25 Years of Advancing Performance Excellence — Happy Birthday, Council!

1. A Message from the President: 25 Years of Advancing Performance Excellence — Happy Birthday, Council!
2. Council’s Annual Best Practice Conference: Celebrating 25 Years of Advancing Excellence — June 4-5 (St. Paul); Lt. Governor to Attend
3. Sustainability: A Common Language, A Shared Approach — Workshop 7/18 (Twin Cities)
4. Learn What Drives Organizational Excellence: 2012 MN Quality Award Evaluator Training June 19-21 (Rochester)
5. Join the Council’s Virtual Community on LinkedIn, Twitter, Blog
6. Why Does Employee Engagement Matter? — PIN 6/7 (Minneapolis)
7. Branding from the Inside Out: Best Practices in Marketing — PIN 6/13 (St. Paul)
8. No RAQC, TPPEN Meetings in June; Meetings Resume in July
9. The Current and Future Role of Strategic Leadership in Organizations — Association for Strategic Planning 5/31
10. Yadda, Yadda, Yadda — Is that What Your Project Stakeholders Are Hearing? — PMI 6/12
11. Concurrent Innovation: How It Affects Your Bottom Line — SCPD June 26-27
12. Year End Celebration and Annual Banquet — MNISPI 6/19
13. The Best Approaches to Marketing in Manufacturing — Enterprise Minnesota 6/27
14. New Product Development Professional Certification — PDMA June 26-27
15. U of M College of Continuing Education Announces Upcoming Courses; Council Members Get 10% Discount
16. South Central College Announces Upcoming Courses; Council Members Get 10% Discount

A Message From the President: 25 Years of Advancing Performance Excellence — Happy Birthday, Council!

Next week, the Council celebrates its 25th anniversary, a change in brand name, and an official expansion into the Dakotas. I think it’s only fitting for us to reflect on how (and why) we got here, as well as how our mission of advancing performance excellence has become so critical for Minnesota, the Dakotas, and the entire US.

To set this up, let me start with a quote from Time Magazine on the economy: “The slump is the longest, if not the deepest, since the Great Depression. Traumatized by layoffs that have cost more than 1.2 million jobs, US consumers have fallen into their deepest funk in years…[they] seem suddenly disillusioned with the American Dream of rising prosperity…”

Sound familiar? It should: I just read a paragraph from Time Magazine’s cover story, January 13, 1992 – just five years after the Minnesota Council for Quality was created and not quite three years since we were incorporated into a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Why I bring this up will be obvious in a minute, but let me continue with one more paragraph from this article…

“Americans are so uneasy because they feel economic turmoil on two levels, one relatively superficial and the other much deeper. The surface layer is the most immediately painful one, a garden-variety recession of the sort that comes along every few years with the ups and downs of the business cycle. This one has brought the familiar pattern of layoffs and weak profits.

“The deeper tremors emanate from the kind of change that occurs only once every few decades. America is going through a historic transition from the heedless borrow-and-spend society of the 1980s to one that stresses savings and investment. In the short run, this helped trigger the cyclical recession, which is likely to run its course in the next few months. But when it’s over, America will not simply go back to business as usual.”

And one could argue that business never did go back to being “usual.” In fact, we enjoyed a full decade of economic growth, not previously experienced in the history of our country. But the 1991 recession only solidified the need for an organization in Minnesota to facilitate continuous improvement within our businesses – to advance the principles of quality in order to help Minnesota organizations improve product/service performance, customer service, worker satisfaction and safety, and their bottom lines.

Now, dial back a decade earlier, when the US was experiencing two recessions, which combined, lasted more than two years (1980-82). By any standard, this was a devastating recession. In fact, the gloomiest forecasts of our just-ended recession frequently compare to this one more than any other since World War II. Unemployment was in the double digits; inflation was 13.5%; and interest rates were soaring – the prime rate was 21.5% in June 1982 (mortgages had interest rates nearly seven times today’s levels!). And remember the banking crisis during this period? In 1983 alone, 49 banks failed (that beat the Great Depression’s 43 failures), and the FDIC labeled another 540 as “problem banks,” on the verge of failure. And because of spiraling interest rates, the S&L industry pretty much collapsed.

This recession was five years before the creation of the Minnesota Council for Quality, and in many ways, was the necessary set of circumstances – the proverbial seed – that forced the creation of the Council. At about the same time, the seminal whitepaper “If Japan Can, Why Can’t We” was published (and also aired on NBC), causing many Minnesota leaders – and certainly many politicians and business leaders across the country – to view quality in a different light. At the time, American businesses were losing market share to the Japanese and Western Europe, product quality was slipping, and we were experiencing the already-mentioned economic challenges in the wake of the 80-82 recession. Many have said that this ushered in a new dawn for quality, as companies began to pay more attention to customer expectations, employee needs, and process improvement.

As part of next week’s conference and 25th anniversary celebration, we will be sharing a video montage that features several key leaders that were involved with the Council then and now, reflecting on their views of why the Council was created, what impact it has seen over its first quarter century, and how our work might address some of the many challenges facing this state and nation in the future. Though you have to attend the June 5 event to see the video, here are some comments that take us back through the Council’s history, as well as speak to our bright future:

Tell us why the Minnesota Council for Quality was created.

When the Japanese started building higher quality cars, my dad [the late Bob Killeen, union leader at the Ford Plant in St. Paul and officer of the state UAW] and others realized we had to change the way work got done,” said John Killeen. “I remember in 1980-82, it wasn’t just the auto industry, but there were a lot of American jobs that were going away. My dad was one of first people in labor to recognize that without quality, there wouldn’t be jobs for American workers.”

Jim Buckman, former president of the Minnesota Council for Quality (1989-94) continued: “Governor Rudy Perpich formed a commission to study quality and productivity for the State, and the report [from the commission] came out saying we had to enhance Minnesota’s natural advantages in its workforce by accelerating quality improvement. The ‘Minnesota Council for Quality and Productivity’ was first incubated in the Minnesota Department of Trade & Economic development in 1987, and by July 1, 1989, became a free-standing nonprofit. Arne Carlson picked up on it as well, so we had a seamless transition from Rudy to Arne in support from the Governor’s Office.”

Tell us more about those early years.

Jim Buckman continues: “The Council it was prospering mightily. We were advancing the concepts of product and service quality, of better customer service, of sharing best practices across businesses. But a number of us were saying ‘that’s not good enough – what we’re doing is not rigorous enough.’ The [Malcolm] Baldrige [National Quality] Award had just come out, and we thought we really needed to get the leading companies around the state to start using the Baldrige framework.”

Buckman continues by saying that we had 35 applications to the new Minnesota Quality Award in its first year, 1991, and that one organization (Zytec, based in Eden Prairie), received the state Award the same year it was recognized nationally with Baldrige. “That put us on the map, and gave instant credibility to the program we were trying to create.”

Jean Bronk, former board member and Chief Judge for the Award, reflected on all of the changes the program made in the 90s and early 2000s: “We decided to offer all organizations a site visit as part of our Award in about 1996, which we found created more accurate feedback and a deeper learning experience for both organizations and volunteer examiners [now Evaluators]. At about the same time, we realized that we were more developmental than the national award, so began offering tiered Awards that recognized organizations wherever they were in their journey to excellence. About 10 years ago, we started offering the Baldrige Express survey instrument as an alternative to the longer assessment option, and we moved to a rolling assessment schedule that allows us to better line up our assessment process with the customers’ planning process.

Bronk continues: “the identity of the MN Council for Quality was to work with organizations wherever they are in their journey, not only to recognize the best of the best. At the time, we were making what were considered radical changes [in our program], but we thought made us more responsive to our customers’ needs. But then state funding was cut, and we were forced to stand on our own two feet as an organization. The board ran the Council for a period of time without a president, but now is more self-sufficient, is expanding our work into the Dakotas, is rebranding to better reflect our true mission of advancing performance excellence – it’s real exciting.”

How has the Council changed in the last 10 years?

“In addition to the changes Jean mentioned, I think we’ve changed in a few fundamental ways,” said Brian Lassiter, current president of the Council (since 2001). “In some ways, I think our mission has broadened a bit. We’ve always been about facilitating performance excellence in organizations, mainly through the use of the Baldrige framework. But today we’re also facilitating continuous improvement, which is to say that we help organizations wherever they currently are – getting them from good to great or from just adequate to good. We meet organizations wherever they are, which I think allows us to serve more of the community – not just those interested in world class performance, but to all organizations desiring to improve. You can see that in some of the services we’ve created the last decade – we now offer many ways to broker resources, best practices, and knowledge to help organizations take action to improve their results. Our learning forums, our leader Roundtables, our benchmarking services, our Consultant Referral Network – all exist to help organizations to take action to improve their performance, regardless of what tools and methods they are using. In that way, I think we’ve become even more useful to organizations around the State.”

Lassiter continues: “The types of organizations we serve have also changed. We were created for Minnesota businesses, manufacturers primarily. Today, about a third of our membership base – and it’s the faster growing third – are nonprofits of all types: healthcare, education, social service nonprofits, and government agencies. This diversification of our membership base has uniquely positioned us to facilitate cross-sector learning – taking best practices from one industry or sector and transferring them to another. I don’t know of many other organizations that facilitate that type of knowledge exchange – of truly exporting good ideas and validated management principles across organizations, so that all organizations improve.”

Rachelle Schultz, CEO of Winona Health and a former Judge with the Award program agrees: There are many types of organizations – “education, business, not-for-profit, government, and so forth – participating with the Council and being a part of a network which is really aspiring to be excellent in their respective areas. This gives us a broader focus to learn from, to get ideas from. We’re trying to be better at what we do, and I think that’s a shared objective that all Council member organizations have in common – there’s a lot of power in that.”

Why did your organizations get involved and what impact has your organization seen?

Schultz continues: “We have worked with the Council and have used the Baldrige framework since 2004. We decided to go with that because we were looking for a management system that would improve our organization. Since that time, we’ve gone through a number of assessments with the Council, and we’ve used those feedback reports – which have been highly valuable – to work on areas that need improvement. And it’s really helped us focus our work…focus our efforts around those things that are most important to our patients, to our customers. We’ve had a lot of engagement of our staff and our physicians, and we found that it’s made us a better organization.”

Dr. Peter Carryer, now retired CEO of Mayo Clinic Health System and current Vice Chair of the Council board of directors agrees: “We thought Baldrige would be a good framework to help us get better, faster – to bring together as a single system 12 separate organizations and many hospitals. Baldrige is more than a tool, like Lean, Six Sigma, and so forth – Baldrige is a framework for how management ought to be operating…and is based very much on results. Our first [MN Quality Award] report was sobering, but those were things that we needed to hear…to become better.”

Pam Rezac, CEO of Avera Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton SD, offers similar reaction: “It was never about the Award – that is not why we chose to be part of the Baldrige process. It was the journey of discovery we are interested in, and it was after we joined the Minnesota Council that we really began moving in the right direction. We have been categorized as a top performer in the nation in clinical areas for three years in a row, have been recognized for our outstanding patient experience, and have high scores for employee engagement…all of which we partially attribute to our Baldrige journey.”

What else does the Council bring to the region – what are some of the other benefits you’ve seen?

Lassiter remarks: “Recently, we’ve heard from leaders and professionals within our member organizations that that they want to ‘belong’ to an organization that believes in performance excellence, so in many ways, we represent a community – a network of leaders/professionals interested in sharing and learning what enables improvement and what drives performance excellence.”

Buckman agrees: The Council is “this enormous community-building cadre.”

As does Carryer: “The Council holds workshops where people can share learnings with others; they have a wonderful resource in the dozens of trained Evaluators, each with expertise on organizational improvement. The Council has helped my organization, my community of Rochester, and the entire state of Minnesota.”

“I also believe we are fortunate to have such a passionate group of volunteers, dedicated to improving their organizations, their communities, and their states,” says Lassiter. “They are helping to advance excellence in the community, but they are also benefiting from our work – in improving their own skill sets, their own careers, and in finding best practices to take back to their employers. We are grateful for the work of our Evaluators and other volunteers.”

Buckman agrees: “There was [is] this pre-existent inclination in Minnesota to volunteer for things, to care about the community, to work hard…so all of these things were in the DNA of this state.” We’ve been really successful in advancing excellence in Minnesota, “…but particularly I attribute it to the volunteers – they were just magical.”

So what does the future hold for the Council?

Bronk comments: “We used to joke that we were the best kept secret in the state, and there is a sense of humility that has made it hard for us to get the word out of the impact we’ve had.”

“So part of our vision is to change that,” says Lassiter. “I would like nothing more than to serve 10,000 organizations across Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, and beyond – to be having an increased impact on the economic output of our businesses, the academic achievement of our students, the clinical outcomes of our patients.

“But beyond that,” Lassiter continues, “we have a vision of using the same improvement tools – those quality tools proven useful for improving performance within organizes – across them, and thereby improving community performance. If I were to dial forward another 25 years, I think we’ll be celebrating the fact that this network has not only had an impact on thousands of specific organizations and tens of thousands of leaders across the region, but also in helping communities address their challenges, better allocate their resources, better educate their kids, better heal their sick, and improve fundamental community outcomes such as growth, job creation, education, and reduction in crime.

“We have a lot to be proud of in our first 25 years, but we have a long way to go to achieving and sustaining performance excellence in the region. I think we’re all excited to get to work.”

Want to participate in a discussion on this topic?? Visit our blog to post a comment!

Yours in Performance Excellence,

Brian S. Lassiter
President, Minnesota Council for Quality

Council’s Annual Best Practice Conference: Celebrating 25 Years of Advancing Performance Excellence — June 4-5 (St. Paul); Lt Governor to Attend

Time is nearly out! Don’t miss this high impact, high energy, high value event! Hear best practices in organizational innovation, and learn what drives and sustains performance excellence across all sectors — business, healthcare, education, and nonprofit/government. Twenty (20) leaders from high performing organizations will share how they have improved results – customer, employee, operational, and financial. And four keynotes are from organizations that have demonstrated world class performance (all four have received the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award).

Lt. Governor Solon will congratulate recipient organizations and offer remarks as to the importance of continuous improvement for the state and region.

Also, this event will celebrate the Council’s first 25 years, our expanded footprint into South/North Dakota, and our new brand!! About 400 leaders/professionals will attend, making this our biggest, most valuable event of the year!

Speakers include:

  • Avera Sacred Heart Hospital, Yankton SD (Award recipient)
  • Byron Public Schools, Byron (Award recipient)
  • Cardinal of Minnesota, Rochester (Award recipient)
  • Designs for Learning, St. Paul (Award recipient)
  • Freese & Nichols, Ft Worth (Baldrige recipient)
  • HealthPartners, Bloomington
  • Henry Ford Health Care System, Detroit (Baldrige recipient)
  • LifeSource, St. Paul
  • Marshall Public Schools, Marshall (Award recipient)
  • Mayo Clinic Health System (former MN Quality Award recipient)
  • Memorial Blood Centers, St. Paul (former MN Quality Award recipient)
  • Nestle Purina, St. Louis (Baldrige recipient)
  • Park Nicollet Health Services, St. Louis Park
  • Pewaukee School District, Milwaukee area (Wisconsin Forward Award recipient)
  • Richland College, Ft Worth (Baldrige recipient)
  • Rochester Community & Technical College, Rochester (Award recipient)
  • St. Louis County, Duluth
  • State of Minnesota, St. Paul
  • Target Corp., Minneapolis
  • Workforce Development, Inc., Rochester (former MN Quality Award recipient)

The main conference on June 5 will include four keynotes, 20 one-hour breakout sessions, a late-afternoon reception, and an early evening celebration.

The June 4 pre-conference will include four half-day workshops on starting, accelerating, and/or sustaining your journey to performance excellence using the Baldrige framework.

To register, please email brian.lassiter@councilforquality.org with your name, organizational affiliation, and desired events (full June 5 conference/reception, June 5 reception/celebration only, and/or June 4 pre-con workshops).

For more information, visit http://www.councilforquality.org/2011mqaprogram.cfm.

We expect about 400 leaders and professionals to attend. The events are open to the public, but space is limited. Spread the word in your organization/network and register today!


We thank our sponsors for this event.

Sustaining: Benedictine Health System.

Gold: Aveda Corp, Seagate Technology, Spangler Design, and University of Phoenix.

Silver: 3M, AgStar, DuFresne Manufacturing, Memorial Blood Centers, Metropolitan State University, Padilla Speer Beardsley, and Winona Health.

Bronze: Abdo Eick & Meyers, ActiveStrategy, BlueCross Blue Shield of MN, Cargill, Core Values Partners, Forthright, Hoglund Coaching, LifeSource, Mayo Clinic Health System, Pillsbury United Communities, Plunkett’s Pest Control, Satisfaction Management Systems, The Schwan Food Company, Stratis Health, Strategic Improvement Systems, UW-Stout, VOA of Minnesota, and Werner Electric.

Seeking Sustainability: A Common Language, A Shared Approach — Workshop 7/18 (Twin Cities)

Every organization has its own language, processes, and culture. This can create challenges in a world where diverse stakeholders come together to problem solve issues of sustainability. Differences in values, priorities, and special interests necessitate a common language and approach for effective communication and the ability to affect change.

The Minnesota Council for Quality is pleased to welcome Roberta Fernandez, Director, AtKisson Group, facilitator of a special full-day workshop July 18: “Sustainability: A Common Language, Shared Approach.”

The ISIS Method is a framework that bridges organizational cultures for developing and managing a shared vision of sustainability, while respecting the parameters in which we each function.

I – Indicators – What is happening?

S- Systems – Why is it happening?

I – Innovation – What can we do?

S- Strategy – How can we do it?

Applying AtKisson’s Compass of Sustainability with the ISIS Method framework provides the necessary language and process by which businesses, governments, and other organizations can come together to solve problems, plan, and make decisions.

In this workshop, you will learn:

* The value of approaching sustainability from a shared perspective

* A sustainability framework to manage process within an organization

* How indicators can assess the health of an organization or situation

* How systems thinking identifies key leverage points for change and minimizes risk and unintended consequences

* Why innovations should be aligned with goals

Using this framework will increase your value and viability, and improve performance. Knowledge breeds power and success – and how sustainable you and your organization are determines the difference between simply surviving or thriving.

Cost for the full day workshop is $200 members; $400 non-members. Workshop will be delivered in the Twin Cities (location TBD).

Space is limited. Please register by emailing brian.lassiter@councilforquality.org your name, organizational affiliation, and membership status. For more information, visit http://www.councilforquality.com/specialevent4.cfm.

Learn What Drives Organizational Excellence: 2012 MN Quality Award Evaluator Training June 19-21 (Rochester)

Are you interested in learning more about what makes organizations successful? Are you interested in helping other organizations — such as schools, hospitals, non-profits, and businesses — around the state improve their performance? Would you be interested in networking, learning, and sharing with others who feel the same way?

The Minnesota Council for Quality is seeking candidates for the 2012 Minnesota Quality Award Board of Evaluators. The second of three training sessions in 2012 is June 19-21 in Rochester.

There are many benefits to becoming an Evaluator, such as:

  • strengthening your understanding of what drives organizational excellence (the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence represent a validated set of best practices for organizational excellence, and can be useful for improving any organization’s performance). The 2012 Criteria has increased emphasis on 1) dealing with complexity in enterprise leadership and management, and 2) customer engagement.
  • networking with influential leaders and professionals (this year’s Board of Evaluators will include about 150 leaders from around the state – executives, middle managers, surgeons and physicians, superintendents and school teachers, non-profit and public sector leaders, quality professionals, and consultants);
  • seeing “best practices” deployed within another organization – knowledge that you could use back at your organization and/or in your career, helping organizations throughout the state – many of them schools, health care providers, non-profits, public sector agencies, and certainly businesses – improve their performance…simply get better at what they do; and
  • developing a set of other professional skills that may help you advance your career – skills such as consensus- and team-building, written communication, verbal communication and interpersonal skills, interviewing, analysis, and systems thinking.

Most Evaluators consider the experience to be among the most valuable of their careers. In fact, many have claimed that the experience and knowledge gained from this process rivals getting an MBA or advanced business degree.

Furthermore, Evaluators can earn college (undergrad and post-grad) credit for participating in training. For interested Evaluators, the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin-Stout both offer three (3) hours of credit in partnership with the Minnesota Council for Quality.

Applications for new Evaluators are due May 25 (but can be extended). Applications for returning Evaluators (which only require updates from your most recent application) are due June 8.

In addition to the full training June 19-21, new Evaluators are also required to attend a one-day orientation (you choose: either May 31 in Bloomington, June 6 in Rochester, or June 7 in Rochester).

We hope that you would consider (re)joining the Board of Evaluators and/or encourage others to do so. For more information on the process or benefits, please visit www.councilforquality.org/assess.cfm. To obtain an application, visit http://www.councilforquality.org/assess_eval_appl.cfm or email brian.lassiter@councilforquality.org.

Join the Council’s Virtual Community on LinkedIn, Twitter, Blog

As mentioned in last month’s newsletter, the Council has recently expanded its LinkedIn Group (MN Council for Quality) and Brian Lassiter, Council president, has created a Twitter account (@LassiterBrian). We invite you to join/follow the Council and benefit from our growing online community.

“Many have said that social media is a method to build community – to create groups that share an affinity and can therefore relate and interact,” says Brian Lassiter in his newsletter column in April. “I would assert that it’s the exact opposite: social media ENABLES communities that already share an affinity to better relate and interact. Subtle but very, very different.”

The Council already has a very pronounced community:

  • we serve over 300 members, representing about 150,000 employees in Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota and beyond;
  • we leverage a fully volunteer workforce of nearly 150 leaders and professionals in the Upper Midwest;
  • we hosted monthly breakfast discussions attended by nearly 2500 leaders and professionals in 2011;
  • we hosted workshops and programs attended by nearly 750 leaders and professionals in 2011.

Council members already share, learn, benchmark, and network with each other heavily. And now we have ways to connect using technology – to expand our virtual community and to deepen the relationships already present in our network.

Please consider joining:

Why Does Employee Engagement Matter? — PIN 6/7 (Minneapolis)

Research shows that less than 33% of the workforce is engaged (2009 Gallup Employee Engagement Index; 2009 Towers Perrin). During a time where most organizations are struggling with performance outcomes and expecting employees to continue to do more with less resources, leaders have to create a culture where people feel appreciated and not abused or overused.

The Minnesota Council for Quality is pleased to welcome Doris Savron, VP at University of Phoenix, to our June 7 PIN: “Why Does Employee Engagement Matter?”

There is increasing evidence that correlates employee engagement to organizational performance in customer service, productivity, and employee retention. Gallup researchers indicate that disengaged employees may cost U.S. businesses as much as $350 billion a year. These indicators along with the impending retirement of boomers, increased competition, and industry regulations has led more and more organizational leaders to take employee engagement more seriously.

Doris will explore a number of factors that impact engagement — some rational and some emotional. The emotional side of engagement is far more powerful when it comes to driving business outcomes. Doris will share how the employees’ connection between his/her work to the organization’s success and the belief that his/ her work matters to the organization are direct drives of levels of engagement. Doris will also explore how to improve two-way communication and organizational transparency — both important factors in helping employees make that connection. Although the responsibility of engagement belongs to everyone in the organization, the leaders are the drivers of it.

At the end of the session, attendees will:

1. Understand the emotional side of engagement and how leaders can create a culture of appreciation even during times of challenge and change.

2. Identify easy and affordable ways to engage staff that can be implemented quickly. Examples will be shared from University of Phoenix approach to engagement.

3. Discover resources that will be helpful in creating an engagement strategy.

The discussion is from 7:30-9:00 a.m. on June 7 (networking and continental breakfast begin at 7:00 a.m.) at MCTC, 1501 Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis (near the Basilica).

Admission to PIN is FREE for Council members; $15 for partner organizations; $30 for the public.
Space is limited so register today by emailing brian.lassiter@councilforquality.org.

Branding from the Inside Out: Best Practices in Marketing — PIN 6/13 (St. Paul)

You’ve got a great new logo and website, a presence on multiple social media channels, and some soon-to-be-award-winning marketing materials. You’ve got this branding thing whipped, right? Not so fast.

Even when trying to shape the perceptions and behavior of customers – your external audience – organizations often overlook the necessity of winning staff understanding, enthusiasm for, and adoption of new communications initiatives.

The Minnesota Council for Quality is pleased to welcome Dan Woychick, founder of Woychick Design, to our June 13 PIN: “Branding from the Inside Out: Best Practices in Marketing.”

A brand is not what you say, it’s what you do – the sum total of all your actions. The better prepared your organization is to live its brand, the more vivid and indelible an impression you will make. In this presentation, we’ll look at ways to communicate with colleagues to improve the effectiveness of your organization’s marketing – across an entire organization or within a department.

At the end of the session, attendees will:

1. Understand why fixing the logo won’t fix your brand.

2. Be able to articulate your brand strategy (of a company, a unit, a department) so that colleagues understand their role in its success.

3. Learn ways to encourage ongoing internal communications in support of your brand.

The discussion is from 8:00-9:00 a.m. on June 13; networking and continental breakfast begin at 7:30 a.m.) at Metro State University, 700 E 7th Street, downtown St. Paul.

We thank our sponsor, Metropolitan State University, for their support of this session, helping us to keep it complimentary for members.

Admission to PIN is FREE for Council members; $15 for partner organizations; $30 for the public.
Space is limited so register today by emailing brian.lassiter@councilforquality.org.

No RAQC, TPPEN Meetings in June; Meetings Resume in July

There are no Rochester Area Quality Council (RAQC) or Twin Ports Performance Excellence Network (TPPEN) sessions in June. The next RAQC meeting is Tuesday, July 10, and the next TPPEN meeting is Wednesday, July 18. Topic/speaker to be announced next month.

The Current and Future Role of Strategic Leadership in Organizations — Association for Strategic Planning 5/31

Join Association for Strategic Planning (ASP), Minnesota Chapter, an alliance partner of the MN Council for Quality, on Thursday, May 31st for a social hour of convening, connecting, and discussing the current and future role of Strategic Leadership in Organizations.

As a community of strategic thinkers, we invite you and your colleagues to join our roundtable discussions to share and collaborate with one another through a facilitated dialogue. Following our small group discussions, you are encouraged to stay and continue the discussion informally.

This is our last gathering before the summer hiatus.

Registration and cash bar 5:00 PM; roundtable discussion 5:30-6:30; social 6:30-7:00. Marriott, 5801 Opus Parkway, Minnetonka, MN, 55343. Cost is $25 in advance ($30 at the door). For more information or to register, contact Laurieberickson@msn.com or visit http://www.strategyplus.org/chapters/Minnesota.php.

Yadda, Yadda, Yadda — Is that What Your Project Stakeholders are Hearing? — PMI 6/12

The Minnesota Chapter of Project Management Institute (PMI), an alliance partner of the Council, is pleased to announce its next breakfast session: “Yadda, Yadda Yadda – Is that what your project stakeholders are hearing?.” The session will be held June 12, and will be facilitated by Krissy Wolle is an Essentialist and Discipline Expert with Trissential.

Communicating with project stakeholders can be a challenge. Understanding the basic mechanics of communication is only the beginning; the real key to stakeholder communication is to understand your audience and how they need their messages delivered. Attendees of this session will leave with a better understanding of how to identify and evaluate stakeholders. It all boils down to project success, and making sure you’ve got the right people pulling for you is a great advantage!

The session is June 12 from 7:00-8:50 AM at Holiday Inn East, 2201 Burns Ave., St. Paul, MN 55119. Cost is $34 ($32.30 for Council members) before June 1 (MCQ members should call 651.209.8991 for discount). For more information, visit http://www.pmi-mn.org/.

Concurrent Innovation: How It Affects Your Bottom Line — SCPD June 26-27

The Society of Concurrent Product Development (SCPD) will hold its annual conference June 26–27 at 3M Tartan Park in Lake Elmo, MN. This dynamic conference features speakers from both industry and academia who will describe the benefits of Concurrent Innovation (Concurrency) and Best Practices for R&D Productivity.

Speakers include:

* Dr. Alex Cirillo (3M, VP Community Affairs & President of 3M Canada, Retired)

* Nancy Cronin (ipCapital Group, Principal Partner)

* Dr. Peter Allen (nuAngle, Managing Director)

* Will Hill (University of Mississippi and Strategy Research Institute)

* Dr. Nelson Soken (Medtronic, Senior Engineering Manager, SRDM Systems)

SCPD is a nonprofit organization dedicated to disseminating the latest knowledge on concurrent product development (CPD). For more information and to register: http://scpdnet.org/2012%2Dconference/index.htm

Year End Celebration and Annual Banquet — MNISPI 6/19

The MN Chapter of ISPI, an alliance partner of the Council, is pleased to announce its next program – its Year End Celebration and Annual Banquet.

In order to celebrate the end of our MNISPI year together and acknowledge our current board members, everyone is invited to attend our Annual Banquet. Online invitations will be distributed in a few weeks. If you do not receive an online invitation, please email president@mnispi.org by Friday, June 15.

Time: 5:30-8:00 p.m.

Cost: Free Appetizers – Dinner and beverages are your responsibility.

Location: Axel’s Charhouse Restaurant: 2540 Cleveland Avenue North, Roseville, MN 55113 – (651) 367-3967. Located in the Radisson Hotel off of Interstate 35W and County Road C. Free parking is available onsite near the hotel.

For more information, visit http://www.mnispi.org/.

The Best Approaches to Marketing in Manufacturing — Enterprise Minnesota 6/27

Enterprise Minnesota, a partner of the MN Council for Quality, is pleased to announce their next upcoming event: “The Best Approaches to Marketing in Manufacturing” on June 27 in Eagan.

For more information on these programs, visit http://www.enterpriseminnesota.org/.

New Product Development Professional Certification — PDMA June 26-27

NPDP (New Product Development Professional) Certification is gaining greater importance among employers in hiring and advancement decisions. Over 3000 have been certified in the past 5 years.

PDMA (Product Development and Management Association) offers certification to product developers who want to document their knowledge and experience. More employers are looking for NPDP certification as proof that employees have a solid understanding of the breadth and depth of NPD best practices.

The next certification is June 26-27 at the U of M Continuing Education Conference Center, St. Paul, facilitated by the New Productivity Group (plus guest speakers).

Details on PDMA NPDP Certification are provided at the PDMA website:



  • Price is $699 after May 30th. Council members get 25% discount (press MCQ member button to receive discount).
  • Take off another 15% if 3 or more attendees come from same company.
  • Training can also be provided at the company site for larger groups.

Council members get 25% discount. The link for registration is: http://www.regonline.com/builder/site/?eventid=1106345

U of M College of Continuing Education Announces Upcoming Courses; Council Members Get 10% Discount

The University of Minnesota’s College of Continuing Education, an alliance partner of the Council, is pleased to announce their upcoming improvement and business courses. Council members receive a 10% discount on all CCE courses.

6/28 Customer-Focused Marketing

All courses are 9AM-4PM on the St. Paul Campus.

For more information on any of these courses or a complete listing of coursework, visit the University of Minnesota’s College of Continuing Education’s website at www.cce.umn.edu/professionaleducation or call 612-624-4000.

South Central College Announces Upcoming Courses; Council Members Get 10% Discount

South Central College is pleased to announce their upcoming quality and performance improvement curriculum. Council members are entitled to a 10% discount.

The following courses are scheduled soon (prices before member discount):

June 6: Workplace Lean PILLARS (Introduction to Office Lean), 8:00am-4:30pm, Faribault, $249

For more information, please contact Laura Hardy at 507-332-5802 or at laura.hardy@southcentral.edu or Tom Kammer at 507- 389-7336 or tom.kammer@southcentral.edu.