Editor’s note: This is the second of a four-part video interview with Juran Institute’s CEO, Joseph DeFeo, and hosted by Quality Digest’s CEO, Jeff Dewar. View part one here.
In this part of my video interview with Juran Institute president and executive coach, Joseph De Feo, we discussed where the quality profession is going. His answers caught me completely by surprise.
We quickly shifted away from the quality manager’s job to what businesses need today to become... successful(!). At 1 minute 55 seconds into the video, De Feo told me, “… because the people outside the world of quality are thinking beyond that (quality)… how can I make my company successful, how can I be more competitive, how can I run a better business? And when you think that way, you start looking for the best methods, the best way to achieve that. In other words, business people tend to evolve, and keep up with current trends, but the quality profession has this tendency to learn it once and evolve very slowly.”
Which leads me to ask, were the last three decades of focus on quality management just a passing phase, an elongated fad? In an interview with Joseph M. Juran, published in the February 1999 issue of Quality Digest, Juran told then editor-in-chief, Scott Paton: “It will extend well into the next century—we’re going to see the West scaling up its quality revolution. My belief is that historians in later decades will look back on the 21st century as the century of quality, much as the 20th century has been the century of productivity, largely following Frederick Taylor’s model.”
Will the quality field morph into something different? De Feo put it a different way: We quality professionals are the ones who need to morph, through lifelong learning and risk-taking, into professionals who unquestionably add value. We will always take our mastery of quality tools and methods with us, never forgetting our roots, but shouldn’t limit ourselves to seeking a home only in organizations that have a “quality department” or a business card with the word “quality” in the job title.