Thursday, November 1, 2012

ASQ Influential Voices: Quality is What We Make It

In his blog this month, ASQ CEO, Paul Borawski writes about the role of quality in organizations.  He asks how it can and should expand beyond its traditional definition.

Simply put, the role of “quality” can be as big or as little as we choose to make it.  Every day, new challenges emerge within businesses – most of the time, it’s pretty clear who owns them – but not always.  Even the most mature organizations will encounter situations where it’s unclear which division, function, or role should be responsible for driving the solution.

Unfortunately, the response you’ll hear most often is, “that’s not my job”.  It’s funny how we sometimes let our job description define who we are and what types of problems we’re allowed to solve.  I’ve found that many of my most rewarding business experiences and achievements involved things that didn’t remotely resemble my job description.  So a long time ago, I adopted the practice of saying, “I’ll take it”.

The great thing about the role of “quality” is that it gives us permission to take on almost anything.  Especially, if you subscribe to my broader definition that, “quality is about creating processes and products that meet requirements, delight customers, and create value for all stakeholders”.  This definition goes well beyond inspection, defect tracking, and documentation.  Instead, quality is seen as the DNA of the organization!

Here are some of the many facets of quality:

•    Business Process Management
•    Voice of Customer
•    Process Improvement / Lean Six Sigma
•    ISO/QMS Systems
•    Strategic Planning
•    Change Management
•    Product Innovation
•    Problem Solving 
•    Operational Excellence
•    Risk Management
•    Performance Reporting
•    Organizational Development

So the next time a new challenge arises in your organization, be the first one to say, “I’ll take it”.

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