Jun 26, 2012

Fakes Fraud Broadway Lessons Learned for CEOs

Fakes Broadway GRC CSR - Lessons Learned for CEOs. ASQ's  CEO Paul Borawski had asked the Global Influential Voices to blog on taking Quality to the C-suite, the CEO's. 

Faulty parts. Planes falling from the sky. Taking military pilots & their crews to their deaths. Unlucky? Pushing the technology boundaries in an urgent war time era? 

Or something more sinister? 

Perhaps an aircraft parts factory co-owner, Joe Keller, pushed to keep an impossible deadline? Crucifying penalties if he didn't ? 

So a compromise to keep the factory afloat? To ensure the planned legacy for his own son and heir, Larry Keller ? But blinding himself & in denial to the risks he was creating for other men's sons ? 

So another Quality case study - the human story behind the investigation into yet another corporate train wreck over the last few years? 

But would it not be a foolish, albeit brave, action to name this factory manager who so recklessly flouted GRC & CSR principles ? Even worse when the dodgy parts causing the planes crashing finally came to light, the blame was sheeted to his factory co-owner, Steve Deever, the future father in law of his own son and heir. 

What are the root causes under-pinning this sorry saga- not unlike what we have read of late? There have been Toyota, BP &  Wall Street finance controversies. 

The lessons in quality, integrity, values that I learned from this issue came not from the pages of an ASQ article or a quality training course. But instead from a then-young Californian English Literature teacher on exchange in the 1970's in regional Australia just south of Sydney. Eschewing the traditional British literature the young teacher Roger Zelus opened our minds to mid 20th Century American writers: Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck and Robert Lowell. 

This tale of morality and corruption shared by the young American teacher  was of course "All My Sons" - a Broadway play of the mid 1940's by Arthur Miller and recently revived in 2008 - again on Broadway - starring Katie Holmes as Ann Deever

In some ways, with the Toyota and BP debacles, it seemed that life was imitating art. In Australia we had the Equine Flu which sickened and killed many horses - shutting down horse racing for weeks and months. Quality and integrity given way to short term approaches without due regard to the risks and not enough resources applied? 

Has quality too often been overshadowed by safety environment and financial drivers ? Rather than being seen as an equal partner in the long term sustainability of organizations ? Thus was my first formative lesson in quality of Arthur Miller's All My Sons shared by Roger Zelus - a lesson in Quality CSR and GRC for CEO's.

Jun 1, 2012

Fighting Election Fraud - A Challenge for Quality in Governent - ASQ Influential Voice from Australia

The May 2012 theme for the ASQ Influential Voices program was Quality in Government - with ASQ's CEO Paul Borawski basically challenging whether it is possible.

I had decided to explore Citizen Perceptions of Election Integrity & Fraud issues as an aspect of Quality in Government processes. My fellow members of ASQ's Global Influential Voices for Quality program had explored Health, Education, Defense & also Quality in Government in their own Countries

Over the last few years I had seen many items in the ASQ Daily News RSS feeds reporting problems with election voting machines. And of course I had read Mike Moore's thoughts on past USA Presidential Elections & voting problems. In Australia there has been a push for E-voting and I have had concerns which were driven by what I had read in my ASQ feeds ie that there were problems that must be addressed to ensure the integrity of e-voting.

Coincidentally ISO, the International Organisation for Standardization had embarked on a project on developing an ISO International Standard on Electoral Assurance. Basically this was about applying ISO 9001 to Electoral systems. It is being managed by ISO's TC 176 under Working Group WG. No.3 and I am one of Australia's representatives on this WG.

As a keen fan of Twitter for monitoring trends & using the Hootsuite Dashboard Application, I set up a search on "Election Fraud" on May 9 2012 Australian Eastern Standard Time to capture Citizen Perceptions of Election Fraud. I didn't capture all the tweets - there was just an unbelievable number of them flooding into Twitter from across the Globe, from every continent - except Antarctica of course.

To be honest I was pleased to see not too many mentions from Australia and I hoped that this was a positive indication of confidence in our electoral processes and state/federal (Twitter)electoral commissions, for whom I have the utmost regard.  I had been a local government city councillor candidate (and a successful one too !) under the NSW Electoral Commission in my state in 1995 & 1999, where I saw little evidence if no real evidence of election fraud. Interesting campaign tactics at times, as one expects in elections, but no real fraud. (ps - here's the website for the upcoming local government elections being run by our NSW Electoral Commission - plus scan of postcard mailed to all Australian addresses first week in June 2012 advising them that Voter Registration in Australia in Compulsory)

Anyway my aim was to collect the tweets of citizen perception of  electoral fraud that seemed to have integrity & genuine basis, rather than people just letting off steam because their preferred candidate was unsuccessful. I also endeavoured to filter out the echo chamber of retweets that are an inevitable part of the Twitterverse - but hey that's part of the democratic processes in the social media era.

So here is the link to my distillation of tweeting from around the globe of citizen perceptions of Election Fraud. The sheer volume of Election Fraud related tweets is astonishing over a period of about 3 weeks.

Clearly it is important that ISO proceed with its proposed standard on Electoral Assurance. But I suspect that it will require far more than the creation of this standard to sort out the problems of electoral fraud as perceived by citizens across the globe. A total cultural attitudinal revolution will be needed internationally to respect democratic processes & outcomes if we are to achieve the goal of Electoral Assurance.

To me this is one big challenge for achieving Quality in Government across the Globe.

More on Citizen Perceptions of Voting Fraud : From June 1 2012

Other Links on Electoral-Voting Concerns (mainly via ASQ)

Other Stories on Election Voting Technology Issues from ASQ Quality News Today - available by logging into Members Only Area of ASQ 
  • Major Setback for Philippine Voting System
  • Voting Glitch in Memphis affects up to 5000
  • Audit Ensures Voting Machines' Totals Add Up
  • Election Suit Details Substantial Errors
  • Election Official Strive to Regain Trust
  • Groups Probe Election Error in South Carolina
  • Human Error Cited in Ballot Glitch
  • Officials Ask for Voting-Machine Security
  • Unregistered Votes Reach the Polls
  • Voting Machines Outlive Their Usefulness
  • S.C. Audit Finds Errors in Voting System
  • Voting Machine Incident Makes Waves
  • Answers Sought in Election Gaffe
  • State, Firm Split Blame for Election Gaffe
  • Clerk Steps Aside After Another Election Snaffu
  • Election Results Waylaid by Faulty Database