Quality Gets Personal

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

The author of this month’s cover story leads off with the adage, appropriate for an article that draws a cogent parallel between process improvement applied to quality and good health.

Process improvement as part of a physical health and fitness plan works similarly to how those same concepts and tools are applied in business. Setting SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) goals, measuring progress, modifying inputs and tweaking processes all help lead to the desired results—dropping 15 pounds or finishing a 10K race, for example.

Implementing good behaviors before problems crop up is a vital component of good health. Jean Harvey’s article, titled “Exercise a Process Improvement Approach for Your Own Personal Wellness,” (p. 18) includes a sidebar in which the author describes diabetes as a complex process control problem (CPCP). And, like with any CPCP, steps can be taken to prevent unwanted outcomes—in this case symptoms, or worse.

So, suppose you reach your fitness goal. In fact, you’ve lost 20 pounds. Now what? Once you make healthy lifestyle changes, your focus needs to shift to maintenance. Another QP article can help with that. Turn to p. 25 for “Eight Steps to Maintain Change,” by John R. Schultz. He details an eight-step action plan for implementing and sustaining change.

We all know how difficult it can be to muster the will, energy and ambition needed to exercise and eat well. Quality professionals are one step ahead—you possess the tools and knowledge to plan the activities and manage the processes that produce the intended results.

The author of the cover story also includes a handy “Getting Started” plan in his article. And, looking forward to the deleterious effects of Thanksgiving pumpkin pie and other holiday goodies on your usually (right?) healthful personal processes (and waistline), there’s no time like the present to take the author’s advice—and run with it.

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