recently spoke at the University of Central Florida's engineering college, which teaches quality engineering of the most pragmatic kind and has also developed an advanced degree in quality management. The college has asked our organization, Philip Crosby Associates II, to mentor the student American Society for Quality group.
During our discussion, the students posed a most useful question: "What does a quality manager have to do to be successful?" I told them the following:
* Don't get yourself trapped in the conventional methods of quality assurance. Management doesn't come in packages--it evolves from a sound philosophy and the consistent application of principles
aimed at making the organization useful and reliable.
* Learn the essentials of management so you can understand the needs and concerns of your customers and senior management.
Present yourself as part of that senior body, and remember that you're not responsible for quality, but you are the key to organizational integrity.
* Set up the necessary processes
for creating a reliable organization: policy, education, requirements and insistence. Don't ask for permission, just do it. CEOs love to find someone who actually does something.
Work with the comptroller to make price of nonconformance part of the accounting and financial-reporting procedures. This moves quality to the top management table.
* Help all
operations establish the processes and provide the training that produces defect-free work. Stay close to the customers and suppliers to make certain that they're successful.
This is the way to arrive at the top: make yourself useful and reliable. The quality manager can have a serious effect on the profitability of the organization as well as on its reputation.
About the author
Philip B. Crosby, a popular speaker and founder of Philip Crosby
Associates--now PCA II--is also the author of several books, including Quality and Me: Lessons from an Evolving Life
(Jossey-Bass, 1999). To order "To Be an Executive by Choice," visit his Web site at www.philipcrosby.com
or call (800) 223-3932.