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Quality, skills and the high-velocity economy

quality-07.jpgBack in May, I keynoted the World Congress on Quality / American Society for Quality, a fairly massive conference with about 3,000 attendees.

I focused, as I often do, on the need for rapid action in the high-velocity economy. At that time, just a few months ago, we had just seen the recall of various pet food products as a result of production quality issues at the Chinese manufacturer.

I noted — and these words are verbatim from the tape – “What do we do with quality in terms of velocity?” I went on to note that with we might soon see the issue of quality and China merge together … to such a degree that companies might have to scramble to deal with quality issues that were completely unexpected just a few months ago.

Fast forward, and we’ve got toy manufacturers testifying to Congress about quality concerns as a result of offshore production.

It used to be that when it came to quality, you’d plan –> execute — > evaluate —> innovate. But now, with high-velocity change, sudden new issues can appear, and you’ve simply got to execute before you plan.

What’s the point? In my new book, Ready, Set, Done, I argue that talent and project agility — that is, the ability to rapidly refocus your organization and team to deal with the rapid emergence of new issues — will be a key cornerstone for future success.

This week, I’ll be doing a keynote for Tenrox, a company that specializes in software that helps an organization with resource management and optimization: in other words, deploying the right skills at the right time for the right purpose. Exactly what I talk about in the new book.

The CEO, Rudolf Melik, has written a book, The Rise of the Project Workforce: Managing People and Projects in a Flat World. I contributed the foreword for the book, focusing on the theme of skills agility. It’s an important issue that you need to be thinking about, particularly given the new urgency for planning on the fly.

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