Training Article

Davis Balestracci’s picture

By: Davis Balestracci

During the early 1990s, I was president of the Twin Cities Deming Forum. I had a wonderful board whose members were full of great ideas. One member, Doug Augustine, was a 71-year-old retired Lutheran minister and our respected, self-appointed provocateur. He never missed an opportunity to appropriately pull us right back to reality with his bluntly truthful observations and guaranteed follow through on every commitment he made.

After W. Edwards Deming’s death in 1993, we tried to keep the forum alive, but monthly meeting attendance started to drop off significantly. We were offering innovative meetings to grow in practice of Deming’s philosophy, but our members wanted static rehashing and worship of “the gospel according to Dr. Deming.”

The last straw was a meeting where a self-appointed Deming expert/consultant went too far: He lobbed one too many of his predictable, pedantic “gotcha! grenades” at the speaker for alleged deviations from “the gospel.” His persistence blindsided and visibly upset our wonderful guest speaker. I was furious and publicly told him to stop. It did not go over well—except with my board.

By: Jeanita Pritchett

Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) career outreach programs play a pivotal role in shaping the capabilities and makeup of the future workforce. Generally speaking, “STEM outreach” involves organizing events, both in and out of school, where we can encourage and inspire young people to consider pursuing careers in STEM by improving awareness and building STEM literacy. Attracting youth to STEM fields and retaining them, especially young women and minorities, requires the support of parents, teachers, role models (like me!) and professional organizations.

When I’m doing outreach, students and parents often ask what made me decide to pursue a career in STEM. My answer is simple: I was exposed early on to the endless opportunities that having a STEM degree affords you. My parents, both of whom were nuclear engineers at Westinghouse, seized every opportunity they could find to get me and my siblings I involved in STEM. They were determined to get at least one of their children to follow in their footsteps. From computer camps to science museums to participating in “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day,” we were constantly meeting STEM professionals and learning about different career paths.

Stanford News Service’s picture

By: Stanford News Service

Team leaders often focus on product details. Founders obsess over fonts. Sales managers fixate on tough-to-wrangle customers and shop owners on the minutia of shelf displays. Yet, all too often, virtually no attention is given to the fundamental driver of business success: team dynamics.

Behind every choice in a startup, behind every client relationship, and behind the atmosphere of every retail shop sit teams that determine whether or not a product—or even a whole company—makes it.

“One of the clearest signs of an experienced leader is the attention she pays to her people and her teams,” notes Lindred Greer, an associate professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business. “Everything in a company is determined by the quality of team dynamics, and the ability to effectively lead teams is at the heart of managerial success.”

Mike Richman’s picture

By: Mike Richman

IMTS was a blast, but it was great to be back home in lovely Northern California this week. On this episode of QDL, we covered the skills that workers need and the innovations that organizations want. Plus, we brought you a live interview with author Mark Graban, and one on tape from Burt Mason of Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence captured at IMTS. Let’s take a look:

“Only 20 Percent of Employees Have Skills Needed for Their Current Roles and Future Careers”

Adapting to the coming digital transformation means that organizations must hire, train, and motivate workers in a whole new way. Gartner research indicates that companies can best do this by identifying and developing so-called “connected learners.”

Laurel Thoennes @ Quality Digest’s picture

By: Laurel Thoennes @ Quality Digest

In the foreword of Mark Graban’s book, Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More (Constancy Inc., 2018), renowned statistician, Donald J. Wheeler, writes about Graban: “He has created a guide for using and understanding the data that surround us every day.

“These numbers are constantly changing,” explains Wheeler. “Some of the changes in the data will represent real changes in the underlying system or process that generated the data. Other changes will simply represent the routine variation in the underlying system when nothing has changed.”

The problem is in deciding whether data changes are “noise” or signals of real changes in the system.

“Mark presents the antidote to this disease of interpreting noise as signals,” adds Wheeler. “And that is why everyone who is exposed to business data of any type needs to read this book.”

Mike Richman’s picture

By: Mike Richman

With more than 110,000 expected attendees, IMTS is Chicago’s hottest suburb this week. (I like to refer to it as “Manufactureville.”) Here’s what we covered during our second show of the week, from the booth of today’s sponsor, Q-Mark Manufacturing:

“Tapping Your Employee’s Knowledge”

It’s no secret that the employees closest to a process know best how to improve it. But how do you tap that knowledge without ruffling feathers?

“What Business Are You Really In?”

Author and consultant Jesse Lyn Stoner offers this trenchant look at the true reasons why a business exists: To better serve customers.

Tech Corner: Q-Mark Styli

Katie Takacs’s picture

By: Katie Takacs

As a consumer, it’s nearly impossible to get away from videos, advertising or otherwise. To give you a numeric sense of our collective obsession with online moving images: Since last year, YouTube has started registering more than a billion hours of video viewing every single day.

We all know the reasons we personally turn to YouTube, whether it’s to watch sports highlights, silly cat videos, cooking instructions, or power tool demonstrations. But does video—originally a consumer-oriented medium—have a rightful place in the marketing arsenal for manufacturers with a strong B2B audience?

Mark Rosenthal’s picture

By: Mark Rosenthal

During a TED talk, Amy Edmondson, the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at Harvard Business School, talks about “How to turn a group of strangers into a team.” Although long-standing teams are able to perform, our workplaces today require ad-hoc collaboration between diverse groups. The question is: What kind of leadership, and what kind of structure, contribute to working together on the problem?

Edmondson studies people and teams seeking to make a positive difference through the work they do. For those of you unfamiliar with her work, I’ll add that I have found anything that she writes or speaks about is worth reading or listening to.

The key message in her Ted talk starts around the 10-minute point:

“When teaming works, you can be sure that leaders, leaders at all levels, have been crystal clear that they don’t have the answers. Let’s call this ‘situational humility.’ It’s appropriate humility. We don’t know how to do it.”

Laurel Thoennes @ Quality Digest’s picture

By: Laurel Thoennes @ Quality Digest

Does this sound familiar? The keynote speaker is talking a mile a minute as you scramble to take notes on her every word. Your hand cramps, and then it’s over. Speaker bows to a standing ovation while you sit perturbed, knowing you missed some things. But angst arrives as you look over your notes and realize you can’t read your handwriting!

It’s easy to blurt, “That’s the last time I do that!” only to find yourself at another seminar scribbling notes in much the same fashion. End the muda with visual note-taking, aka sketchnotes, coined by designer Mike Rohde.

In this article are tips and further advice from several pundits known in visual note-taking circles. I will express what some may call “the voice of reason,” aka the devil’s advocate.

“Sketchnotes are about listening and drawing, capturing meaningful ideas, not how well you draw,” says Mike Rohde,  author of The Sketchnote Handbook: The Illustrated Guide to Visual Note Taking (Peachpit Press, 2013).

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