The ASQ World Conference on Quality and Improvement was inspirational. I spoke with people from all over the world, including my birth place of Costa Rica, who are passionate about creating a culture of excellence. The KPI Fire booth was crazy busy for 3 days straight. Thank you to everyone who came by to learn more about how we help companies execute their strategy.

Many topics we heard at the conference covered issues we’ve noticed our clients talking about. Quality comes before profit, company-wide customer focus, employee driven results, were all reflected in multiple sessions.

In my opinion the most significant and exciting shift is in recent push toward creating a Culture of Excellence. For years leaders shied away from the word culture. It is too ambiguous, too hard to control and change. But lately it seems leaders are gaining more courage. They are looking at culture focused companies like Zappos and saying, “Hey. They did it and so can we. We can create the culture we want. We are in control.”

One of the fastest ways to change your culture is to change the behaviors of your leaders. If even a small number of leaders engage in daily Kaizen, or demonstrate to their teams how to share best practices, the effect will begin to ripple through the organization.

I spoke Wednesday morning about Leadership Engagement in Kaizen. The real story was about a shoe manufacturing plant in Big Rapids Michigan that is fighting the offshoring trend by engaging in continuous improvement. Several people came up to me afterward and shared their enthusiasm for our shared belief that positive change starts with leaders. And by leaders I mean all of us, regardless of position, who are willing to put quality, process, customer needs, and our employees first.

If you are interested in receiving the presentation (and hopefully an audio version when it becomes available) click here /?p=987 to download your copy.

Have a great week and Be A Leader!

Cedro Toro