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Use Principles of Quality To Succeed

Jun 25, 2008
People who have not studied the principles of quality often think of quality as a goal to be achieved, and get discouraged because it seems so difficult to achieve. This idea is unfortunate, because it shuts the door on success. In any endeavor, from parenting to playing pool to getting a job or a promotion, using quality as a tool will lead to success, inevitably and by definition.

To make or do something better is to increase quality. Making and doing things better is a mark of success. A simple conclusion follows: to increase quality is to achieve success. The best part of this is that everyone can do it. This tool never gets dull, never gets lost, and always works. The only time it doesn't work is when it isn't used.

The first major principle of quality is this: Quality is an Attitude. This can be interpreted a lot of different ways, but all it means is that a person believes that making something better is a good idea and a good direction to travel. Sadly, not everyone believes this. People who want things to stay the same, or who get some perverse satisfaction from failure, do not have a quality attitude. They are not using the tool of quality, and for them, success is out of reach.

So the first step to using quality as a tool toward success is to decide that better is a good direction. This comes before any thought of how to make things better. It is just a decision, or you could even say, a recognition of truth. Better is preferable to the same or worse.

The second major principle of quality is this: Quality Leads to Opposition. This principle is the main reason people lose their grip on the first principle. The good student gets ridiculed as a bookworm or teacher's pet. The productive office worker is called a brown-noser. The entrepreneur is told by friends and family he is risking too much. The perfectionist meets impatience, and the closet author is bombarded by statistics of failure. Even the best parents get criticized by people who have different opinions on raising children.

So expect negative feedback when you do something better, and ignore it. Arguing with criticism or insults does no good at all. You can laugh at them if you want.

The third major principle of quality is this: Quality Takes Time. Please understand this one. The time involved can be seconds, minutes, or years, depending on what you are doing. It might take two extra seconds to make sure you are filing a folder in the right place, or twenty years to become a chess champion. Glancing over an email for any obvious errors before you send it might cost you half a minute. Take the time.

In order to make or do something better, first you have to actually make or do something, so most of the time is already spent. In comparison, making or doing it better only adds a small fraction to the total time, but leads to much greater accomplishment. For one thing, you will find that you make fewer errors which would cost much more time to correct.

Keep in mind also that improvements accumulate. Small improvements add up. Small successes and minor achievements add up. Just keep making them, and after a while, the results will be large. If it seems like it is taking too long, just compare where you are now with where you were earlier, before you started applying the quality tool on a regular basis.

Beyond the major principles, there are four applied principles and a number of specific actions, but the three major principles of quality are a good starting point, and will take you far. Apply them to your work. Apply them to relationships. Apply them in school. Apply them to anything and everything you do. You will find, almost immediately, that your life will begin to be better, and your future will look brighter.

Quality is a tool, not a goal or a way to describe something. If you treat quality as a goal, you had better hope you never achieve it, because then you will stop trying to make things better, and when that happens, things start to get worse. There are no upper limits on quality, or on making things better. Thus there are no limits on success.
About the Author
Don Dewsnap has spent years studying quality and its principles and applications. Now he has put his knowledge into a readable, useable book: Anyone Can Improve His or Her Life: The Principles of Quality. Read more about and buy the book in paperback or as an e-book at Principles-of-Quality.com or as a paperback at Barnes & Noble.
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