Influential Voices: Making the Case for Quality

As I read Paul’s blog post this month, I’m reminded that I’m very lucky. I’ve never actually had a job where I had to try to sell quality to top management. Paul notes that the question he’s most commonly asked is, “How do I convince senior executives (often CEOs) and public officials that quality is important and an essential strategy for–pick your ending–performance excellence, competitiveness, growth, sustainability, survival, efficiency, effectiveness?” Perhaps the senior executives in question don’t belong in top management. I’m currently completing a sustainable-business focused MBA through Green Mountain College. Even though the focus of the degree is not quality, we’ve discussed quality throughout the program. I’d argue that quality is the root of performance excellence, competitiveness, growth, sustainability, survival, efficiency and effectiveness.  A smart manager/executive understands that.

I wonder perhaps if the folks who appear not to understand quality are in fact just missing the connections. Or we are not spelling it out for them properly. Or have we gotten tired of asking? I’ve had some conversations with folks that didn’t ask for something because they were so sure that they were going to get shot down… and then they blamed management. When I have justified things properly, with sufficient detail, I’ve never had a request denied. How do you talk to top management about quality?