Quality must be an assumption. The problem with assumptions such as service and quality is that people lose focus because there is little conversation about the topics when “all is well”. People are typically not rewarded for things that don’t happen. For example, if there is a crisis, people are rewarded for resolving the crisis and working long hours to work through the situation; however, if they avoid the crisis altogether, it might go unnoticed. Worse, they might get push back on working on the topic at all because it hasn’t proven to be an issue! As leaders, we must appreciate what is NOT happening.

It is not magic or luck. In working with clients of many industries and sizes, it is apparent that “working smart” is what avoids crises. And, most of these crises are well worth avoiding! I was just talking with one of my clients about this topic. They have done an impressive job and are in great shape from many perspectives – well ahead of their competition actually – however, they will not thrive if they continue to be plagued by quality issues. We must build quality, service, safety and these types of fundamentals into the culture as critical norms!

One tip to implement this week:
The first step in noticing what hasn’t occurred is to take a step back and observe. What is going on around you? Do you know why people are doing what they are doing? If not, ASK. You might find out it is to avoid a major pitfall. Showing interest is one way to ensure it becomes an assumption. Another idea is to make sure you are capturing the “right” metrics – which numbers are important to your business and results? Watch these trends carefully. You’ll be reminded of the importance even if the trend is continually “good”. Go talk with the team making that happen!