Wednesday, August 15, 2012

ASQ Influential Voices: What does a quality culture feel like?

In his blog this month, ASQ CEO, Paul Borawski asks the question, "What does a quality culture feel like"?  Some emotions that instantly come to mind include: pride, purpose, commitment, enthusiasm, gratitude, camaraderie, passion, fulfillment, freedom, and fun.  But where do powerful feelings like these derive, and how can an organization foster them? 

Merriam-Webster defines a feeling as, “an emotional state or reaction”.  Every time something happens in life, we ask ourselves, “What does this mean”?  The response we get back from our brain determines how we feel.  Great companies continuously evaluate things like team interactions, management decisions, product results, new procedures & policies, customer feedback, process performance, and employee behavior.  Our cumulative reaction to these events ultimately determines how our culture “feels”.

Although we can’t control how people actually feel, we can influence the various events that get evaluated each and every day.  If our goal is to create and sustain a quality culture, we should ask ourselves:

Are we producing products that meet requirements and create value?
Do we treat employees with respect and dignity?
Does our product make a difference in peoples’ lives?
Do we reward team results over individual achievement?
Are we fair in our dealings with customers, vendors, and partners?
Do we promote diversity in our thinking, backgrounds, and experiences?
Do we continuously solicit ideas from customers and employees?
Are we giving employees the training, tools, and resources they need to succeed?
Are we organized and disciplined in the way we perform work?
Are employees empowered to take risks, make mistakes, and try new things?
Do we hire, develop, and promote people that best demonstrate our core values?
Do we find ways to celebrate together?

Consider your own company – if you could answer “yes” to most of these questions, how would you feel?  How would the culture feel?  What would the organization be able to accomplish? 

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