Sunday, January 21, 2007

Curious about Quality: How Much Does It Mean to You? When Choosing, Buying, Giving, Reading, Learning or Experiencing?

You can't fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal.” - William S. Burroughs, American writer

The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.” - Vince Lombardi, American coach

I chose quality for this week’s theme because the word and idea of quality kept popping up in the books I have been reading and listening to. One included the quality of relationships. Another the quality of ideas. And a third the quality of products and procedures.

I started thinking seriously about the quality of my relationships and my life. I am thrilled with both areas. And yet, I do feel that we can always improve, add more quality to every project, help more people get more of what they want and pursue quality in every corner we touch. I am revisiting the details of my days and checking out where I can add more quality in every area.

How about you? Are you pleased with the quality you encounter around you and in your life? What areas are great and which could be better?

I was overwhelmed by the number and scope of quotations dealing with quality that I found. Some are serious and offer warnings. Others are instructive. And then there are those with a touch of humor. So, here goes!

Let’s start with some general thoughts from the experts:
  • We always felt that if you do something with quality and integrity, then it's going to come back to you.” - Herb Alpert, American musician
  • Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.” - Henry Ford, American businessman
  • Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort.” - John Ruskin, English writer
  • The quality, not the longevity, of one's life is what is important.” - Martin Luther King, Jr., American leader
  • Commit yourself to quality from day one... it's better to do nothing at all than to do something badly.” - Mark McCormack, American businessman
  • It is quality rather than quantity that matters.” - Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman statesman

And, then there are those who define the meaning more fully:

  • The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.” - Dwight D. Eisenhower, American President
  • Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected.” - Steve Jobs, American businessman
  • Education is the process in which we discover that learning adds quality to our lives. Learning must be experienced.” - William Glasser, American psychologist
  • Almost all quality improvement comes via simplification of design, manufacturing... layout, processes, and procedures.” - Tom Peters, American businessman
  • The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.” - Sun Tzu, Chinese philosopher

Ah! And then the tweaks, twists and an addition of a bit of humor:

  • There is, indeed, no single quality of the cat that man could not emulate to his advantage.” - Carl Van Vechten, American writer
  • Wisdom is the quality that keeps you from getting into situations where you need it.” - Doug Larson, American cartoonist
  • Mankind: A quality of life upgrade is available to each and every one of you. It should give you a quality of life upgrade, which means no drugs, no alcohol, no fast food - unless, of course, it's a mallard.” - Ted Nugent, American musician
  • I think there is only one quality worse than hardness of heart and that is softness of head.” - Theodore Roosevelt, American President
  • The appreciative smile, the chuckle, the soundless mirth, so important to the success of comedy, cannot be understood unless one sits among the audience and feels the warmth created by the quality of laughter that the audience takes home with it.” - James Thurber, American comedian

So what do you feel after reading this far? I would love to get some of your feedback on this useful area of our lives.

Think of me this coming week as you consider the following thoughts:

  • Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting in a particular way.” - Aristotle, Greek philosopher
  • Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.” - Booker T. Washington, American educator
  • Men should be judged not by their tint of skin, the gods they serve, the vintage they drink, nor by the way they fight, or love, or sin, but by the quality of the thought they think.” - Adela Florence Nicolson - English poet