When 'quality' ceases to be just lip service from one employee to another - it becomes a process for continuous improvement toward perfection.
People make judgments about quality every day:
Sometimes it is not at all about how something is engineered or where it came from, or how much work it took to build – the final assessment of quality depends entirely on how the person feels.
It’s interesting that so many companies focus on processes without input from customers or even their own employees: ‘top-down’ processes punctuated by statistical data and quality management controls. While it’s obviously important to focus on what goes on behind the scenes, what kind of quality can you possibly deliver without feedback from the people who actually create (employees) or use your products (customers)?
These days we do a better job of listening to the voice of the customer whether that customer is internal or external. But it was not until the late 1980s after the Japanese practically took over global markets that one major American automaker finally decided to listen to their customers.
More recently, a major home appliance manufacturer waited until its market share fell to half of where it was at its peak before finally turning to its employees for ideas on how they could improve quality. The company listened, and now market share is climbing back up. These are just two examples – there are dozens more of hard-won lessons on the power of people.
People power is the change agent that transforms all processes. When personal experience is added to your statistical data, all solutions are enhanced. When people are adequately encouraged and enthusiastic about their contributions, the transformation in the corporate culture is almost instantaneous. The elements of people power are honesty, empathy, resistance to compromise and ethical behavior:
When all the elements are working together, people power grows in strength—and that’s a beautiful thing to experience. The more honest we are, the more empathy we have, and the greater our resistance to compromise, the more resilient will be our ethics.
Welcome to the engine of people power.
How can you deploy a management process with a broken chain? How do you know if yours is broken?
If you want to create your quality revolution, you need to stop thinking about quality and think more about your people.
How is ‘listening’ a crucial step for organizational success?
How does the pursuit of ‘continuous improvement’ help me raise the bar on quality?