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  • 12 Jul 2021 9:23 AM | Sarah Kelly (Administrator)

    By Sarah Blakelock

    Authentic leadership is all about building trust through honest relationships with followers. Research has found that authentic leaders are seen as trustworthy and believable. They are also more likely to have followers who thrive at work and have higher creativity, optimism, trust, and work engagement.

    You’re probably thinking, “So, what does authentic leadership mean? What do I do to become a more authentic leader?”

    To get you started, here are the 4 components of authentic leadership:


    Balanced Processing 

     Internalized Moral Perspective

    Relational Transparency 

    • Self-awareness is the process of understanding oneself by reflecting on one’s core values, identity, motives, and goals.
    • Balanced processing refers to an individual’s ability to analyze information objectively and explore other ideas before making a decision.
    • Internalized moral perspective is a self-regulatory process whereby individuals use their internal moral standards and values to guide their behavior rather than allowing external pressures to control them.
    • Relational transparency involves being open and honest when presenting oneself to others, including positive and negative aspects.

  • 16 Jun 2021 7:00 AM | Sarah Kelly (Administrator)

    By Theresa Heitman

    I worked in “Corporate America” for 30 years of my career.  I actually liked working in this environment as I have found there are more resources available for personal development.  I am curious and love to learn, so this works well for me.  However, one big drawback to working in “Corporate America” is that the talents of the employees who are not located at headquarters are not fully utilized.

    My experience in two different companies is that it was challenging to communicate with the people at headquarters due to the separation by distance. Without strong communication systems, ideas and information flow were inhibited.  I believe that the communication challenges led to headquarters being interested in transferring people to their office where communication was easier.  Not being able to transfer to headquarters often reduced your opportunities for advancement and robbed the company of the contributions you might have made. 

    Working at a remote site was always challenging when it came to communication.  We had conference calls from the beginning, but they were nothing like being able to be in the same room.  Many dollars and personal travel time were spent to have face to face meetings.  This was hard on remote workers because they were the ones that almost always had to travel.   Statements were even made such as, “We need everyone to be at headquarters because the real communication happens in the hallways!”  Yikes!  Is this really the system! With both companies it became very clear that if you were not transferrable (eventually to HQ), your career advancement was limited. 

    As a remote worker, I was very frustrated with not being “in the know”. I suggested many times that we design a communication system to connect remote workers to be able to contribute more.  Since these types of decisions are made at HQ and this would not be an easy task, there was very little effort directed to this need.  When I was the only employee on the team that wasn’t at HQ, I experienced the feeling of not really being part of the team anymore.  After 12 years of employment, this ultimately led to a decision to leave the company.

    Along comes Covid 19.  Now, most everyone is (or was) working remotely. Covid 19 really leveled the playing field when it comes to remote working.   It suddenly didn’t matter if you were at HQ or Portland, OR.  Everyone was in the same boat.   What a great opportunity for people to get creative about how to keep everyone connected!  I certainly hope that the focus we have today on inclusive communication and accommodating remote workers is retained in our organizations.  Out of crisis comes great creativity! Here’s to capitalizing on all ideas and talent in your organization.  It’s worth the effort!

  • 10 May 2021 11:51 AM | Sarah Kelly (Administrator)

    What improvement model should I pick?

    This is one of the top questions I am asked. As the creator of The DMAIC Way®, I am a little biased. The best answer is really based on a few questions:

    1)      Why are you picking an improvement model?

    2)      What are you looking to accomplish by picking an improvement model?

    If your answer to these questions is “because my competitors are doing it,” “my customer says I have to,” “to save money,” etc., then my response is typically, pick any of them….in the end it won’t change much. While all of these are good reasons and make sense from a business perspective – ideally the goal is to learn and get better

    Whether you select Lean, Six Sigma, Lean Sigma, PDCA, PDSA, or The DMAIC Way®, it is the thinking process that you are after.

    What is our situation? à what put us in this situation? à what are we going to do to get to a different situation?

    This is the thinking process that brings improvement methods to life.

  • 3 Mar 2021 8:59 AM | Sarah Kelly (Administrator)

    By Scott Burgmeyer

    How can you become a memorable leader in a positive way? This is a great question especially when looking at engagement data and the connection to your leadership. Some tactics you can use to truly be memorable:

    • Create Meaning. Be clear on the organization/function’s purpose and connect this to each employee’s passion.
    • Know them as a person and be empathetic. Show care and compassion to your team, provide recognition tailored to what each employee prefers, and show respect.
    • Communicate clearly and often. Ensure that people know the outcomes of decisions, timelines, vision, the “why” and ensure understanding.
    • Build vision connection. We all desire our teams to provide discretionary effort, and the more we connect the dots for people around the vision, they more they will buy in and drive that way.
    • Create urgency. With a balance of fun and execution, you can create a desire to win and work as a team. The key is pushing at the right time AND in the right way to not create excess anxiety.
    • Be Accountable. Be personally accountable, own your errors, and be humble.
    • Hold Accountable. Having difficult conversations may seem counterintuitive to being memorable. When you are fair, consistent, and have difficult conversations, people will remember that you pushed them and didn’t let them off the hook.

    Using these 7 methods can boost engagement, build leadership capacity, and have an overall positive impact on your team. Try them and reflect on how you are doing…then keep getting better.

  • 16 Feb 2021 9:17 AM | Sarah Kelly (Administrator)

    By Scott Burgmeyer

    Building culture is one of the most important things leaders do. The key is whether the leader builds the culture on purpose or by accident.

    When building a culture of improvement, 6 key steps can get you there:

    • 1)      Vision: Define what a culture of improvement looks like for you and your organization.
    • 2)      Identify a Framework: Make it visual and simple, with few steps.
    • 3)      Be Self-aware: Understanding yourself and how you impact the team is crucial to leading improvement for the organization.
    • 4)      How vs What: Improvement isn’t a “Thing,” it is how you work. The more you make improvement how you work, the more it will be part of the culture.
    • 5)      Market & Sell: Strategically market the culture and efforts while you are selling improvement to the organization.
    • 6)      Execute: You MUST execute and remember that progress > perfection.

    Using these 6 steps, you can build a culture of improvement.

  • 26 Jan 2021 2:26 PM | Sarah Kelly (Administrator)

    By Scott Burgmeyer

    A thought leader is an individual or organization that is recognized as an authority in a specialization. This typically leads to that individual or organization being sought after to share their knowledge, skills, or abilities.

    Why does an organization pursue Thought Leadership? From my perspective, there are three core reasons:

    1) Be recognized as an expert and share your expertise.

    2) Build a brand – being a thought leader allows your brand to be regarded as a top performer in that classification.

    3) Add value to your customer: through #1 and #2, you can provide more value to your customers.

    As an organization or individual, what would people say is your Thought Leadership?

  • 12 Jan 2021 11:10 AM | Sarah Kelly (Administrator)

    By Sarah Blakelock

    After meeting with dozens of IQC clients, we learned that working with IQC leads organizations to discover new ways of becoming more efficient and effective.

    See what IQC clients have to say in this case study.
  • 30 Dec 2020 8:02 AM | Sarah Kelly (Administrator)

    By Scott Burgmeyer

    It is a wonderful tradition to make a resolution and break it in the first week!! If you are like me, I have broken several over the years – exercise more, eat healthier, balance work-life, so many that it is a little embarrassing to write about. I do find it to be exciting this time of year to think back over the year…where we have come from and where we are going next.

    In late 2019, the IQC Board of Directors asked if I would be interested in serving in the role of Executive Director of IQC. Honored to be considered, I began digging in. I reflected on being a long-time customer of IQC and I wanted to ensure that we could provide other individuals and organizations the journey of learning and growth I had experienced.

    I spent the next few months talking with board members, current clients, past clients, and staff to understand what makes IQC special AND in what areas IQC can improve. Starting in the 4Q of 2019, we identified the strategic direction for IQC and with the full support of the Board of Directors, began a great journey in 2020. Some of the key items we accomplished include:

    • Updated branding (logo, mission, vision, and values)
    • New website
    • New course offerings and course catalog
    • More member benefits
    • New staff
    • iLearn (new Learning Management System)

    Despite the pandemic, pivoting to nearly 100% virtual courses and several other major changes - I am immensely proud of what the team has accomplished in one short year.

    As I look toward the future – in the near term, we have several new things coming in 2021 – new courses, expanding our website, and connecting with our fellow Iowans in new and unique ways.

    We also have several amazing projects going on behind the scenes that I am excited to share with you soon.

    I look forward to our opportunity to journey together. Onward to 2021!

  • 24 Dec 2020 9:10 AM | Sarah Kelly (Administrator)

    By Scott Burgmeyer

    It is that time of year when we celebrate and reflect upon various aspects of our life. 2020 may feel different –we see countless reminders of how unique, odd, rare (and many other descriptors) 2020 was. We learned many things this year – going virtual, being bolder by telling your boss – “I think you are on mute,” (or secretly wishing they would stay on mute). This year I have experienced things I never thought I would in my lifetime.

    Thinking back on 2020, I want to celebrate a few things:

    1. Forced Innovation – all the change brought upon organizations in a short time forced teams to manage innovation and change in a way never seen before. I hope we are able to manage that ability to change in the future paired with more planful timing to execute the change. That would be amazing for organizations to experience.

    2. Growing and Nurturing Talent – I have been lucky in 2020 to have had the opportunity to meet, hire, and grow some amazing talent with IQC. When I see what has been accomplished over the last year, what the team is focused on now, and where we are going – I am lucky to have such a great team.

    3. Creating New Traditions – working through the changes and with new talent over this year, I reinforced some traditions that I knew before. With #1 & #2 above, I learned that if you provide a direction and vision, give people permission, and get out of the way, they will do amazing things. Yes, this is a teaser for my New Year’s blog reflecting on the innovations and changes we implemented in 2020.

    As you finish preparations for your holidays – what are you going to celebrate? Maybe you will start a new tradition, maybe you will continue with the traditions you have carried out for years.

    In any case, spend time with those you care about, enjoy the time together, and give thanks for making it through a tough and unique year.

  • 16 Dec 2020 9:33 AM | Sarah Kelly (Administrator)

    By Sarah Blakelock

    To learn more about the experience that people have had with IQC, I interviewed with dozens of IQC clients. During this process, I learned a lot about what IQC does, and how it impacts organizations. I also discovered a few consistent patterns in the feedback I was receiving. One of those is that people appreciate and find value in IQC’s commitment to understanding their organization’s needs and aligning solutions to meet those needs.

    Find out more about this case study here

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