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Quality Quotes

Every weekday, ASQ features a different one-sentence take on the world of quality. 

If you have a favorite Quality Quote of your own, email it to us for consideration. Due to the number of submissions that ASQ receives, and in the interests of featuring a variety of voices, please limit your quotes to one per person per quarter.

Week of September 18

Wednesday, September 20: "Fear is the primary block to creativity." Ernst & Young

Tuesday, September 19: "World-class leaders work for their people." Chang, Labovitz, and Rosansky, Quality Authors

Monday, September 18: "Quality without production or service does not exist, and production or service without quality has no value." Wasi Asghar, Suminter India Organics

Week of September 11

Friday, September 15: "A leader is a dealer in hope." Napoleon Bonaparte

Thursday, September 14: "First-rate people hire first-rate people; second-rate people hire third-rate people." Leo Rosten, Writer

Wednesday, September 13: "The leader must have infectious optimism." Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery

Tuesday, September 12: "Come with ten, leave with ten (fingers and toes)." Larry Roberts, Quality Control Manager, CMC Howell Metal

Monday, September 11: "Efficient management without effective leadership is, as one individual has phrased it, 'like straightening deck chairs on the Titanic.'" Stephen Covey

Week of September 4

Friday, September 8: "Organizations are to be sailed rather than driven." James March

Thursday, September 7: "If you don't generate excitement, you don't generate much." Bill Marriott

Wednesday, September 6: "The quality journey starts with commitment and ends in empowerment." Kathavarayan Raju, Head of Quality-Subsea Projects & Products APAC

Tuesday, September 5: "The fact that the captain of the ship can clearly see the port is of no use if the crew continues to paddle in different directions." Townsend and Gebhardt

Monday, September 4: Labor Day Holiday (United States)

Week of August 28

Friday, September 1: "Man will err while yet he strives." Goethe

Thursday, August 31: "Poor quality is like a disease. Identifying and treating it early is better than facing the consequences later." Rafiq Darji, construction and materials engineer, US Department of Transportation

Wednesday, August 30: "Everyone in the company is the CEO's customer." Frederick W. Smith, CEO, FedEx

Tuesday, August 29: "There are no simple tricks for eliminating blame. You simply must stop doing it." Juran Institute, Inc.

Monday, August 28: "There is little chance that your customers will be excited about your products or services unless your workers are." Ernst & Young

Week of August 21

Friday, August 25: "I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward." Thomas Edison

Thursday, August 24: "The economic losses from fear are appalling. To assure better quality and productivity, it is necessary that people feel secure." Mary Walton

Wednesday, August 23: "Secrecy, censorship, dishonesty, and blocking of communication threatens all the basic needs." Abraham Maslow, Psychologist

Tuesday, August 22: "If the problem is vague and unobservable, the same will be true for the solution." Plsek and Onnias

Monday, August 21: "Chance is a word devoid of sense; nothing can exist without a cause." Voltaire.

Week of August 14

Friday, August 18: "Ideals and Standards - Actual Conditions = Problems." Sigeru Nakamura

Thursday, August 17: "For there are few things as useless—if not as dangerous—as the right answer to the wrong question." Peter Drucker, Quality Innovator

Wednesday, August 16: "No accomplishment is small unless we put a material value to it. No contribution is small unless we seek credit for it". Govind Ramu, Senior Director Global QMS, SunPower Corporation

Tuesday, August 15: "A problem well-defined is a problem half-solved." Anonymous

Monday, August 14: "The easy way out usually leads back in." Peter Senge, Senior Lecturer in Leadership and Sustainability at MIT Sloan School of Management

Week of August 7

Friday, August 11: "Not being able to see any problem is itself a problem." Shigeru Mizuno, Training Content Developer

Thursday, August 10: "Life is a continual problem-solving process." Katsuya Hosotani, Author

Wednesday, August 9: "Mediocrity is the result when fear of failure permeates an organization." William Scherkenbach, Quality Consultant

Tuesday, August 8: "You could use the handle of a screwdriver to hammer a nail, but the best tool to use is a hammer.” Shigeru Nakamura

Monday, August 7: “Where there is no standard, there can be no kaizen.” Taiichi Ohno, Creator of the Toyota Production System

Week of July 31

Friday, August 4: "Unless you change the process, the outcome will remain the same." Gary Malcolm, Quality Manager, KSM Industries, Inc.

Thursday, August 3: "Once in a while you come up with something for which there is no solution. Then you make a judgment and accept the situation, and life goes on. Count on one or two per career." Philip Crosby, Quality Guru

Wednesday, August 2: "It is time to stop perpetuating the myth of simplicity. The system of organization invented by mankind generates complex problems that cannot be solved by simple solutions." Ralph H. Kilmann, Author

Tuesday, August 1: "You need the ability to fail. You cannot innovate unless you are willing to accept mistakes." Charles Knight, Chairman Emeritus, Emerson Electric

Monday, July 31: "Nothing is so much to be feared as fear." Henry David Thoreau, Poet, Essayist, and Philosopher

Week of July 24

Thursday, July 27: "It may be said that those who succeed in problem-solving in quality control are those who succeed in making a useful cause-and-effect diagram." Hitoshi Kume, Author

Thursday, July 27: "Quality is an asset—not a cost or afterthought; it is insurance that the product will meet the customer's true needs with uninterrupted delivery and ample performance." Bill Minckler, Program and Project Portfolio Management, State of Ohio Job and Family Services

Wednesday, July 26: "A 'problem' is the gap between the existing situation and the ideal situation or objective." Katsuya Hosotani, Author

Tuesday, July 25: "Bad quality acts like a boomerang. It will eventually come back and hit you." Paul Tang, Quality and Project Manager

Monday, July 24: "Ignorance never settles a question." Benjamin Disraeli, Former British Prime Minister

Week of July 17

Friday, July 21: "If we can really understand the problem, the answer will come out of it, because the answer is not separate from the problem." Jiddu Krishnamurti, Philosopher

Thursday, July 20: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana, Philosopher

Wednesday, July 19: "He is always right who suspects that he makes mistakes." Spanish proverb

Tuesday, July 18: "The way we see the problem is the problem." Steven Covey, Author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Monday, July 17: "Brainstorming: The act of speaking before thinking." Capezio and Morehouse, Quality Authors

Week of July 10

Friday, July 14: "The rightness or wrongness of an intuition is finally decided not by intuition itself but by the usual method of proof." Jerome S. Bruner, Educational Psychologist

Thursday, July 13: "There is no learning without mistakes." Mary Walton, American Inventor

Wednesday, July 12: "How many 'fixes' backfire because the assumptions on which the fix was based turn out to be false?" Murgatroyd and Morgan, Authors

Tuesday, July 11: "The more complex the task, the better it serves as preparation for a more complicated task the next time. One puzzle leads to another." Robert B. Reich, Political Commentator, Professor, and Author

Monday, July 10: "There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer." Peter Drucker, Quality Management Guru

Week of July 3

Friday, July 7: "Leadership is a transfer of belief." Jon Gordon, Author

Thursday, July 6: "If you don't fail some of the time, you're not trying." Thomas J. Peters, Author of In Search of Excellence

Wednesday, July 5: "While pursuing quality, design for routine and prepare for adventure." Haim Berman, A Voice for Quality

Tuesday, July 4: United States Holiday

Monday, July 3: "For every complex question there is a simple answer, and it is wrong." H. L. Mencken, Journalist

Week of June 26

Friday, June 30: "The worst thing a person can do is to ignore or cover up a problem." Masaaki Imai, Kaizen Pioneer

Thursday, June 29: "The true creator is necessity, which is the mother of our invention." Plato, Greek Philosopher

Wednesday, June 28: "There is no such thing as failure. There are only results." Tony Robbins, Motivational Speaker

Tuesday, June 27: "People do not just buy things, they also buy expectations." Albrecht and Zemke, Authors

Monday, June 26: "The intuitive thinker may even invent or discover problems that the analyst would not. But it may be the analyst who gives these problems the proper formalism." Jerome S. Bruner, Psychologist

Week of June 19

Friday, June 23: "All problems become smaller if, instead of indulging them, you confront them. Touch a thistle timidly and it pricks you; grasp it boldly and its spine crumbles." William S. Halsey, United States Navy

Thursday, June 22: "Failure is the seed of success." Kaoru Ishikawa, Quality Guru

Wednesday, June 21: "The mission of the quality department is to hold back the forces of production until the customer has been prepared." Anonymous

Tuesday, June 20: "If I wasn't making mistakes, I wasn't making decisions." General R.W. Johnson II, Founder of Johnson & Johnson

Monday, June 19: "When the customer says, 'That ain't it,' then that, in fact, ain't it." John Guaspari, Author

Week of June 12

Friday, June 16: "Quality, like anything else worth doing, doesn't just happen. It's not like tomorrow; you can't just wait and it will come to you." H. James Harrington, Author

Thursday, June 15: "The recipe for action should consist of 90 percent substance and 10 percent exhortation." Joseph M. Juran, Forefather of Quality

Wednesday, June 14: "Progress is impossible without the ability to admit mistakes." Masaaki Imai, Kaizen Pioneer

Tuesday, June 13: "Energy and persistence conquer all things." Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father of the United States

Monday, June 12: "The first faults are theirs that commit them; the second faults are theirs that permit them." Thomas Fuller, Historian

Week of June 5

Thursday, June 8: "Mistakes live in the neighborhood of truth and therefore delude us." Rabindranath Tagor, Author

Wednesday, June 7: “Many people who could not give their best because they were denied the opportunity. We must harness the capabilities of each person to encourage organizational success.” Ramesh Lohia and Pavan Lohia, Consultants, iSixSigmaKaizen

Tuesday, June 6: "Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises." Samuel Butler, Author

Monday, June 5: "Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes." Oscar Wilde, Playwright

Week of May 29

Friday, June 2: "Take away the cause, and the effect ceases." - Cervantes, Writer

Thursday, June 1: "A mistake is an event, the full benefit of which has not yet been turned to your advantage." - Ed Land, Founder of Polaroid

Wednesday, May 31: "Fear is a bad guardian for a thing that ought to last." - Cicero, Roman Politician

Tuesday, May 30: "I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who." - Rudyard Kipling, Poet

Monday, May 29: Memorial Day (United States)

Week of May 22

Friday, May 26: "True problem solving is impossible with the type of behavior that tries to shift the responsibility on to others." - Katsuya Hosotani, Author

Thursday, May 25: "Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas." (Fortunate who was able to know the causes of things.) - Virgil, Poet

Wednesday, May 24: "Nothing has the power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematically and truly all that comes under thy observation in life." - Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor

Tuesday, May 23: "To truly appreciate the value of Quality, first make Quality a value. - Eleke Ukpabi 

Monday, May 22: "What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not been discovered." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Week of May 15

Friday, May 19: "Vision is the art of seeing things invisible." -Jonathan Swift

Thursday, May 18: "Achieving quality is difficult. If it weren't, more people would do it, and they don't, so it is." -John Guaspari

Wednesday, May 17: "The journey toward excellence is a never-ending road. Some people, because they see no end to their road, never take the first step." - H. James Harrington

Tuesday, May 16: "It is our experience that, 90 percent of the time, what passes for commitment is compliance." - Peter Senge

Monday, May 15: "If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail." - Abraham H. Maslow

Week of May 8

Friday, May 12: "It is the first duty of a hypothesis to be intelligible." - Thomas Huxley

Thursday, May 11: "You can choose one of these quality systems or another option or have it chosen for you, but you cannot choose not to have a quality system." - Steven George

Wednesday, May 10: "It is in general more profitable to reckon up our defects than to boast of our attainments." - Thomas Carlyle

Tuesday, May 9: "The road to continuous improvement is and must be an appropriately tailored, optimized, and personal one." - V. Daniel Hunt.

Monday, May 8: "Rewarding those who successfully fight quality fires but do not eliminate the root causes encourages arson." - Phil Scott, director, quality assurance, Chemring Energetic Devices

Week of May 1

Friday, May 5: "There are some remedies worse than the disease." - Publilius Syrus

Thursday, May 4: "Today's problems come from yesterday's "solutions."" - Peter Senge

Wednesday, May 3: "Quality is simple; people are complicated." - Harry Forsha

Tuesday, May 2: "To be effective, strategic management must be used as a tool – a means to an end – and not as the goal itself." - A. Blanton Godfrey

Monday, May 1: "There is never a shortage of challenges for people in industry." - Ronald G. Day

Week of April 24

Friday, April 28: "It is better to light one candle than curse the darkness." - Christopher Society motto

Thursday, April 27: "Beauty is no quality in things themselves. It exists merely in the mind which contemplates them." - David Hume

Wednesday, April 26: "Slogans, posters on the wall, appearances in company videos and at occasional in-house quality award ceremonies are always impersonal and inadequate." - Allan Sayle

Tuesday, April 25: "Well begun is half done." - Horace

Monday, April 24: "Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least." - Goethe

Week of April 17

Friday, April 21: "A popular saying goes, "It isn't that they can't see the solution. It is that they can't see the problem." But solutions you don't see, you have to find. That's why we have quality engineers." - Zaheer Babar Khan

Thursday, April 20: "For every problem there is a solution: simple, neat, and wrong." - Mobil Oil Company

Wednesday, April 19: "Overreliance on experience, intuition, and gut feeling is a surefire way of increasing waste." - Katsuya Hosotani

Tuesday, April 18: "Cause and effect are two sides of one fact." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, April 17: "Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion." - Hegel

Week of April 10

Friday, April 14: "It's not what the vision is, it's what the vision does." - Robert Fritz

Thursday, April 13: "We believe a passion for excellence also carries a price, and we state it simply: the adventure of excellence is not for the faint of heart." - Peters and Austin

Wednesday, April 12: "That's what life is all about—timing." - Lee Iacocca

Tuesday, April 11: "Make sure you generate a reasonable number of mistakes." - Fletcher Byrom

Monday, April 10: "The wisest of the wise may err." - Aeschylus

Week of April 3

Friday, April 7: "Performance improvement claims in the absence of substantive, objective metrics are little more than expressions of opinion." - Jeff Donaldson, The Logistics Company, Inc.

Thursday, April 6: "It is the true nature of mankind to learn from mistakes, not from example." - Fred Hoyle

Wednesday, April 5: "Quality—you can choose to take it or leave it, but the market will find ways to reciprocate." - Abhijit B. Mepadan, lean engineer, ASQ CSSBB

Tuesday, April 4: "Nobody yields to force unless he is forced to." - Bertolt Brecht

Monday, April 3: "Organizational excellence is not about the management of quality. It is about the quality of management." Haim Berman, A Voice for Quality

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