Conference Attendance

Conference attendance is both an important way to make connections and to grow as a quality leader. I’m here in Phoenix for the ASQ Lean and Six Sigma Conference, and in waiting for the event to begin I have a few thoughts on planning for conferences as part of development.

Plan your conference attendance 6-12 months out, and treat it as a rolling calendar.

Go and do some research on the conferences that make sense to you. It is easy to start with those of your professional organization, like the ASQ. Whenever you come across a conference and it seems to be in your wheel house, add it to the list. You want to pay attention to three key dates: When the conference is, when the registration deadlines tend to be, and when the call- for-speaker periods end. This last one is important because…

Speak at the Conference!

The best way to get value for a conference is to speak at it. Conferences compensate attendance, and that means your organization is much more willing to let you go (and pay for travel). Speaking allows you to talk about the work you, your team and your organization have done. This draws in people who are interested in the problems you are solving, which helps with networking. It serves as advertising, can help recruiting, and can build reputation.

Yes, you can speak at a conference. If you are new to it, speak at a local regional conference first. You get better by doing these, and I’m serious, the opportunity to discuss the issues important to you will be plentiful. Your team has solved problems. You have learned things. This is gold to others! There is nothing more popular than a good case study talk.

The people you meet at the conference will be more valuable then the talks you attend. Talks are usually fairly high level and are targeting a wide audience (yes, even mine). But they do help you identify people with problems similar to yours. And you will learn a lot. A few key tactics:

  1. Introduce yourself to each and every speaker you attend. Ask questions, follow-up, share. As a speaker I treasure these conversations
  2. Never sit by yourself. Sit by someone, introduce yourself and talk. Even we introverts can do this, and you will be amazed by what you learn this way.
  3. Engage in the hallway track – those impromptu conversations in the hall can often become the main event (well other than your presentation of course)

Make sure to take notes and share them. With your team back home, with the world. I will always take 3-4 key things I learned and do a lunch-and-learn or coffe klatch at work. I also like to do blog posts and share with the world. This will help solidify your key take aways and continue those excellent conversations.

Remember that conference attendance is part of your development. Do a retrospective and determine what went well, what was valuable, was it as valuable as missing those days of work would have been? Use that learning for the next conference. Take an iterative approach and plan for the next engagement.

Understanding the Levers of Change

As part of my presentation “Sustaining Change – Executing a Sustainability Plan” at the ASQ Lean and Six Sigma Conference tomorrow I’ll be talking about levers of change.

Understanding the change landscape

Change Management practitioners usually talk about seven levers:

  1. Infrastructure – Investing in the tools, processes, and other resources that employees need to be successful with the change initiative.
  2. Walk the Talk – active leadership is about ownership; it includes making the business case clear, modeling behaviors, clearing obstacles and making course corrections.
  3. Reward and Recognition – acknowledgement and compensation for employees who work to move the initiative forward
  4. Mass Exposure – getting out information about the change through broadcast messages and other communication pathways
  5. Personal Contacts – creating opportunities for advocates to share their experience of the change with peers who feel disengaged
  6. Outside advocates – bringing in resources (internal or external) to gain expertise for the change initiative
  7. Shift Resisters – moving people to areas less affected by the initiative.
7 levers of change

February, me and the ASQ

February is a busy month for me and the ASQ.

February 11th – Boston Section meeting on “Mixed Reality in Quality 4.0”

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are more than just a science fiction dream, with the market expected to exceed $50 billion by 2024.

The technology promises that workers will have more information about the task at hand, which makes them more efficient and productive. In this session we will explore several opportunities the technologies present and provide a glimpse on how Thermo Fisher Scientific is working with key technology providers to implement on the pharmaceutical manufacturing floor.

It will be fun to discuss some of the fun stuff I’m working on at work. Thermo Fisher is hosting the event at the Waltham facility, which I haven’t even visited yet. Should be a fun time.

February 23-25, Lean and Six Sigma Conference in Phoenix

At the conference I will be presenting on “Sustaining Change – Executing a Sustainability Plan.” Sustaining change is one of my core competencies, and I’m excited to continue the conversation on this. If you re coming to the conference I look forward to seeing you there.

February 29, Unconference for the Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

What better day to hold an unconference on leap day, an un-day.

We have a stimulating day planned. We will be discussing team excellence and quality culture and contributing to development of a body of knowledge for the Team and Workplace Excellence Forum. The agenda is here.

The Unconference is free to members of the ASQ. For non-ASQ members there is a charge of $15.00 per person for lunch.

Please RSVP by February 24th, so we can reserve a seat for you. We are looking forward to seeing you there. If there is anything you will need or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to let me know. The RSVP is here.

The my.ASQ.org event page is here: https://my.asq.org/communities/events/item/170/60/1568

It is going to be a great way to end the month and I hope you can join us.

Conference Speaking -2020 Lean and Six Sigma

In February I will be presenting at the 2020 ASQ Lean and Six Sigma Conference in Phoenix on Sustaining Change – Executing a Sustainability Plan.

Here’s the presentation summary:

For Lean and Six Sigma projects a central question should always be “how do we sustain this change?” Sustainability is a major part of all the major change models but is often the easiest to neglect. This session will engage the participant in building a Sustainability Plan, a key tool to ensure the change is anchored and embedded in the organization. Through three case study examples of changes at the three major change levels -transactional, organizational and transformational – the participant will gain the knowledge to create and execute an effective change plan.

During this session examples will be given for each component of a sustainability plan:

  • Communication: Mechanisms for persuasive communication and ongoing socialization of the change, rites of parting (saying goodbye to the old ways of doing things), and rites of enhancement (acknowledgment of quick wins and continued adoption)
  • Metrics Tracking: How to identify and execute consistent and effective ongoing measurement and results reporting to track progress and ensure sustained results • Performance Management: Process for observing and objectively measuring desired behaviors and attitudes, including performance appraisal process, promoting, demoting and transferring, and training and development
  • Rewards and Recognition: Program of intrinsic and extrinsic incentives to reinforce desired behaviors and attitudes
  • Sustaining Ownership: Consistent process for ensuring sustained ownership of the change through the ongoing transfer of experience and knowledge
  • Continuous Improvement: Mechanisms for responding to changing requirements and implementing improvements based on feedback, observations, and metrics

The following questions will be explored, and tools for finding answers will be provided:

  • How should organizational achievements reinforcing the change be commemorated
  • What behaviors should be observed and measured on a regular basis?
  • What results should be observed and measured on a regular basis?
  • What metrics should be used for measuring behaviors and results?
  • What mechanisms should be used for reporting results? • What criteria should be used to allocate rewards and promotion?
  • What mechanisms should be used for training, coaching, and role modeling?
  • What processes and procedures should be put in place to ensure sustained ownership of the change?
  • What continuous improvement mechanisms will address low adoption rates and ensure the change becomes part of the organization’s normal functioning?

At the end of the session the user will have a template for creating a sustainability plan and will have been provided tools to successfully execute the sustainability phase of a change.

Learning Objectives 1. Assess the role of sustainability in the major change management methodologies and apply to lean and six sigma projects. 2. Facilitate the sustainability phase of change management. 3. Compose a sustainability plan.