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QUALITY: How to Make Quality a Way of Life within Your Organization

Welcome to a new feature on NDCBlogger  – the monthly Quality Blog published the third Tuesday of every month.  This new initiative is the result of an invitation from the American Society for Quality (ASQ) to begin blogging as part of their Influential Voices series.  The goal will be to respond to blogs posted by ASQ’s CEO, Paul Borawski.  The link will be both on our Website and on ASQs.

As we begin a New Year, it’s a great time to look at how to build a quality mindset in your organization.  Ask yourself:  Have we become too complacent about repeating errors or problems?  Do we continue to make assumptions that a particular problem can’t really be solved?  Are we frustrated that nobody seems as committed to quality as we are?

We recently were asked by a scientific organization to help them put together their first Quality Days event to kick off the New Year.  The purpose of the event is to reawaken in all employees the need for attention to quality.  Employees experience a half-day infusion of “everything quality,” and hopefully leave with renewed commitment.   I thought I’d share some of the activities we have included in the event to get you interested in, perhaps, doing the same.

1. Quality Posters:  Posters announcing the event were hung up a week ahead of time throughout the site, coupled with an announcement email from the head of Quality.

2. Quality Video:  The video included very brief interviews with 8-10 employees from all levels, asking them to define what quality means to them, when they first learned to have a passion for quality, and what behaviors they feel are key to acting with quality.  These videos are posted on the organization’s intranet and play on a continuous loop in break rooms.

3. The Quality Guru Video:  We pieced together clips from Joseph Juran, Edward Deming and Phillip Crosby – three of the original quality gurus – to play continuously as people enter the Quality Days session, greet each other and have a coffee.  Many young employees have no idea who these tremendously influential quality giants were and their impact on quality.

4. The Quality Bingo Game:  In order to get some “buzz” going prior to the event, we created a Quality Bingo Game using 24 quotes about quality from all different types of famous people.   Every employee gets a bingo card to complete.  The quotes are hanging up on individual posters around the site.  On the posters are QR codes (for people with SmartPhones) or web addresses (for those with Internet access) for people to figure out the names of the people who said the quotes.  Once they have the names, they put them on the Bingo card.  Once they have achieved Bingo, the cards are eligible to be placed in a drawing for a prize.  On the day of the event the walls of the room are covered with the 24 posters, complete with quotes and authors.

5. Giveaways:  We decided that buttons, mugs and t-shirts would be the most popular giveaways for the group, as a remembrance of the day.  The t-shirt and mug have the event logo and three of the quality values on them; the button says “I am Quality.”

6. Quality Storyboards:  Each department was asked to put together a Quality Storyboard (think about your child’s science fair project) about quality in their department – what it means, how it is accomplished, continuous improvement projects, etc.  These storyboards line the hallway and room where the Quality Days event is held.

7. Guest Speakers:  The event program begins with guest senior level speakers, both in-person and via Skype and FaceTime (iPad) to share some inspirational messages about quality geared directly to the organization’s challenges and vision.  Once video-taped, these become available for playback throughout the month following Quality Days.  In addition, external experts in the Cost of Poor Quality and Validation and Quality Customer Service provide new voices to motivate and inspire employees.

8. The Quality Mission, Vision and Values:  The Quality Department got together prior to the event to craft their Quality Mission, Vision and Values statements.  These statements are shared during the event and participants are encouraged to identify the gaps between where they are today and the vision for the future.  Employees are asked to identify ideas they have for closing the gaps.  Three of their Quality Values are highlighted for the day as well and appear on the mugs and t-shirts.

9. Quality Customer Service:  For this particular event we used “In Pursuit of Excellence:  Commitment, Continuous Improvement and Collaboration” as the quality logo, incorporating three of the Quality Team’s Values.  During the program, we share how other organizations have built their quality customer service platform and standards as a way to hold themselves accountable for quality improvements.  Each participant group is asked to write a “quality platform statement” for one of the Quality Values.  The key message here is the recognition that quality excellence must be pursued every minute of every day, for both our internal and external customers and that without a “quality platform” we’re likely to do what we want to do rather than what we should do.

10. Case Study:  A fun case study drives the quality message home, as participants identify what quality issues emerged in a traffic collision, including containment of the problem, root cause analysis, preventive and corrective action and how the three C’s impact each of these.

11. QD Action Plan:  The goal is for each person to leave Quality Days with a specific behavioral commitment to continue and advance his/her quest for quality.  Employees are invited to hang their quality commitment charts in their work environment to encourage their quality mindset throughout the year.

The energy generated in a Quality Days event is contagious and clearly demonstrates to employees the importance management places on quality.  So often in our workplaces speed is the prevailing criteria.  But success comes from the ability to combine speed with quality, doing whatever it is right the first time.  That commitment is built through events like a Quality Days.


ASQ’s Influential Voices: 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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An innovative training and employee development firm located in southern Vermont since 1984, we specialize in helping organizations get the most out of their people by raising the bar, inspiring potential and partnering with organizations to build a people-centered, high-engagement culture.

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