A lot can be learned about business and life in general when you truly understand “Quality”.
The human body and the wonders of running serve as a great example. In running, you combine a mixture of long runs, intervals, fartlek (continuous running with bursts of speed and recovery jogs), and slow recovery runs to reach your running peak.
Good runners understand that if you go “too” hard in one session, you won’t recover in time for your next training session. You risk injury. You risk breaking down. And real quality improvements only come from consistency. But even the consistency must be heavily focussed on quality each and every day.
In business, pushing salespeople too hard, not maintaining equipment as per the maintenance schedule, overloading workers with stress means the fibres of the muscles that drive the momentum are going to snap. And when they snap, all the momentum gained is lost as people (businesses) need to start again from point zero.
Now, point zero doesn’t mean complete zero. It means you are back to where you were 6 months ago maybe.
Either way, the subtleties around quality make for an intriguing discussion. Few people stop to consider what quality really is in business these days. It sure as hell doesn’t mean what it used to.
You can have quality systems and a mediocre product and be enormously successful. McDonald’s have prospered with this model for years. Their food is (in my opinion) bland, cardboard and without doubt lacking nutritional value – but their systems appeal to people in the millions. If you’re starving hungry and want to eat something in 30 seconds that will taste exactly the same every time you eat it – you can’t beat McDonald’s. The reason they win the fast food game, is because no one is FASTER!
Brooks Running produce one of the most comfortable running shoes. It’s super light which means fast! It’s the same ballpark price as all other shoes. And to be honest, the PureConnect shoe (which I own) is a horrendous bright orange that goes with no other piece of clothing you will own. But when you’ve got a shoe that performs so well from day one, no blisters, no breaking it in, just slip it on and run – you satisfy the quality most important in a running shoe… feel. First across the line looks good in any colour.
Google themselves cleaned up their Adwords system with a Quality Score. An unpublished system of algorithms designed to get advertisers to hone in on relevant factors that improved the quality of the experience for the end user.
Be clear about the quality factor you bring to the marketplace. The funny paradox to all of this is people no longer care if you tell the world your product or service is of the highest quality. What does that mean anyway? It’s so fluffy. Specific quality factors in the area that mean the most to people improving their lives is what influencers buying behaviours. And like Google, it must be relevant.
There are many factors to Quality. Many of which no one talks about anymore in terms of quality because the idea of quality itself is dying. All products are basically of good quality or the business would die. It’s the differentiating qualities behind the scenes, the ingredients that go into the cake that no one can see, the efforts made throughout the day by workers who never get noticed, the running drills by an athlete who gets abused on the roads by car drivers, but celebrated by the same people when they represent their country on TV – these are the quality factors you need to bring to the table every day. Because in the end, if you’re outstanding at something, you’ll get noticed.
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