Managers who want quality from their workforce need to hold themselves to the same high standards of quality. To borrow an old saying, “What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander” – or it should be.
You see, in the quest for total quality and continuous improvement, many managers forget about the role that they themselves play in bringing these things about. They don’t see the baggage they bring to work every day, but expect their employees to be totally focused on their jobs. Or they announce a new corporate ethic, but continue to behave as they always have because they don’t really think the new standard applies to them – or worse yet, they think their behavior already is in line with the corporate ethic.
There is no doubt about it. The companies showing the others how it’s done are characterized by management that is more receptive to change and more receptive to new ideas. The companies that will lead us into the future are the ones led by men and women who can do what is currently considered unusual, and do it comfortably.
They are risk-takers in their personal as well as professional lives and they see themselves – intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, economically – as experiments in continuous improvement. In other words, they are always “Under Construction” and they walk the talk.
In organizations, change typically starts at the top, but it can also be stopped there unless management makes a sincere effort to take its own standards of excellence to heart. What can you do as a manager, as an executive, as an employee, or as an owner to encourage continuous improvement?