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Monday, January 2, 2017
Reflections on some Crosby Reflections
Happy 2017 to all.
Recently I found a small book entitled
Philip Crosby’s Reflections on Quality written by Philip Crosby himself.It is not a standard Crosby quality book,
is Free.To put this book in
context, when Crosby wrote “Reflections” he was 70 years old; he had long
established his Quality bona-fides.This
was an opportunity for him to reflect on what was the essence of his
message.Most of his reflections are in
the form of aphorisms (short, pithy observations of a general Quality truth),
less than 140 characters. These days this
book could have been a series of tweets.
I have been working on putting
the final changes into our certificate course on laboratory quality management
so I am drawn to Crosby’s “The
problem of Quality Management is not what people don’t know about it. It was
what the think they do know” (108
characters). And I link that to another “The
Quality Improvement process is progressive.One doesn’t just go from awful to wonderful in a single bound.”
Over time we have seen a lot
of laboratories and laboratorians that view Quality Management as the creation
and maintenance of a quality manual.They
see Quality as the creation of an standard operating procedure (SOP) or the creation
of rules around revising documents.Worse,
they view Quality Management as the creation of a “lots of good words” Mission
Statement (for a example of nice words with NO action, see:http://www.medicallaboratoryquality.com/2016/03/cum-minus-facerent-malum.html).
It is not really their
fault.Indeed, many workshops both done
here and abroad were done as “I will teach you how to write SOPs” or “How to
maintain your documents” or “How to write a Mission Statement” without any quality
context.They were done as “cart before
the horse” because they were easy to put together and easy to present; a lot easier
than instilling a workable culture of Quality or a framework of Quality
purpose.All the workshops could be
counted as could all the participants (over the last 3 years we put on 12
workshops and trained 168 people); but to what point?
That was the way quality was taught in the “olden
Today we know better, and the
horse comes first or at least beside.In
our course, and I expect we are NOT unique, we put a lot of time and energy into
the why and context and culture.Today
we spend time and energy promoting replacing old habits with new and better ones.
And that brings me to my
second (maybe my first) favorite Crosby Reflection about the progressive nature of
improvement.Juran and Deming started
going to Japan in the ‘50s but didn’t see tangible evidence of success until
the ‘70s and ‘80s.The PEPFAR program
and the ASLM (see:http://www.medicallaboratoryquality.com/2016/12/a-continent-of-quality-success.html)
started early near 2000, but it took to 2014 to see the first international accreditations.At some point, when the
concept of culture kicks in and if the mentoring is patient, it will all come together.
Success can follow when everyone is both persistent and patient, the true nature and purpose of Quality
can shine through.
UBC Certificate Course for Laboratory Quality
starts January 11, 2017 www.POLQM.ca
Save the Date:October 1-3, 2017
POLQM Fall Conference – Vancouver BC Canada