in Leadership, Process Improvement, Quality Improvement

Quality and Quantity – Compliance and Excellence

Going by numbers is a great way to stay in control (or at least feel that way). Numbers are exciting. But when you choose to go by numbers alone, the tradeoff can be huge. Numbers should map with a purpose, else they can mislead.

Consider the following conversations. Have you heard them  before? I have!

Quantitative: My goal is to have 500+ LinkedIn connections by end of February.

Qualitative: I would prefer 100 connections by end of February and these connections will be based on trust and/or a strong prior relationship.

Quantitative: After MBA, I will look at getting a pay package of at least X.

Qualitative: Can’t wait to complete my MBA so that I can get to what I love doing – Marketing!

Quantitative: In 2010, I will write at least 200 blog posts.

Qualitative: In 2010, I will focus on writing at least 75 posts that are highly relevant in core areas where I can add value.


Quantitative: Let me check your timesheets to see how many hours you have worked on the project in the past month.

Qualitative: Let me assess what progress you have achieved in key result areas of your work in past month.

Quantitative: Lets go for quality certification which will open us doors to more number of customers.

Qualitative: We need a quality certification so that we can improve our internal efficiencies and streamline the processes for having delighted customers. 


Quantitative: I have 6000+ followers on Twitter. Feels great!

Qualitative: I have 50+ trusted relationships on Twitter who add a lot of value to each other. Feels even greater!


These are conversations of “compliance” versus “remarkability” and “adherence” versus “excellence”. Does it not happen that you meet your numbers, but the overall quality of work product/customer experience remains same (or deteriorates)?

Quality is to first ask “Why are we doing it?”, “Is it worth doing it at-all?”. Quality is to first seek the purpose. Once purpose is clear, numbers can help you measure progress.

It is almost easy to figure out “What” and “How” of processes once you have addressed “Why”.

Have a great weekend!

Photo Courtesy: FirstIndy’s Flickr Photostream


  1. This post reminds me old saying ‘Accuracy is better than speed’.

  2. This will work great during the next visit from the auditors and the examiners. Forget compliance, we’re after quality.

  3. @Phaedrus – Process/Standard Compliance is important and neccessary for business – only if the underlying purpose is to operationally get better.

    Compliance for the sake of hanging a certification at the reception desk may be exciting, but hardly helps the cause of excellence.

    Thanks for commenting!

    .-= Tanmay Vora´s last blog ..Quality and Quantity – Compliance and Excellence =-.

  4. I love this post, it seems so simple but yet so hard.

    I’m remembering starting a new job some time ago and being at an all staff “retreat” for a few days. While there they lumped all the newbies together since they were all experiencing the same things together. By the second day I had to get away from these folks because the conversations kept coming back to “how am I ever going to be able to meet my metrics?”.

    I realized right then that as long as I did the best job that I could, my metrics would take care of themselves. And they did!
    .-= Tom Glover´s last blog ..Reflection on Just Ask Leadership =-.

  5. Enjoyed reading Quantity versus Quality- Compliance & Excellence from a validation perspective. One who feels comfortable doing a few things well, I was pleased to know that occasionally I get things right. I went back to my action plans and further tweaked the goals.

  6. Felix, Thank you so much for commenting and expressing yourself. Doing few things and doing them really well is the core of excellence. You can do “more (tasks) with less (resources)” or “more (effort) on less (priorities)”.

    I am so glad to know that the post helped you tweak your action plans and goals.

    Best Regards,

Comments are closed.


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