Risky Behavior – By Design – In Quality Improvement

Quality Improvement = Performance Improvement IMO

In this response to CEO Paul Borawski’s February Question/Challenge to the ASQ Influential Voices Community – I suggest:

Risk – But Verify

Verify what, you may ask. In a moment.

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Paul asked:

… I want to know how you—the quality professional–handle failure in the workplace. Do you try again until you find a solution? Are you penalized for failure? Or do you avoid it altogether? How much risk are you willing to take to find solutions to quality challenges?

How much Risk are you, me, we, willing to take for Improvements?

Well, isn’t this always ultimately “about the consequences?”

Isn’t the Reward for the Risk the consequence that drives us all?

Those things that are not Risky may also hold no real Reward. So we don’t often think about them being Risky or Not.

Risky connotes a negative. A downside.

Reward, connotes the opposite. The upside.

So when I suggest “Risk, but Verify” I mean assess the Risk and its significance and its likelihood – and then assess the Reward side of that coin.

Use a model such as this one, in this graphic. Or create your own.

Simple Results Oriented Risk Assessment Model 2013

Determine why you would want to, and why you might not want to – take a Risky Action.

Identify the pros, and the cons. Weigh the trade-offs. Those Risk and Rewards.

And remember there is always a Risk – or a Reward for any action, Deliberate or Not.

Planned or Not.

That’s why in my version of ROI – the R is either a Risk to be avoided, and/or a Reward to be achieved.

And that’s the simple metal model I use when thinking about Risk Assessment.

So my answer to Paul must be…

It depends on the Risk. And its likelihood and severity.

And it depends on the Reward. And its likelihood and severity.

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