Champions of Quality: The New Breed

Article

Phillips-Donaldson, Debbie   (2001, ASQ)   ASQ

Quality Progress    Vol. 34    No. 11
QICID: 15187    November 2001    pp. 35-39
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Article Abstract

Joseph M. Juran notes that champions, or sponsors, leading specific improvement projects taken on by quality councils provide project teams direct access to a high level in the organization's hierarchy. Six Sigma has its own version of a Champion, defined as the focal point of organizational support. Earlier this year, ASQ surveyed its Fellows for input on current and upcoming champions of quality. Offered a choice of six attributes that define a champion of quality, a substantial majority of respondents said such a person advances the entire field of quality, not just his or her organization or career. Leadership qualities were also high on the list. Leading quality gurus' definitions stress both the hard and soft sides of quality. "If you only take care of people but don't use technology and statistics, you can get to only 90% error free," says Philip Stein. "Likewise, if you only use technology and statistics and don't take care of the people, you can get stuck at 90%." Asked if champions of quality typically hold positions at the executive level, survey respondents came back with a resounding "no." Most believed champions can hold any position in the organization, as long as they have the ability to sell the importance of change in the organization. While the term "leader" was frequently use when talking about champions, some see an even higher calling of inspiring commitment in others. While many respondents believed the challenges of today's economy make champions of quality more important than ever, a sidebar article cites reasons many felt could prevent new champions from emerging.

Keywords

Empowerment,Leadership,Surveys,Quality management (QM),Quality philosophy,Quality awareness


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