Quality Progress - October 2014 - 44

CAREER CORNER BY HENRY J. LINDBORG PR Savvy What quality professionals can learn from the PR playbook THIS SUMMER, while listening to General as a thought leader in issue manage- beyond messaging and persuasion to Motors Co. CEO Mary Barra's congressio- ment. How did you become interested understand that an issue may indicate the nal testimony about her determination to in the field? need to change its actions or policies. That fix the automaker, I thought of the teach- Teresa Yancey Crane (TYC): In 1977, makes issue management relevant in opera- ings of W. Edwards Deming, Joseph Juran Howard Chase was hired as consultant at tions and supply chain management. The and Philip Crosby. the PR agency where I worked. Rather than current evolution in the field is businesses' the traditional PR goal of greater visibility, realization that issues represent an unmet lives, corporate reputation and profit for a new client's intent was to win a series of demand and the opportunity to supply new an organization emerging from bankruptcy. state referenda, all focused on the issue of products or services. I expect to see more This crisis required immediate action and how to properly dispose of used bever- issue management engagement in func- long-term change. Of course, it also called age containers. Chase developed the early tional areas such as R&D, and mergers and for effective public relations (PR), a field concepts of a field he called issue manage- acquisitions. that has developed approaches to manage ment, having just coined that term the year or avoid such crises. prior. Although Chase viewed the issue A simple ignition switch defect had cost The PR discipline is worth the atten- management process from 30,000 feet and HL: What is an issue? Is it different from a problem? TYC: An issue has the specific driver of tion of quality professionals, whose jobs the agency had political campaign experi- stakeholder expectation-without stake- routinely require them to identify and ence, what captured my interest-and has holder support, you will fail. address salient problems. PR, in fact, is held it many years later-is the challenge of HL: I hear about issues in different more than pitching ideas to news report- translating vision and intent into a step-by- departments and functions at every lev- ers. One branch of PR focuses on crisis step model and a collection of methods that el. How should an organization discover management. I interviewed Teresa Yancey can be applied to successfully navigate any and prioritize issues known to internal Crane, founder and president of the Issue given issue. stakeholders? Are there tools and tech- Management Council, a professional membership organization for issue management professionals based in Leesburg, VA, about how the profession relates to quality. Henry Lindborg (HL): You're known HL: How has the field developed since you entered it? TYC: Although the origins of issue niques for issue management that can be used across an organization? TYC: Technical issues that have one-off management were in PR and government solutions, the effects of which are con- affairs, at some point, organizations moved tained within one area, can and should be resolved within the affected area. Issues with wider impacts, whose solutions merit a multi-functional strategy, must be elevated to corporate issue status-and there are established methods to define those issue categories. Tools that may be accessed across an organization include an issue log, issue briefs or an alert system to fast-track a critical corporate issue. Of course, the issue action plan is also likely to involve several functions and geographies. HL: Is there a process model you'd recommend? TYC: The model can be streamlined or complex, as long as it suits the organiza- 44 QP * www.qualityprogress.com http://www.qualityprogress.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Quality Progress - October 2014

Up Front
LogOn
Expert Answers
Perspectives
Keeping Current
Mr. Pareto Head
Step It Up
Strength in Numbers
Take Care of Your ‘Ugly Baby‘
Getting It Right the First Time
Career Corner
Statistics Roundtable
Quality in the First Person
Standards Outlook
ASQ's Quality Resource Guide
QP Toolbox
QP Reviews
Back to Basics

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