Forrest Breyfogle is recognized world-wide as a thought leader in the realm of quality, Business Process Management and Lean Six Sigma. He is the author of Implementing Six Sigma and over a dozen other books. He is a keeper of metrics and measurements and is a professional, business problem solver.
When it comes to his personal life, Forrest is no different. Forrest has an internal acceptable quality level by which he measures what meets his standards. His diet, his physique, and his home are all measured against his internal standards for quality. And, of course, his dating relationship is held to a standard.
In spite of Forrest’s standard of quality, when Forrest determined he had met the right woman for marriage, his Valentine’s Day proposal went all wrong!
How Forrest Met Becki
Forrest, a native of St. Louis, Missouri and Rebecca (Becki), a native of Denver, Colorado, met in Austin, TX. Both joined the Austin Snow Skiers’ Club to fill the void of their love for the winter sports they knew so well. In place of snowy slopes, the skiers’ group would meet monthly for local water sports, parties, and meet- ups. From this club, Forrest knew Becki, but Becki did not know Forrest!
In the spring of 1981, the two, both IBM employees, attended an IBM celebration at the Coors Party Room in Austin. Forrest had his eyes on Becki and decided he’d find her number in the IBM staff directory and give her a call.
Forrest calls Becki
Becki was quite surprised to receive a call from the IBM employee. Although she had a standard of not dating IBMers, she consented to one date.
Forrest and Becki Date
With one strike against him, Forrest picked up Becki for their first date in his 1967 Chevy Malibu. Strike two! The old car had issues like holes in the floor carpet. Forrest had failed Becki’s two main standards for dating! She ground her teeth, and managed to make it through the first date. The two went country-
Forrest’s Functional Requirements
While Becki had her set of standards, Forrest also had a standard that could only be measured by going through a process. Forrest had not yet put Becki to his “Functional Specs for Women” test. “You can be dating and things can be peaches and cream, but it’s important to test women’s personalities under pressure,” informs Forrest. He wanted to “put a load on” his new date to see how she would respond under pressure. Therefore, like women before her, Becki was challenged to test under Forrest’s functional requirements.
After the first date, Forrest called Becki again and invited her to go canoeing, knowing he would take her to fierce water rapids. Although uninterested in Forrest’s career and car, Becki, an outdoors adventure lover, could not turn down the chance for a canoe trip!
While on the Waco rapids, the canoe spun around, crashed into waves, and nearly tipped them into the waters. Onlookers stood on the bay shouting and clapping at the couple while littering the water with empty beer cans.
How did Becki perform under this intense stress and pressure? She laughed! Within a year, Forrest proposed.
Mr. Business Process turns Mr. Romantic
In 1982, a man of quality would be amiss if he did not have flowers for his lady. Therefore, Forrest had planned the perfect proposal for months: he would send Becki Valentine’s Day flowers! Forrest ordered the Valentine’s Day flowers with the special, monumental message, “Will you marry me?”
While working at her desk at IBM, Becki received the flowers with the proposal.
The flowers and proposal card read, “Will you marry me? – Foster”
“I thought Forrest would have sent me flowers, but they got the cards switched,” confessed Becki. She walked to her car, flowers in hand, with no answer for her eager suitor.
Let’s just say that the proposal process did not have the successful 3 R’s that Forrest instructs in order to gain success. It was not the right thing, the right way, or from the right person!
Forrest and Becki Get Married
After chasing her to the car and begging for an answer to the proposal, Forrest convinced Becki that the flowers and request for marriage were from him. She said, “Yes!”
Three months later, on May 15, 1982, the happy couple was married. They had a very small, family wedding where the two sides met for the first time.
Newlyweds’ Boating Adventures Continue
The day after the wedding, while taking the families for a leisure celebration in a catamaran, the boat began to sink! Good thing Becki had already passed the functional spec test and proved to be amused by disastrous boating situations! With in-laws on deck, the group had to abandon ship!
The Excitement Never Ends
“I think the most exciting wedding anniversary was when Forrest broke his leg in Bolivia,” reveals Becki. La Paz, Bolivia has one of the highest elevations in the world. There on a business consulting trip in 2010, Forrest lost his balance and fell on a step. His femur was 85% broken and he was in “excruciating pain”. He required operation at the trauma center from the Bolivia Soccer team’s surgeon. And Becki was summoned from United States to Bolivia on a spur-of-the-moment trip. It was this spontaneity that Becki enjoyed versus the carefully planned agenda Forrest usually undertakes.
Opposites Yield Quality
“I learned that Forrest is a planner and I have to give a heads up – let him know what and why,” tells Becki. “Forrest is also an introvert.”
“We did a Myers Briggs and we are completely opposite,” says Forrest.
So, how does the couple enjoy a high quality of life? For Becki, quality is the time they spend together. Forrest appreciates his bride’s non-stressful attitude. “Becki is very good at giving compliments. I think that’s really important.” Forrest also mentions, “Becki has always been very supportive of me in the book writing process.” At the times when Becki wants to enjoy an outing, the more reserved Forrest obliges and admits to typically having a good time. Another way the couple experiences a life of quality within their home is by helping each other using a team approach for everything.
Team Approach Beyond the Home
In 2007, Forrest’s business that he founded in 1992, Smarter Solutions, Inc., needed immediate secretarial coverage. Forrest recruited his teammate, Becki. Becki obliged hesitantly. Because she had previously witnessed the destruction of a husband and wife working in the same company, Becki agreed, with Forrest, that they would never work together again after their time at IBM. But, it became necessary.
Years later Becki works as the Client Relations Manager for Smarter Solutions, Inc. The Breyfogles note that the pros of working together are substantial. Before, Becki could only listen to the issues facing her entrepreneurial husband. Now as an employee and coworker, “she could see the challenges I was facing,” a relieved Forrest shares.
The Breyfogles Live Happily Ever After
A young Forrest learned very early that women, like processes, have to be analyzed and held to a standard. An adventurous Becki was the perfect companion for the lad. After decades of marriage, the two say that their opposite personalities, that work well together, keep them together!
This Valentine’s Day, Becki is not looking for the flowers or the ring, and the couple will avoid, we hope,
To see more on Forrest and his bride, Becki, check out this YouTube video covering Forrest’s life that was created for the Miner Distinguished Alumni Award Presentation.