Quality Capsule 21 - Quality Leadership Compass

Lessons from Leaders

Over the past three decades, as a Qualitist, I have had the opportunity to interact with successful leaders in India and neighbouring Asian countries. Each leader has mapped a unique path to World-Class Quality.

However, these same leaders have nurtured and grown some common characteristics. The primary four traits of these successful leaders are:

  • Customer focus
  • Process improvement paradigm
  • Abundance mentality
  • Creative thinking.

For convenience, I call these four traits the components of a Quality Leadership Compass (QLC)

Four Components of QLC

The first component of the QLC is a firm belief that quality is defined by the recipient of one’s output, namely, our customer. Successful leaders develop an obsession for delighting their customers. Through their customer-driven actions, they nurture an organization-wide quality culture.

Process improvement is a leadership philosophy and strategy that aims to dramatically increase the value of one’s offerings to customers. As a paradigm, process improvement can be characterised as being strategic, team based, systematic, aggressive, continuous, cross-functional, customer driven, and involving lower costs.

Leaders with an abundance mentality employ the negotiation principle of win/win. They also adopt the communication principle of seeking first to understand before being understood. In other words, they have benchmark listening skills. These leaders love to share power and profit and recognition.

The fourth component of the QLC is creative thinking. Being creative involves:

  • consistently producing a lot of ideas
  • putting existing new ideas in different combinations
  • breaking an idea down to take a fresh look at its parts
  • making connections between the topic at hand and seemingly unrelated facts, events or observations.

World-class leaders are adept at synergizing left-brain logical thinking with right-brain thinking.

The QLC is a means to reach the organization’s vision.

Additional Reference
World-Class Quality: An Executive Handbook


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