Success Often Comes from Failure

August 6, 2012

1. A Message from the President: Success Often Comes from Failure
2. Forming Additional Roundtables this Fall — Peer Problem Solving and Knowledge Sharing Groups
3. Want to Learn More the MN Council for Quality (now Performance Excellence Network)? View this New Video on our History, Impact
4. More Information, 2-Minute Video Behind the New “Performance Excellence Network” Name
5. Managing Transformational Change: Fall Conference Nov 13-14 (Bloomington)
6. Learn What Drives Organizational Excellence: 2012 Performance Excellence Award Evaluator Training October 16-18 (Twin Cities)
7. The Asking Formula: Ask for What You Want…And Get It — Workshop 9/18 (St. Paul)
8. What Every Project Needs: Learn How to Make Every Project Successful — Minneapolis PEN 9/6
9. The Crux Move: How to Climb Over the Competition — St. Paul — PEN 9/12
10. Smart Lean — SE Minnesota PEN (RAQC) 9/11
11. Process Improvement at Members Credit Union — Twin Ports PEN 9/19
12. Attend the 2012 Baldrige Regional Conferences: 9/14 Des Moines, 9/28 Phoenix
13. The Rocket Model: Practical Advice for Building High Performing Teams — MNODN 9/6
14. The Dance of Facilitation — MN Facilitators Network 9/13
15. Lean Product Development — Getting Highly Manufacturable Products to Market — Enterprise Minnesota 9/6
16. Project Manager & Business Analyst: Separation of Duties — PMI 9/11
17. One Day Employee Engagement Workshop — PDP Solutions 9/5 (Edina)
18. U of M College of Continuing Education Announces Upcoming Courses; Newtork Members Get 10% Discount

A Message From the President: Success Often Comes from Failure

It’s human nature to want to succeed: most people try hard to get good grades in school, to advance in their careers, to maintain happy and sustainable relationships, heck, even to win at that occasional poker game or round of golf. Organizations are similar: they want long-term, sustained success – happy, loyal customers; happy, loyal employees; happy, loyal shareholders or funders; and products, services, or programs that offer a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Organizations are in business to win. And, in good organizations, that mentality permeates throughout the enterprise – where leaders create an environment for all workers to succeed in satisfying customers, improving processes, and creating sustained value. Indeed, helping organizations accomplish that goal is central to the Performance Excellence Network’s mission. But in business (as well as with nonprofits), there is a real opportunity – and, in fact, a real need – for failure…

According to Tim Hartford in his book “Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure,” wherever you look, success emerges from trial and error – from trying new solutions, new products, new processes, new business models – experimenting with those that work, learning from those that don’t work, and adopting success while avoiding repeat failures. As he says, try variations on what you already have, filter out the flops, and copy the hits. Really, it’s all about learning – both personal and organizational learning. It’s about evolution; it’s about adaptation. In order to move two steps forward, sometimes organizations need to take a half step back.

The foundation of organizational learning is really rooted in the scientific method and is embodied in the fairly simple Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) concept, made popular by W. Edwards Deming. That method is all about systematic learning and discovery: developing a hypothesis, a plan, or an idea for a new product, service, or process; piloting it on a small scale; learning what works and what doesn’t; refining it; and then rolling it out on a larger scale. By its very nature, this process requires experimentation and failure – sometimes repeated failure – as you eliminate things that don’t work and focus on things that do. As captured by Ron Ashkenas in an August 14 Harvard Business Review blog: “[A failure] helps you cross out one more invalid hypothesis and gets you closer to figuring out what will really work, whether you are at an early stage of development or trying to determine the best way to commercialize and scale.”

Indeed, the art of failure has been embraced by many successful companies. In his book, Hartford cites many examples of failure helping some of the most innovative technology companies. In the 80s, Microsoft defeated both IBM and Apple in the personal computer space, capitalizing on the superiority of its software platform, Windows. But Apple learned considerably from that experience, developing new business models for delivery of music, video, games, and eventually apps (iTunes) as well as developing a very different hardware platform that leveraged pad technology (and which is revolutionizing computing and smart phone/device technology). If it weren’t for Apple’s initial failure in the PC space, they may not have been quite as successful with phones, pads, and pods.

As another example, Google has learned through much trial and error what really works in search engine technology and continues to learn and evolve in the space I’d call “organizing knowledge.” Google, widely considered one of the most innovative companies in the world, understands that breakthroughs come from dogged experimentation: it lets its engineers spend 20% of their time on pet projects, spawning both hits and misses. And that’s a philosophy embraced – and probably first cultivated – by Minnesota’s own 3M. Most people know that 3M’s culture embraces innovation through trial and error – allowing employees time to tinker with ideas and concepts, some of which eventually become highly profitable products, but many of which do not. Think Post-It Notes, which as legend has captured, came from failure in application of an adhesive, but somehow serendipitously landed on paper, resulting in just enough stickiness to tack those little slips of paper to walls, whiteboards, and other papers. As a result, a billion dollar product was born out of initial failure.

Hartford claims that “in most human endeavors, failure is necessary, useful, and must be tolerated.” The key, according to Ashkenas, is to fail and fail fast, “conducting rapid tests with low risk.” He goes on to give an excellent example of how consumer products companies sometimes post new products online that really aren’t yet available (they just show up as “out of stock” when you try to place the order). In reality, companies are testing whether customers are actually interested in buying such products, which indicates the extent of market demand and helps leaders determine if there’s merit in actually developing and launching the product. Cheap market research, if you ask me.

But the value of failure goes well beyond product development. Here are some systematic, proactive ways that organizations can create opportunities for failure – and therefore opportunities for learning and improvement:

  • Successful organizations frequently “stress test” their core processes, examining how much throughput they can take while maintaining performance within desired tolerances. Obviously, this works well in manufacturing, particularly where high volumes necessitate finding the outer edge of what’s possible within a process. But this practice also works in service businesses and nonprofits: how many customers can you serve with a given process before wait times exceed customer requirements; how many stakeholders can you serve with a certain number of program case managers before outcomes begin to erode?
  • Successful companies also try to sabotage their own information technology systems, trying to simulate hackers and test the rigor of the safeguards on their data. In today’s environment with cyber attacks, terrorism, privacy concerns, and identity theft, testing IT systems to the point of failure is critical for organizations to stay one step ahead of threats.
  • Sanctioned failure also plays a vital role in workforce development. It’s widely known that adults often best “learn by doing.” And “doing” sometimes requires trial and error, so long as it results in learning, development, and improvement. Indeed, many people learn the greatest lessons by trying things that are outside of their comfort zones – acquiring new skills, trying new job roles, learning new content. Oftentimes, these experiments result in failures, but it’s incumbent upon leaders to nurture employees through the process: to encourage risk taking, to coach people through the learning, and to reward (even the small) successes along the way.
  • Spend time “in the trenches.” Umair Haque in the Harvard Business Review article “Why You Should Focus on ‘Worst Practices’” (11/17/10) says that leaders could benefit from spending time actually working in the operations of their organization: “[if you] want to discover what really sucks about your distribution, marketing, pricing, service, partners, or products…then spend some time in the trenches.” He references the TV show “Undercover Boss,” which helps leaders get a healthy dose of reality – getting out of the board room or the top floor with the cushy carpet, and witnessing first hand the challenges, problems, opportunities, and failures that happen in the core business. “Managing by walking around” (MBWA) was made very popular in the 80s. Today’s equivalent is “rounding,” where leaders spend time in the core operations, talking to employees, understanding what’s going on, and maybe observing or actually performing job duties on the front line. It is not only useful in helping leaders identify failure points in its current operations, but it also does wonders for increasing workforce morale, engagement, and communication.
  • Another concept recommended by Haque “eating your own dogfood” – not just observing or participating in your organization’s processes as recommended above, but also consuming its products and services as if you were a customer. You can outsource this function to a third party (mystery shopping is a concept of paying a firm to act as if they are a customer, and then having them provide feedback to the company on the product, service, and/or experience so that failures can be identified and opportunities for improvement determined). But I think there’s also value in leaders – of all types and in all levels – experiencing the products themselves. If you sell fast food, eat it on occasion; if you sell financial service products, try applying for a loan sometime; if you educate students, try taking a course offered by your institution (or just registering for one); if you provide social services as a nonprofit, participate as a client/stakeholder to see how the experience feels. Putting yourself in the shoes of your customer will really open your eyes to potential failure spots in your product and service delivery, hopefully identifying improvement opportunities before actual customers experience the same issues.
  • Haque also recommends that organizations – particularly those that are struggling – should sometimes look backwards, examining a time where they were successful, trying to discern what made the organization great, what caused the organization to lose its way, and most importantly, why the organization lost it. In other words, identifying the root causes of the failure. Once upon a time, Sony dominated the market with its Walkmans, Motorola dominated with its (analogue-based) cell phones, and Kodak (and Polaroid) with its cameras. In most cases, something(s) caused the eventual fall of these successful giants – be it a loss of customer focus and missing a changing market, a failure to invest in new technologies, poor leadership decision making, or some other factor. But recovery and reinvention is possible (think Apple), so studying what once made you successful may help you return to those levels of prominence.
  • Finally, one way to systematically identify failure points, organizational weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement is to conduct an organizational assessment against a validated set of best practices that have been proven to drive and sustain high performance results. Namely, conduct an evaluation against the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence. Mike Sather, director of the VA Cooperative Studies Program out of New Mexico (a 2009 Baldrige recipient): …Baldrige and the assessment “actually enabled us to transform our organization from being good to a great organization, one that is very high-performing.”

The Performance Excellence Network (along with our partners in the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program and 33 other state quality programs) all offer evidenced-based assessments that provide a diagnostic for your enterprise. Yes, some of these options provide recognition (an award that can be celebrated with your employees and marketplace), but the primary reason organizations conduct these assessments is to identify strengths (on which to build or sustain) and improvement opportunities (on which to focus energy and resources to close the gap). Think of it as an annual physical for your business. There’s no better way to find potential process or system failure points than by engaging in a proven third party assessment — it’ll help you focus your efforts, align your processes and activities, optimize your resources, and improve your outcomes. (For more information on any of the three assessment options offered by the Performance Excellence Network, email me at

The common thread in all of these ideas is in trying to encourage or proactively find failure before it negatively impacts your enterprise. In some ways, these ideas all fall under the label “if it (doesn’t appear) broken, then break it” – or at least try to break it. Finding breaking points, encouraging failure and rapid learning, and stress testing your organization are all ways to challenge the status quo and proactively improve performance. As Haque puts it: they are ways to…challenge the “tired, toxic assumptions of business as usual.” They are also ways to inspire innovation, motivate your workforce, and delight your customers.

Of course, there are examples where failure isn’t desired – for example with nuclear power or airline safety (I don’t want my plane to be the one in a million that falls from the sky), financial services and banking (where another meltdown would not be desired), or major surgery (where even teaching hospitals rely heavily on experienced surgeons to conduct the most complicated procedures). But even in these examples, organizations – and sometimes entire industries – must learn and adapt from failure. The result is hopefully redundant systems (as in the case of airlines and power plants), safety nets (as in financial triggers in banking and securities), and expert consultations (as in healthcare procedures – heck, the entire field of medicine is based on decades of evidence-based protocols, which really are the result of failures, trial and error, and systematic learning).

We’ve been taught that failure is bad. But in reality, failure has real value in today’s organizations. So long as leaders encourage risk-taking, proactively seek to identify weaknesses and potential failure points, and commit to systematic learning from actual failures, organizations will adapt, sustain, and thrive.

Want to participate in a discussion on this topic?? Visit our LinkedIn group and/or our blog our to post a comment!

Yours in Performance Excellence,

Brian S. Lassiter
President, Performance Excellence Network (formerly Minnesota Council for Quality)

Forming Additional Roundtables this Fall — Peer Problem-Solving and Knowledge Sharing Groups

About 18 months ago, the Performance Excellence Network launched a valuable new service for leaders dedicated to improvement and performance excellence: peer Roundtables. These facilitated problem solving sessions provide a unique way for leaders and professionals to share insights, ideas, and best practices that help you address the actual challenges in your organization, your career, and potentially your personal life. Roundtables are private cohorts that become your own board of advisors, such that you can tap the collective expertise of your peers, accelerating your improvement efforts and realizing your professional/organizational goals.

Feedback from the first cohort has been positive, so we are launching more later this year! We’d like to invite you to a social hour to network with other leaders/professionals and to discuss the power of this concept.

September 12, 4:00-5:30 (WA Frosts, St. Paul)

Snacks will be served; cash bar.

The purpose of the Roundtable is to accelerate performance and improvement within participants’ organizations and to facilitate professional and personal growth in a safe, open, confidential environment. Specifically, the goals of these roundtables are to:

  • Share ideas, solutions across organizations
  • Solve real business problems in a collaborative format
  • Explore best practices from regional and national experts
  • Enhance leadership skills and build long-term relationships with like-minded individuals
  • Promote value beyond your investment of time/money: provide a measurable ROI

To attend the social networking session (or for more information on the concept), email The cost of the session is free. Space is limited, so let us know today!

Want to Learn More About the MN Council for Quality (now Performance Excellence Network)? View this New Video on our History, Impact

This video – reflecting on the MN Council for Quality’s (now Performance Excellence Network’s) history and impact to the state of Minnesota and the Upper Midwest – was shared as part of our 25th anniversary celebration and annual conference earlier this summer. View the 11-minute video to learn more about why the Council/Network was created by the Governor and Legislature, what effect it has had on organizations in the region, and value it might have for your organization. Visit here:

More Information, 2-Minute Video Behind the New “Performance Excellence Network” Name

Earlier this summer, the Minnesota Council for Quality became the Performance Excellence Network, celebrating our 25th anniversary, our broader role of facilitating performance excellence, and our expansion into the Dakotas. This video outlines the reason for the brand change and the rationale behind the new name and logo:

In addition, reflecting our transition to the new corporate name of “Performance Excellence Network” from Minnesota Council for Quality, we are changing a few technology addresses:

  • Our website is migrating to The splash page is now live, and the website itself will be redesigned and launched this fall.
  • Our emails are migrating to effective immediately.
  • Our LinkedIn group has changed from MN Council for Quality to Performance Excellence Network. If you’re in the group, please note the change. If you’d like to be invited to the group (now approaching 500 and growing!), just send us an invitation request.
  • The Twitter address will remain the same (@LassiterBrian) and will continue to feature quotes and tips on continuous improvement and performance excellence.

In addition, the monthly breakfast forums – Performance Improvement Network in the Twin Cities and Rochester Area Quality Council (RAQC) – will now become Performance Excellence Network discussions, reflecting a consistent brand throughout our network. The Duluth forum (Twin Ports Performance Excellence Network) will remain the same, as the brand preceded the corporate name change.

Watch for further brand changes this fall, as the Network redesigns our website and our marketing collateral material.

Managing Transformational Change: Fall Conference Nov 13-14 (Bloomington)

“The only constant is change.” You’ve probably heard that famous quote, most recently recited by Isaac Asimov in the 1980s. But – thanks to many factors, including the proliferation of technology and the expansion and access to information and knowledge – think of how change has only accelerated today. And now consider that the quote first comes from Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher in about 500 BC! I’m sure he simply could not comprehend the acceleration of social, technological, economic, and political change the world would experience some 2500 years later.

The Performance Excellence Network, in partnership with the Minnesota Healthcare Quality Professionals, is pleased to host a two-day conference on organizational change in Bloomington: pre-conference workshops featuring change experts on November 13 and a conference featuring best practices from 10+ high performing organizations November 14.

Hear valuable best practices, tips, and useful information for managing and implementing change in all of our organizations. Keynote speakers from high performing (and significantly changing) organizations: Dr. Robert Nesse, CEO of Mayo Clinic Health System, Eric Kaler, President of the University of Minnesota, and Andy Slavitt, EVP of United Health Group Optum. Additional insights provided by speakers from Hennepin County, Medica, G&K, MN Hospital Association, Allina, HCMC, and others to be added.

More information is at .

Hold the date, spread the word, and register early (Early Bird October 12)! Don’t miss this extraordinary learning and networking event!

Learn What Drives Organizational Excellence: 2012 Performance Excellence Award Evaluator Training October 16-18 (Twin Cities)

Are you interested in learning more about what makes organizations successful? Are you interested in helping other organizations — such as schools, hospitals, non-profits, and businesses — around the state improve their performance? Would you be interested in networking, learning, and sharing with others who feel the same way?

The Performance Excellence Network is seeking candidates for the 2012 Performance Excellence Award Board of Evaluators. The final of three training sessions in 2012 is October 16-18 in the Twin Cities.

There are many benefits to becoming an Evaluator, such as:

  • strengthening your understanding of what drives organizational excellence (the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence represent a validated set of best practices for organizational excellence, and can be useful for improving any organization’s performance). The 2012 Criteria has increased emphasis on 1) dealing with complexity in enterprise
  • leadership and management, and 2) customer engagement.
    networking with influential leaders and professionals (this year’s Board of Evaluators will include about 150 leaders from around the state – executives, middle managers, surgeons and physicians, superintendents and school teachers, non-profit and public sector leaders, quality professionals, and consultants);
  • seeing “best practices” deployed within another organization – knowledge that you could use back at your organization and/or in your career, helping organizations throughout the state – many of them schools, health care providers, non-profits, public sector agencies, and certainly businesses – improve their performance…simply get better at what they do; and
  • developing a set of other professional skills that may help you advance your career – skills such as consensus- and team-building, written communication, verbal communication and interpersonal skills, interviewing, analysis, and systems thinking.

Most Evaluators consider the experience to be among the most valuable of their careers. In fact, many have claimed that the experience and knowledge gained from this process rivals getting an MBA or advanced business degree.

Furthermore, Evaluators can earn college (undergrad and post-grad) credit for participating in training. For interested Evaluators, the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin-Stout both offer three (3) hours of credit in partnership with the Performance Excellence Network.

Applications for new Evaluators are due Sept 7 (but can be extended). Applications for returning Evaluators (which only require updates from your most recent application) are due Sept 21.

In addition to the full training October 16-18, new Evaluators are also required to attend a one-day orientation (you choose: either Sept 13, 18, or 19 (all in the Twin Cities).

We hope that you would consider (re)joining the Board of Evaluators and/or encourage others to do so. For more information on the process or benefits, please visit To obtain an application, visit or email

The Asking Formula: Ask for What You Want…And Get It! — Workshop 9/18 (St. Paul)

How many times during the day – on a project, in a meeting, conducting a presentation, looking for budget and organizational buy-in, at work or at home – is it vital for you or someone on your team to ask for something that you want in order to achieve important goals?

The cost of poor “asking” is measured in protracted project cycles, non-ending meetings, decisions not getting made, avoidable misunderstandings and issues that are re-hashed over and again. What a waste of time and money.

The Performance Excellence Network (formerly MN Council for Quality) is pleased to host, in partnership with the St. Paul Chamber, a special full day workshop: “The Asking Formula: Ask for What You Want…And Get It,” September 18 in St. Paul. The workshop is an encore full-day version of a sold out one-hour Network session hosted a year ago, facilitated by John Baker.

The Asking Formula is a one-of-a-kind program that teaches people how to more effectively ask for what they want through a simple and accessible six-step process that can be practiced, repeated and mastered. As a result of learning this methodology people ask with more confidence, more influence, and with more self-assurance that they will get the outcome they desire.

This is a highly interactive program (individual “asking situations” are examined during the session) that teaches effective asking: a skill that leads to confident communications, influence, and a heightened professional image.

Network & Chamber Members will leave the session able to immediately:

  • Implement The Asking Formula: an effective, straightforward and high-impact inductive pattern for structuring best-in-class persuasive communications.
  • Instill into themselves and their organization a culture of productive, clear and forthright communications that provoke action and gets things done.
  • Use best-practice techniques that enhance communication effectiveness, build strong and effective teams, and accomplish goals.
  • Avoid common communication pitfalls that sabotage success and image.

Other Details

The workshop is 8:30-4:30 on Tuesday, September 18 at the St. Paul Chamber in downtown St. Paul.

Cost is $200 for Network or Chamber members, $300 for members of our other partners, and $400 for non-members.

For more information, visit

To register, email

What Every Project Needs: Learn How to Make Every Project Successful — Minneapolis PEN 9/6

A broad spectrum of conditions must exist for any project to be successful. Most project managers are aware of a number of basic things a project must have, but are often not fully knowledgeable of everything needed to support a project functioning effectively.

The Performance Excellence Network (formerly the Minnesota Council for Quality) is pleased to welcome Mark Waldof, formerly of Lockheed Martin (retired) and now management consultant and instructor at the U of M, to our September 6 PEN: “What Every Project Needs: How Learn How to Make Any Project Successful.”

Mark will address the full gamut of project prerequisites necessary to support success and will provide examples of conditions that promote success for different project types. Mark will explore project risks when any of these factors are not fully in place, and will provide guidance on how to ensure your projects have what is needed to avoid these issues. Mark will also offer a checklist, which can be used to assess the status of necessary project inputs and conditions during different project phases.

In this session, you’ll learn:

  • What does every project need to be successful
  • What are examples of these needs for different project types
  • What happens if each prerequisite is not in place
  • What can the PM do to ensure that things necessary for project success are in place
  • What is a checklist to assess your project inputs and conditions and how would it be implemented

The discussion is from 8:00-9:00 a.m. on September 6 (networking and continental breakfast begin at 7:30 a.m.) at MCTC, 1501 Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis (near the Basilica).

Admission to PEN is FREE for Council members; $15 for partner organizations; $30 for the public.

Space is limited so register today by emailing

The Crux Move: How to Climb Above the Competition — St. Paul PEN 9/12

In rock climbing, “crux moves” are the most challenging moments of the entire route. They often require you to push yourself in a way no other part of the climb does.

Every profession has its own crux moves. Hire people who nail those moves, and you can laugh at your competition as they stagnate back on the ground. Falter on the crux moves, and the best outcome you can hope for is a bit of backtracking. The worst outcome? Well, let’s just say that the metaphorical freefall has a potentially gruesome ending.

The Performance Excellence Network (formerly the Minnesota Council for Quality) is pleased to welcome Stephanie Laitala, founder & CEO of Owl Bookkeeping & CFO Services,to our September 12 PEN: “The Crux Move.”

In this session, you’ll learn:

  • Why “crux moves” matter, and why you should ignore them at your company’s peril.
  • How to identify the “crux moves” in the jobs within your company.
  • How to revamp your hiring process to ensure that you’re surrounded by people who can nail the crux moves and get you to the top.

By the end of this discussion, you’ll know how to tell whether the people you’ve hired will help you reach the top — or leave you dangling from a fraying rope.

The discussion is from 8:00-9:00 a.m. on September 12; networking and continental breakfast begin at 7:30 a.m.) at Metro State University, 700 E 7th Street, downtown St. Paul.

We thank our sponsor, Metropolitan State University, for their support of this session, helping us to keep it complimentary for members.

Admission to PEN is FREE for Council members; $15 for partner organizations; $30 for the public.

Space is limited so register today by emailing

Smart Lean — SE Minnesota PEN (RAQC) 9/11

“Smart Lean” is innovation and continuous improvement enabled through process excellence and high performing organization culture. It facilitates the building of organizational capabilities. Come hear how IBM has been using it to transform its business.

The Performance Excellence Network, SE Minnesota Region (formerly the Rochester Area Quality Council/MN Council for Quality) is pleased to welcome Sathish Selvaraju, Lean Champion at IBM, to our September 11 program, “Smart Lean.”

Sathish will share how how IBM (and other organizations) are using Lean to identify what is of value to clients, how IBM involves its employees in continuous improvement and innovation efforts, and how Smart Lean has fundamentally changed IBM’s culture.

The session is September 11 from 7:30-9:00 AM RCTC.

Space is limited. Please register by contacting (or 507-213-8132) by September 6.

Process Improvement at Members Credit Union — Twin Ports PEN 9/19

In today’s environment, all organizations are compelled to improve their processes — to eliminate waste, to improve customer-related outcomes, to increase consistency. Improvement methods may have started with manufacturers, but more and more service businesses are compelled today to systematically improve — and are enjoying excellence results from doing so.

The Performance Excellence Network (formerly the Minnesota Council for Quality) is pleased to welcome Kathlynn McConnell, Employee Development Coordinator of Members Cooperative Credit Union (MCCU), to our September 19 TPPEN discussion: “Process Improvement at Members Cooperative Credit Union.”

Kathlynn will outline how the credit union is systematically improving its core processes, with the support of Lake Superior College. MCCU has more than 30,000 members and nearly $300 million in assets. The insights that Kathlynn shares will be helpful for all organizations — service businesses, nonprofits, and any type of organization.

The session is from 7:30-8:30 a.m. on Sept 19 (networking and continental breakfast begin at 7:00 a.m.) at Lake Superior College. Admission to TPPEN is FREE for Council members and guests ($20 for non-members).

Space is limited so register today by emailing
Attend the 2012 Baldrige Regional Conferences: 9/14 Des Moines, 9/28 Phoenix

Attend the 2012 Baldrige Regional Conferences for a one-day showcase of Baldrige best practices!

The events will feature at least 13 current and former Baldrige Award recipients, and the exciting conference programs include an in-depth plenary session featuring senior executives from the 2011 Baldrige Award recipients , 18 interactive management sessions to choose from, and a closing session featuring the President of a Baldrige Award winner.

Register today, and come learn, network, and engage in these dynamic events! Advance registration rates are still available.

The conferences will be held:

September 14

Des Moines, IA
Embassy Suites Hotel on the River

September 28

Scottsdale, AZ
DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Paradise Valley

An optional Pre-Conference Workshop for Baldrige beginners presented by a Baldrige recipient is available the day before each conference.

Sponsorship opportunities are available. Please visit our Web site for more information and become a Regional Conference sponsor!

Join the Baldrige Program as it celebrates our 25th Anniversary and build an even better future!

The conferences are co-sponsored by the Arizona Quality Alliance, the Iowa Quality Center, and the Alliance for Performance Excellence.

For questions about the conferences, contact us at 301-975-2036 or

The Rocket Model: Practical Advice for Building High Performing Teams — MNODN 9/6

The MNODN, an affiliate partner of the Performance Excellence Network, is pleased to announce its next program: “The Rocket Model: Practical Advice for Building High Performing.” The session will be Sept 6, 5:30-7:00 PM at University of St. Thomas (networking, breakfast 7:30-8:00), and will be facilitated by Gordon Curphy, PhD, President of Curphy Consulting Corporation.

There are many definitions of leadership; Curphy and Hogan (2012) define leadership as the ability to get results (the what of leadership) and the ability to build teams (the how of leadership). Groups and teams are the building blocks of modern organizations, yet there is no agreed upon framework for transforming collections of individuals into high performing teams. This interactive presentation will review some important differences between groups and teams, debunk several common myths about teams, and review a practical, research-based model for diagnosing and improving team functioning and performance. Participants will apply the Rocket Model framework to a case study as well as a team they have been on or have worked with in the past and discuss interventions to improve team functioning. The presentation will conclude with a review of some of the resources available to OD practitioners for diagnosing and improving team performance.

The session is $25 ($20 for Network members, as allied partners). More information at

The Dance of Facilitation — MN Facilitators Network 9/13

Please join the MN Facilitators Network, an alliance partner of the Council, for their next meeting Sept 13: “The Dance of Facilitation.” The session will be facilitated by a Leonard Lange and Bev Lutz.

The session will be from 5:30-8:30 PM at the St. Paul Area Council of Churches, 1671 Summit Ave West (2 blocks west of Snelling at Summit and Pierce), St. Paul, MN 55105. Free parking on street or in lot north of building off Pierce. $25 (Council members pay $15). Everyone interested in MFN and facilitation is welcome. For more information, visit

Lean Product Development — Getting Highly Manufacturable Products to Market — Enterprise Minnesota 9/6

Enterprise Minnesota, a partner of the MN Council for Quality, is pleased to announce their next upcoming event: “Lean Product Development – Getting Highly Manufacturable Products to Market” on Sept 6 at Connexus Energy in Ramsey.

For more information on these programs, visit

Project Manager and Business Analyst: Separation of Duties — PMI 9/11

The Minnesota Chapter of Project Management Institute (PMI), an alliance partner of the Performance Excellence Network, is pleased to announce its next breakfast session: “Project Manager & Business Analyst: Separation of Duties.” The session will be held Sept 11, and will be facilitated by Steve Beise, E2 Practice Director at Trissential.

This presentation explains the differences between the roles of project manager and business analyst, why we need to separate duties and the pitfalls of combining the roles. Steve will provide suggestions for how to sell the concept into your organizations, yet if forced to wear both hats, how to survive the “dual role.”

The session is Sept 11 from 7:00-8:50 AM at Crowne Plaza Mpls West, 3131 Campus Drive, Plymouth, MN 55441. Cost is $34 ($32.30 for Network members) before Aug 28 (PEN members should call 651.209.8991 for discount). For more information, visit

One Day Employee Engagement Workshop — PDP Solutions 9/5 (Edina)

PDP Solutions, a Network member, is proud to sponsor a special one-day workshop Sept 5 focused on increasing employee engagement. The event will feature Bob Kelleher, critically acclaimed book, Louder than Words – 10 Practical Employee Engagement Steps…that Drive Results and the Founder and CEO of The Employee Engagement Group. The workshop is 7:30AM-5:30PM in Edina.

Reasons to attend:

  • Learn from one of the nation’s leading engagement experts (recently featured on CNBC) – Robert Kelleher
  • Learn 10 Employee Engagement Steps That Will Transform Your Culture
  • Here over 30 practical Engagement Tools
  • Bring back the latest practical employee engagement processes and methodologies
  • See latest research to make the business case to invest in engaging employees
  • Understand your leadership baseline and how to become an engaged leader
  • Get PHR or SPHR credits!

For more information, visit

Network members are eligible for a special member discount. Call Kelly at 612-532-2172 to learn more.

U of M College of Continuing Education Announces Upcoming Courses; Network Members Get 10% Discount

The University of Minnesota’s College of Continuing Education, an alliance partner of the Performance Excellence Network, is pleased to announce their upcoming improvement and business courses. Network members receive a 10% discount on all CCE courses.

August 28, 2012 Staffing: Recruitment and Selection

August 28, 2012 Build Teamwork and Commitment

September 7, 2012 Project Risk Management

September 11, 2012 Process Mapping and Analysis

September 11, 2012 HR Test Prep

September 11, 2012 Legal Issues for Supervisors and Managers

September 13, 2012 Verbal and Nonverbal Communication Skills

September 13, 2012 Investigations and Documentation

September 14, 2012 Introduction to Business Analysis

September 19, 2012 Managing Business Requirements

September 20, 2012 In-Depth Coaching: Lead Individual Change Interventions

September 21, 2012 Project Leadership

September 21, 2012 Business Grammar Update

September 24, 2012 Online HR Test Prep

September 25, 2012 Project Management Foundations

September 25, 2012 Strategic HR Planning

September 26, 2012 Strategic Planning and Measurement

September 26, 2012 Business Process Modeling and Analysis

September 28, 2012 Negotiate for Agreement

October 1, 2012 Online Business Analysis

October 2, 2012 Project Initiation

October 2, 2012 Leading Change

October 3, 2012 Develop Leadership Skills

October 4, 2012 Data and Process Modeling

October 5, 2012 Technical Writing

October 9, 2012 Measuring and Improving Work Processes

October 9, 2012 Project Planning

October 10, 2012 Assess Training Needs

October 12, 2012 Achieve Results Through Personal Power and Leadership

October 12, 2012 Project Management and Chaos Theory

October 16, 2012 Performance Management Process

October 16, 2012 Principles of Supervision

October 17, 2012 Deliver High Impact Presentations

October 17, 2012 Introduction to Business Analysis

October 18, 2012 Successfully Lead Enterprise-Wide Change Management

October 19, 2012 Business Acumen

October 23, 2012 Project Execution

October 24, 2012 Create Dynamic Webinars

October 24, 2012 Employee and Labor Relations

October 24, 2012 Managing Business Requirements

October 26, 2012 Project Management and New Product Development

November 1, 2012 Exercise Organizational Influence

November 6, 2012 Project Control and Closure

November 7, 2012 Design and Develop Training Solutions

November 8, 2012 Business Process Modeling and Analysis

November 9, 2012 Writing Business Reports and Proposals

November 13, 2012 Employee Benefits Practices and Trends

November 13, 2012 Project Risk Management

November 15, 2012 Successfully Deal with Conflict at Work

November 15, 2012 Process Innovation

November 16, 2012 Use Case Fundamentals

November 27, 2012 Project Leadership

November 27, 2012 Coaching for Excellence

November 28, 2012 Design On-Boarding Programs

November 29, 2012 Measure Training Results

November 30, 2012 Business Analysis Planning

December 4, 2012 Negotiate for Agreement

December 6, 2012 Lead Successful Team Intervention Strategies

December 7, 2012 Working Assertively

December 11, 2012 The Human Resource Audit

December 11, 2012 Implementing Process Change

December 14, 2012 Writing for the Web

Most courses are 9AM-4PM on the St. Paul Campus.

For more information on any of these courses or a complete listing of coursework, visit the University of Minnesota’s College of Continuing Education’s website at or call 612-624-4000.