Quality conversations are everyone’s dialogue, not just the folks in the Quality department. It’s not a matter of whether Quality is being ambitious enough.
It’s a matter of the conversation not being cross-functional enough. Are you having the same old Quality, or sales, or marketing, or IT or engineering conversations with your colleagues?
It’s a matter of asking yourself whether you are facilitating a cross-functional dialogue, instead of an exclusive one.
The salesforce.com blog just featured this White Paper on The State of Marketing Leadership based on their interview of nearly 1000 business leaders.
Where do you, as a business professional of worth, fit into these results? Where does your company fit in?
This month, Bill Troy, ASQ CEO, asked the question: Is Quality Ambitious Enough? Since I offer a monthly response as part of the ASQ Influential Voices platform, I’m weighing in today.
Sure everyone in your organization understands the role of Quality in creating robust outcomes. That’s because everyone has purchased something that didn’t perform as anticipated. Some folks have even participated in producing those less-than-high-quality outcomes.
Without a focus on creating high-quality sustainable outcomes:
- Your customers don’t renew contracts with your business development folks.
- Your customer service folks are issuing refunds.
- Your profitability tanks and new business acquisition becomes a vertical challenge.
IMHO, the real question is: why does Quality remain an exclusive conversation? The same question can be asked of each of your company’s departments. Is yours an inclusive or exclusive conversation?
The answer starts with when you are brought into the business conversation in the first place. Are you simply speaking to your own professional discipline or are you also part of the design conversation, the buyer’s conversation, the quality conversation?
If, as a Quality professional, you are part of the conversation when there is a problem, you only are there to fix what is already broken. That’s not an ambitious conversation for anyone seated around that particular business table.
If, as a Quality professional, you only hear about issues with logistics when your customer service folks call you, that’s not a proactive or anticipatory conversation.
If, as a Quality professional, the quality of your conversation becomes a lecture to the uninitiated with quality-specific terminology that no one understands, who are you marginalizing in the process?
In order for Quality, or any other professional discipline, to become ambitious enough to change the face of the global economy, the conversation needs to become cross-functional and all-inclusive.
It starts by dropping your professional vocabulary of choice. It continues by you understanding that the rest of the folks seated around the table speak an entirely different language (sometimes literally) than you do. It is maintained by searching for small and significant minimum viable solutions that many individuals can implement, even if they aren’t trained in Quality, engineering, marketing, sales or finance.
When you take the time to make Quality accessible to everyone, the conversation enhances quality of life outcomes.
That’s one ambitious objective that should be top of mind for all business people of worth in today’s business ecosystem.
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.
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, is a management consultant and business coach. She catalyzes startups and remodels small-to-medium manufacturing and service companies who have difficulty with unpredictable revenue streams. Her book on communication and collaboration strategies and tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.