Missing the Mark…by Missing the Moments

2 Replies

Missing the Mark…by Missing the Moments

Posted by Doug Sadtler on Jan 13, 2019 10:02 pm

I have recently finished reading one of my favorite books ever:  The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath (2017, Bantam Books). It actually was a very powerful book, reinforced by several points I had gained from other readings over the last several years.  Here is the point of the book – in order to create powerful “moments” that can serve as keystones for whatever initiative is being pursued (personal, commercial, experimental, etc.), you have to consider the power of four different aspects.  These four aspects are:

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.
Doug Sadtler, CQA, CQPA * Quality Inspector - Allen Edmonds * Chair - Section #1118 * Nashville, TN www.linkedin/in/douglassadtlerquality

Re: Missing the Mark…by Missing the Moments

Posted by Dan Burrows on Jan 14, 2019 12:28 am

Benito Flores‍ ,

You, as ASQ Board of Directors Chair, are now the leader of ASQ (not William Troy‍ or any other hired staff member of ASQ).

Read what Doug Sadtler‍  wrote.  He is a sincere volunteer servant leader of ASQ.  It is people like him who represent the next generation of ASQ leadership and growth.  He has no vested interest, no six figure compensation package, and no fancy office in a headquarters building.  He only has a desire to serve his chosen profession and a need to be supported.

The question for you in 2019 is whether you will finish ASQ Transformation and the centralization of ASQ to collapse it down to an ASQ HQ directed pseudo-business that will devote 75% of resources to land corporate clients that your predecessors like Eric Hayler‍ and Elmer Corbin‍ with the guidance of ASQ HQ started.  But you already know, if you read the past ASQ BoD meeting minutes and ASQ's Financial Reports - which should be required reading for your role, that this strategy has led to a significant decline in membership and continued losses caused by a structural deficit at ASQ HQ that has been a decade in the making.

What will your moment for ASQ be?

This is my opinion based on my understanding of the current state of ASQ and the true direction ASQ Transformation is taking, submitted in good faith.
Dan Burrows ASQ Reliability & Risk Division - Chair

Re: Missing the Mark…by Missing the Moments

Posted by Doug Sadtler on Jan 14, 2019 6:47 am

Thank you for the kind words, Dan Burrows‍.  You have showed tremendous strength and patience through this past tumultuous year, and I am proud of the work you have contributed to the addressing of Transformation...beyond proud, actually.  It is an honor to work alongside you in this.  I got to meet Benito Flores‍  at WCQI in Seattle - we shared a walk to one of the Keynotes and I sat with him on the front row FOR that keynote.  I found him to be a delightful companion, and I look forward to whatever insight he can or is wiling to provide.

As I read The Power of Moments, I was particularly struck by ONE section of the book...as it pertained to ASQ:  Moments of Connection.  THESE Moments are the ones that are severely missing in ASQ Transformation.  They are missing precisely because of the markedly brazen decision to NOT conduct Transformation transparently [Source: August 2017 BoD Minutes].  Let me give you the bullet points from Moments of Connection (pages 247 and 248), so that one might understand why this section hit so hard :

1.  Moments of Connection bond us with others.  We feel warmth, unity, empathy, validation.  [Dan B, Dan Z, myself and others are uniquely bonded (which I prize) - I cannot say the same for my bond with SAC and HQ.  I enjoy my communications with Bill Troy immensely, but they lack bonding.]

2.  To spark Moments of Connection for groups, we must create shared meaning.  That can be accomplished by three strategies:  1) creating a synchronized moment, 2) inviting shared struggle, and 3) connecting to meaning  ["connecting to meaning" being, "finding ways to remind people of their purpose."]

3.  Groups bond when they struggle together.  People will welcome a struggle when it's their choice to participate, when they're given autonomy to work, and when the mission is meaningful.  [ASQ's presentation of Transformation has sternly violated all three of these.]

4.  "Connecting to Meaning" reconnects people with the purpose of their efforts.  That's motivating and encourages "above and beyond" work.  [Strong purpose trumps strong passion - where is the purpose in making sure Organizations are the backbone of Quality?  Quality is a personal ethic, that is borne by Organizations.]

5.  In individual relationships, we believe that relationships grow closer with time.  But that's not the whole story.  Sometimes long relationships reach plateaus.  And with the right moment, relationships can deepen quickly.  [To those at HQ and on the BoD, our relationships could be much better, but there is not a lot of trying.]

6.  According to the psychologist Harry Reis, what deepens individual relationships is "responsiveness":  mutual understanding, validation, and caring.   [In dissension, no one has asked, "What matters to us?  Why are we sticking our necks out?"]

7.  Responsiveness coupled with openness leads to intimacy.  It happens via "turn-taking."  [There's not much "turn-taking" when the BoD is absent on myASQ and HQ's responses are rare and sterilized.  NOTE:  The most gratifying threads ARE the ones where Bill Troy and Brian Savoie have made contributions, but they are rare, and their connected-meaning ends up limited.]

You want BIG things to happen?  Create Moments that make people feel connected to the Future State.  You can't do that cloaked in a lack of transparency - and from Research to Governance, Transformation has been just that.   My colleagues and I wish it were different - trust me when I tell you that.  There has not been anything "fun" about this effort, although our camaraderie has been a highlight for me, as I suspect it is for them as well.

Best wishes from open ears.
Doug Sadtler, CQA, CQPA * Quality Inspector - Allen Edmonds * Chair - Section #1118 * Nashville, TN www.linkedin/in/douglassadtlerquality