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Jeff Dewar

Quality Insider

Juran’s Teachings Live On

Episode Four: Education—Finding Your Competitive Advantage in the Workplace

Published: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 - 09:56

Editor’s note: This is the fourth 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, part two here, and part three here.

“Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly, I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.”

Theodore Roosevelt

Having worked inside corporate America both as an employee and consultant, I’ve noticed that this observation is one we seemingly all share—but don’t often model. At the risk of oversimplification, my colleagues (or my clients, when I was a consultant), fell into two categories: Those who embraced a challenge, and those who ridiculed it. The unfortunate aspect of this phenomenon is that those with the ridiculing attitude (whether silent or outspoken), were sometimes the people with the highest and most needed skill set for the challenge at hand.

Look out your office or cubicle, and scan the horizon of your colleagues. How would they respond to a boss’s request to develop a smoother process to obtain customer feedback? Who would mumble, “...right... the last time we looked at that...”? Who would respond with, “Yes! We absolutely need to tweak this process, and I’m glad the boss is finally getting on board.”

In this final interview with the Juran Institute’s president and executive coach, Joseph DeFeo, I opened the conversation on the topic of education. I was initially leaning to the angle of how our high schools and universities prepare our young people to understand the topic of quality management. But our conversation delightfully morphed to how we can each be more valuable, and therefore more competitive, in this tight employment environment.

Because this will be my final article in this series, I’m taking the liberty of identifying three things I embraced from these interviews, on a deeply personal level:
1. The word “quality” is secondary—what matters is how you can help an enterprise, regardless of your title.
2. If you’re not continually morphing your skill set, you’re making a fatal career error. To be clear, this is not referring to adding another Black Belt certification to your resume, but rather learning how marketing science operates—so you can apply never-thought-of-before improvement processes to your company’s marketing efforts.
3. Attitude matters. As Teddy Roosevelt championed, get in the habit of saying yes, because if you don’t, someone else will.

Lastly, under DeFeo’s leadership, the Juran Institute is clearly, and refreshingly, not “stuck” in a static mode of defining the parameters of quality management. From every indication, they are focused on adding value, however that may be accomplished—which is also something the Quality Digest team does very well.


About The Author

Jeff Dewar’s picture

Jeff Dewar

Jeff Dewar is CEO of Millennium 360 Inc., Quality Digest’s parent company. During his career he has presented quality-related topics to thousands of people on six continents, all but Antarctica.