Quality must affect every conversation and interaction that we have with peers, subordinates, and leaders; every interaction that we have with co-workers, friends and family. That is why Quality is Everyone's Business.
Several years ago, in an article entitled “In Pursuit of Excellence” for Personal Excellence magazine, Michael Jordan said that he always had the ultimate goal of being the best. “I approached everything step-by-step, using short-term goals. When I met one goal, I set another reasonable, manageable goal that I could achieve if I worked hard enough.”
That approach worked well for one of basketball’s greatest players. That same approach can help steer just about any other career from accountant to zoo keeper. Find a vision that you feel passionate about, and pursue it with the idea that you will achieve many goals along the way.
Companies work from a strategic vision—why shouldn’t you and your organization? Want to drive people toward a common goal, or inspire excellence? Observe every great talent and you’ll find a strategic vision at the core of their success.
When we look for excellence within our organizations, we seek out people who have the talent to make things happen. The “things” can be large or small. Mostly, we need people who have the ability make their efforts sustainable. Sometimes, I have found these people simply by engaging them in a discussion about excellence.
I also believe that there’s much to be gained from knowing your personal strengths, as well as being able to transform your weaknesses into strengths. But the fact remains that our strengths are places where we feel the most comfortable. In fact, you might say that it is our strengths that empower us the most.
Keeping that in mind, you should identify performance areas where people are forced outside of their comfort zones. When we build outside our comfort zones, we tend to destroy barriers that prevent us from growing stronger.
Let me give you a quick example. I have never been shy about challenging myself. Before I left my home country of Bangladesh for the United States, I learned to speak English. I knew that I would not be competitive if I did not communicate effectively. That meant I had to get to a level where I could speak and write well. Writing was my greatest weakness.
Day and night, I worked on my writing skills. Ultimately I completed a Masters’ degree in engineering at a U.S. university. I have written 13 books, and have consulted with many of the largest corporations in the world. My ability to communicate in English empowered me, and drove my career in quality management. I guarantee that if you improve yourself by focusing on your own weaknesses, you will find new strengths and empower yourself.
When we encourage talent, we cannot forget to demonstrate how discipline and determination turn dreams into realities. Discipline focuses our work effort; determination forces us to keep working at every turn—together, they empower us.
What would happen if everyone had a fearless reaction to Quality? Imagine what we could accomplish; the problems that we could resolve in business, our personal lives, and in government.
Quality begins with positive, individual action; when everyone in the organization is listening, enriching, and optimizing.
Quality must become everyone’s business; we must reject that “good” can never be “good enough!
“Quality” is not just part of your business plan. It is a lifestyle choice - something that you do every moment of your life and in every situation.