Bob Tamasy: Is Quality Still Job One?

Saturday, December 14, 2013 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

Do you remember the Ford commercial of years ago that proclaimed, “Quality is Job One”? According to the ad, the carmaker’s primary responsibility was to ensure buyers of its vehicles would always receive the highest-quality products.

When I was reminded of this motto recently, it prompted me to wonder about quality: What is it, and how is it achieved? A recent visit to a plant operated by a manufacturing company I’ve been working with provided some insight into these questions.

We often think of quality in terms of something made with great precision and exquisite care. For instance, the Stradivarius violins and other stringed instruments handcrafted during the 17th and 18th centuries by members of the Stradivari family. Many experts consider these instruments – of which about 650 remain in existence today – to be unsurpassed in quality.

That makes sense for things meticulously made one at a time. Time and effort can be devoted to making them as good as possible. But what about quality on a production line when hundreds or even thousands of something must be produced over a short period of time? As one of the men I was talking with at the manufacturing plant observed, quality is simply doing the job right each and every time. No exceptions.

Think of it this way: If you needed surgery, would you go to a surgeon whose success rate was only three out of five? For every three patients that did extremely well, two others died? Or how about an airline pilot with a 75% success rate on landings, meaning his planes crashed only one out of every four times? Would you be eager to travel on his aircraft?

When we look for quality, whether it’s prescription medicine, a can of beans, a computer or a mattress, we rightfully presume we’ll receive the manufacturer’s very best product every time we purchase it. As consumers we expect consistent, every-time quality and refuse to accept less than the highest standard.

But I sometimes wonder whether we have the same appreciation for quality when it comes to how we conduct our daily lives.

In Colossians 3:17 the apostle Paul wrote, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” In case we might have missed that admonition, he reinforced it six verses later: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” That sounds like a pretty high standard.

To me this means whether we’re a mail carrier, grocery clerk, schoolteacher, engineer, airline attendant or server in a restaurant, whatever we do should be done with quality that would be suitable for God Himself. That means putting forth our very best every time, regardless of the circumstances.

Whether we’re painting a room, cooking a meal, or performing volunteer work, we should do it as if doing it for the Lord – because ultimately, we are. In the Old Testament the Israelites were instructed to give always from their “first fruits,” selecting the very best to present to the temple priests. To give second best, offering their castoffs even once, was unacceptable.

The Bible doesn’t use the phrase, but for followers of Christ, it’s clear that “quality is job one.” Jesus gave us His very best – including His life on the cross. He deserves our very best in return. Not once, or occasionally, but all the time.

---

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.



Jay Craig To Sing At Brainerd Presbyterian March 22

Jay Craig, one of America's outstanding gospel singers, will join forces with the Brainerd Presbyterian Church Choir on March 22 for the 10:45 a.m. service.  He will sing three of his trademark songs, "Give God the Glory," "I Bowed On My Knees and Cried Holy," and "His Unseen Hand."  Mr. Craig is equally at home performing a Broadway musical, singing classical music ... (click for more)

March Monarch Madness Is Coming To Grace Episcopal On March 22

On Sunday, March 22, Grace Episcopal Church will host “March Monarch Madness,” an all-day, free workshop for the community focused on the endangered monarch butterflies and strategies to protect their diminished habitats. Event coordinator Lisa Lemza invites all to “come and learn about the monarchs and why they, and all our pollinators, are in such trouble,” emphasizing that “it ... (click for more)

2 Hit While Walking On Birmingham Highway; 1 Dies At The Hospital

Two pedestrians were struck by a single vehicle on Highway 11 (Birmingham Highway) in Lookout Valley on Tuesday night. One of those who was struck died after being taken to a local hospital. Police said the other person who was hit was responsive. The incident happened shortly after 7 p.m. at 261 Birmingham Hwy. which is in the area of the Lookout Valley Cracker ... (click for more)

Henry Hopes To Bring E-Filing To Clerk's Office This Year; Saving Almost $222,000 On Personnel

Circuit Court Clerk Larry Henry said he hopes to bring E-Filing of documents and other court papers to the clerk’s office this year.   He said at first it appeared it might take much longer, but that progress is being made to the online program. Mr. Henry told members of the Pachyderm Club that attorneys, litigants and members of the public would be able to go online to ... (click for more)

Tennessee Deserves Better Health Reform - And Response

Tennessee needs health care reform. Expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," was not the best solution for Tennesseans. That is why the vast majority of Tennessee legislators never publicly supported the plan defeated in a special legislative session in February.   It is important to distinguish health care from health insurance. As one physician ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Happy Birthday, Mr. Berg

This past Monday we should have closed the Post Office, let kids out of school, and lowered our flags to half-mast. March 2 is the anniversary of Moe Berg’s birthday and the legendary Casey Stengel once said Moe was “the strangest man ever to play baseball.” Moe played major league baseball for 16 years, finishing with the Boston Red Sox in 1939 and a lifetime batting average of ... (click for more)