Doing everything with quality increases your chances for success, enhances your reputation, and saves you time in the long run. People typically equate quality with skill, but quality is a by product of time, thoughts and systems.
Here are twenty-one ways to assure quality in everything you do. See where you can apply a couple of these rules to your life. In a few weeks, review the impact.
1. Review Everything
Review everything you touch before you hand it off. Proofread your documents one last time, double check that package to make sure everything is included, triple check your bullet points on your presentation. Always enlist a second set of eyes. Even after you look things over, you may miss some glaring mistakes because you are used to your work. Having someone else look it over will give you a new perspective on your work and may even lead to new, better solutions.
2. Review Other’s Contributions
Don’t take it for granted that others can do the job well or even that they know what they’re doing. Trust but verify. Remember the saying, “Don’t expect what you don’t inspect.”
3. Review Your Mistakes
Sometimes you make mistakes. Learn from them and move on.
4. Review Accomplishments
A lot can be learned from your past accomplishments. Take the time to go over your past work and look objectively at what you did well and didn’t do so well. There are many lessons to learn.
5. Control Your Task List—Don’t Drop Anything
Keep track of your commitments. If you don’t know what you need to do, you can’t do it well.
6. Control Your Commitments: Just Say No
With a heavy workload, it may be hard to get everything done right. This may mean saying no to new projects.
7. Control Your Understanding
Find out deadlines and requirements. Ask questions. Make sure you know what’s expected. If you don’t know what you’re shooting for you can’t succeed.
8. Control Expectations
Provide feedback at the beginning of a project of what you will be delivering. Set the scope of the project early so there aren’t any misunderstandings.
9. Control Yourself
Don’t try to do everything yourself at one time. Break projects apart and succeed through layering one success on top of another. This will enable you provide progress and ensure you are on the right track.
10. Learn from Others
The people around you may be doing some tasks better than you. How are they doing it? Look at colleagues, bosses and definitely don’t neglect learning from subordinates.
11. Learn Through Research
Look at industry groups, books and blogs- all may have some good tips on helping you do better.
12. Learn Through Education
Are there ways to enhance your skills? Take an extra course? How can you learn more?
If you frequently do a task but it isn’t consistently perfect, take some time to analyze the steps you should be doing. Start the process from scratch. Consciously do one step at a time making sure you’re doing it right.
14. Commit to Quality
Decide that with anything you do, you’ll do it the right way. Just committing to quality will cause you to reconsider sending out a half-baked project and increase your quality.
Think of ways you can do it better. Think of ways to put systems around your tasks.
16. Envision Success
Ask yourself, “What would perfect execution look like for this task?” Now go do it.
17. Be Proud of Your Quality
If you take pride in your quality, you won’t release non-quality items.
18. Solve the Problem, Not the Request
Sometimes a “simple” request is not so simple. Find out what the requester really wants, then give it to him.
19. Think Big Picture
Don’t just solve the problem by applying a quick fix. See how it fits in the big picture and determine if you san solve a big problem with just a little more effort.
20. Don’t Wait for Deadlines
It’s inevitable that people rush to finish a task at the deadline. This only leads to more problems. The solution is simple- start early and plan your schedule so that you finish early. Which leads to:
21. Exceed Expectations
You’ve understood the expectations and you’ve set expectations—now do your best to exceed them. Everyone loves good surprises!
You’re not going to be able to implement this in one day but refer to this list often to ensure you’re always thinking of quality. With good quality, work doesn’t need to be reworked and problems are minimized. You can remember these using the mnemonic: Review—TLC (TLC= Think, Learn, Control).
Did I miss anything in these steps? Let me know in the comments … I’m using you as my second set of eyes.