World Quality Month and 40 Under 40

November is World Quality Month. I invite you to visit www.worldqualitymonth.org and see what the world’s quality organizations are doing to raise the voice of quality in November.

These are excellent and laudable efforts. And they may encourage the world to realize the importance and impact of quality and improvement. Every voice helps. Every raised voice may reach another, and another. It happens all the time. A plant manager sitting next to me on a plane. My doctor making small talk during my annual physical. A mayor in casual conversation at a wedding. One of the world’s foremost leaders in the social responsibility movement attending an ASQ conference.

Speaking up for the importance of quality is our daily responsibility. We can explain what modern quality is. We can help others understand the remarkable opportunity for quality to make the world a better place. Just think–better education, healthcare, government, and communities. More competitive and innovative manufacturers. And more efficient and effective services. I see the lights go on. I see people excited by my passion for quality. I respond to people’s interest in knowing more. And one by one, the quality community grows.

If the 21st Century is going to be the century of quality, as Dr. Juran prophesized, those who understand have to raise their voice any time and any place they have a chance. It’s a calling and a calling that has no downsides. There’s no argument against quality that isn’t overcome be replacing misperceptions and old notions.

So in November raise your voice for quality. Every day. Make a point of it. I bet you’ll enjoy it. And when December 1 rolls around, you don’t have to stop. The biggest barrier quality faces is making people understand that excellence just doesn’t happen. Excellence isn’t good intent. Through quality, excellence is available to everyone.

In November, Quality Progress has put the spotlight on 40 Under 40. Forty young professionals who are passionate about quality. They’re making a difference in their workplaces, and in their communities. They have a lifetime of raising the voice ahead of them. Take a look at the story.

Here’s what I noticed: This group is excited about the future. Quality is global. Quality is reaching into every sector of the economy. Quality has a smile and brightness, and a shared vision for what the future may hold. If these 40 reach 40, and those 40 reach 40, we have a chance. But everyone one of us needs to join the effort. This is no time to sit on the sideline, assuming someone else will do the job for us.

When you see the light go on, don’t be shy about letting them know that the world is full of organizations dedicated to quality. Organizations create networks, provide information, and share remarkable quality success stories. Point colleagues and friends to ASQ.org or the World Quality Month website.

If you’re already an ASQ member, you have the opportunity in November to give the gift of a six-month, complimentary ASQ membership to someone. Most of us are members because someone told us about ASQ. I joined ASQ six years before I became an employee. Why? Because a heard a vice president of manufacturing explain why quality, over any other issue of the day, had the ability to drive improved competitiveness. And I wanted to know more. He suggested I take a look at ASQC (at the time)–I did and I joined. He, quality, and ASQ, changed my life. But only because he raised his voice.

This month, I invite you to reflect on how you raise your voice. Maybe you’ve told a colleague about ASQ. Maybe you gave the gift of an ASQ membership. Maybe you mentored a quality “newbie”–who could very well join our 40 Under 40 in the coming years. Maybe you organized a World Quality Month event in your company. Let me know on your blog or in the comments.

As we celebrate what is now World Quality Month,* I think of an IBM ad from long ago–“Here’s to National Quality Month and Eleven More Just Like It!”

Hear hear! And congratulations to our first 40 Under 40!

*just as an fyi: Formerly, National Quality Month was celebrated in October. ASQ wanted to build on the growing relevance of quality on a global scale. November had World Quality Day and we felt that the momentum around this day on a global scale allowed us to transition the month from October to November.