QoL – Quality Management in the Context of Life… and How it Applies to Business

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I often think about how quality management system disciplines translate into my personal life, and the default need to apply standardized mechanisms to drive quality. This thought usually manifests in the form of routines, set protocols, and assessment of the outputs in the filtered view applicable: to my day, week, month, etc. As the thought depth of applicability deepens, I step back and ponder my standardized life operations… “Can applying workflows, requirements, and objectives, and the utter mundanity that is inevitably delivered, be the key to Quality of Life (QoL)?”

Quality Management’s Influence On Your Quality Of Life

Here’s how this typically manifests in my thought landscape: defined start and stop times to activities within the timeline view, strategic sequence of interactions aligned with timeline view objectives, and evaluation of my outputs. Heartbreaking monotony. Add to that my reasonable obsession with KPIs and metrics, and the extensive data I could aggregate, I don’t see much room for improvement, let alone a healthy QoL.

The complexity of life shadows even the most complex of modern business constructs. I’d say there are nearly infinite filter views to apply to life of one individual: modes, short- and long-term goals, emotional intelligence, etc., all with combination views and subsets of filters. I’d like to think that, if I understand, or actively pursue comprehension, of my desirable life outputs that I’d be able to apply Strategic Quality Planning and other quality management discipline modes to optimize my QoL. Maybe I’d just like to optically view life in the same manner as quality within organizations.

“The complexity of life shadows even the most complex of modern business constructs.”

My view of designing and implementing quality management systems as an underpinning driver to my life has evolved since I began writing this. Assessing if “getting stuck in the weeds” brings value and whether or not a different perspective is warranted has allowed me to step back for a broad view. Not to say I’ve eliminated any filters, nor have I tangibly defined objective strategy to “unlock the door”… not by a long shot.

This shift, however, has brought a certain clarity and release of the (debilitating?) need to assess every piece and build up. It has provided fluidity. I believe part of my view on Quality Management, and any management system construct or discipline, was built from a ground-up mentality. I am a firm advocate of inverted or horizontal hierarchal management structures, maybe because this correlates strongly with my professional trajectory, but mostly because I believe empowerment of all levels is critical.

If all pillars of a structure are critical and should be cared for, which takes precedence? I’m not in a position to define that, nor do I believe it can be defined, but I will propose the following: my objectives and internal directives should be the criteria against which I assess the efficacy of my steps, and which ultimately establish my roadmap. Reduction of waste, in terms of what I choose to evaluate and critique, should be contingent on the value of QoL improvement I achieve, and nothing more.

“My intention is not to degrade these standards, but to pose these questions: why are you measuring these? Do they bring you value? How do these measurables support meaningful improvement?”

Minute measurables are easy to get stuck in and offer quick assessment and critique, especially when they are widely present in comparisons. This is no different than within an organizational context: on-time delivery, % of quality defects, etc. My intention is not to degrade these standards, but to pose these questions: why are you measuring these? Do they bring you value? How do these measurables support meaningful improvement? I would actually pose consideration of these questions with all KPIs and metrics.

There are times when quality is driven by functions within an organization, and while they can adequately implement within the context of their responsibility and operations, there is a lack of alignment as a whole. Regardless of if quality management is being pushed by critical operational functions or pulled by high-level objectives, if there is no clear coherence and alignment throughout, even if the direction or objectives will adjust in a month, it is my humble opinion that quality is unsustainable. Fluidity, agility, and the ability to pivot as external factors evolve is key for modern business models, and there is no room for fragmented functions, departments, or organizations.

Quality, along with all disciplines, should pivot with the organization as inevitable directional shift occurs. If quality management functions are engineered and implemented without appropriation to context, they will struggle to bring value, and as shifts occur, they will almost surely disintegrate, being dragged along as dead weight.

As I pursue this topic further and attempt to relate it to QoL context, I feel I should close the loop. I look to define the requirements that indicate a healthy QoL, with full expectation that they will be re-established, and ensure that my quality functions are deployed against meeting them as appropriate. I hope this may have sparked something in you, whether it’s in the Context of Business, or Context of Life.

To learn more about Alex Lackey click here.

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