An opportunity to vent regarding ASQ

Well, thank you American Society for Quality (ASQ) for providing me with a topic for today’s blog.

My faith in ASQ has been restored.  All I can say is that when something doesn’t seem right, challenge it.  That’s really what ASQ is all about anyway. (see recent blog)

I have been an extremely active member of the local ASQ Section in San Antonio for many years, not only attending most meetings, but speaking at several of them.  I’ve been on their standing list for the last three years to call upon at the last minute if they need a speaker and I speak at least twice a year.  I’ve been a member of ASQ since early 2000, soon after returning to the states (retired from the military in 2008).  I even attended the world conference last year and had planned on attending this year–I offered to present at the world conference this year, but ASQ wasn’t interested in my topic.

I’ve been going to school for a long time–11 colleges to date–due to military moves and earning four degrees.  I’ve been a management consultant for the last 20 years (internal and external) and my recent Master’s Degree is in Quality Systems Management.  I also have earned Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, Black Belt, and Master Black Belt certifications and I have two Change Management certifications–Prosci and a Master’s-level certification from Georgetown University (Change Management Advanced Practitioner).  Additionally, I’m trained to be a PMP, but never bothered with the certification.

There are three main categories of membership in ASQ, Full, Associate, and Student.  Full Membership in ASQ provides little difference from Student, except price–Associate cost less then Full, but more than Student, but has very little benefits.  Because I’ve been a student the entire time I’ve been an ASQ member, I always selected the Student membership category.  It has pretty much the same membership benefits, but is much cheaper.  This year’s renewal would have gone from student to full since, for the first time in many years, I’m not a student, but I am considering starting my PhD in Organizational Psychology this year, which would have made me a “student” again.  However, I didn’t “chose” the category because of the price, but simply because I’ve been a student for my entire membership and plan to continue with school in the future.  After all, it is a category of membership, right?

This year, instead of staying with the Student category, I thought I would apply for a special category–the Senior membership category.  I had thought that with my experience, education, and involvement with ASQ, that would be the right decision at this point in my life.  I had actually hoped to someday be considered a Fellow with ASQ, but you have to be a Senior member for three years minimum first.  These advanced memberships are for loyal and longtime members that serve as the backbone of the Society.  Regarding Senior membership, ASQ says, “Leadership and professional achievement do not go unnoticed by ASQ.”

Well, I submitted for the Senior membership category this week and I received this email from ASQ yesterday:

“Thank you for applying for Senior membership.  We are unable to process your application at this time due to one requirement has not been met.  You must be an ASQ Full member in good standing for at least one year prior to the date of application for advancement.  Your currently not an individual full member but are a student member.”

I seriously would recommend ASQ consider not using membership levels as their criteria.  Senior Member in my mind denotes someone with a high level of experience, education, and involvement with ASQ–punishing someone because they’ve been a student for several years (it’s a category of membership after all) really doesn’t make sense.  However, if a ‘full membership level for one year’ is their key “requirement” to be considered a Senior Member over experience, education, and involvement, then I’ll guess I’ll have to consider whether I’m with the right organization or not.  It would seem that money is more important to them than accomplishments.  Maybe I’ll simply let my membership drop since clearly the Senior membership in ASQ means very little in the grand scheme of things–people will look at it and simply say, “Oh, he just paid more money.”  Now I wonder if being an ASQ Fellow means anything either.

Needless, I’m very disappointed with ASQ–they seem to have lost focus on what is important as a professional organization.  What are your thoughts?


About johnrknotts
John Knotts is a results-oriented business professional leader, manager, and supervisor with experience from the military, small business, several nonprofits, and is currently a management consultant. Working out of the San Antonio, Texas, he retired from the Air Force in July 2008 and worked with Booz Allen Hamilton from the end of October 2008 to December 2011. Now he is a Strategic Business Adviser with USAA. John leads large and small strategic transformations and has extensive experience in the areas of change management, strategic planning, process improvement, strategic communication and marketing, strategic human capital and resource management, education and training, facilitation, organizational design and development, modeling and simulation, financial and budget analysis, activity based costing and management, quality management, competitive sourcing and privatization, leadership development, and business development.

One Response to An opportunity to vent regarding ASQ

  1. Pingback: American Society for Quality has an exception policy! | John R. Knotts

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