In search of quality

Last week, I decided to repaint the inside of my home. Walls, trim, doors — the whole shebang. The original paint job was very poorly done (by a “professional” painter), and 3 years of looking at all the blemishes finally took its toll.

As I was applying a coat of semi-gloss to my dining room window trim this morning, the topic of quality kept popping into my head. Is good quality work harder to find because people don’t have the skills or commitment of generations past, or have we lowered our standards to accept mediocrity in exchange for discount pricing?

Quality still matters
The answer is probably a little of both. Still, boosting the quality of your product or service can give you a valuable edge and help you stand out from the crowd.

The U.S. government recognized this when it established The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in the 1980s. Its goal, to promote the importance of excellence in an ever-competitive global marketplace, stresses that quality is a necessity, not an option.

Past recipients of the Baldrige Award include Boeing, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Cadillac, IBM, Federal Express, Motorola, and the City of Irving, Texas. Pretty good company.

Personal Quality
Producing good quality benefits individuals, too, both on the job and in our personal lives. Your boss will quickly learn to rely on you to produce quality work, while family and friends certainly notice a well-kept lawn, clean car, and home-made meals.

Easier said than done? Maybe. But start with making a commitment to quality and see where that leads. I suspect you’ll catch yourself paying more attention to your work and taking a bit more time to get something just right. People will notice, and you’ll feel a sense of pride.

As for my painting, I have a second coat waiting to be done.

Your thoughts on the topic?

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