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Towards a global cyber institute – Part 2.
By Allan J. Sayle, President Allan Sayle Associates

A possible structure and membership requirements for the Institute

The basis for membership must be visible and available to all. Suppose the following:

An institute where knowledge and contribution are what counts most and first.
Membership is based not primarily on academic achievement but on noted and publicly available contributions to the field.
The highest grade of membership requires the person to post a serious article about business improvement efforts and results – every year – to be made available in the cyber Institute’s Library or Reading Room to other members.

Very egalitarian, one hopes.

Though academic achievement is nice and indeed might be instrumental in securing a job offer, employers and clients (of consultants) look for achievement and track record. The latter tend to dominate interviews and are certainly highly influential. Companies want to know what has the person achieved, what are they likely to contribute. (I will not stray into the minefield of psychometric measurements and so forth.) Once a person starts a job, academic qualifications tend to mean little: results matter more. Moreover, in an increasingly globalized world, knowledge of what is happening in one’s chosen profession is important.

Hence, one cannot dismiss the potential effect of a professional qualification conferred by a global institute for a contribution acknowledged by an international panel of eminent people within that institute.

An eminent panel

Eminent professionals should guide a professional body. For certificates of accomplishment or accolades to be issued, there should be a number of people chosen for their contribution to the profession who are the final arbiters on candidates’ achievements.

In the case of articles submitted by someone wishing to be known as a Global Contributor, each submission should undergo assessment by an international panel of noted experts/ gurus or contributors to the cyber institute before acceptance for posting. So that the highest grades are regarded as prestigious and deserved, it is important that the particular panel and “Board” do not dilute the required standards or compromise in their application.

Side Bar: The principle of non-dilution is important because people who reach a particular grade must know that later applicants will not be judged by lesser standards so that the integrity of their grade is maintained. If anything, and in the interests of continuous improvement, the panel should constantly raise the standards by which submitted articles are judged. It should not be possible for applicants to plead they are any special case so as to influence the panel for self-seeking purposes that damage the standing of the particular grade of membership.

Though this matter requires further discussion and agreement, it would seem there might be the following “grades” of membership:

• Global Contributors
• Participating Members
• Corporate Members
• Visitors

The actual titles and grades would be determined by ballot of members at the outset. For present purposes, those titles will be used. And now, some ideas concerning how the various “grades” of membership might work:

Global Contributors

The new Institute should encourage and recognize contributions to the knowledge bank of the Institute. The Institute’s Rules should require that each person wishing to be known as a Global Contributor must submit at least one article for the Institute every year. That article must be of at least, say, 3000 words in length. A panel of eminent and prominent members would review that article, for content and suitability. An article accepted for posting in the Institute’s Library or Reading Room would then earn the grade of Global Contributor for its author. The article’s topic would be at the discretion of the applicant but must relevant to the profession. As examples, the writer may describe certain aspects of her employer’s quality program or continuous improvement achievements, or a practical paper on a matter such as product recall or supply chain assessment.

Each year’s article must not repeat a topic previously covered by the applicant in earlier years.

Conventional posts on the Institute’s site, however frequent or lengthy would not be regarded as articles unless the post is the text of an article already accepted by the panel and posted in the Reading Room or Library.

For the individual, this would entitle them to be regarded as a Global Contributor and to show to his or her employer evidence of accomplishment as judged by a panel of international peers: not as a person who merely “writes a check” for the letters after the surname. The articles would be posted in the Institute’s Library or Reading Room.

The path to Global Contributor is then open to anyone who has something relevant to offer, regardless of academic achievement. It would value knowledge, experience and contribution above all else.

So, those who do practice their profession, who have actually done something at their place of work for the benefit of their employer or client could be globally contributing members. Sheltering behind academic qualifications would not be enough. Those not holding academic degrees could earn the same professional status by virtue of their workplace efforts. And the common remarks that “all you have to do is pay the fees”, would not apply to that particular grade of membership. Moreover, the route to this higher grade would depend not on the period of membership or on a HQ shoving through, say, a fellowship for the ulterior motives of politics or convenience or election of “safe pairs of hands” to controlling boards and committees: it would be earned and retained only through acknowledged contribution.

Whether the employer is large or small and regardless of the country in which it is situated and operates, the contributor would receive equal treatment and international recognition.

Crucially, as the Institute expands and grows in reputation, the title “Global Contributor” should have some special cache, especially as viewed by employers and clients.

Other articles, free speech and avoiding elitism.

While those types of articles are for acceding to the grade of “Global Contributor”, the Institute’s site would still accept other articles that would not be reviewed by the panel. People would be free to post articles without reference to the panel. In that way, the Institute would ensure free speech and exchange between members, much as happens in the Elsmar Cove, Saferpak and similar sites today. This should prevent any suspicion of elitism and also ensure the Institute operates differently from the current BAMs which employ reviewers and editors who can filter or edit views, as described in Part 1 of this article. All such articles would be subject to the “Governing Rules”, describer hereunder.

Participating Members

These are dues paying members who have not contributed to the Institute’s Library/ Reading Room or who have failed to maintain their status as Global Contributor. They could participate in the various discussion forums, posting their views and questions. They could also apply for the grade of Global Contributor by submitting an article, as described above.

Corporate Members

Companies may wish to identify themselves with the new Institute, especially because it is global in its membership and constituency, non-discriminatory. In return for support the firm could have access to the site, the Reading Room etc., nominating an individual or individuals as its representatives. The Institute might also provide a free hyperlink to the corporate web site and allow it to post job vacancies or requests for quote.

Corporate members would be required also to post at least one article per year dealing with its quality efforts and achievements, rather as those who win the Baldrige Award are required to make available material about how they achieved their results.

To become Corporate Members, the organization would be required to submit such an article at the outset, to preclude the possibility it merely pays a year’s dues and offers nothing to the Institute’s bank of knowledge.

Recruiters would be regarded as Corporate Members and required to pay dues in order to post positions available and search for applicants’ details in the Membership Database (see below). This would present no hardship for recruiters, as employers reimburse their fees, if their proposed candidate accepts a position with the employer.


These are people who pay no dues but are entitled to take part in the chat rooms and threads, rather as at present on the Cove and Saferpak but cannot have access to the Library or Reading Room, member forums and inner threads reserved exclusively for the paying members.

Membership lapse or downgrade

If a Global Contributor does not post an accepted article within a 12-month period of his/her last post, membership would be downgraded to “Participating Member”, provided the dues are paid up to date.

If a Participating Member does not pay annual dues, membership will be reduced to “Visitor” and access to the Members section and associated privileges denied.

Similarly, if a Corporate Member does not pay its annual dues, membership will cease.

Since the Institute is database driven it should be easy to send an email or PM reminder about paying dues and to automatically downgrade or lapse membership, according to the above circumstances.

Membership database

For the purposes of assisting employers or recruiters know of a member’s status, the Institute could have a searchable section that would cite the member’s name, contact details, history of grade of membership, contributions made, other publications and papers of note, certifications, date when the member joined the Institute and a brief bio limited to, say, 200 words. Contact details would be viewable subject to the member’s permission.

Governing Board or International Panel

It should be for the members to decide whether or not they feel such a “Board” is desirable. For the Institute to be respected by the world of business, though, it would seem advisable for the members to require one and to set up one. If so, a framework for the Board might be as follows:

The title (Board, panel, whatever) is, of course, open to debate and resolution (ballot) by the members at the outset. By whatever title it is known, it should be comprised of people selected for professional standing by contribution to the quality profession’s BOK, judgment, geographic location and sector of activity.
These people should be practicing quality professionals.
The prime role of the “Board” would be to ensure the Institute sets high standards for certificates, curricula for certifications and courses. Those standards would be set to “stretch” applicants giving them a true sense of achievement if successful and to ensure the standards set are world class.
The emphasis should be on informality.
No member should receive any payment for being a member of this body.
The “Board” should be empowered to decide on issues of membership, discipline and conduct by members of all grades. Their ruling concerning membership lapse and removal would be final.
The “Board” would elect its own chairperson for a period of, say, two years.
It would not be empowered to increase its number without a ballot of the Institute members.
Institute members would be able to nominate and vote for “Board” members. Candidates must meet preset criteria concerning their known contribution to the profession’s BOK and experience as a practicing professional.
“Board” membership would last for, say, 2-5 years and existing members would be eligible for re-election.

Though at the outset the “Board” members might not be Global Contributors, as described below, each would be required to submit an article for the Institute within the first 6 months of their appointment such that they would be regarded as Global Contributors. Failure to do so would mean that person relinquishes his or her position as a “Board” member. Subsequently each Board member would be required to be Global Contributors and meet the requirements for maintaining that status.

Hopefully, the “Board” would be drawn from all continents and as many nations as practical to be representative of the global market in which members work. It is anticipated the maximum size would be, say, 12. A suggested geographic representation might be:

• North America or NAFTA
• Europe or EU
• Middle East
• Indian sub-continent
• Asia
• Australasia
• Central and South America
• Africa

“Board” advisers

Considering the nature of the quality profession and its attendant industries, the “Board” may decide to appoint a small number of ad-hoc advisers when dealing with prominent areas of interest for members. These people may well also be Contributing Members who also moderate particular Forums. Preferably, they would be persons “of international standing”. A list of such advisers might include:

• Registration (i.e. a registrar.)
• ISO 9000 (perhaps a member of the TC 176 committee).
• ISO 14000. (ditto.)
• Special areas, such as software, auditing, six sigma.
• Business or management associations.

The panel of experts that review applicants articles (see Global Contributor) might be separate from the “Board”, but membership of that panel approved by the “Board”.



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