When the Going Gets Tough
The case for quality, in uncertain times
Lately, it seems as if challenging U.S. economic conditions have transcended the often less palpable, big picture trends—including record foreclosure rates and dismal stock market reports—and have hit closer to home.
During a recent visit to my doctor, she and I talked about the high cost of health insurance and increasingly large deductibles. She mentioned that the number of patients coming through her office doors had dropped precipitously in recent months, something she could only attribute to the economy.
One friend, a hairstylist, said her business had hit a major slump. She worried that her salon might even go under. Again, nothing had changed but the economic climate—people’s pocketbooks appear to be on lockdown.
My observations, of course, are anecdotal, but I suspect these accounts aren’t isolated. Times are tough, and everyone is feeling it now, if they haven’t already. Gas prices, healthcare costs, and even the price of groceries are skyrocketing. Job security is the last thing we want to have to worry about, but today, it’s a looming concern.
I’ve heard readers lament that quality jobs are the first to go when tough economic times hit, and that is sometimes the case. In recent weeks, I’ve heard from readers about the layoffs and job cuts they’re experiencing.
That said, even as companies hunker down in the face of economic threats, quality has never been more important. I know that. You know that. But do company leaders?
I hope a couple of this month’s articles will help you make your case for quality, especially when the going gets tough:
Quality guru A.V. Feigenbaum wrote the cover story, "Raising the Bar," explaining how, in a global economy, savvy business leaders must measure and manage for quality. Just as important, they must account for business failure costs to ensure future solvency—and to maintain a foothold in a volatile marketplace.
"This allows leading companies to achieve genuine cost management and true cost leadership with their products and services compared to their competitors who are less focused on the value associated with quality," Feigenbaum writes.
Similarly, in "Blurred Vision," author Douglas Wood debunks eight myths about quality’s role in business.
"Why does the disconnect among costs, quality and business persist?" Wood asks. He then offers salient arguments to refute these perennial misconceptions.
Finally, the Career Corner column tackles the topic of finding a job in a recession.