Five essential ingredients for a quality culture

Shady El Safty

"Quality lies in culture. Values are what constitute True Quality"

Over the last few decades quality and productivity have surfaced as a major areas of concern for businesses. With the reduction of geographical barriers and the pressures of competing in the global marketplace, operational and service excellence have become necessities for companies to remain globally competitive. But how do you make sure that all employees minds are focused on delivering a quality product or service?

The foundation of any quality improvement is to develop a "quality culture" or mindset within the organization and integrate it throughout the company.

A quality-focused culture creates a healthy work environment and leads to satisfied customers

Organizational Culture is defined as the shared beliefs, values, attitudes, and behavior patterns that characterize the members of an organization. In a healthy business culture, what's good for the company and for customers comes together and becomes the driving force behind what everyone does.

Quality culture starts with leadership that understands and believes the implications of the systems view and knows the necessity of serving customers in order to succeed. The result of that understanding is a culture where a positive internal environment and the creation of delighted customers go together. It is a culture that naturally emphasizes continuous improvement of processes and one that results in a healthy workplace, satisfied customers, and a growing, profitable company.

One of the successful approaches to develop quality culture among the organization is focusing on the 5 main ingredients for quality culture:

  • Ingredient 1: A mentality of "we're all in this together" (the company, suppliers, and customers)

The company not just as the buildings, assets, and employees, but also customers and suppliers. The goal is consistently win-win-win for all parties.

  • Ingredient 2: Open, honest communication is vital

An important way to encourage truth-telling is by creating a culture where people listen to one another. This is a culture where open, honest communication is understood as necessary for people to function best.

  • Ingredient 3: Information is accessible

Information accessibility is at the heart of the work we do. Business leaders should be open about sharing information on the company’s strategic goals because this information provides direction for what we will do next and - more importantly - direction for how to improve.

  • Ingredient 4: Focused on processes

Everyone should move away from a "blame the person" mentality to a "blame the process and let's fix it" approach to problems and improvement.

  • Ingredient 5: There are no successes or failures, just learning experiences.

An important insight is that failure and success are always value judgments we form after the fact. We can never predict with certainty whether what we do will end up as a success or a failure (or a mistake). We do the best we can based on our current experience, information, and understanding, and something happens.