Sunday, January 25, 2015

Finding Inspiration from Quality Leaders

This blog post is in response to January 2015 ASQ Influential Voices topic "Finding Inspiration from Quality Leaders?"

In my journey of excellence I have come across several leaders who influenced my thought process.
Here are few of them whose teachings inspired me including lessons I have learned from each one of them.

1). Late Prof. Gopal Tripathi, Head of Department, Chemical Engineering & Technology, IIT (BHU), Varanasi, UP, India

I had my good fortune to study from a Giant in the field of chemical engineering whose contributions made a great impact for chemical engineering education in post-Independent India.

Lessons Learned:  

  • Subject Mastery - He shared his deep technical knowledge in an engaging ways. He was an  inspiration to kindle my interest in teaching. It is my pleasure to teach quality management and operations management as an adjunct faculty in business schools in USA and India for the last 22 years.
  • Humility -  He had photographic memory and would always greet students by their name. He is my role model to keep me grounded throughout my life.   

2). Prof. Darsh Wasan, Motorola Chair Professor in Chemical Engineering and Vice President, Illinois Institute of Quality (IIT), Chicago, Illinois, USA

After coming to the United States for my graduate work at IIT Chicago, I was privileged to work with Prof. Darsh Wasan for my research work. He is an eminent academician and a researcher blazing new trails in the field of surface phenomena and chemical engineering.

Lessons Learned:

  • Focus: He would communicate with students to remain focused whether conducting research or writing reports and proposals. He had exacting standards and high expectations. I have learned the importance of simple communication, focus, and setting high expectations of everyone I interact with including my family members and friends.
  • Networking: I witnessed his extraordinary networking abilities connecting with professionals. I learned a life-long lesson to keep building my network. It has served me well, both professionally and personally.

3). Mr. John Delatore, Retired Director, International Switching Systems Engineering, AT&T Bell Laboratories, Naperville, Illinois, USA

I worked with Mr. John Delatore in Systems Engineering at AT&T Bell Laboratories. He provided extra-ordinary support for quality planning and implementation initiatives in the International Switching Systems Engineering Division.

Lessons Learned:

  • Visionary: He spearheaded quality planning and implementation initiatives from grounds up. His vision and foresight to bring the best practices from both within and outside of AT&T to benefit the organization was par excellence. I learned how to leverage best practices and always stay focused on the improvement journey.
  • Caring: He had very high standards, however, he would always care and support his people. I learned the importance of caring for people and provide required support when leading projects.

4). Late Dr. Hans Bajaria, ASQ Medalist and ASQ Fellow, Dearborn Heights, Michigan, USA

I had a pleasure to interact with late Dr. Hans Bajaria for over a decade. He was a great ambassador for quality management. With his keen insights he served his clients well globally.  

Lessons Learned: 

  • Innovation: He used to look for innovative ways to tackle customer issues. I learned from him how to be customer focused and find end-to-end solutions in an innovative ways. 
  • Boldness: As a subject matter expert, he would speak his mind challenging conventional wisdom. I learned how to present a counter-point with conviction to persuade others about the merit of my proposal.

5). Mr. Ron Kingen, Past President and Chair of ASQ, President, CVI Group, LLC, Racine, Wisconsin, USA

It has been a delight to interact with Mr. Ron Kingen, the past President and Chair of ASQ for over 25 years. First at the ASQ Certification Board, then at ASQ Board level including the ASQ Capital Campaign.

Lessons Learned:

  • Inclusiveness: He is a role model for inclusiveness. Working on a variety of teams, his insight to engage members from different background is outstanding. I learned a simple lesson on working with diverse group of people to achieve best project results. 
  • Respect for People: He exhibits tremendous respect for everyone he interacts with. I have learned from him how to be a professional and respect everyone, irrespective of their viewpoints or positions.

6). Mr. Navin Dedhia, Past Member of ASQ Board, San Jose, California, USA

I have a pleasure to interact with Mr.Navin Dedhia for over 25 years at ASQ at the ASQ Certification Board, ASQ International Chapter Member Advancement Team, ASQ Capital Campaign, and ASQ Fellow Process Coach Team.

Lessons Learned:

  • Global Focus: He was Chair/Trustee of the ASQ International Chapter for over 18 years. He nurtured involvement from the International quality community which paved the way for ASQ to become ASQ Global. My lesson is how to look beyond the US borders to add value for global ASQ members. 
  • Mentoring: Has has mentored generation of quality professionals globally in a most effective way. His mentoring contributions are phenomenal. I learned a lesson from him on becoming a mentor to other quality professionals.

I look forward to hear about your views on this topic.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Is Quality Ambitious Enough?

This blog post is in response to December 2014 ASQ Influential Voices topic "Is Quality Ambitious Enough?"

Personally, I believe Quality is Not Ambitious Enough. 

Here are my thoughts on issues and opportunities to make quality more ambitious:

  • We the quality professionals have not done a good job selling the value of quality to the C Suite. Hence, the Quality Department is a Cost Center rather than Value Center. Too often we hear stories of organizations dismantling quality departments when times are tough. 
  • Everyone wants quality, however, in majority of organizations there is no underlying mechanisms to create and sustain quality, other than delegating work to quality department.  
  • Executives are busy drawing strategies and rest of the management is busy in day-to-day affairs. Quality is an afterthought. 
  • There is a lack of single-minded focus in instilling quality in Education (K-12, undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate levels), Healthcare (physicians, nurses, administrators, hospitals, nursing homes, etc.), Government (local, state, and federal levels), Non-profits, Manufacturing, Service, and Small Businesses.

  • Each one of us rededicate ourselves to sell the value of quality to our top management in any organization we work in.
  • In an organization wherever we serve, ensure we help build necessary mechanisms to create and sustain quality.
  • Provide input to our executives for their strategy formulation to build quality in the strategic plan so that they can drive quality from the top. Reinforce quality value proposition for the middle management and get their engagement to move the quality forward. 
  • In various sectors such as Education, Healthcare, Government, Non-Profits, Manufacturing, Service, and Small Businesses, volunteer your time and talent as appropriate. Start instilling importance and value of quality at all levels of organizations. As a quality professional be a champion or catalyst for the cause of quality rather than become a police person focusing on compliance only.
  • Here are my personal actions in making quality ambitious in various sectors:
         Education: Sharing Baldrige Performance Excellence Framework at K-12, 
         Undergraduate, and Graduate levels. Initiated Google Hangout for free knowledge 
         transfer at various educational institutes in India to strengthen soft skills and exposure 
         to quality management principles and practices.
         Government: Shared Baldrige Performance Excellence Framework at local, state, 
         and International levels.

         Manufacturing: Leading a Knowledge Sharing Series for a very reputable Corporate 
         House in India in collaboration with ASQ India.

         Non-Profits: Personally instilled quality discipline in managing a non-profit (Blind 
         Foundation for India) for over 25 years.

         Service: Championed use of Baldrige in organizations for significant transformations.

         Small Businesses: Shared best practices and outstanding frameworks to benefit 
         them in quality improvement.

I look forward to hear your views on this topic.