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Quality part 1

Improving performance

Many will have heard of the eternal triangle of Cost, time (see The Complete Time Management package) and Quality.
You can never have the best of all three.
If you want low cost and reduced times you will almost certainly reduce quality.
Top quality and reduced times may come at the expense of increased costs.
For top quality and low costs you may require increased time (which links to costs anyway).

The big drive over many years as been for increased quality.
These management initiatives have seen big changes in companies which often take the form of:

  • Rolling out training programmes
  • The generation of many policies
  • The use of consultants and instigation of specific quality roles for training
  • Many meetings extolling the virtues of a variety of techniques
  • Generation of newsletters and other methods of spreading the word by communication

For many organisations Quality Management will come as a culture shock.
All of the above, and other initiatives, are designed to recognise a need for changing behaviours and as such will initiate new behaviours. In this way they will act as antecedents.

When there is any form of change the individual wants to realise some personal benefit otherwise motivation will wane and the initiative will fail. What the above fail to do is take into account the need for positive reinforcement, which, if not present, dooms the setup to ultimate failure.

Quality spectrum

It is true to say that many individuals would not have given much thought to quality in their roles.
This is usually the province of Quality Control. The product either passes or it fails and the organisation at best may try to learn from any obvious mistakes and at worst ignore them and accept the defect rate.

For many organisations there comes a realisation that the approach to quality is low across all areas.
This often leads to implementing quality polices across all these areas at once.
The main result of many quality initiatives is to raise the awareness of the need for quality amongst individuals but does not really have any direction in improving behaviours and maintaining them.