Put Your Personal Stamp On Your Quality

“My job is a challenge to my personal discipline, to my integrity. I put my spirit, my soul into this product. If you do it perfectly every time, you are teaching yourself excellence.” These are not the words of a corporate executive or a company owner. Nor are they taken from an organization's mission statement. They were spoken by a woman named Hwang, who works for the Samsung Corporation in Korea. She does not have a high-ranking position in the company. Her job is to attach serial-number plates and brand-name labels to Samsung microwave ovens. As her words indicate, Hwang does not only put her company's “signature” on each product. She puts her personal signature on her work. That's evident by the quality she puts in every aspect of her work.

Your work is important; it is a critical part of a big picture. When you strive for excellence in even the smallest things you do each day, you do your part to make your company better. When you put your personal signature behind everything you do, you are, in effect, giving your work your personal guarantee. You show you stand behind your work. This sense of commitment determines, more than anything else, how people perceive your personal quality.

But your commitment must extend beyond yourself. Just as the quality of your organization is determined in part by the level of your personal quality, so is your quality affected by the level of other people's quality. And you contribute directly to raising the quality level of those around you by demanding a high level of quality from others as well as yourself.


Don't allow other people to deliver inferior quality. Don't accept quality that does not live up to expectations. If you are not satisfied with the quality of someone else's work, you have a responsibility to say so. Demanding quality is just as important as delivering it. Just ask Hwang.

In what other ways can you put your personal signature on your work? The following suggestions can show you.

Guidelines Important To Peer Appraisals

Expecting quality from your coworkers is an important part of your personal quality initiative, so your company is launching a new peer performance appraisal system. You're on the committee that is developing guidelines for this system and don't know what elements of job performance you should be addressing.

Peer appraisal systems can have an advantage over traditional methods of review. Employees who work side by side often have a better understanding of each other's job functions than a “hands-off” boss would.

However; without some guidance, employees faced with reviewing their coworkers for the first time can find the task daunting. Either they'll “under-analyze” and say the employee does everything “fine,” or they'll “over-criticize” and pick their peer apart. A clear set of job elements on which to rate the employee can help shape your new process. Here are some suggested traits to critique:

1. Dependability and reliability. Does the employee get work done when it was promised in the condition it was promised? Such measurements as tardiness, absenteeism, and missed deadlines are useful in reviewing these traits.

2. Problem-solving skills. A good employee is one who can not only identify problems and weaknesses, but can work out a way to address them. Does the employee complain about inefficient systems and procedures, or does he or she do something to fix them?

3. Commitment to customer service. This skill is important whether you are actually answering customer service phone lines or working on the shop floor. Does the employee think of the customer as someone far removed from his or her job? Or does your coworker keep the customer’s needs in mind during any task?

4. Teamwork skills. No employee can afford to be a “loner” today. A sense of team play should exist throughout your workplace. Is the employee a supporter of working together; or would he or she prefer to be left alone?

5. Quality commitment. How important is quality to this employee, as evidenced by the work produced and the attitude expressed? Every employee should be reviewed on his or her level of support of and involvement in quality initiatives.

Your list will include additional review points, based on what your organization does. Basic job skills haven't been included in this list because it should be assumed that every employee at your company has those basic skills, or he or she wouldn’t be a member of the workforce. If those skills aren't present, management should address the issue.

Peer Review Puts Team's Stamp Of Quality On Every Job

Quality is everyone's business. When you review your peers, you demonstrate that you expect quality from your teammates - the same quality they can expect from you. Employees are closer to each other’s performance than their supervisor. Their thinking was: ‘If were going to work as a team, I want something to say about the performance of other employees.’


Members continually review each other's work. Whenever anyone catches a mistake - no matter how small - they write it down like a ticket. The employee who commits the infraction receives a copy of the ticket, while the original is placed in a box. The tickets are reviewed monthly by the entire team. It's all done in good nature and allows employees to critique one another on an ongoing basis. It makes everyone sharper.

Should peer review be introduced by your company, approach it fairly, honestly, and objectively. Here are two warnings:

1. Don't be an easy grader. You don't want to say, “Since we're going to review each other let's make everyone look good.” In the long run, you might prevent a coworker from obtaining the help he or she needs to address a particular job performance problem.

2. Don't use peer review as a weapon. The process should not be used as a tool of revenge or spite. Remember that if you give a peer an unfairly negative review, he or she can do the same to you.

So, make your review neither too nice nor too harsh, and your team will get the constructive feedback It needs to keep moving forward.

Would You Pass The 'Bone Marrow' Test?

If you thought your test-taking days were long over, think again. Each day, your coworkers, your customers, and your supervisors all quietly measure you and your skills. They test to see how well you solve quality problems, if you know how to listen effectively, if you are able to set reasonable goals, and if you can carry out plans of action.

People are most interested in one particular area – your “bone marrow.”

They are going to see what you're really made of - do you have bone-marrow, deep-down integrity? Do you walk your talk? Do you do what you say you are going to do? Do you earn their trust? Are you comfortable with all that scrutiny directed at you? If not, you need to ask yourself why. What aren't you doing that you should?

Integrity is your most important property. And people earn their reputations for integrity through little things they do every day. It is often the small, but timely, gesture of thanks, the thoughtfulness of follow-through and getting back to someone, or sticking to a principle, even in a relatively unimportant matter, that builds your character and reputation.

Unfortunately, there are some undisciplined people who lack integrity. These are the people who tell their peers one thing and then do another. They are the ones who pad expense reports, take gifts that are too generous from vendors, and otherwise stay slightly sleazy.

Good ethics are good business, and integrity, therefore, is your most important asset. If you fail someday, but you still have your integrity, when you can pick yourself up and get on with it. But if you fall and do not keep your integrity, then you have got some major rebuilding to do.

And don't worry about making mistakes. Get in there and make some decisions and learn from the wrong ones as much as from the right ones. Be sure to be a big enough person to admit that you're learning and that you've made some bad judgments.

When you do that, you give others permission to admit their mistakes and to learn accordingly. That’s important because only organizations with people who are learning are going to be able to survive and prosper into the future.


Back Up Your Work With Personal Guarantees

One way to sign your work is to provide your customers with your personal guarantee. Your “warranty” shows that you have integrity and faith in the services you offer. Providing “free” warranty work can earn your organization a priceless commodity - customer loyalty.

For instance, John Cremer installs residential building products such as roofs, gutters, ceiling fans, and insulation. The San Jose entrepreneur also does plumbing, electrical, heating, and air-conditioning repairs.

Under California law, contractors must furnish a one-year labor warranty for all building work. But Cremer adds a special touch to this service that the law doesn't require. After 11 months, he calls each customer and delivers this message: “We value your business, and your warranty expires next month. Is there any work you need done while it's still under warranty?”

Cremer's other goodwill gambit involves his $50-an-hour labor charge for repair work. If a call is completed in 40 minutes, the technician tells the home owner that he or she still has 20 minutes of service coming and volunteers to do other repairs. After Cremer introduced that policy, business went up by 30 percent.

Don't falsely assume that providing “free” service means that you can give customers what they pay for - nothing. Instead, use it as an opportunity to show your customers that your quality is priceless.

Your Role In Quality

Business basic: If you make a product or provide a service that doesn't measure up to customers' expectations, a competitor will. For companies, that means lost business; for employees, it could mean lost jobs. This hard fact makes quality one of the key issues in today's global marketplace. And quality means taking the initiative to do your job right. Period. Whether you make telephone cords or nuclear submarines, whatever leaves your area must not only conform to specifications, it must also be the best you are capable of producing.

We all know people who take the easy way out and “pass the buck” for poor performance on to others. They blame bad materials, broken machines, accidents, and standards that are too high - or too low. Whatever the excuse, they fail to take responsibility for what they produce. As a result, their work is low quality, which hurts team productivity as well as company profitability.

To keep from passing the buck, take responsibility for every piece of work you produce. If you have a problem with maintaining the quality level, talk to a supervisor and find out where the problem lies. If it's machines or office equipment, fix them. And if the problem is with you, get “fixed” yourself by reviewing your current skills or retraining to build new ones.

With change being the norm in business today, it's smart to constantly seek ways to improve and become a valuable contributor. Sometimes that means going back to basics and brushing up on reading and math skills. Many companies now offer programs to allow employees to learn new skills. Since jobs will become more complex, workers who stay abreast of new technology and procedures will have the best chance of staying competitive.

Teams that are motivated and take charge of their own operations can work miracles.

Quality and productivity are dependent on everyone in the chain doing the best job possible. You, too, can make that commitment.

The Nine C's In Quality

You'll improve your productivity and work standards if you keep in mind the nine C's that comprise on-the-job quality.

These are the C's that will bring out your best:

1. Capability. Do you have the capability to perform your job well? If you don't, you may need more training at work or study at home. New hires may not have sufficient capability because they lack both training and experience. Help them to prove that they can contribute.

2. Confidence. Without confidence, capability is limited. As a person becomes more capable, his or her confidence level should grow. However; that's not always the case. Your leader may assume that you can perform well, but perhaps you don't feel you're ready to go it alone. In time, you will.

3. Challenge. Some employees literally sleep on the job. This is a major problem with work that's routine and presents no challenge. Quality suffers severely. This is also true when employees are given difficult tasks without proper training. The best results are obtained when people are stretched and believe that, with effort, they can perform the task.

4. Criteria. Without proper measuring devices, you may not know whether you're performing up to expectations. If your leader and supervisor don't provide guidelines, ask for them. Further; define the roles that your novice teammates must play.

5. Credibility. You must deliver what you promise. Excuses won't compensate for failure in the eyes of your teammates and your employer.

6. Consistency. Consistency means that all high performers are treated similarly and all low performers are treated alike. Each group, however, is treated differently.

7. Compensation. This consists of much more than pay. Job satisfaction is a principal element, as is the feeling of being part of a winning team. A good manager will tell you that you've done well. As a team, you should also pat each other on the backs.

8. Cost. Everything anyone or any organization does involves an opportunity cost. Something must be given up to gain something else. By taking on a difficult assignment , the immediate costs may be significant. But, the effort you expend now could result in a big payoff later.

9. Communication. Behavioral changes may be needed. Teammates who like to talk must learn to listen; quiet ones must be prodded to participate. Communication is vital to understand the other eight C's. Together, the nine C’s represent a powerful tool.

Internal Advertising Promotes Understanding Between Teams

A little “internal advertising” can go a long way in maintaining cooperation and understanding between your team and other departments and teams. It's also a way for your team to sign its work and show others the quality they can expect from you.

Internal advertising is letting people in other parts of the organization know what you can do. It's giving notice of your capabilities and who does what, attaching names to certain processes and services.


To get your advertising campaign off to a good start, circulate a memo explaining your team's function and the individual responsibilities of each member Then, list services your team can provide to other teams in your organization. This tactic will definitely gain your peers' interest. Then, consider jobs or projects on which you could use the expertise of other teams and enlist their help.

In Praise Of Praise

In a quality environment, you should expect quality from others. But you should not take their efforts for granted. A good way to reinforce good work is to recognize it with a hearty compliment. The result will be increased harmony within a work group or between departments and more attention to getting other jobs done right.

Here are some tips for giving high-quality praise:

1. Be specific. Say: “The three additional points you added to that report really explained a difficult concept well.” Don't say: “Nice work'”

2. Be generous. When you hear a compliment about a coworker who isn't present, find that coworker and share the praise with him or her.

3. Put it in writing. To reinforce a verbal compliment, follow up with a memo and a copy to appropriate associates and superiors.

Pat On The Back Can Boost Productivity Fast

If all of a sudden you found yourself facing someone with a sign around his neck that said, 'Make me feel important,' what would you do? Could you do it? Would you do it? Every day, we face people who are wearing that invisible sign. Everyone wants to feel important, and we can help.

Making others feel important inspires teamwork and can increase productivity quickly in the short term. Here’s how to do it:

1. Respond immediately. For example, if you're sitting when a new worker is introduced to your team, rise, step forward, smile, maintain eye contact, clearly state your name, shake hands, and repeat the other person's name. Your body language reveals your level of interest.

2. Ask questions. Learn about people and their interests. Questions that can't be answered simply yes or no encourage others to open up to you. If the person is someone you’ll be working with often, you'll develop helpful insights to smooth your work relationship.

3. Listen. Really pay attention to what people say. In the workplace, listening can be twice as important as talking., Yet the art of listening isn't taught in schools. Some people don’t listen long enough to even hear your name. That says to me that the person doesn't really care about me.

4. Give praise. This is a powerful motivator. When you tell a teammate “Good job!” you've turned a work associate into a work friend.

Bring The Best Out Of The Worst People

Team members need to cooperate, but what happens if you “can't stand” one of your teammates? Just as some people bring out the best and the worst in you, you can learn to bring out the best in other people even when they are at their worst.

Below is a list of difficult personalities and how to handle them:

1. The tank. When you show up on a tank's radar screen, he simply starts blasting away at you. To deal with him, hold your ground, look him in the eye, and control your breathing. Calmly interrupt the barrage by repeating his name. Then, say something like: “I know that you are tired of being slowed down by bureaucracy, but this is not the time to look at how the organization functions. Right now, we're looking at this team project. When we're done with this, let's talk.”

2. The know-it-all. This person does know a lot. She just doesn't think that other people do. Slip in new ideas under her radar before she gets defensive. For example, say: “What do you think would happen if we did this? I’d like your opinion.”

3. The sniper. The sniper tries to undermine your sense of control by finding out what causes you to react and then firing this at you when you're vulnerable. The secret is to make his covert operation overt. Stop what you’re doing when he attacks. Look right at him and repeat whatever he said: “I heard you say that you think I am incompetent. What does this have to do with our project?” The sniper either has to keep quiet or answer you. Immediately after your meeting, however, meet with the person and ask for an explanation.

4. The “yes-person. ” She says “yes” readily, then breaks her promise. Maybe she doesn't get the work done because she is disorganized. Or maybe she is afraid to say “no.” Whatever the reason, make it safe for the yes-person to talk freely. For example, say: “I’m sure you meant to get the project done by 2 p.m., but it’s late. What happened?“ Her response might be: “I couldn’t get to it because the phones kept ringing.” Recognize her response for what it is: the possible cause of the problem. Turn the situation into a learning moment by teaching the yes-person what to do.

Relationships don't happen to you. They happen through you. Become a positive filter to help even the worst people be at their best.

Every Ethical Choice Carries Your Signature

Just about everyone confronts ethical dilemmas in the workplace at some time. You might be asked to omit a piece of information in a report, overlook a policy, quietly reduce the established price of a product, or undertake any one of hundreds of other troublesome actions. However, you must first con front the ethical responsibilities in a given situation.


The range of ethical problem-solving strategies available you is as wide as the range of ethical problem you might encounter over the course of your life. Here are some points to consider as you ponder an ethical dilemma:

1. Understand your responsibility. Sometimes it may be difficult to separate your personal and professional responsibilities. Unless the ethical dilemma involves some civil or criminal liability on your part (or on the part of those around you), an ethical decision in the workplace should be made in light of your professional duties. Still, bear in mind your personal integrity and credibility.

2. Gather facts. Be sure you fully understand the circumstances surrounding the action you're considering. Talk to the people involved, and get as much background information as you need to feel comfortable about your decision.

3. Examine the options. What can you do to resolve the problem and still retain goodwill and the trust of colleagues and clients? The “right” course of action in business today can rarely be stated in simple yes-or-no terms. Your role as an ethical individual is to examine the problem from a variety of angles and to consider a variety of alternative courses.

4. Reframe the problem. Don't look only at the short-term problem and solution. Consider the long-term problem, too. If you take a certain course of action, what benefits or problems may result in the future?

5. Pass the problem along. One of the components of ethical behavior is making other people aware of the problem (and its possible solutions). Don't hesitate to involve other people such as your boss or colleagues. They can shed light on variables you overlook.

6. Play a variety of roles. You might need to be a facilitator, fact gatherer; or arbitrator. Be flexible when troubleshooting with others.

7. Avoid self-righteousness. It rarely solves an ethical problem - and often results in counterproductive emotional arguments and personality disputes.

8. Remember the importance of discussion. Strong ethical behavior implies a willingness to work steadfastly in support of viable solutions. Your willingness to share ideas and to listen to others' views is key to solving the thorniest ethical problems that come your way.

Ethical choices on the job are seldom easy. You must make a choice you can live with. To compromise your own values can damage your self-respect, job satisfaction, and maybe even your career.

Ethically Speaking

Should I take some copier paper from work or go buy my own? Should I cover for Jack who wants to take an extra half hour for lunch? Would it be a crime if I just copied last week's results for the maintenance check on this machine if I know it's in top shape?

Choices, choices. We're forced to choose among dozens of them each day. Some decisions, like what we're going to wear to work that day, are governed by everyday considerations, like the weather and what we wore yesterday. But when the choice is between doing what's right and what we know might not be so right, those are ethical dilemmas.

The boss won't be in today. What if I sleep an extra 15 minutes and sneak in a little late? I don't want to talk to this customer. What if I “accidentally” lose the phone message?

Ethics are the moral principles that govern conduct. How we respond in those situations is purely subjective. On the job we may have some guidelines - like rules about safety measures - but even a decision about whether to follow those guidelines is based on our own personal sense of right or wrong - your own code of ethics.

What path do you follow when you're faced with an ethical dilemma? Unfortunately, no simple set of rules can guide every action. Most often, you must rely on the words of Jiminy Cricket, and “let your conscience be your guide.”

Perception Is Everything

You think you are credible and display integrity, but your coworkers disagree. Who's right? Your coworkers are, right because we're credible only if others see us that way.

This is important because if people don't think that you or your company are credible, then their opinion of your quality will be low. With so much riding on the perceptions of other people, it makes sense to be aware of how you can build up your own credibility by following these suggestions:

1. Show courage. We don't usually think of courageousness in connection with our jobs. But look at the people you consider highly credible. How have they shown courage? We've all done something courageous. Perhaps you’ve taken a stand for an unpopular idea, for example, or expressed an opinion that no one else dares to voice. A useful team exercise is for each person to think about his or her experiences with courage on the job, and then share them with the group.

2. Demonstrate your integrity. We all know it's important not to lie, cheat, or steal. But keeping the “small promises” we make to our teammates, bosses, customers, and other workplace partners is an equally important sign of our integrity. Too often, we set ourselves up to break our promises. Because we're eager to please or “come through” for others, we'll say, “I'll get that to you by the end of the day,” when we know very well that's impossible. We may forget these small promises we break, but other people don't. Underpromise and overdeliver. You might have to say, for example, 'This week is impossible, but we can have that for you by the middle of next week.' Then be sure you give more than you promised, in this case, by delivering before the deadline you set.

3. Take the initiative to resolve conflicts. Conflict is natural, and yet so many of us are uncomfortable dealing with it. We think we can just ignore it, and it will eventually go away. But proactive individuals are always ready to go to the person or group with whom they're in conflict and say, 'Let's talk about it.' You get a lot of points for doing that.

4. Embrace the chaos of change. Don't keep yearning for the good old days. They're simply not there - and they'll never be again. Of course, we all like security. But things now change so rapidly in organizations, and this accelerated pace of change is expected to continue. Your credibility depends on your ability to see the good in change and to get excited about the possibilities it generates.

Self-Esteem: A Matter Of Degree?

Self-esteem is not a quality that a person either has or doesn't have. We all have self-esteem - at least to some degree.

He characterizes low self-esteem as the consequence of a mental and spiritual complacency. A person with low self-esteem tends to avoid frank self-analysis, making hard decisions, or dealing with people in an honest, straightforward (if sometimes painful) way. This is not an effective way to deal with colleagues or customers in the workplace.

If this sounds a little like you, you can increase your self-esteem - thus your job performance – by practicing several principles:

1. Live consciously. You should be aware of everything going on in your life. If you're only devoting part of your energy and creativity to your job, you should at least acknowledge to yourself that this is the way you're choosing to live. Living life in a fog can become an unhealthy habit.

2. Be self-responsible. Once you've examined your actions and the impact they have, take responsibility as the “author” of your life. Your self-esteem will increase as you realize that you control your destiny - not blind luck, fate, or other people. The successes you achieve are your own doing.

3. Be self-accepting. Many people are just too hard on themselves. You still can have high self-esteem while accepting that you're just as human as everyone else. This doesn't mean you should shrug off your bad habits or shortcomings. But it does mean that you should have compassion for yourself and respect for your efforts to improve as a person. It also means accepting those parts of yourself, such as certain body characteristics, that you can never change.

4. Be self-assertive. Nobody can read others' minds yet an amazing number of people go through life expecting others to meet their needs. And they're doomed to disappointment. Your self-esteem takes a continuous battering when you don't articulate your needs. Others simply won't understand what you want.

5. Live with a sense of purpose. People with high self-esteem feel that their lives have meaning. And they know that what they do has a strong impact on the lives of others. In the grand scheme, jobs and titles mean nothing - it's how we approach those jobs (and our lives) that makes the difference.

6. Live with integrity. Some people practice deception or a lack of commitment to family, friends, and coworkers (and anyone else for that matter). Deep down, they never gain high self-esteem. They always know in their hearts that what people see is a facade. They wouldn't respect anyone who lied to or cheated on them, so how can they respect themselves?

Sure, all of us feel shaky about ourselves from time to time. It takes practice to admit that we're just as good as anyone else. Your good qualities count to others, so they should matter to you, too. That requires continuous, conscious effort.

Pursue Excellence - Not Perfection

Driven by guilt. That's how many of us feel no matter how much, we accomplish. The harder we work, the guiltier we feel. What’s going on? We're trying to do too much, because we want to do it all. We also want to do it all perfectly, but we can’t. That’s the origin of these extreme feelings of guilt.


For those of us hounded by guilt, enough is never enough. But it should be. It's time we let up on ourselves. Success is not a matter of how much you do, or being able to do everything perfectly. It's being able to spend your time doing the things that really matter and pursuing excellence rather than perfection.

To lighten your guilt load:

1. Live by your rules. Don't base your expectations of yourself on other people's fantasies. We've all heard people talk about how they maintain a high-powered career and a terrific personal partnership, while also being perfect parents and active members of their communities. These people are not being truthful. They're living a dangerous fantasy. In the real world, we're sometimes on top of things, and at other times, we can't possibly meet all of our commitments. Trying to live up to another person's fantasies will only make you feel even more inadequate and guilty.

2. Realize that you have more control than you think. It's not helpful to blame your boss for giving you too much work, or your community for “making” you volunteer so much of your time. It's also futile - and a precursor of burnout - to take the “Gee, if there were only 27 hours in a day, I could do everything I need to do.”

Instead, take responsibility by acknowledging that you really are the architect of your days. . . . We can choose among our many 'priorities.' And we often can say no to the demands of others when they will cause chaos in our personal and/or professional lives.

3. Focus time and energy on what matters most. Some of us are so determined to do it all that we treat everything as important. The resulting pressure is overwhelming and debilitating.

Pare down to essentials by asking why you're doing a certain task or meeting a particular demand. You'll be surprised at how many items you can cross off your 'to do' and 'have-to' lists as a result.

Some things we do simply out of habit, or because everyone else on our street does, or because a former boss once told us to. It's time to stop giving valuable time and energy to tasks that don't require that kind of attention.

Strengthen Your Career With 'Soft Skills'

Whether you're content in your current job or looking for career, advancement, you can benefit from developing the “soft skills” perfected by so many highly successful people. Here are some tips:

1. Pursue the authority you need to do your job. Effective people are proactive in making sure they have the authority to get things done. If you're given extra responsibilities without the commensurate authority, ask for it. Identify area s in which you lack the necessary authority. Consider how this is keeping you from meeting company and personal goals, she advises, then seek the authority.

2. Be a skilled problem solver. Be the one who identifies problems and offers strategies for resolving them. And be prepared to back up your position with facts and logical arguments. People are more likely to credit you as an expert in your area when you come across as knowing what you're talking about.

3. Prove you are fair and honest. Show respect for other people's points of view. You'll be seen as trustworthy if you consistently support a 'win-win' rather than a 'win-lose' result in a conflict or disagreement. When you make it a priority to put other people in the winner’s circle along with you, you show that you care about their needs as much as your own.

4. Resist the impulse to lash out. Instead of getting angry with people because you disagree with their opinions or actions, focus on the specific issue that's bothering you. Stop and ask yourself these questions:

What am I really angry about?

To what degree is my pride involved?

What can I do about the situation?

How does my anger benefit my organization?

5. Present ideas at the “right” time. Even the best ideas will leave people cold if your timing is off. When people are emotionally or intellectually somewhere else, they won't necessarily be responsive to your concerns. Friday at 4:30 p.m. is not the time to ask a coworker who's eager to get away for the weekend for feedback on your proposal.

6. Use language that reflects reality. Avoid broad generalizations and absolutes such as “I never arrive late” or “I always listen to others.” People tend to recoil from absolutes because they're rarely true. This kind of nit-picking just diverts people from the main topic. skilled communicators use language that reflects their sense of fairness: “It has been my experience that…” or “In my judgment….,” In using statements like this, you're acknowledging that others have opinions that may differ from yours.


1. Become a company owner. Take “ownership” of your company. Define teammates' roles and responsibilities. Members should understand how internal process problems affect customer satisfaction and cost, and be able to identify and compare various opportunities for process improvement within their realms of responsibility.

2. Know your products. No matter what position you hold with your company, you should know what your products or services do. The best way to gain this knowledge is to use them yourself. Ask your product manager for a hands-on demonstration or trial use so you'll have firsthand knowledge.

3. Professionalism matters most. Stress professionalism over personality in your relationships with coworkers. While some teammates will be influenced by your sparkling personality, all of them will be impressed by your skill, condor, tact, and professionalism.

4. Be accountable. No matter how careful you ore, mistakes con happen. If they do, maintain your integrity by being accountable. Don't say, “Well, you didn't understand what I said.” Instead say, “I'm sorry. I guess I didn't make myself clear.”

5. Give the boss a boost. Let your boss know when you think she has done a good job. Be specific and direct, and you won't seem like a “brownnoser.” Bosses need ego boosts too.

6. Sign those phone messages. Nothing is more frustrating than to need more information about a phone message left on your desk and not to know who it is from. Sign all messages you leave; date them too, in case they become lost in the shuffle.

7. Be a quality advocate. The next time you witness on example of great service or outstanding quality, call and tell the person responsible how impressed you ore. People are so used to getting only “complaint calls” that your positive message will bowl them over and leave them reeling!

8. Check first. Never make a promise that involves your team at any level without first discussing it with the members. Get everyone together at the sometime so that a general consensus can be reached about the promised action. Part of being on a team is thinking and acting as such.

Put Your Personal Stamp On Your Quality

Signing your work means you stand behind it. Companies sign their work by offering guarantees and warranties to their customers. When you're willing to put your personal signature on your work, you're letting the world know that you stand behind your quality The faith that others have in your quality can lead to promotions and greater career opportunities.

What You Can Do

  • Always operate in an ethical manner.
  • Review your peers' work to guarantee your quality and to show others that you expect quality from them as well.
  • Welcome suggestions and criticisms.
  • Let others know you value their ideas - the contribution they make can boost their productivity and help increase their personal quality.
  • Find ways to work with “difficult” people so that personal feelings don't interfere with the quality you offer customers and suppliers.
  • Get the training and education you need to deliver the quality work that's expected of you.

The personal stamp you put on your quality today will carry with you throughout your career

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