Sunday, December 18, 2011

Taking Baldrige Global and Why a bit of Recession is Good for Quality?


I am reading A View from the Q with interest.  In this Blog, Paul Borwaski, CEO of ASQ, has provided an excellent round-up of quality as a profession in 2011. I am writing to add some of my random thoughts.

Firstly, removal of budgetary support to the Baldrige program was a huge step back. In doing so, we can again see how crowding a committee with only finance and lawyer kinds actually takes the world back. Nothing personal, but failing to see what the Baldrige has done and can do for a pittance of investment indicates some serious flaw in policy making in the USA. (Can’t say much because Policy making in my own country has hit an all time low and all involved are the lawyer kinds!) In more ways than one, the US leads the world and what it does may set a precedent in other countries. And that worries me.

While removing budgetary support to Baldrige cannot be understood, I do believe it offers an opportunity. The program has enough in the tank to be self-sufficient.  It could and we know it already is looking at cutting costs.  But in my view, the single most benefit of removal of budgetary support has offered is – It has freed the program from being a US based program. I have for years spoken in favor of an International Baldrige program. It is now possible and must be done!

2011 will be remembered for the Fukushima disaster.  While it can’t be termed a quality failure – I think there is a great lesson for quality professionals on how the damage was contained.  Hats off to the Japanese! 2011 will also be remembered for Bob Galvin’s passing away. But then we all have to go one day. He has left a lasting legacy which we will do well to cherish and maintain.

2011 will and should also be remembered for the first signs of globalization of ASQ.  The Influential Voices program is doing well. The New Voices has had a good debut. (Disclaimer: I am on both the list so do exercise caution in reading what we say. Haha.) Most committees are working and membership is on the up. In India I can see more members renewing their first year membership. I am hoping 2012 is even better.

We are all either in the midst of troubled times or fast accelerating towards it. While, this is gloom for some, I think for the Quality profession it is a huge opportunity. To make an impact on results.  I have been very disturbed with senior management in some companies and also quality professionals thinking of the Quality profession as a luxury item.  It is the thing that you don’t want but like to put in front of the client.  A recession changes all this.  Management realizes it needs quality and separates the men from the boys – the not so serious quality professional leaves the profession.  There is a lot of cleansing.

I also like a little bit of recession because it pushes the quality profession forward like nothing does. Not for nothing, the modern quality profession was built out of World Wars.  Adversity does give birth to great ideas and progress. Six Sigma and Lean both were embraced in troubled times, not in boom time. I love what I hear from friends in the industry.  Most management teams are demanding results from quality teams.  This means – if we deliver we get the credit. And also, we can demand and will get the support we need from management. What more do quality professionals want?

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t like when friends lose jobs. I could be one losing mine too. But for the profession, a bit of recession is good.  While I say this, I hope the world turns a corner sooner than later.

Wishing a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you and your families.

2 comments:

Pradeep C said...

True. This is the time when organisations should try to get the best out of themselves and thats exactly what quality management does for a company.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post. I would like to challenge you with this question because I'm not familiar with the answer:

What are the Metrics that recommend the Baldrige program? Complete the following sentence and use as many (or few) words as you want:
"Companies that successfully complete the Baldrige program are better off in _____ as measured by _____."

Thank you for considering a reply. jdunn@tenneco.com