I was once told that when someone boasts to love James Joyce’s Ulysses, to ask that person how the book ends.
Like to the lover of Ulysses, the next time you hear someone in love with “Toyota” please ask him/her to describe the Toyota Production System. The short version would do.
When we see others succeed, we ask, “How do you do it?” They may reply, “Here’s how,” followed by a set of well-intended advice in shortcuts and tips. We then create a spiffy mnemonic and hold it as the bible for replicating the others’ success.
When quality improvement becomes an increasingly rigid set of criteria, alphabet bundle, and kanzi, it becomes easier to think of it as an end in itself. Let us “do quality improvement.” Let us find a project to applying these incredible principles (and they are incredible, but they are not hammers). Let us refer to it as “QI” because that’s a thing now.
But sometimes quality is just about mending the gap when you see one. Sometimes being methodical helps, but being passionate – not just mending a gap, but your gap – is probably all the requisite there is. “Doing the QI,” then, may sometimes become an unintended obstacle.