"It doesn't matter what I say. It matters what you hear!"
I was recently invited to participate in the ASQ Spring Conference in North Jersey as the Keynote Speaker. "Speak on any topic that is near and dear to your heart," they told me. Oh the choices! Of course, I knew that my audience was built of folks in the quality world, so teaching on the virtues of a great pair of shoes just wouldn't cut it. So instead, I chose to engage with the crowd on the fascinating concept of The Human Side of Auditing.
Now, before you drop off into a deep sleep (after all, I did say the word 'auditing') I must tell you that this topic was NOT so dull! For those that have been in the quality world, you know that Quality Auditors & Consultants are actively seeking ways to help organizations adhere to a standard (ISO 9001, AS9100, etc.), but also to always IMPROVE. After all, that's the basis if adherence to the many quality standards published under the ISO banner, something I learned well in my time spent as the Director of Business Development with NQA (www.nqa.com). And if you know me at all, you know that I can get behind the topic of improvement and striving for excellence any day!
The crowd of about 150 was fantastic as we discussed the concept of speaking in a language that our auditees and colleagues could understand (not as simple as you'd think!), understanding various personality styles, and delivering our message in a way that would motivate rather than frustrate. Was this a message just for Auditors? NO! It was a message to all managers, leaders, and everyday-Joe's (and Jane's) looking to improve the way that they communicate information and perceive information from others. Because helping people to understand WHAT we're trying to communicate makes a tremendous difference in how effective we are at our jobs. We are successful when we figure out how to speak in a language that our colleagues can hear, so that we're all unified in our vision, mission, and goals, whether it's for a single project, or what the organization is trying to accomplish at large. Hence... it doesn't matter what I say. It matters what you hear!
I'm grateful to the good folks at ASQ North Jersey for the invite and for the incredible, warm welcome. They even honored me with a beautiful plaque at lunch! Funny thing is, when you spend the day with quality folks, you get more in return that you ever give to them!