The use of the word passion in the context of quality is likely to make the average quality professional blush. But the reality in that passion is what draws people back to things like Apple. People that have a passion for what they sell or what they do are able to convey that with their customers, internal or external, and make them want to to business with them. A more politically correct way to say this may be engagement, but I don’t know that the term engagement really captures the level of excitement that one would expect from someone who is passionate about what they do.
One of my friends used to be a consultant for Butterfly. If you asked her, I’m sure that she would not tell you that this job was about selling purses and jewelry. To Gail, her job was to help women build their confidence in the appearance by wearing the right accessories while having fun learning about how to accent their looks. And her service was second to none, because she truly believed in the product.
I remember working at Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation. I spent a few years on the phone with borrowers. I didn’t see my job as collecting loan payments from deadbeats – I was responsible for making sure that the borrowers I spoke with had the information they needed to help them make their experience paying back student loans go as smoothly as possible. That focus is what allowed me to move up within the organization. Were some of the borrowers awful? Sure. But if I could make their experience a little better, perhaps they wouldn’t yell (or at least not as much) at the next person they spoke with.
I don’t think that you can teach someone to be passionate about their job – you have to inspire it. When you inspire passion, you can create a culture of quality that will delight your customers. How would you answer Paul’s question, “What are the feelings you associate with a culture of quality?”