Thursday, December 18, 2014

Is Quality Ambitious Enough? Facilitating Uncommon Connections.

Evangelize: To promulgate or promote something enthusiastically (

In his December post on the ASQ blog, A View from the Q, CEO Tony Hill challenges the professional quality community whether we are doing enough to grow the impact of our community of practice:
  • How do we encourage those who work in quality to understand their own value?
  • How do we spread the message of quality in a marketplace overflowing with ideas about how to boost profitability and ever-changing management trends?

Alternatively stated:
  • How do we bring non-traditional quality improvement practitioners into the Quality CoP - people/roles such as customer listening, process improvement, patient safety, etc. 
  • How do we better communicate our values and vision (our "Why") to a new generation of potential quality leaders?

It is my opinion that Quality professionals, by nature, tend to be altruistic and generally introverted. Yet in order for us to increase our reach and grow our impact we must elevate our thinking, stretch our goals and raise our voices to promote and demonstrate the broad impact of quality beyond the traditional focus of compliance, standardization and convergent thinking for incremental improvement. While these areas of concern are certainly necessary and important for business continuity and efficiency, they are not wholly adequate to ensure sustainability and growth.

Today's ever-increasing rate of change and complexity requires divergent thinking and transformational leadership to solve truly wicked problems confronting individuals, teams, organizations, countries and society at large. Wicked problems cannot be effectively solved using simple solutions alone. The good news is that Quality has a unique opportunity to sit front and center at the round table. Critical thinking skills, 7 Management and Planning Tools, new Creativity tools, and Statistical Thinking are the preferred tools in the systems-thinking quality professional's toolkit to help individuals and organizations build their profound knowledge to drive innovation and disruptive change. Creativity tools are a terrific approach to gather ideas from all levels of the organization, and to explore new ways of thinking, making uncommon connections, and discovering innovation.

Image from
Author unknown

Quality professionals must also adopt and become proficient in the use of social media to reach the highly-connected (and sometimes less social) younger generation of future leaders. We must increase our agility, become "comfortable being uncomfortable", and think globally in today's flattened world.