Why doesn’t the “Quality Community” get it?

Frankly I am sick and tired of seeing articles and discussions on forums from so-called quality professionals whining that “senior managers” just don’t understand quality. They don’t understand the benefits, it would appear, of ISO 9001. They don’t appreciate the value of the Quality Department and only pay “lip service” to the QMS … and so it goes on

Well whose fault is that?

These simpering laments do nothing other than infuriate me. My question is not “when are senior managers going to appreciate quality?” I’m more interested in finding out when so-called quality professionals are going to make anything more than a half-hearted attempt to understand the dynamics and realities of business, and to truly appreciate the world that the senior team inhabits

“Quality” is a support service. It’s purpose is to support the organisation – sometimes you’d think it was the other way around!

I’ve met hundreds of these “senior managers” and, in my experience at least, there are very few imbeciles. They are generally very capable individuals who are trying to maximise the performance of their organisation and, again in my experience, are generally willing to listen to anyone who has some sound ideas for doing just that. More to the point, they have often learned a thing or two about running a business. So why don’t they “get” quality? … Why indeed

Its not just me who thinks this way, I might add. Philip Crosby famously suggested that Quality Professionals needed to be able to speak the language of the boardroom (dollars) in order to be effective in their job, but thirty-odd years on it would seem that this particular penny is still yet to drop. Fair enough, you do get the occasional MD who takes an interest and learns the lingo, but frankly, why should they be the ones that have to to learn the new language?

Here’s another inconvenient truth while we’re on the subject. Believe it or not, ISO 9001 DOES NOT have the answer to every single business challenge.  Often we find the Quality Department thinks every problem has a “quality solution” – I’ve also found that to be true of other departments, incidentally, HR especially. In truth, of course, myopia is seldom part of the solution, but if the only tool you have in your bag is a hammer, don’t be surprised if every problem looks like a nail …

I suspect this may well prove an unpopular post with many, but sometimes there’s a need for tough love, and right now I’m in the mood to dish it out

It’s not the first time I’ve been down this road either, but my plea  is the same. Come on quality guys, make the effort, and if it doesn’t work, try something else. If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got. There’s a bit of Juran chucked in for good measure

gm ceo rick wagoner

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7 Responses to Why doesn’t the “Quality Community” get it?

  1. Pingback: Quality and efficiency « Get ISO? Blog

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