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Quality is Personal

Quality is Personal

In this penetrating guide to involving employees in the process of total quality management, the authors make the argument that “personal quality checklists” – by which employees monitor waste reducers and value adding activities in their immediate work environment-can significantly increase individual understanding of the general concepts and implementation of top quality management.


7 thoughts on “Quality is Personal

  1. Insight and learning from book

    1. Quality is everyone’s business and everyone must focus on quality. Quality no longer belong to certain department or individual. Everyone should incorporate total quality management into their everyday work.

    2. Personal quality checklist allows each individual to build quality into their everyday work. Everyone’s personal quality checklist might be different, but the personalized process allows a person to improve quality in their job or personal life. Personal quality checklist is all about gradual improvements over a period of time.

    3. In order to eliminate waste, small batch of work completed as the work come is preferred over compiling a large amount of work completed over a long period of time. This concept is exactly Agile methodology in software development process. Small amount of work completed immediately is faster and more efficient than completing a big project.

  2. Chicken Soup for the Workplace
    I tend to avoid reading self-help books. I believe these types of books (a $12 billion per year industry) are much more beneficial to their authors than to their readers. I could not avoid reading Quality is Personal – A Foundation for Total Quality Management, by Roberts and Sergesketter, so a few comments are in order.

    Whether inspired by Total Quality Management or Eastern mysticism, these books often try to take valid concepts and apply them outside of the domain in which they make sense. Philosophers call this a ‘category mistake’. Roberts and Sergesketter take TQM, a respected organizational business process method, and try to apply it to individual behavior. While I can’t fault the authors on their statistics and engineering credentials, I don’t see the training in psychology that might qualify them as behavioral therapists. But it might explain comments like “The aim of leadership should be to help people, machines and gadgets to do a better job”, as if there were scant distinction between the three. Or shortly after, “[T]he focus of managing processes rather than people is powerful and energizing to an organization”. Indeed. Perhaps less so to the people who work there.

    Another tactic of the self-help book is to use jargon and buzzwords to make the messy and complex seem clear and simple. So, realizing that it is easier to work out at home rather than to drive an hour to the gym, is ‘constraint elimination’ (I used to call it ‘common sense’). It also disregards the fact that a workout at the gym may be more motivating, effective, and safer (higher quality, by any standard) than lifting weights in your living room; a fact that can be overlooked if one concentrates on avoiding marks on a Sergesketter Personal Quality Checklist (or what I used to call a ‘checklist’). The authors repeatedly make the point that, if we set goals to clean our desks, shine our shoes and cut our hair, we can achieve cleaner desks, shiny shoes and shorter hair. The link to improved job quality (or life quality, for that matter) is much more tenuous and anecdotal, if it’s made at all.

    Don’t get me wrong, I believe TQM can aid an effective organizational strategy for many companies, and Personal Quality Checklists, by any name or justification, may be useful for some people. To close with my favorite quote from the book: “It’s up to the individual.”

    • Coincidentally, I was speaking with George today on an unrelated subject, and he brought up an interesting and thoughtful insight that he had gleaned from this book. Which goes to show that it’s up to the individual to evaluate and assimilate all available information, for him or herself; a point which was perhaps lost in my initial comments.

  3. What is TQM?

    This book goes through all the points about TQM and how an individual can better him/herself by understand all the defects that have occurred via personal and working lifestyle. The book went on a great length of explaining how someone could determine his/her defects in every aspect of their lives and how to overcome it. It also explained the theory of wasting time because people are not aware of how defective time management can affects their lifestyle. Some of the materials in the book are common sense, but it may not be as common sense to everyone based on our culture and our knowledge attained through our life lessons.

    I believe that this book has many great points that we all could follow and use in our daily work environment also our personal life. We all have defects that we are not consciously aware off only until we have to genuinely do a self-review on what it is that we need to improve on. To understand all of our defects, we need to have vision of what we want ourselves to become. It is up to an individual to understand his/her own defects and making changes for themselves. I believe that this book have great ideas of how an individual can be guided through the use of the material that is written.

  4. I feel PQC are a good idea.
    I feel PPM is a good idea, especially modifying work behavior while working.
    When there is a choice of tasks to be tackled, consciously thinking of the sequence with which to approach them.
    I like the section on the 38 points of divergence between TQM and traditional management thinking, especially that quality improvement should be everyone’s concern.
    Some of the suggestions in the book reminded me of the book Cheaper by the Dozen, which also contained some time saving ideas.

  5. While I adore the concept of a checklist, or any kind of list in fact, tallying negative marks is counter to my personal ideology, However, after tracking several new standards of behavior, I admit not wanting to see negative marks is quite motivating.

    For some reason, I have found it vastly easier to eliminate waste and instill positive standards in my personal world, and considerably more difficult to do so professionally. I justify that opening my mail and dealing with each piece, rather than building a pile to tackle later is somewhat professional, as I work from home and staring at quivering piles of paper is demotivating. Still, feels like an excuse.

    As with all the previous books, I’ve tried to imagine how these insights, tools and concepts will fit into creating a better MTC. If each person is developing their own personal checklist of standards, it seems possible, probable even, that there may be conflict between working parts of the company and departments. Looking forward to the discussion to help me fill in some of these disconnects.

  6. By nature, I am obsessive with creating lists, so the concept of the Personal Quality Checklist is not new to me. What is different in this approach is tallying the defects rather than the successes. I can see the benefit of recognizing where you’re failing rather than focusing on what you have been successful at, however I think it would require great discipline to track these defects and keep it a focus throughout your day.

    Overall, it is essentially offers a way for individuals to hold themselves accountable and recognize areas for improvement which would benefit any organization. We can always define ways to improve quality as a company but without the individual focus and attention we will likely fail in our efforts.

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