Moments of Elevation – Rising above the everyday action
Moments of Pride – Capturing us at our best
Moments of Insight – Understanding of ourselves and the world we occupy
Moments of Connection – Our initiatives are witnessed by those dear to us
Moments are…E.P.I.C….they truly are – and when one’s initiative gets stuck, it is because it is failing one or more of these aspects.
Let me give you the short answer as to why ASQ Transformation has become an EPIC…”something-or-other” – it lacks genuine moments of accomplishment. Recently, our ASQ Chair, Elmer Corbin listed some year-end accomplishments that eerily looked like “we have begun to” or “we are in the process of” type of statements. Most of the moments he laid out either require a broader outlook (status of Org Memberships and stabilization of Individual Memberships) or they attempt to tout something that does not define a truly powerful moment (centralization of funds and modification of governance in seclusion).
Moments of Elevation:
How has Transformation risen above the everyday operational functioning of ASQ? These moments are designed to make you feel engaged, joyful, and motivated. While about 1% of the Society is actually engaged at the new myASQ Platform, that means that almost all of the Society is…not. Engagement exists on both sides of the Transformation coin, but there is a disparate worldview with regard to this coin. One side is compiling research and doing root cause analysis, and the other side of the coin is attending a pep rally and reading talking points from an FAQ Sheet. There is no elevation because at the end of the day, the initiative cannot rise above the everyday. The coin cannot receive an honest flip because the landscape it is tumbling toward won’t allow for a reliable reading…think of it as falling toward jagged rocks. A Moment of Elevation would be the admission that fiscal operations over recent years have not produced Best Practice results and that new horizons have been recognized and vetted through extensive collaboration in order for ASQ to return to a status of operational health.
Moments of Pride:
Transformation would require an honest disclosure of operations across all subsidiaries. Instead, ASQ has chosen to blame Sections and Divisions (by-and-large, healthy stewards of ASQ funds) for potentially unstable operations that threaten our 501c(3) status. There is no discussion of the poor stewardship of finances at the Headquarters level…in fact, there is only increased headcount this year at Headquarters; increased G&A expenses – paid for by the Divisions and their absorbed funding back in February. In 2019, these expenses will begin to be absorbed by the money HQ is seeking to absorb from Sections, which again, deflects the poor record of debt-repayment and unsatisfactory ROI from operational initiatives by HQ. There is pride at ASQ alright, but it is the worrisome kind of pride: Hubris. ASQ definitely NEEDS Transformation…the script needs to be broken…but it must transform responsibly, transparently, and collectively.
Moments of Insight:
How do we rewire our understanding of ourselves, and the world we serve? Do we do it through insight gained from covert research? Do we do it by levying liability on the Board of Directors if they don’t cede to HQ’s demands [in a member-led/owned Society]? Do we do it by admitting that we don’t “currently have the financial resources to meet and exceed member expectations or develop the new products and services that will allow ASQ to regain its position of leading in the Quality world” [Source: Nov 2017 BoD Minutes]…but still pursue the initiatives on the table anyway? No – our insight comes when we face our brutal facts, we understand that our Membership is comprised of Problem Solvers, and we obtain a wealth of ideas from some extremely smart people…to get us headed in the right direction. Our insight comes from understanding that a debt incurred…is a debt paid; it is a word that is honored and that when done so, gains the favor of those poised to help us on the outside [i.e., a financial institution]. Insight is not playing the stock market while financial covenants are left unattended.
Moments of Connection:
How do we truly Transform…”together”…as a volunteer Member Body and a paid Operational Staff working together in truth and transparency? I have already mentioned that Transformation engagement seems to be two-sided…somewhat partisan. Where there is unhealthy partisanship, there is stagnancy to the issues at-hand. For verification of this, look no farther than the United States Government and the people who steward it. The situational truth must be disclosed if we are to move forward in unity; if we are all trying to navigate around the streets of Milwaukee, we all need to be reading from a Milwaukee map. If ASQ Headquarters wants full operational control of the Society, the Bylaws require that the Membership bequeath it to them through the BoD [Bylaw 1.3.2], which is exactly what is happening at this time. The BoD has refused to connect with its Stakeholders, deciding instead to defer to the “potential liability” being induced by HQ’s Legal Counsel. [Source: Nov 2017 BoD Minutes]. Instead of petitioning the Sections and Divisions for operational control, HQ has instead decided to defund them, only to reconstruct the funding mechanism so that HQ has physical access to the funds that they did not prior. This is being touted as “Sections will manage their funds through the Region Center” [Divisions will have a similar model]. “Managing” funds is different than controlling what happens to those funds, as the Divisions and Sections are going to learn.
If ASQ HQ told the truth about the less-than-acceptable financial management that has been occurring in the last 15 years [a Moment of Pride], genuinely listened to the Society’s owners [a Moment of Connection], and created a humble, credible, and mutually believable picture of ASQ’s Future State [a Moment of Insight], this Society could move in solidarity toward a common goal [a Moment of Elevation].
But those moments are being missed...and so is our opportunity to magnificently transform.