In today's economy, things move very fast. Competing companies race to be the first to market with the latest trend, gadget, or technology. People fight with others to be the first foot in the door in the job market. At our jobs, we work long hours and rush to get things done, sometimes sacrificing quality for quantity or speed.
While speed may be good in some situations, in others it can cause missteps and disastrous results. This is especially true in our careers and we see it all the time. Doctors rushing about or working long hours and causing health mistakes and even death; programmers pushing a release out the door that creates more operational issues or security holes than it fixes; or retail and fast-food workers speeding customers through the line without properly checking if a credit or debit card is truly theirs, potentially causing loss to customers, the store, and banks and credit card companies.
The reasons for moving too quickly are numerous: improper planning, inadequate or impossible expectations to fill an order or meet a goal in a given amount of time; not enough people to complete the amount of work; or for our own personal reasons, we're late to the next thing vying for our time.
People and companies seem to have forgotten that instead of quantity or speed, we should be focusing on quality, which sometimes mean slowing down and doing it right. Think about it this way: two companies provide a smartphone app. Company A's App is cutting edge with all the bells and whistles, but only works half of the time. Company B's App doesn't include all of the options, but it does what customers need it to on a regular basis. A creative idea alone isn't enough to get a customer's attention. They have to want what's being offered and it actually has to work and work well.
Companies and their leaders own half of this responsibility by creating a workplace that supports the idea of quality and can deliver on it successfully. This requires such things as proper planning and execution, the right people working on the right things, and enough creative minds to continue to look into the future.
We own the other half of the responsibility and can support or help to change the work environment to be more quality-driven. Stay tuned for part two of this article, which will focus on tips to help create a more quality-centric work environment.