Who is Responsible for Quality?

I was walking through a client’s parking lot when I overheard part of a conversation that went something like this:

Woman (sounding shocked): You sent it out that way?

Man (shrugging): Yeah. If it’s not good enough QA (Quality Assurance) will kick it back. Why should I waste my time redoing it when they might just pass it?

Prior to that moment I had never given any thought to large companies having Quality Assurance departments or even small businesses implementing a review of every order to make sure it goes out correctly. But as I drove out of the parking lot that day I found myself wondering, does having someone responsible for quality reduce the personal ownership of the individual doing the job in the first place? Based on the conversation I heard and thinking back to what I have observed over my career, I think the answer might be yes.

So what can we do about it?

We need to have a conversation with our teams. When I was in high school I saw a student throw trash on the ground and say, “The janitor needs a job.” Even then I thought that was a blatant abuse of the janitor’s time. I feel the same way about employees who purposefully do a poor job because someone else is responsible for catching it. If you aren’t talking about it, what your team thinks and how they behave when you’re not watching will remain a mystery.

We need to hire people with integrity. During the interview process ask questions that provide insight into who the person is and how they think. I like “What are your thoughts on the idea that the end justifies the means?” Followed up with, “Do you have an example where you successfully used that idea?” Listen closely to the answer. Is there bragging about getting over on someone or away with something? That isn’t a person who is going to do a good job when no one is looking.

We need to fire people who show they don’t have integrity. It is unbelievable how long businesses of all sizes keep people who are damaging their brand. You can always trust people to tell you who they are. It is your job to remember and act accordingly. Hoping someone will change is not a successful business strategy.

What is your opinion? Does knowing someone will come behind us to clean up or catch our mistakes make us lazy and lax about quality?


As always, I wish you the MOST from your potential!

Doc Robyn

PS - If you are interested in recognizing your talent, stepping into your potential and taking responsibility for your success, I'd be happy to have a conversation with you to discuss how I can support you. All you have to do is ask.

Dr. Robyn Odegaard (aka “Doc Robyn”) is internationally known motivational speaker, executive coach and corporate trainer. As CEO of Champion Performance Development, she works with executives, professionals, athletes, and coaches to help them achieve excellence by sharing active leadership, powerful teamwork, conscious communication, Productive Conflict™ and professional disagreement skills. She is the founder of the Stop The Drama! Campaign and author of the books Stop The Drama! The Ultimate Guide to Female Teams and The Ultimate Guide to Handling Every Disagreement Every Time. To work with her one-on-one, have her present to your team, request a custom workshop or invite her to speak at your event, please call 302-307-3091 or email her at DocRobyn@ChampPerformance.com.

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