Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Raising the Voice of Quality

In his first post for response by the ASQ Influential Voices team, Paul Borawski, ASQ Executive Director / Chief Strategic Officer asks, "So, what would it take to get the world’s attention to focus on that truth?" (That truth being, Quality really does offer answers to what organizations most need.) He then goes on to inquire, "What would it take to have the world realize the full potential of quality?"

I plan to address each of Paul's questions here...

What would it take to get the world's attention to focus on what quality really does offer to the organization. This is a most difficult question to answer. Difficult because of the hundreds of different cultural perspectives that exist world wide. Differences in political, social and religious beliefs continue to override our big Quality question. I believe that a world at peace will then have an oppotunity to address these greater / larger questions. In a world that is not harmonious the emphasis is placed on safety before all else. In other words, the world as a whole is at the lowest needs level in Maslow's Hierachy of Needs, while this question sits at the self-actualization level or Maslow's highest level of needs.

Yet, if we just look at this from the organizational perspective, and this applies to organizations anywhere in the world, then we can address the question. Quality must start with our senior leadership. If the organization leader does not live and breath the concepts and practices of Quality before all else, then even the smallest of initiatives is designed for failure. The methodology an organization applies might not be consistent from company to company, country to country, culture to culture, after all, one size does not fit all, yet, a focus on Quality as an organizational lead initiative is necessary and that lead must come from the senior most members of the organization.

Next, Paul asks, "What would it take to have the world realize the full potential of quality?" Again, we must approach this question carefully. As previously stated, one size does not fit all. We need to clearley define the different models that can work for different types of organizations and provide organizational leadership with the means to choose the best fit for themselves. For some an ISO 9001 approach may be best, while for others a Lean and / or Six Sigma approach might fit. The Baldrige model is a another good functional model for organizational excellence. A meld of several models could be another option. So long as the Organizational Leaders start the journey by consciously developing a Quality Culture for the organization.

For the world to realize the full potential of quality would require an outstanding advertising campaign addressing the power and benefits of a Quality Culture for all organizations. Sell it like a great product. Benchmark the best advertising campaigns and purse this greater good from a marketing / advertising perspective.

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