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April 2011


Jennifer Stepniowski

Quality Inspiration: Six Quality Quotes for You to Consider

by Jennifer Stepniowski
Special Project Manager, Pro QC International

I enjoy insightful prose...I enjoy reading it, thinking about it and sharing it with others. I think memorialized words of wisdom from others not only define the originator, but they also contribute to our individualism.

A few months ago, I was curious to know more about the words of wisdom that define the quality community. I reached out in the American Society for Quality's LinkedIn Group asking for personal favorites and have since enjoyed reading over 700 posts!

I often revisit the posts in the LinkedIn discussion and wasn't surprised to note that a handful of quotations surfaced the most frequently. Interestingly, they are the same nuggets of insight that I see tweeted the most often as well. And when you segregate the top trending occurrences, you gain a great deal of insight into the quality industry, from within the quality industry. For example:

"Quality is not an act. It is a habit." - Aristotle

Aristotle's fourth century insight into quality is certainly among the most frequently cited. And if a habit is considered no more than repetitive action, it's obvious why so many quality professionals connect with this idea and seek to educate others with it. As straightforward and intuitive as it may seem, many companies fail to carry out perfectly good quality initiatives either because they've resolved the immediate concern(s) or because results aren't happening quickly enough. Balancing short-term results with long-term objectives is certainly no easy task. Aristotle is quite progressive for his time if you consider his focus on redundancy. And if you incorporate the significance of metrics, you've got a successful paradigm.

"Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives" - William A. Foster

I recall this as one of the first quality inspired quotations I came across after entering the industry. Seeing it so often, I started to get curious about who William A. Foster is/was. It turns out there's quite an air of mystery regarding who this declaration can actually be attributed to.

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