Quality! That word is bantered around the workplace and boardrooms with a significant level of frequency. If you listen to the conversation, everybody has it and it’s the reason their competitor is failing. Their product is absolutely the best on the market … but they cannot explain a loss in market share or unfavorable commentary on social media. Any negativity must just be persnickety customers who will never be satisfied. That’s it, right?
What is the Truth About Quality and Culture?
Let’s just look at how we are perceived by customers. We know that online customers can compare products from all over the world, consumers can find objective data on the web and read user-generated reviews. When users are unhappy with products or services, they use social media to tell the world about it. Furthermore, as much as 75% of B2B customers rely on word of mouth when making purchase decisions. These facts are pretty good evaluation points to determine the true quality of your products or services. You are only as good as what the customer perceives. But the question is, how do you achieve true quality?
It all starts with the culture of the organization. Yes, it really is all about the culture! We define a true culture of quality as an environment in which employees not only follow guidelines but also consistently see others taking actions, hear others talking about quality, and feel quality all around them. It must be in everything you do. Here are four attributes that accurately predict success:
Leadership Focus – Quality is the top priority of leadership. They walk the walk in everything they do, and inspect what they expect! It must be emphasized on employee evaluations.
Credibility in Communication – Messages and communications are made by respected leaders. They are easily understood and consistent across the board.
Peer Networking – A network of strong guidance exists amongst peers in the workplace. It must be the highest priority, and peers hold each other accountable.
Ownership – Employees easily understand quality focus and they are empowered to make decisions at all times. They do not hesitate to raise concerns when there is a question.
Building a Focused Culture
Leadership must take the leader and change the culture in their organization to get results. It has to be done through honest and open communications that lay out what quality means in the clearest form possible. That vision must be supported and empowered with a laser focus. Leaders must be ready to live those values every second of everyday.