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NewSpeak: What is Quality?

The most stunning concept in Orwell's 1984 was NewSpeak: the redefinition of terms to eliminate concepts. Can you think freedom if there is no word for it?
I recently worked with the different quality initiatives ISO9000, EfQM, CMMI. While I think the initiatives have good value for their purpose, they all conduct NewSpeek when talking about quality. Funny aspect: the all see it in the same way.
Quality in their sense are repeatable constant outcomes/results, that are achieved with constant and repeatable processes. While repeatable results are important for conducting sustainable business I resent to call it quality. Put it boldly: My friend runs a French Fine Dining. When the cook had a bad day it is so so, when he has a good day, you're in heaven. On the other hand: walk into an average Mac Donald's anywhere on this planet. You can expect and will receive a Big Mac that tastes the same for 20+ years. From a quality management point of view Mac Donald's is the champion. However if I ask my taste buds, even the worst mood of my French cook produces food with far superior quality.
This results is a subconscious tension for all quality people: since the (process) quality definition doesn't match the layman's understanding of quality a lot of quality initiatives are perceived as management fads; perceptions lay the foundation for results, so TQM often goes nowhere.

Anybody pick up the challenge and come up with a good term instead of newspeaking quality?  

Posted by on 08 April 2005 | Comments (0) | categories: Business


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