Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Mandate for Improvement

In ASQ's blog this month guest contributor ASQ Managing Director Laurel Nelson-Rowe asked an interesting question. Do companies need to face some dramatic event in order to refocus themselves on the basics of performance excellence? I think that the answer is a resounding "no". Companies are like people, they all have problems. The management of companies have to decide how to handle their problems: ignore them, face them head-on, delay solving them, etc. The results of those decisions will be felt sooner or later in the company, for good or for bad. Is it best for a person to "hit bottom" in order to finally do something to solve their problems? Of course not. Anyone who has gone through that sort of experience knows how difficult and painful it is. Sometimes people never leave the bottom, just like some companies go bankrupt or otherwise fade away. It is best for a person, and for a company, to face their challenges and overcome them quickly. To allow them to accumulate until there is a major failure is very risky and very painful for all involved. Whether it is alcoholism, gambling, unresolved quality problems or decreasing market share people must take action early to reduce the risk and drive improvement. This is a mandate for our personal lives and this is a mandate for the business world. There is really no difference.