Quality Standards Can Never Be Sacrificed

Alberta is experiencing both the benefits and the challenges of a super heated economy. The business gurus tell us it may be the hottest economy on the planet. The opportunities are incredibly exciting and businesses are thriving. But thriving in these economic conditions requires some extraordinary skills.

I have been asked to speak at a forum on employee retention next week. It’s amazing to me that focusing on retaining employees seems to be a new tactical initiative for many companies; but that is a discussion topic for another day. The relevance for today’s topic is that regardless of the current employment challenges your standards have to be maintained.

Maintaining high standards can only be accomplished if these standards are clearly defined and understood in the first place. Standards are a cultural by-product that are developed not a tactic that can be employed or imposed.

Most businesses in Alberta are operating without the ideal number of people. The problem comes in when companies compromise standards because of the short staffing situation. This is a very slippery slope. I know it is not easy maintaining standards under these conditions. It requires a great deal of discipline along with extraordinary effort but it is worth it. Once standards start to slip they just seem to slide down hill like it is a frozen slope. Compromise then becomes the cultural norm and once that happens the future of your business is no longer in your hands.

If opportunities have to be passed by or volumes and profits forfeited to maintain standards then those sacrifices have to be made. Having a standard of quality in a business is like character in an individual; you either have it or you don’t.