of the three of us, who had to execute his test programs, exceeded 100 years. He was  wrong so many times, we lost count. So, it is easy to understand how age bias can happen from any generation viewing another generation. We all have to open our minds, ears and close our mouths so we are open to learning. I've yet to meet anyone from whom I couldn't learn something worthwhile.
Roy A Stone

Re: Quality Progress June Cover Story Focuses on Generations in the Workforce. Your Thoughts?

Posted by Amanda Foster on Jun 13, 2018 3:37 pm

As a Gen Xer I often feel overlooked both in this debate and in the professional realm. My ideas are not dewy with youthful fresh ideas, I have not yet earned the wisdom of grey hair, but I am steady and dependable. I have found that my voice is infrequently heard when I do speak, though I am observant and have much to offer. In my local ASQ chapter there are older members, and there are young members, but there are not many that look like me - right in the middle. It seems to me that Quality is a big enough room for all. One place I do not see this is in Quality teams, and especially in the ITEA program.
Amanda Foster, ASQ CQA

Re: Quality Progress June Cover Story Focuses on Generations in the Workforce. Your Thoughts?

Posted by Grace Duffy on Jun 15, 2018 2:16 pm

Amanda; I do empathize. I joined ASQ when I was 43. I did not have the exuberance of youth, nor the veneration of old age. Well, believe me, the years come at us whether we like it or not. Thank you for your participation in ASQ. I was able to volunteer as Program Chair for the Section (1122 Charleston, SC) when I first joined in 1993. I was fellowshipped into the section simply because I was willing to take on a position that was not very popular. As I showed that I could competently contribute to the section, I was accepted as an integral member of the group. At the same time, I got involved in a Division through virtual roles and eventually became useful enough to warrant travel support to become involved in on-site activities. Although I do not know the details of your ASQ journey, I suspect that the potential of your longer term availability to the Society is important. I will be gone in 5 or so years. You will be able to help us for a lot longer. Let me know if I can help you get more involved. Grace Duffy grace683@outlook.com
Grace L. Duffy

Re: Quality Progress June Cover Story Focuses on Generations in the Workforce. Your Thoughts?

Posted by Grace Duffy on Jun 15, 2018 2:24 pm

Roy; thank you for this remembrance. It is frustrating, at best, to be marginalized because we do not fit into someone else's construct of "important." I very much appreciate that you have remained engaged in both your career and in ASQ. I do remember thinking sometimes that the older members of the workforce were bordering on dementia, simply because they had 45 years with the company. This is exactly the year (2018) when I would have been in the same boat. I sure wish I could go back to apologize to "John" for not listening to him when he was my Staff Engineer. (Blush). Writing my section of this Quality Progress piece reminded me of many assumptions I made as a young professional, as well as the conversations I have now as a mentor to upcoming leaders. I hope I can be a bit more humble moving forward. Your comments are well stated. 
Grace L. Duffy

Re: Quality Progress June Cover Story Focuses on Generations in the Workforce. Your Thoughts?

Posted by Amanda Foster on Jul 25, 2018 2:59 pm

Grace Duffy‍,

I somehow missed your response here. Thank you for the encouragement. It's good to know that there is hope. The chapter I am closest to is still an hour from home, so I honestly have stopped making much effort to be involved. Maybe I will try again when the kids are bigger.

I have really found my niche with the ITEA and hope to be involved there for many years. I will definitely take you up on the offer for help if I can. Thanks again!
Amanda Foster, ASQ CQA

Re: Quality Progress June Cover Story Focuses on Generations in the Workforce. Your Thoughts?

Posted by Grace Duffy on Jul 26, 2018 6:21 am

Amanda; ITEA is every bit a valuable ASQ service activity. Thank you for encouraging teams to move their organizations forward. Remote membership can be just as effective as section local work. Most of the Division activity is performed over the Internet and teleconferencing. I am about an hour away from my section meetings, too. I understand the time management considerations. Grace
Grace L. Duffy

Re: Quality Progress June Cover Story Focuses on Generations in the Workforce. Your Thoughts?

Posted by Amanda Foster on Jul 26, 2018 7:35 am

Grace,

Your encouragement is boundless. I will continue to pursue remote support opportunities and not worry about the local section for the time being as it really does not work for me at this time in my life. Thank you again.

Amanda
Amanda Foster, ASQ CQA

Re: Quality Progress June Cover Story Focuses on Generations in the Workforce. Your Thoughts?

Posted by Henry Mensah on Jul 26, 2018 9:59 am

Very interesting read, thank you for the post.