Critical to Quality

‘Six Sigma’ thinking instills a new vocabulary in you.  One such word is CTQ – Critical to Quality – and refers to variables that are absolutely essential in achieving the desired outcome (in terms of quality).

At work, so much of my time is spent in meetings with others that involve group discussions on subjects where each of us is a stakeholder but not necessarily affected in the same way (or amount) by the outcome.  As I go through these meetings, I can’t help but wonder what are the skills, if any, that may be regarded as "critical" to smart working

One skill, I have come to realize, that is absolutely indispensable is the ability to "zoom in" or "zoom out" of the problem/situation at appropriate times; knowing when to apply the macro- and when to use the micro- perspective, as it were. 

An important lesson I have learnt from one of the CEOs I’d worked with, was to first try and figure out what should be done, and not to confuse it with the "how to do it" part.  Because, if it must be done, then together we must find a way to do it, in spite of what may seem as insurmountable obstacles.

In my own experience, endless discussions could have been avoided if every one in the room knew when to take in the ‘Big Picture’ and when to get down to the detailing.  Instead, in every such discussion, one encounters people who advocate a hundred reasons why it shouldn’t be done, while others start discussing the operational-level details before a decision has been taken on the direction to be followed!

Nowhere is it more apparent than in a Business Review of managers : The mark of a true leader, in such cases, is knowing  exactly where to draw the line on a discussion going haywire – knowing when to let every one talk and explore issues in detail, and when to zoom out and "take a call".  I have been fortunate to come across some exemplary individuals in this regard – people I have learnt a lot from, over the years… 

… I only wish more people realized this CTQ.