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GRQC Newsletter | January 2024

In this issue: A look back at GRQC's 2023, some insight on how we set our strategic direction for 2024 (and beyond), ways to get involved, and more!


*From the Day of Quality Celebration event

GRQC's Impact: 2023 highlights within the local community of excellence:

Over the past 12 months, GRQC continuously works to deliver on its' mission of promoting performance excellence across the Greater Rochester region. In some ways, our programs and services saw a return to normalcy. In other ways, it was adapting our offerings to meet the "new normal" (for example, our recurring Performance Excellence Forums have gone 100% virtual). However, no matter what "normal" is, GRQC remains focused on improving the organizations, and by extension our community overall.

Here are some of the highlights!

  • Day of Quality: In the spirit of United Way's "Day of Caring", annually GRQC works with local organizations to complete a project in one day. This year we worked on four incredible projects with Hope Lodge, Just Cause, Villa of Hope, and Willow Domestic Violence Center. Then in November we reconvened to celebrate the accomplishments! See the pictures from the Day of Quality Celebration Event here! 

  • Performance Excellence Awards and Showcase Event. This year's event was a historic evening as three platinum awards were announced. Read more here:

  • Performance Excellence Forums: Nearly every month, GRQC hosts a virtual Performance Excellence Forum with special guest speakers, sharing with the Rochester community what their organizations are doing in the field of PE. This year we saw record attendance in these forums. Along the way, we learned about

    • How Red Wings baseball approaches Performance Excellence

    • Getting "Buy In" to quality initiatives

    • How ESL approaches Performance Excellence

    • Excellence in Succession Planning

    • Hillside's approach to Lean Six Sigma

    • Sensory analysis in food and beverage

    • How AI could affect quality improvement

      If you missed any of these, be sure to check out the recaps here.

      And if you have a great idea for a future event, please send it to!


  • Strategic Partnership with ASQ-Rochester: A strategic focus of 2023 was to strengthen the 30 year old relationship with Rochester's other organization that focuses on quality improvement, ASQ-Rochester! We co-hosted several events and made several other moves to strengthen the collaboration between our orgs, for now and for the future!

  • New Value Proposition: After an extensive process (read more on that below), GRQC unveiled its new Value Proposition! This message clearly articulates our "Why" for being, and will be an important cornerstone in shaping our guidance, policies, and services for years to come! Read the new statement here:

Illuminated Abstract Shapes

Recapping our Artificial Intelligence Discussion (Performance Excellence Forum)

AI. It’s the topic on our minds, and fortunately for us, Dr. Sean Hansen is here to help us start to make sense of what it means for you.


In the presentation on "Managing in the Age of Smart Machines," Dr. Sean Hansen from RIT delves into the rapidly evolving landscape of generative artificial intelligence (AI) since the launch of ChatGPT in 2022. He highlights practical applications and explores AI's impact on diverse domains, including human resource management, marketing, healthcare delivery, and customer service. The talk emphasizes advancements in quality management through predictive analytics, process mining, and algorithmic decision support while addressing leaders' ethical considerations in adopting these tools within their organizations.


Some important highlights:


  • We’ve been here before! New technology or advancements always initially strike fear – like back in the 19th century when looms were smashed for suspicion of stealing jobs.

  • Natural language processing (NLP) is something computers haven’t been able to do before –it needs strict syntax and rules. Now, technology can understand language and how we use it (Siri, Alexa, etc.)

  • Healthcare and Customer Service are just two applications of AI. Think of emotion guiding the customer service representative or professionals working on a patient using passive note-taking and prediction.

  • There is a potential risk within our organizations (as with any new tool). However, we can do our part by creating safeguards requiring devices that detect patterns while utilizing human oversight.

  • Ask for evidence! The element of critical thinking is going to be vital to using these tools effectively and ethically.


You can watch the entire presentation HERE!


The Birth of a Value Proposition

The need to create a new value proposition statement originated in a GRQC Board Retreat in August, 2022.  The Board recognized that the world was changing dramatically with organizations having to deal with staff shortages, supply chain disruptions, workplace alternatives, health concerns, and more.  Anchoring our identity to a value proposition driven by the “voice of the community” would ensure we stayed relevant and, in fact, vital to the community as we strive to become a nationally recognized showplace for performance excellence.

Thus, GRQC embarked on a one-year journey to update its value proposition.  A sub-team was formed of GRQC Board members and a four-step approach was followed based on listening to the needs of the community:

  1. Live interviews were held with leaders from 21 organization across five sectors.

  2. Informed by the results and insights from the interviews, a survey was created and completed by 29 individuals who have been actively engaged with GRQC. Key questions were:

    • How do you perceive GRQC? How would you describe GRQC?

    • What are your organization’s needs, problems, challenges in quality/performance excellence?

    • What do you value about GRQC’s programs/services? What else would you like us to offer?

  3. Themes were gleaned from the interview and survey responses. Key findings were:

    • GRQC generates very positive feelings amongst those who know us (but there is an opportunity to expand our visibility in the community)

    • There is a desire for GRQC to support performance excellence principles and tools beyond Lean Six Sigma

    • Challenges that were most mentioned were “culture and limited resources”

    • Services that were most valued were “training and learning from other organizations”

After all that research, here was the result:

"GRQC helps area organizations achieve sustained performance excellence by helping their leaders and teams learn and adopt best practices in improvement processes and organizational culture. We offer a broad range of easy-to-access services to meet the needs of all organizations, regardless of size, sector, or experience with continuous improvement."

This is GRQC’s new value proposition!  It brings clarity to what we do, whom we do it for, and how we do it.  It serves two purposes: (1) It provides a lens through which we align our products, services, and messaging; and (2) it succinctly communicates our value to current and prospective GRQC members.

The new value proposition was drafted and approved by the full GRQC Board in August, 2023, based on the voice of the community.  It was developed in two formats: (1) The two-sentence statement at the top of this article; and (2) a one-page description that fills it out in more detail.  Click here to see both!


Recapping this year's Health Care Forum

Healthcare Leaders Share Experiences in Building Organizational Culture Highlights:


Our highly anticipated Annual Healthcare Forum brought together visionary leaders from Rochester’s preeminent healthcare providers to offer an insider’s perspective on how they successfully drove and managed culture change within their respective organizations. Discover the innovative approaches, witness the tangible impact of successful initiatives, and immerse yourself in the collective vision of the future for healthcare organizational culture.

Some important highlights:


  • Level the playing field and put everybody on the same side of the table – this sets the “problem” as the problem and not each other

  • Do not lose the leadership quality of servitude

  • Culture change takes months! This is not an overnight switch. Be patient, and stick with it. The pace is correct when you can bring the majority of your team with you.

  • The only constant is change. Just because you fix something at one point doesn’t mean it stays fixed. Your culture may be challenged continuously with new people, regulations, pressures, and patients. Do not be afraid to take one step back to go two steps forward.


Listen to the entire discussion HERE!


Finding Your Ikigai: Aligning Your Career with Your Purpose - Dec 2023

By Brian S. Lassiter: President of the Performance Excellence Network (PEN).
Republished with permission, from: Link

December 18, 2023

We’re all dealing with a lot: a continuing global pandemic; significant changes in work environments and other organizational challenges (staffing shortages, supply chain issues, workplace toxicity); and the stresses of constant work/life pressures.  The events of the last three or four years have compelled many to reexamine how their professional lives align or harmonize with their purpose and passions.  And — as the holidays approach and the year winds down — what a great time to reflect on work/life balance and the true purpose in each of our individual lives.

Last week, I delivered a talk for the GovIT Symposium in the Pecha Kucha format (Pecha Kucha is a Japanese storytelling format, in which speakers have 20 seconds each on 20 slides that automatically advance; it was exhilarating! – more info here).  My talk was on the concept of “ikigai,” a Japanese model I discovered a few years ago in an article published by the World Economic Forum.  Literally translated, ikigai means “reason for being”: “ikiru” means “to live,” and “kai” means “the realization of what one hopes for.”  Paraphrased, it’s the reason you get up every morning!  This concept can integrate – indeed maximize – a person’s professional, personal, spiritual, and emotional life.

As leaders, as professionals, and as human beings we’re all striving for balance – we’re all striving for purpose, happiness, and fulfilment.  You could argue we’re all on a life-long journey toward self-actualization.  Ikigai could help us with reflection and exploration, as we all strive to find meaning in who we are and what we do.

Ikigai is a concept – a framework, a model – that has four key questions that overlap into a Venn diagram:

  • What do you love?

  • At what are you good?

  • What does the world need from you? and

  • For what can you get paid?



Let’s explore each.




Member Spotlight: Gorbel ®

US Headquarters: Fishers, NY.

Gorbel is a leading provider of overhead and warehouse solutions, designed to enhance productivity, profitability, and safety of its customers.

Founded in 1977, Gorbel® started as a small company in Western NY and has now expanded to over 800 employees, with manufacturing locations in NY, AL, AZ, and Canada. 

Gorbel is also a local leader in quality and performance excellence. They are active members of GRQC, and also a member of the ASQ Rochester section... truly a critical partner in the local Performane Excellence community.

They had the distinguished honor of winning a rare Platinum award in the Team Excellence category, based on their Destuff-it ™  implementation project.

For more information on Gorbel, please visit:

Gorbel Member Spotlight

Join our Performance Excellence Community

Are you passionate about performance excellence? GRQC is for you! 

Membership in GRQC includes many benefits, and is open to any organization or individual regardless of:

  • Sector

  • Experience with Performance Excellence / Quality Improvement

  • Size of your organization

Many members say that their favorite part of GRQC is being connected to the local performance excellence community, and creating relationships with the right people to help their organizations to achieve greatness.

Volunteering Group

Volunteer with GRQC!

Would you like to partner with GRQC to advance performance excellence in the community without making a long-term commitment?  We have just the thing for you - volunteering to help one of our committees!  GRQC has eight committees who help us achieve our strategic objectives.  These committees are staffed by GRQC Board members and volunteers.  We invite you to visit our new Volunteer Opportunity website page and reach out to any of the committee contacts to learn more or to express your interest.  Volunteer opportunities are open to GRQC members and non-members alike.  We'd love to have you join us!

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