November is World Quality Month

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Photo credit: data-informed.com

For this quality month, I cannot emphasize enough that quality is a mindset.

Let me share with you snippets of an email interview with The Daily Star, Subir Chowdhury discusses with Amitava Kar what quality really means.

How do you define quality?
Quality is a mindset that impacts everyone. It is more than a process or programme to be implemented by workers on an assembly line. It impacts every decision we make, and isn’t just limited to the workplace—it impacts us at home, work and school. It is the difference between being “good enough” and the best you can be. Quality is everyone’s business. The problem for many organisations and even individuals is that they think quality is someone else’s job.

Which management tool works the best?
Programmes and processes such as Total Quality Management, Six Sigma, Lean Six Sigma, and ISO can make a difference. But they aren’t enough. There are many organisations that have deployed these programmes successfully. However, other companies have failed. The fact that two companies, virtually identical, can implement the same processes but see vastly different results has shown me that these processes are actually part of the problem. For many organisations, managing quality means addressing problems as we become aware of them. As a result, we stop being proactive and focus on being reactive—and the problems snowball. It is not enough to fix problems after we notice them–the real challenge is to catch them before they happen.

You once said quality is also the relationship between people in an organisation. What did you mean?
People who really “get” quality understand it’s more than a programme. They have a caring mindset, and are truly exceptional. Quality is not just a process to them, something they check off their to-do list before going home for the evening.

When I think of the people who have this mindset, I think of the hotel manager who drove two hours in her own car, on her own time, to return a credit card to a Japanese guest boarding a flight to Europe. I think about the hydraulics engineer who volunteered to parachute into a wilderness area to fix one of his company’s new water pumps. I think about the shipping clerk who shouldered past jokes and ridicule from fellow employees as he carefully packaged every order as crisply and neatly as possible.

I’ve seen with my own eyes the kinds of leaders who inspire. These are managers and executives who walk the talk of quality—at every moment, with every encounter, and at every level of the organisation. For the transformation of the organisation to be complete, every employee needs to embrace this mindset.

Read the full transcript HERE.

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