“The Quality Tattoo”


With the growing popularity and acceptance of body tattoos, and my penchant for visual management, I jokingly urge folks interested in a “quality tattoo” to consider this graphic:


“The Quality Tattoo”


For any challenge or opportunity that we come across in an organization, we can apply this format.  We always start by defining the opportunity as a measure of performance (e.g. units, dollars, customer satisfaction, market adoption, etc.).


#1 The left part of the graphic is where we start, by clearly identifying the gap.  This is accomplished by first determining the Current State of the chosen measure with facts, data and candor. If the Current State is ugly, let it be ugly. We then set an aggressive Desired State level for the measure that represents a significant improvement from the current level. Defining our current and desired states allow us to clearly state the gap we are attempting to close.  While this seems simple, it is a step many people miss!


#2 The next graphic illustrates how we prioritize.  Once the performance Gap is determined, the team or individual prioritizes the Key Drivers that contribute to the Gap and selects the one or two for immediate improvement action. In many cases the distribution of Key Drivers presents as a Pareto; in these cases, the team or individual can and should focus on the 20% of the Drivers that contribute to 80% of the Gap.  Being able to draw context to the relative impact of a variety of solutions allows us to ensure that we use our resources effectively. 


#3 The final element on the far right highlights the need to choose a what issue or opportunity to attack first., enabling us to breakthrough in on the selected item and more rapidly move on to the next. 


Why a tattoo? Because these terms and this method should be universal in your organization and, as I like to say, running constantly in your “operating system.”  Visually post this around your office, bring to meetings, and yes, get a tattoo of it (why not?!).