Time, cost, quality… the pillars of a service industry’s value proposition. Funny how when one corner of this triangle gets tweaked, we all rush to put out the fire at the expense of the other two. Cost is always the leader, until something bad happens. Quality doesn’t matter when we are getting data back before our expected timeline, until it does.
It’s almost a game of musical chairs, we know the music is going to stop and we remain hopeful that we will have a chair left when it does. The problem is that hope is a lousy business strategy. There are things we all must know with certainty in our business and our personal lives. This gets us to the concept of high reliability.
One of the fundamental hallmarks of high reliability organizations is the concept of ‘deference to expertise.’ Meaning the organization must rely on the people closest to the situation. And sometimes these often-junior people prevent calamity from risks that we don’t even know existed. Our systems, people, processes, and experience all work together, many times at the very tip of the spear. Direct knowledge trumps strategy every time.
Quality is not some intangible construct. It can be objectively measured, squeezed, and improved over time. How important is quality to you? Do you know the sources of your public records data? Do you have direct knowledge about the process? Do you really have access to the knowledge of those closest to the true source?
How important is quality? It almost never is, until it is.