Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Attributes of Quality folk – chicken or egg?

Attributes of Quality folk – chicken or egg?

Recently I have been reflecting about the people in my world, which is to say people who spend a large part of their working day involved in one form or another of Quality.  Most are focused on one aspect or another of medical laboratory activities including delivery of proficiency testing or accreditation.  Many spend their time teaching the principles and practices, and many more are students.  Some are blog writers or conference organizers.  Some, like me, are university affiliated, most are not.  Probably slightly more than half are women, and as it works out the slightly less than half are men.  Many are Canadians, but they are widely distributed worldwide including the US, Europe, Asia, the middle East, and Africa.  

What I find interesting, now that I am actually reflecting on it, is that they are all (or almost all) very active and engaged in their chosen interest area.  They are all pretty opinionated, and comfortable with openly sharing their opinions with others.  Most have more tact than I do, but few, if any shy away from speaking up.  Many, but certainly not all are actively engaged on their local national level, and on the  international level.  But even those actively engaged at the local local level exude a passion about their work, more evidence they are not of the shy and retiring type.  They are very participatory and pretty ready to jump in to new opportunities, without ever (?) really letting go of the stuff with which they are currently involved.   Given an opportunity to get involved, they are most often the ones with their hands up first.

When the opportunity comes along, which can be often these days, I get the impression that when presented with a questionnaire, or a survey, or a telephone opinion poll, they are usually "consenters" meaning that they agree to participate, but as a group they have an aversion to standard questions, Given the choice, they are more than prepared to comment and include their opinions.  

Some describe these folks as expressing Type A personalities, but I disagree.  When Friedman & Rosenman, the two cardiologists who coined the term based on observations of patients with heart conditions in their waiting room, type A’ers were tense, anxious people always sitting on the edge of their seats, racing the clock, overly competitive, and always just on the edge of anger.    That does not describe my experience with Quality folk.  

Friedman and Rosenman’s Type B folks were calmer, more relaxed and tolerant, with a flair for creativity and imagination, who sat back in their chairs.  That seems  closer, but not quite right.

 But they definitely are not Type C, pathologically nice with suppressed anger and conflict avoidance issues.

Given the three choices, when I look at the Quality folks that I know, I certainly see the creativity and imagination (call that being innovative) with pretty strong tendencies that we see in leaders (like being passionate and being first to volunteer).    

I see this so often, regardless of country or region, the link between being engaged in Quality activities and being innovative leaders seems to be strong and almost definitional, maybe even genetic. 

And so I wonder, does being involved in Quality bring out the relaxed type of leadership and innovation characteristics in people OR does being a Type B  with an interest in leadership and innovation drive people to find opportunities in Quality?

So which comes first, the chicken or the egg?

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