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Quality-Related Answers on LinkedIn from Diane

Posted by Diane Kulisek on November 30, 2009

As I was updating some of my information on LinkedIn this morning, it occurred to me that I’ve shared much more information about quality there than on this blog.  While I want to keep the information I share here fresh, sometimes I’m a bit too busy with other urgent matters to compose a new message.  In cases like that, I think you might find some of the answers I’ve posted on LinkedIn of interest… especially those that have been rated highly by LinkedIn users.

Before I get into that, here are a few facts about my LinkedIn activities to help put things into perspective. 

I joined LinkedIn on April 30th, 2006.  Today, I have 365 first degree connections (people I personally know and who are connected directly to me through LinkedIn), 162,200+ second degree connections (people who know people connected to me), and 6,814,700+ third level connections (people who know people who are connected to me), for a total LinkedIn network of 6,977,300+ people.  My LinkedIn network has grown by 30,677 people in the past week.    

Members of my nearly 7 million person network are from all over the world but are largely located in New York, San Francisco, India and Los Angeles, each with 5% of my total LinkedIn network membership, and Chicago, with 3% (for a collective total of 23%).  That means that roughly 200,000 to 350,000 people in each of 4 major U.S. cities and in India are accessible through my network… and can interact with me… via LinkedIn Answers.  India, Los Angeles and London are my fastest growing LinkedIn network regions.

Many of my direct LinkedIn connections are in quality-related professions, however, there is no ‘quality’ profession category to identify oneself with on LinkedIn (and, yes, I’ve mentioned this to LinkedIn‘s management team), so 38% of the industry-categorized members of my LinkedIn community currently fall into the following fields: 

  • 14% Information Technology and Services;
  • 07% Staffing & Recruiting (no surprise there, eh?);
  • 06% Management Consulting (a.k.a. ‘previously employed’, also not a surprise);
  • 06% Computer Software (a.k.a. Information Technology and Services – the sequel); and
  • 05% Human Resources (a.k.a. ‘Staffing & Recruiting’ – part deux).

    I change my LinkedIn industry category declaration to suit my circumstances or my mood.  I’ve used ‘management consulting’, ‘medical device manufacturing’, ‘process industries’, ‘electrical and electronics’, ‘government relations’ and, currently, ‘public safety’.  They’re all true, of course, or were at the time I used them.

    I’ve also changed my title, to suit my mood.  Currently, I bill myself as: “Organizational Excellence and Quality Assurance Leader”.  I used to be a “Senior Quality Professional” until I read that “Senior” means “Old” on a resume.  Then I was just a “Quality Professional”, until somebody mentioned (rightly) that all professionals are (or should be) quality professionals.  Then I was a “Quality Assurance Professional”, until another person pointed out that, since Lean and Six Sigma has been around, people don’t hire actual “Quality Assurance Professionals”, anymore.  So, I compromised with kind of a play off of the American Society for Quality’s Certification Designation for a Quality Assurance Manager:  “Manager of Quality / Organizational Excellence” and changed the word “Manager” to “Leader” (mostly to try to stop people from sending me first level management job leads — which don’t seem to work very well for me).  I’m now calling myself an “Organizational Excellence and Quality Assurance Leader”.  I think I need to drop “Assurance” and change it to “Improvement”.  The word “Assurance” is apparently still somewhat politically incorrect, in the current job market.  I’ll do that today.

    Anyway, continuing on… according to LinkedIn… I’ve posted 175 answers, as of today.  Unfortunately, not all of those who ask questions on LinkedIn rate the answers they receive (which is really just a form of thanks for those of us who took the time to answer), but for those of my posted answers that were rated, 70 were considered ‘good’ or ‘best’, with 32 falling into the ‘good’ rating and 38 into the ‘best’ answer rating.  23 of the ‘best’ answers I’ve posted are in relation to the topic: “Quality Management and Standards”, but there are many other answer categories that I’ve provided ‘best’ answers for.  Following is the LinkedIn breakout of my ‘best’ answers by topic: 

    • Quality Management and Standards (23 best answers)
    • Organizational Development (2 best answers)
    • Manufacturing (2 best answers)
    • Project Management (2 best answers)
    • Supply Chain Management (2 best answers)
    • Certification and Licenses (1 best answer)
    • Mentoring (1 best answer)
    • Event Marketing and Promotions (1 best answer)
    • Personnel Policies (1 best answer)
    • Business Analytics (1 best answer)
    • Corporate Governance (1 best answer)
    • Labor Relations (1 best answer)
    • Inventory Management (1 best answer)
    • Career Management (1 best answer)
    • Professional Organizations (1 best answer)
    • Ethics (1 best answer)
    • Starting Up (1 best answer)
    • E-Commerce (1 best answer)
    • Computers and Software (1 best answer)
    • Using LinkedIn (1 best answer)

    What this means for you is simply this: out of my nearly 7,000,000 member LinkedIn Network, I am, by far and away, the top rated ‘expert’ on “Quality Management and Standards”.  I must be doing something right.  I don’t like to describe myself (or anybody else) as an ‘expert’, but LinkedIn does that based upon the highest number of ‘best answer’ ratings. 

    Here is how being an ‘expert’ looks on the Answers page (at the bottom) for this topic: 

    In case you’re thinking the apparently huge ‘best’ answers lead I seem to have over fellow professionals, like close runner up, Anshuman Tiwari, does not take into account the expertise of my 2nd degree or 3rd degree LinkedIn contacts, take a look at this:

    Yeah, Shaun (2nd degree connection) and Scott (3rd degree connection), ‘expert’ front runners, are snapping at my heels (NOT). 

    And, by the way, I only post one or two LinkedIn Answers per week… so I don’t spend a lot of time doing this.  I find providing answers on LinkedIn challenges me and keeps my mind tuned into the latest developments in my chosen profession, so I do it for my ongoing personal and professional development as much as for others.  It takes me about an hour (usually) to research and prepare one ‘best’ answer.   That is not a huge investment for my return on it.

    So… the point of this shameless bragging about my LinkedIn activities and answers is this:  maybe I’ve posted some answers that would be worthwhile for you to read.

    I recognize that finding past answers I’ve posted to support your more urgent needs or interests might be like looking for a needle in a haystack via LinkedIn, especially if you don’t have a LinkedIn account (although Google is doing better at providing this information, now).  Nonetheless, I’m going to start posting some of the better answers I’ve provided here, too.  I do provide plenty of links to the LinkedIn website here, so let’s figure this might inspire some of my blog readers to open a new LinkedIn account (or better use the one they have), shall we?  It’s a win-win-win. 

    Anyway, my future LinkedIn Answer Blog posts here will be titled in a manner that best represents the original question asked.  The entire content of the question will appear in the body of the post. 

    If you have any questions for me about LinkedIn, I’ll be happy to do my best to answer them for you.  Better yet… join LinkedIn and ask me there!


    Posted in Blogroll, Day-to-Day Observations, Quality-Related LinkedIn Answers, Social Commentary, Tools and Methods, Science and Technology, Websites | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    Fact-Based Quality

    Posted by Diane Kulisek on September 14, 2009

    WISDOM HIERARCHYI believe that the most important ‘product’ a quality assurance professional provides is actionable information.  Not all information, however, is created equal. 

    There is a hierarchy associated with information. 

    • The lowest level of information is RAW DATA. 
    • When RAW DATA has been objectively verified, it can be classified as a FACT. 
    • A FACT that has been validated as appropriate for an intended use can finally be deemed true INFORMATION. 
    • The acceptance of INFORMATION transforms it into KNOWLEDGE. 
    • KNOWLEDGE, combined with courage, provides the power to take action and create change. 
    • Change begets lessons that can only be learned through experience and transforms KNOWLEDGE into WISDOM, the highest level of information (without becoming metaphysical).

    You can find out more about the Hierachy of Wisdom on the QualityWarrior website (

    Because information is so essential to the pursuit of quality, I particularly enjoyed an email containing an article from Michael McLaughlin, “The Guerrilla Consultant”, this morning titled: “Just The Facts”.  In Michael’s article, he explains how best to sell consulting services and advice to consulting clients using facts.  In particular, he discusses the potential pitfalls and considerations that must be applied to the soundness of fact-based sales pitches.

    I found that, by substituting a top manager, colleague or prospective employer for the ‘client’, and by considering that what is being sold is a change to the quality management system or to a quality assurance process, as opposed to a change to any other aspect of the way a company does business, Michael’s recommendations could serve those of us attempting to make a case for continual improvement, return on quality investment or the economic case for the pursuit of quality, as well.

    Here are some highlights of the article:

    • Your recommendations need to be accepted and acted upon to have value;
    • Acceptance of facts relies upon the skill with which those facts were gathered, analyzed, sorted for the most relevance and communicated; 
    • A compelling case for change can only be made when the facts supporting that change cannot be argued.
    • Change (even necessary, beneficial, positive change) tends to be resisted and the validity of facts used to make a case for change WILL be challenged;
    • If your facts are discredited, your recommendations based upon those facts will be dismissed and your credibility for subsequent recommendations will be much more difficult to reestablish;
    • If your facts are objective, timely, and valid, you will build credibility and trust with your top manager, colleague or prospective employer; 
    • Experience is not enough to earn the trust of decision-makers and your track record, alone, will not serve you as well as will presenting compelling facts;
    • Review your facts with those you wish to make a change and listen for feedback and buy-in before making any recommendation. 
    • There must be agreement about the validity of your facts before your recommendation is likely to be accepted;
    • When the validity of facts is certain, you will be able to focus upon solutions, without the distraction of defensive debates; and
    • Welcome debates about the merits of proposed solutions but avoid debates about the validity the  facts leading to your proposals “like the plague”.

    In closing, Michael indicates that there are three critical considerations for building a sound fact base:

    1. Use multiple sources of information to validate your facts, especially external ones; 
    2. Cross-check every fact in your presentation and make sure there are at LEAST two credible sources of reference for each one that you can easily cite; and 
    3. Make sure your facts are free from bias or opinon and are objective, regardless of whether their sources are internal or external.  As Mark Twain was quoted as saying:  “There are liars, DAMNED liars, and statisticians.  Be sure your facts have not been manipulated to support only one desired outcome.  

    My summary of Michael’s article is uniquely slanted toward serving those of us within the quality practitioner community and I hope I have done him justice in my having done so.  Nevertheless, his article is eloquently written for his target audience, the consulting community (to which some of us may also belong).  I encourage you to enjoy it in his own words on his website at: .  For those of you who consult, I highly recommend that you join The Guerrilla Consultant mail list and take advantage of Mr. McLaughlin’s monthly newsletter.  I assure you, he does not abuse his access to your email account and every issue contains his personal insights about successful consulting.

    Posted in Day-to-Day Observations, Philosophy and Metaphysics, Tools and Methods, Science and Technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »