Perfect Vision: The Power of Leading Indicators to Predict Future Outcomes

  1. A Message from the President: Chillax: 13 Ways to Reduce Workplace Stress
  2. Network News and Events
  • Learn What Drives Organizational Excellence: 2013 MN Performance Excellence Award Evaluator Application Deadline 10/1 

  • Strategic Planning: the Glue that Holds it All Together (Rochester) 10/1

  • Creating a Great Customer-Inspired Experience (St. Paul) 10/2
  • Managing Relationships in K-12 Schools (& in Businesses) (Minneapolis) 10/3

  • Strategic Collaboration: Effectively Engaging Employees to Drive Improvement (St. Paul) 10/9

  • Lean Six Sigma Forum (Austin) 10/22

  • The Principles of Performance Excellence: Baldrige 101-201 Workshops (Twin Cities) 10/29

  • Tools to Achieve Process/Operational Excellence (Bloomington) 11/12

3.  Partner News and Events

  • Courageous Followers & Leaders: How to Transform Hierarchical Relationships into Powerful Partnership (Minneapolis) 10/9

  • Better Time Management to Reduce Stress (Plymouth) 10/15

  • Developing Leaders Who Are Committed to a Lean Enterprise (Edina) 10/17
  • World Quality Month Celebration (St. Paul) 11/1
  • PEN Announces Partnership with MCTC; PEN Members Get 10% Discount on Courses

A Message From the President: Perfect Vision: The Power of Leading Indicators to Predict Future Outcomes

Although our beloved Minnesota Twins are suffering a third straight year without playoff baseball, many pennant races are in the final stretch.  In channel surfing a couple of nights ago, I caught some of the Texas/Kansas City ball game, in which the Rangers pitcher, Matt Garza (yes, a former Twin), was pitching a masterful shutout into the eighth inning, but his pitch count was his highest of the year (122).  So the commentators were debating whether Texas should leave Garza in to pitch the ninth (given how strong he looked, there was a solid argument for doing so) or put in a relief pitcher from the bullpen – a fresh arm to try to close out the game.  You see: current baseball practice is to remove starting pitchers after pitch counts get into the 100s, because higher pitch counts lead to fatigue and possibly injury.

So what in the world does this have to do with the performance of your organization?  This baseball example is a great illustration of how leading indicators (pitch count) can help predict outcomes (fatigue, injury, and possible game loss).  Finding the right leading indicators for any process is a powerful way to significantly improve decision making…

First, I probably should offer a quick definition: I define a “leading indicator” as a metric that can be used to predict future performance.  Leading indicators are forward-looking and relate to in-process measures that help us gauge eventual process outcomes.  For example, think of how the amber traffic light indicates the coming of the red light.  Amber is the leading indicator (with nearly 100% predictive certainty!) that a red light is approaching. 

On the other hand, “lagging indicators” generally relate to outcomes, output, and/or impact – what a process produced.  They are historical in nature, telling you how your process performed in the past.  Back to our traffic light example: the amber light is a lagging indicator for the green light because amber trails green (and the red light is a lagging indicator of the amber light).  The importance of a lagging indicator is its ability to confirm that a pattern is occurring, or about to occur, which allows you to validate your hypothesis about how leading and lagging indicators correlate.

So the trick is to find leading indicators that better predict a process’s eventual outcomes.  If you can do that, you can formulate cause and effect hypotheses, which allow you to improve decision making by focusing on the factors that lead to eventual desired outcomes.  More on that in a minute, but a few non-business examples might be illustrative (if you’re not a sports enthusiast, you can skip this part and move to the next section!)…

The power for predictive leading indicators in sports has been around for decades.  In fact, Jonah Keri, editor of the 2006 book “Baseball Between the Numbers,” claims: “In the numbers-obsessed sport of baseball, statistics don’t merely record what players, managers, and owners have done.  Properly understood, they can tell us how the teams we root for could employ better strategies, put more effective players on the field, and win more games.”

In short, the power of statistics – of using leading indicators to try to predict future outcomes – can give sports managers and coaches an edge over their competition.  (See the parallels to business??)

Consider some of these examples of leading indicators in sports:

  • In professional football, the data indicate teams should go for a two-point conversion after a touchdown (instead of the one-point kick attempt) when down by two points, five points, 10 points, or 13 points in the fourth quarter.  Why?  Because a successful two-point conversion would pull the trailing team within one score of tying the game.  And why only in the fourth quarter?  Because earlier in the game teams have more opportunities to score more than one time, and the increased risk of “going for two” does not usually pay off at those points in the game.  In other words, statistics show that “going for two” earlier in the game does not usually provide the desired outcome of tying the game.
  • Also in football, there is considerable data to support the notion of kicking a field goal when facing a fourth down situation on the road, especially if the yards to go for a first down is beyond two.  Why?  There are many factors which are said to play into “home field advantage” in football (crowd noise being the primary), and the data show that teams on the road should try for the higher probability field goal (and three points) than the lower probability fourth down conversion and a chance for an eventual touchdown (and six points)…obviously all things being equal (weather, game momentum, where they are on the field, and so forth).
  • In basketball, it is wise to foul our opponent if you are trailing with less than one or two minutes to play.  Why?  Because the clock stops, saving precious time for the team that is trailing, and there is of course the chance that the leading team will miss one or both free throws.  Statistics show that trailing teams have a better chance to catch up by fouling than by playing out the time (which is why basketball games take 10 minutes to play the last two!).
  • In all sports, it’s common now to review video of your opponent.  Why?  Not only do you want to prepare by seeing your opponent’s general tendencies, but you can begin to calculate statistics that generalize patterns of their behavior.  For example, if your opponent is faced with a certain set of circumstances (third down and many yards to go in football, for example), what plays do they generally call – do the run or do they pass?  And if they pass, do they favor a particular player, a particular side of the field for different blocking schemes, in the middle or down the sidelines, and so forth?  If you can analyze the historic patterns, you can formulate predictive hypotheses about their future behavior, and then make decisions about how you might respond – probably producing better outcomes for your team.
  • And the one we’ve already mentioned: in baseball, managers should remove starting pitchers generally after pitch counts exceed 100. Why?  Because statistics show a strong correlation between high pitch counts and overuse injuries: pitch counts are a leading indicator to injury – obviously an outcome that baseball teams want to avoid.  The data show that a “fresh” arm coming in from the bullpen also generally has better outcomes than a pitcher that has been in the game quite a while, because he’s rested and because he usually offers different types of throws than the pitcher before, which presents challenges to opposing batters.

And the list certainly could go on.

Now, think of everyday occurrences where leading indicators help predict eventual outcomes:

  • Exit polls as a leading indicator to election results.
  • Body mass as a leading indicator to diabetes.
  • Tobacco use as a leading indicator to various forms of disease.
  • Seat belt use as a leading indicator to fatal car accidents.
  • High school GPA and test scores as leading indicators to college GPA (though the predictive correlation of these measures has been debated a bit).
  • Job references and previous career accomplishments as leading indicators to future career successes.
  • Housing starts, production, unemployment insurance claims, and inventory levels all as a leading indicators to economic growth.  (Interestingly, unemployment rates are usually said to be lagging indicators, because a rising unemployment rate usually indicates that the economy has been doing poorly, or vice-versa.)
  • Money supply as a leading indicator to inflation.
  • Consumer confidence as a leading indicator of economic growth.

And this one you’ll really enjoy…Alan Greenspan, the retired Federal Reserve Chairman often cited for his wisdom in setting monetary policy that lead to nearly 20 years of economic growth, claimed to use a bizarre leading indicator to determine the health of the economy: sales of men’s underwear.  He said there was nearly a perfect correlation between the two variables, with underwear sales leading the general economy (presumably men don’t “invest” in new underwear if we are heading for a downturn).

So let’s bring it back to improvement within your organization.  We all know the value of measuring performance in an organization.  And I think we all know the value of trying to gauge performance in a comprehensive way, considering outcomes not just of financials but also customer/stakeholder-related results, workforce-related results, operational results, product/service-related results, and leadership-related results.  This is why balanced scorecards and organizational dashboards are so popular today.

But I suggest that organizations use a mix of leading and lagging indicators, so that they have the ability to predict the potential outcomes of their key metrics – or at least to formulate cause and effect hypotheses of what measures relate to others.  For some examples:

  • Does reducing error rates of Process Y yield increases in customer satisfaction for that product?
  • Does reducing waste of Process X yield improvements the financial margin of your product?
  • Does improving teacher effectiveness (through training, better technology, or any other number of strategies) yield improvement in student test scores or graduation rates?
  • Does implementing an Electronic Medical Record yield a reduction of medical errors and/or a reduction in diagnosis cycle times?
  • Does investing in training of Content Z yield increases in productivity, workforce satisfaction, reduction in error rates, or any number of operational outcomes?
  • Does pursuing growth Strategy A yield increases in sales or market share in a particular segment?

The examples are nearly endless.  As I mentioned earlier, the trick is to find leading indicators that accurately predict a process’s eventual outcome(s).  If you can do that, think of the benefit to organizational leaders in terms of:

  • better data-based decision making,
  • better response to poor performance (because you can anticipate sooner when outcomes may turn unfavorable), and
  • an acquired ability to formulate cause and effect hypotheses that can then be tested, adjusted, and improved!

With iteration and cycles of evaluation, continuing to analyze the relationship between leading and lagging indicators allows you to build an infrastructure that supports a truly adaptive, learning organization.

Today’s organizations are so highly complex, with so many (controllable and uncontrollable) variables, having a way to cut through this complexity with better metrics – including a blend of leading indicators and lagging outcome metrics – allows leaders to make better decisions and allows organizations to have better, more predictable outcomes.

Yours in Performance Excellence,
Brian S. Lassiter
President, Performance Excellence Network (formerly Minnesota Council for Quality)

Learn What Drives Organizational Excellence: 2013 MN Performance Excellence Award Evaluator Application Deadline 10/1

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 three-state region improve their performance?  Would you be interested in networking, learning, and sharing with others who feel the same way?

The Performance Excellence Network is seeking candidates for the 2013 Performance Excellence Award Board of Evaluators.  The final of three application deadlines for 2013 is October 1.

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

  1. The experience strengthens your understanding of what drives organizational excellence.  The Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence represent a validated set of best practices for organizational excellence – practices that can help your organizations reach higher levels of performance.
  2. Networking with other Evaluators can expand your contacts and form deep relationships with influential leaders and professionals from across the state.  Last year’s Board of Evaluators were about 130 professionals representing all sectors (manufacturing, service, healthcare, education, non-profit, and government), all levels of leadership and all organizational roles (CEOs, presidents, Superintendents, VPs and department/unit leaders, physicians and surgeons, RNs, school teachers, and many other practitioners).
  3. The experience allows you to see “best practices” deployed within another organization – knowledge that you could use back at your organization and/or in your career.
  4. Your contribution helps organizations throughout the region – 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.  Your participation helps Minnesota, North and South Dakota improve its competitiveness and productivity, and helps create/sustain jobs.
  5. You can develop or refine 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.
  6. You can earn three hours of undergrad or graduate-level credit through the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin-Stout, for those interested.
  7. We expect a sharp increase in the number of organizations seeking an assessment in 2013, so we are trying to grow the number of Evaluators in our program.  In other words, we need resources this year!
  8. And we have greatly improved our process this year, eliminating significant time for our volunteer Evaluators. 

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.

Applications for “cycle 3” are due Oct 1 (but the deadline can be extended if you email before Oct 1).

Evaluators are required to attend Baldrige 101 (new Evaluators) and Baldrige 201 (all Evaluators), and new Evaluators are also required to attend a one-day orientation (Nov 7 or 8).  Evaluators will then be placed on a team (cycle 3 teams will launch mid-Nov and Evaluators will attend consensus/training Dec 11-12).

We hope that you would consider (re)joining the Board of Evaluators and/or encourage others to do so.  For more information on our Award process, benefits of becoming an Evaluator, or an Evaluator application, please visit or email

Strategic Planning: the Glue that Holds it All Together (Rochester) 10/1

Every organization knows that strategic planning is critical to future success – it helps leaders think through the current and changing organizational environment, identify strategic challenges that need to e addressed or core competencies that need to be leveraged, and it helps align resources with what’s truly important to achieving high performing outcomes.  But why is developing strategy so difficult and actually deploying it far more difficult?  And how can organizations improve their planning so that they actually increase alignment and improve performance?

The Performance Excellence Network is pleased to welcome Gary Floss, director of Continual Improvement at Marvin Windows & Doors, to our October 1 SE Minnesota PEN: “ Strategic Planning: the Glue that Holds it All Together.”

Gary will share how the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence” views strategic planning – of how it can be viewed as an integrating process for any organization, based on the frequency and importance of linkage to other categories of the Baldrige framework.  Gary will offer examples to illustrate key aspects of planning and the linkages of good planning and deployment throughout the organization.  He will also share best practices in planning emerging from high performance organizations.

The session is October 1 from 7:30-9:00 AM RCTC.  No cost for members; $30 for non-members.

Space is limited. Please register by contacting (or 507-213-8132).

Creating a Great Customer-Inspired Experience (St. Paul) 10/2

Special member promotion: first two registrations (by 5PM on 9/26) can attend at NO CHARGE, and next two registrations can attend for only $100!!  The workshop is nearly filled, but we want to increase attendance to maximize the value to our members!

A great customer experience begins with a solid understanding of your customers.  But it also requires that your employees use those insights to build programs that your competitors cannot duplicate. 

The Performance Excellence Network is pleased to welcome Jim Tincher, Senior Business Advisor with Satisfaction Management Systems, to a special full-day workshop October 2: “Creating a Great Customer-Inspired Experience.”

Jim will build off of the PEN breakfast earlier this summer, sharing the three keys to build a great customer-inspired experience for your business, and you will pick up actionable steps you can implement literally tomorrow!

Learning objectives for the workshop include:

  • Understanding best practices to monitor your existing experience, including relationship and transactional measurements
  • Determining top priorities for action
  • Developing a customer experience business case for change
  • Leveraging front-line employees to build out your improved customer experience
  • Building customer experience change in your organization
  • Developing and tell stories to drive your change


A great customer experience leads to enhanced loyalty and significantly higher financial returns.  Join this discussion to learn more!

The discussion is from 8:30-4:30 on October 2 in St. Paul.  Cost is $250/person for members ($300 for non-members).

Space is limited so register today by emailing

Managing Relationships in K-12 Schools (& in Businesses) (Minneapolis) 10/3

One of the biggest challenges today for schools is managing conflict between students.  But a growing amount of research shows that — for faculty, staff, and administrators to successfully manage conflict between students — they first have to manage conflict between themselves!     

The Performance Excellence Network is pleased to welcome Keith Dixon, retired Superintendent of Centennial School District (Blaine) to our October 3 PEN: “Managing Relationships in K-12 Schools (& in Businesses).”

Keith will explore successful strategies he used while at Centennial, Duluth Public Schools, and other districts to manage conflict and build relationships among faculty/staff.  These strategies also translate into any environment — business and all organizations.  

The discussion is from 8:00-9:00 a.m. on Oct 3 (networking and continental breakfast begin at 7:30 a.m.) at MCTC, 1501 Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis (near the Basilica).  Admission to PEN is FREE for Network members; $15 for partner organizations; $30 for the public. 

Space is limited so register today by emailing

Strategic Collaboration: Effectively Engaging Employees to Drive Improvement (St. Paul) 10/9

There are many quality methodologies to achieving an excellent performance (such as Lean and Baldrige).  And most of them include one or more forms of employee engagement – this can include all employees or a select group to identify and resolve issues plus find new opportunities.  In fact, a cornerstone of the Toyota Production System (TPS) is employee engagement via ideas and team projects.  Yet, organizations creating their own approaches to employee engagement generally do not integrate them deeply enough into the organizational culture to achieve the results that organizations like Toyota have had.

The Performance Excellence Network is pleased to welcome James A. Schwartz, who has 25 of hands-on global experience working with organizational Idea Systems, to our October 9 PEN: “Strategic Collaboration: Effectively Engaging Employee Ideas to Drive Improvement and Innovation.” 

Jim will review the key issues that have hampered many idea-based improvement activities (such as 5S, Continuous Improvement, Suggestion Systems, Kaizen Events, Quality Teams, and Six Sigma).  He will then review a potential solution (called Strategic Collaboration) that also utilizes current social networking tools plus integrates several methods of engaging employee’s ideas.  This solution also includes activities focused on organizational innovation, so an employee with a great idea can go to one forum to share it.  Strategic Collaboration is results driven – something leadership demands.  Most organizational improvement efforts run independently, with little sharing of ideas or results.  Jim will show how to address that challenge and to maximize employee engagement and innovation.

The discussion is from 8:00-9:00 a.m. on Oct 9 (networking and continental breakfast begin at 7:30 a.m.) at Metropolitan State University, 700 E 7th St  St Paul, MN 55106 (just east of downtown St. Paul, off of Mounds Blvd and 7th St).  Admission to PEN is FREE for Network members; $15 for partner organizations; $30 for the public.  Space is limited so register today by emailing

Lean Six Sigma Forum (Austin) 10/22

The Performance Excellence Network is pleased to announce the next Lean Six Sigma Forum on Tuesday, October 22 from 9AM to 1PM, hosted by Hormel Foods Corporation in Austin.

During the discussion, Hormel, a multinational marketer of consumer-branded food and meat products, will be sharing their continuous improvement journey.  The interactive event will highlight the evolution of Continuous Improvement at Hormel, with a focus on the use of the DMAIC (Define – Measure – Analyze – Improve – Control) methodology to improve any processes from the shop floor to the backoffice.  The discussion will also include examples of how Hormel uses Catapult and other problem solving tools to identify and resolve process improvement opportunities.

The session will be hosted by Hormel at the Hormel Sales Cabin, a private, intimate location on the campus of Hormel.  Networking/breakfast begin at 8:30 on Oct 22, the program/discussion runs 9:00-12:00, which lunch/networking following from 12:00-1:00.  

We look forward to seeing you then!

Cost is $150 for members of PEN ($300 for non-members). To register, email

The Principles of Performance Excellence: Baldrige 101-201 Workshops (Twin Cities) 10/29

Note — this workshop is required as a requisite to becoming an Evaluator with our Performance Excellence Award.


The need to improve your organization’s performance has perhaps never been greater. This “new normal” we’ve been enjoying the last few years has created a renewed need for improvement and systemic change within all organizations: customers expect more, competent workers are growing scarce, and competition is intensifying. But – with the complexity of organizations – where does one start? How do you know on which processes to focus? And how to do you sustain the improvement over time?

The Performance Excellence Network (formerly the MN Council for Quality) is pleased to announce two new half-day workshops: The Principles of Performance Excellence: Baldrige 101 and Baldrige 201. The next offerings will be Tuesday, October 29 (Twin Cities) — Baldrige 101 (overview workshop) from 8:30-12:00, and Baldrige 201 (Baldrige Criteria discussion) workshop 1:00-5:00. 

In addition, we will be offering these same workshops December 11 in the Twin Cities (though that offering will not qualify individuals to become 2013 Evaluators, it would for 2014). 

The Baldrige framework provides a systems perspective for continuous improvement and advancing performance excellence. The Baldrige “Criteria for Performance Excellence” reflects the leading edge of validated management practice, against which any organization can measure itself to identify and prioritize improvement opportunities. The Criteria have been accepted nationally (in fact, internationally) as the standard for achieving and sustaining organizational excellence, and represents a common language for communication and sharing of best practices within and across organizations.

The Baldrige 101 morning session will provide participants with an overview of the Baldrige Program and a discussion of how the Baldrige framework can benefit your organization (or division, department). You’ll learn how organizations like Cargill, Mayo Clinic, Ritz Carlton, and many nonprofits, schools, and governmental agencies are using the framework to improve performance and outcomes. The workshop will also provide some high-level Baldrige-based tools that can be brought back into your organization.


The afternoon Baldrige 201 session will offer a deeper dive into the validated Criteria for Performance Excellence.  This session is intended for those who want to learn more about how this framework helps organizations achieve and sustain high performance; it is also intended for those who plan to become 2013 Evaluators for our MN Performance Excellence Award.

Note that our Performance Excellence Award Evaluator Training is changing in 2013, and a prerequisite is to be “current” in the Criteria for Performance Excellence.  Attending this workshop satisfies that requirement.

Cost for the full day (both Baldrige 101-201 workshops) is $225 for members ($450 for non-members).  Cost for the half-day is $150 for members ($300 for non).  One copy of the Baldrige “Criteria for Performance Excellence” book ($25 value) is included, as are meals. Those becoming third year (or beyond) Evaluators have no charge for the afternoon. 

To register, email with your name, affiliation, and membership status.

Tools to Achieve Process/Operational Excellence – Register Now! (Bloomington) 11/12

The Performance Excellence Network is pleased to announce our fall conference November 12 in Bloomington, focused on tools to achieve process/operational excellence. 

Hear tips, best practices, and useful information on how and when to use a variety of improvement tools to improve process performance – in all types of organizations (businesses, healthcare, education, government, nonprofit).

Topics will cover beginning, intermediate, and advanced process improvement tools, such as PDSA, Lean (A3, Value Stream Mapping, Kaizen, 5S), Six Sigma/DMAIC, ISO, various problem solving tools, Hoshin Kanri planning, Quality Function Deployment, 7 Quality Tools, Root Cause Analysis, and many others!

Confirmed speakers include 3M, Seagate, Hennepin County, Ecolab, IBM, Mankato Clinic, and many others!  A detailed final agenda will be posted on our website next week.

Cost is $250 for members (Early Bird through Oct 18) or $300 after October 18; non-members are $500 and $600, respectively.  For more information, visit here.   

Hold the date, spread the word, and register early (Early Bird October 18) by emailing!

Don’t miss this extraordinary learning and networking event!

Courageous Followers & Leaders: How to Transform Hierarchical Relationships into Powerful Partnership (Minneapolis) 10/9

The MNODN, an affiliate partner of the Performance Excellence Network, is pleased to announce its next program: “Courageous Followers & Leaders: How to Transform Hierarchical Relationships into Powerful Partnership.”  The session will be Oct 9, 5:30-7:30 PM at Normandale, and will be facilitated by Ira Chaleff, the author of the book “The Courageous Follower: Standing Up To and For Our Leaders.”

Most organizations are hierarchical in nature. Even small organizations develop hierarchical cultures. In large organizations – public corporations, hospitals, government agencies, even large churches – hierarchy is a strong feature of the culture. Hierarchy itself is not a problem, but it often distorts the relationships between those in formal “leader” and “follower” roles. Candor is the first victim. Learning is the second, as without candor in conversation, learning is limited. How can those around leaders develop the standing and confidence to communicate authentically so leaders operate on real, not wishful data? How do we create partnerships when power differentials seem built into the hierarchy?

The session is $25 ($20 for Network members, as allied partners).  More information at

Better Time Management to Reduce Stress (Plymouth) 10/15

The Minnesota Chapter of Project Management Institute (PMI), an alliance partner of the Performance Excellence Network, is pleased to announce its next breakfast session: “Better Time Management to Reduce Stress.”  The session will be held Oct 15, and will be facilitated by TBA.

Have you ever looked at the clock and thought, “How is it lunch time already? I feel like I haven’t gotten anything done!”? Gain a better understanding of where our time is spent and develop a mindset to overcome time management obstacles and work more efficiently.

Topics covered:

  • The Tyranny of the Urgent – 4 quadrants of time
  • Look at time “robbers”
  • Discuss the Pareto Principle – 80/20 rule
  • Learn time management tools to plan, organize and manage our time

The session is Oct 15 from 7:00-8:50 AM in Plymouth.  Cost is $34 ($32.30 for Network members) before Oct 1 (PEN members should contact for discount code).  For more information, visit

Developing Leaders Who Are Committed to a Lean Enterprise (Edina) 10/17

Enterprise Minnesota, a partner of the Performance Excellence Network, is pleased to announce their next upcoming event: “Developing Leaders Who Are Committed to a Lean Enterpriseon Oct 17 in Edina.

Enterprise Minnesota’s expert consultants and top manufacturing executives will show how the next generation of Training Within Industry (TWI) methodologies can help manufacturers develop and retain the skilled leaders they need to grow profitably. CEOs will draw from their personal experiences to share real-world case studies about how the knowledge gained from cutting-edge TWI can systematically transform good employees into excellent leaders — from the shop floor all the way through to their leadership teams.

For more information on this and other programs, click here:

World Quality Month Celebration (St. Paul) 11/1

MNASQ, as partner of PEN, is proud to kick-off World Quality Month in Minnesota on Friday, November 1st with a very special dinner program with ASQ Chair, Dr. John Timmerman.  Dr. Timmerman is a renowned expert in creating outstanding customer experiences by building and integrating business cultures, systems, and technologies.  His presentation, Innovation 2.0, will include:

  • Learn key findings from the Global State of Quality Research
  • Understand the importance of behavioral economics in decision making and identifying opportunities
  • Identify key success factors for co-creating innovation with employees, customers, and partners.

The event is 5:30-9:00 on Friday, November 1 in St. Paul.  Early Bird Registration ends 9/30/2013; PEN members are eligible for member discount.

For more information or to register, visit

PEN Announces Partnership with MCTC; PEN Members Get 10% Discount on Courses

MCTC (Minneapolis)

The Performance Excellence Network is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC), in which PEN members can attend MCTC quality/business courses and enjoy a 10% member discount.

“This is our nineteenth such partnership,” says Brian Lassiter, PEN president.  “We are always striving to increase the value of our membership.  And we also recognize that there are many high quality programs, services, and resources available to leaders and organizations interested in improving their organizations and themselves.  We’re pleased to partner with MCTC to bring their courses to our members at a discount.”

PEN members should enter “PEN13” at checkout to get the discount.  The discount does not apply to online or SeniorNet classes.

Upcoming courses include:


What Makes Me Tick? Paying Attention and Being Intentional

Mon 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm


Time Management Made Easy

Tue 6:00 pm – 9:30 pm


Creating Great Content: the Key Ingredient to an Engaging Social Media Presence

Thu 9:00 am – 12:00 pm


The Art of Customer Service

Fri 8:30 am – 12:00 pm


Microsoft PowerPoint 2013 – I

Sat 8:30 am – 4:00 pm


Microsoft Excel 2013 – II

Tue 8:30 am – 4:00 pm


Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 – II

Thu 8:30 am – 4:00 pm


Microsoft Excel 2013 – I

Sat 8:30 am – 4:00 pm


New Media Literacy

Mon 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm


Microsoft Outlook 2013 – I

Thu 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm


Conflict Without Catastrophe

Fri 8:30 am – 12:00 pm


Powerful Business Presentation Skills

Tue 6:00 pm – 9:30 pm


Oh my Gosh!  Another Meeting?

Fri 8:30 am – 12:00 pm


Microsoft Excel 2013 – I

Thu 8:30 am – 4:00 pm


Microsoft Excel 2010 – II

Sat 8:30 am – 4:00 pm


Taking Charge of Your Success

Tue 6:00 pm – 9:30 pm


Engaging Your Team 

Fri 8:30 am – 12:00 pm


Microsoft Excel 2013 – III

Sat 8:30 am – 4:00 pm


Microsoft Excel 2013 – III

Tue 8:30 am – 4:00 pm