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  • 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

  • 1 Dec 2020 8:18 PM | Sarah Kelly (Administrator)

    By Katie Freeman

    When creating a brand-new production or assembly process, many things are looked at and studied to create the best capacity possible. Organizations consider what and how much equipment they will need, design jigs and fixtures to help mistake proof the process, define the order of operations, and determine what competencies are needed to perform the work.

    Once the process is up and running and consistently producing quality product, it is generally not revisited unless there is a quality issue or a request for changes from the customer. Without an inciting event necessitating an examination of the performance level or capacity of the process, the process can, over time, become stagnant.

    But is that a bad thing? Why fix something that isn’t broken, right?

    There are many good reasons to occasionally revisit how a process is structured. One of those reasons is something manufacturers everywhere are currently dealing with, a reduction in work force due to COVID-19. Manufacturers find themselves in a position where they need to continue to meet the needs and demands of their customers while not operating with a full staff.

    So, what do you do if you no longer have what is considered the ideal number of people to make the production processes continue to run as they always have? You can always throw money at it, buy more machines, put in some robots, or try to ramp up hiring. But there is another possible solution, to re-evaluate the current order of operations to see if there is a way to maintain the same level of production with fewer people.

    An organization in Cedar Rapids found themselves facing this exact issue. They have an assembly line that is normally staffed with ten operators to meet the production needs of their customer. However, since the onset of COVID-19, they have been forced to staff the assembly line with only seven operators, which has delivered a huge hit to their part production numbers.

    At first, the operations manager thought the solution was to create a specialized fixture or perhaps even purchase some specialized equipment to increase the production level at the presumed bottleneck of the process. However, after spending just a half day observing the line, they noticed a few things:

    • There was a lot of movement involved just to bring parts to the line.
    • Some operators were constantly working, while others were idle waiting for the step prior to theirs to be completed.
    • The people at the start and end of the line had time to do their tasks as well as help bring components to the line for other operations.

    After the observation time, they made some simple changes in what tasks were assigned to which steps (also known as level loading), how parts were brought to and staggered at the line, and the roles of the people at the start and end of the line. These changes required absolutely no money. They implemented them within an hour and conducted some trial runs. The trial runs showed that these small and simple changes could increase productivity back to the level required by the customer, while maintaining fewer people on the line. An unexpected benefit was when they realized that they can grow capacity in the future by duplicating the new line set up while utilizing ten operators.

    This organization reviewed this process because it was necessary in order to meet the demands of the customer. However, the operations manager admitted that he wished they would have reviewed the process years ago because that would have helped them put staffing in other places that needed it more.

    The moral of the story is to take the time to review your processes regularly, even if there is no “need” to do so, because you never know what you will find!

  • 11 Nov 2020 11:19 AM | Sarah Kelly (Administrator)

    By Scott Burgmeyer

    Daniel Pink wrote in Drive that what really motivates us is Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose. The idea of mastery creates thinking for each of us – WHAT am I good at? What do I WANT to be good at? Am I willing to do the WORK to be a master?

    To be the best you, Master Shi Heng Yi (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-079YIasck&feature=youtu.be) says there are 5 hindrances you must remove to accomplish this –

    1) Sensual Desire – Following temptation of your senses that stops your forward movement

    2) Ill Will – Negative emotion toward an object, situation, or person

    3) Heaviness – mental or physical effort that holds you back

    4) Unsettled Mind – Not being in the moment or jumping from thing to thing

    5) Skeptical Doubt – Indecisive or clouded mind creating sensation of being stuck

    As I reflected on these hindrances, I can see (and have seen) how they create a cloud that prevents me from moving forward as effectively as I could. How do you get over these? Master Shi recommends getting caught in the RAIN:

    Recognize which hindrance you are stuck in

    Accept that you are there (and accept how people are – you can’t change THEM)

    Investigate what is keeping you there (ask questions)

    Non-identify – see that you are made up of the mind, body, and emotion and how you will move forward

    Stuck? Go out in the Rain!!

  • 21 Oct 2020 12:18 PM | Sarah Kelly (Administrator)

    By Theresa Heitman, Consultant and Trainer for IQC

    The Fishbone Diagram or Cause and Effect Diagram is one of the most powerful tools you can use for identifying possible causes to a problem. It is called a Fishbone Diagram because it looks like the skeleton of a fish.

    The structure of this tool helps a problem-solving team systematically think through and organize all the elements that could be contributing to the problem or the effect.

    Although this tool can seem a little complex at first, once you have practiced using the Fishbone Diagram and discover how it uncovers possible causes and helps lead you to creating an action plan for eliminating or reducing the problem, it will become one of your favorite “go to” problem solving tools.

    To construct this diagram:

    1. Draw a horizontal straight line. This is the spine of the fish.

    2. Draw a box on the right end of the line. This is the head of the fish. Write the problem or the effect in this box.

    3. Draw five angled lines (bones) coming off the horizontal line. These are the bones of the fish. Your diagram should look similar to the drawing below.

    4. Label each bone of the fish with a category. Typically, causes of problems are found in the following categories: Environment, Methods, Machines, People, and Materials. These labels are only suggested. The team may name their own categories if desired.

    Now it is time to ask the questions. Pick one category and ask, “What about ‘Methods’ is causing the problem/effect?” Draw a line and label it for each cause in that category. As you work systematically through the main categories you will likely identify many causes contributing to the problem. You can further drill down on the causes by adding more “fish” bones. Sometimes the preferred method of identifying causes is brainstorming. When you record one cause per sticky note, you can easily stick the causes on to the category where it occurs.

    You may notice that one or two categories tend to have the majority of the causes, which may help you see where it might be best to concentrate your effort.

    Next, the team will need to select 5-7 of the most likely causes. Further root cause analysis is performed from here. A data collection plan may be needed to understand the variation and identify the root cause. An interrelationship Digraph is often helpful to identify the causes that are the main drivers.


    • Remember that this stage in the problem-solving process focuses on causes, NOT potential solutions.
    • The most important step is phrasing the problem/effect. Make sure you understand what the problem really is.

    IQC Members can download a template for a fishbone diagram here.

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