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Teams and Four Quality Objectives

By Fr. Robert J. Spitzer, S.J. , Ph.D.
Recent newsletter issues highlighted having a noble vision with teamwork, specifically, cross-functional teamwork.  What do these teams do?
Teams seek to improve the four quality parameters pursuant to any kind of business, non-profit organization, or government that address the Three P’s:  Product (or Service), Process, and People. 
Many years ago, Dr. W. Edwards Deming famously outlined the lessons he learned from Japan’s economic resurgence.  These four parameters are: 1) vigilance in product or service design towards or beyond customer expectations 2) eliminate product defects 3) improve process efficiency 4) eliminate waste.
A team works together with a noble vision to address these quality parameters in each area of the Product, Process, and People.  Not only product and process, but also people, people, people!  It is people who will use technology, skill, and creativity to enhance product and service design that meets or exceeds customer expectations and identifies new consumer needs to build your pipeline.  It is people who are vigilant about product and process design and who are busy eliminating defects and waste.   Once these four quality objectives are accomplished, you can turn anything you want into something measurable for your organization.
It is important for your organizational culture to strive nobly toward these four quality objectives, but in a way that is contributive to the whole and toward an individual’s development.  This is indicative of a Level 3 culture, and it helps sustain and grow organizations.  However, many organizations have damaged their culture by becoming places of Level 2 egocentric drive and selfishness toward these quality measures by attempting to achieve these quality measures at all costs.  As a result, leaders can reduce the dignity of work and people, even without intent.  This ignores the third “P” (People), which will inevitably negatively impact the Product and Process they were originally intending to improve. 

Remember, your dominant view of happiness is your identity.   Your identity influences everything your organization strives to do.  If you want your teams to enhance Product, Process, and People with the four quality objectives necessary for sustainability and growth, encourage teamwork that is noble and that values the talents, dignity, and contributions of the people who make-up these teams.