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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How do you Define Quality Success?

This month in Paul Borawski’s post on ASQ with the back drop of the annual salary survey he asks what’s your case for a raise.
If you accept the premise that you get paid what you’re worth (and it’s not always true) I wonder what you’d tell your boss you did in the last year to increase your value to the organization. Tell me about results. Customers more satisfied, revenue enhanced, money saved, waste reduced, lives saved, or risks managed. What’s your case for a raise?
How do you define quality success? Not knowing how you define success can make the process of becoming successful even more challenging. It’s like fumbling around in the dark to find something when the light switch is right next to you, if only you would stop grasping in the dark and focus on the light switch.

Success is different for everyone and every business. Too often we look at others to measure how successful we are. You may look at a certain person or company and think wow they really got it together. What you may not know is that person or organization probably isn't satisfied themselves. Ask yourself what your standard of success is, but remember you are your own worst critic so go easy. Lean/Quality improvement is a journey not a destination!

Success is the fruit of: 1) Good directing as a leader, providing people with specific instructions and closely supervising task accomplishment; 2) Coaching by explaining decisions, solicits suggestions and support progress; 3) Supporting by facilitating and supporting subordinates efforts toward task accomplishment and shares responsibility for decision - making with them; 4) Delegating by turning over responsibility for decision - making and problem - solving to subordinates.

For me, success means to have a goal, plan the steps to achieve the goal, implement the plan, and finally achieve the goal." Success means that you are adding to yourself and others every day, experiencing growth and change (for the better). And also what you have achieved at the end of the day.

Although these are not a substitute for the various operational and financial results companies track, it can be a powerful sign as to whether companies are staying on the improvement journey path. If you don’t measure your organization’s improvement, you won’t monitor it, and if you don’t monitor your organization’s improvement, you can’t manage it. If you don’t manage your organization’s improvement, it will fail.

Choosing the right metrics is critical to success. Although there may never be a single perfect measure, it is certainly possible to create a measure or even multiple measures which reflect the performance of your system. If the metrics are chosen carefully, then, in the process of achieving their metrics, managers and employees will make the right decisions and take the right actions that enable the organization to maximize its performance.

How would you define success?

I’m part of the ASQ Influential Voices program. While I receive an honorarium from ASQ for my commitment, the thoughts and opinions expressed on my blog are my own.

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  1. At Strouse we define specific goals both quarterly and year long. Once our goals are defined we can create a plan of attack to ensure success. When we don't meet these goals we review what happened and how we can change things for the future. This kind of format works well for any goals you set, whether it's quality metrics or every day life.

    1. Nick, very good approach. I am used to the Hoshin Kanri process using an A3 or x-matrix for tracking goals, planning countermeasures, and using a bowling chart for reporting metrics. What kind of tools do you use to aide in your process?