In his blog this month, ASQ CEO, Paul Borawski writes about finding quality in unexpected places.
It is remarkable how quality can be applied to almost any aspect of business, and even more remarkable that it can be equally applied to our personal lives. In the end, quality is all about creating value for others - our customers, employees, bosses, spouses, children, etc. If you've ever taken the time to list all the relationships that matter in your life, then you've applied one of the first concepts of quality: identifying your customers/stakeholders.
The next step is to figure out what they want. Do we know, or do we make assumptions about what we think people need? In business, this is called "voice of customer" - going out and asking customers what they require from our products and services. Let's apply this to all our relationships by asking some simple questions: What type of support do my employees expect? How does my spouse define a loving relationship? What problems does my boss want help solving? What do my children need from me as a parent? ...Quality is an endless pursuit to discover what our customers want and need from us.
Another quality concept is "evaluation" - in business, there is an entire science around measuring your performance. But it doesn't have to be as complex in our personal relationships. Simply start by asking the question, "How am I doing"? That will probably tell you everything you need to know. But for those that like more quantification, ask for a "rating" on a 10-point scale. Then immediately follow-up by asking what would it take to move up by a point or two. Trust me, you'll start to uncover some unmet needs!
The ideas of quality can be applied in very creative ways - especially by those who are passionate about continuous improvement, both personally and professionally.