In this total update of the author's classic, quality guru Philip Crosby revisits and ultimately reaffirms the thinking he introduced in his earlier, tradition-shattering Quality is Free. In that volume, he took quality precepts learned at ITT and adapted in his great entrepreneurial experiment, Philip Crosby Associates (PCA), and rolled them out for the business world's lasting benefit. Now, after sixteen years of intense change in one of the hottest areas of business, he shares his current thoughts on some of his most enduring contributions.
Review By: Cathy Bell 08/26/2002Philip Crosby shook things up when he first introduced his perspective on quality with the first edition of his book, “Quality Is Free.” The quality assurance world was not ready to embrace the notion that quality rests in the hands of management. But Philip Crosby was not deterred. His philosophy of teaching Management is that preventing problems was more profitable than being good at fixing problems. This philosophy was put to the test throughout his career. In this book he shares the tragedies and triumphs he experienced along the way.
The book reviews the major points of Mr. Crosby’s philosophy and updates many with a new look at how to apply the principles he stated more than twenty years ago. He updates his patented Quality Management Process Maturity Grid, which readers can use to examine the status of their own quality efforts and chart their progress. Quality does not come from meeting a pre-selected set of criteria.
Philip Crosby has walked the talk. His career took him to Crosley Corporation, Martin-Marietta, and ITT. While employed at these organizations, he implemented his prevention and cooperation philosophy and found that it worked everywhere. In 1979 he founded Philip Crosby Associates, Inc. (PCA), and over the next ten years grew it into a publicly traded organization with employees around the world. The trials and triumphs of his company make for compelling reading.
I enjoyed reading this book. Mr. Crosby has a unique perspective on the world of quality. He points out the flaws in the commonly held “musts” of quality assurance: continuous improvement, ISO certification, the Malcolm Baldrige Award, and benchmarking.
The danger I found from reading this book is that now I want to read the rest of Philip Crosby’s books. He has a good grasp of the real world of business, and why so many quality initiatives fail. He attempts to drive home the point that quality is not a process that we can learn in a series of steps, but that we must take it to heart and it must become a part of our way of doing things. He likens the quality process to our learning arithmetic. We do not have to invent arithmetic, but we are taught the fundamentals and then we have to use that knowledge in real life situations. We cannot sit back with our times table books and expect every multiplication problem to be covered in that book.
We cannot expect quality to become part of our corporate culture just by spouting a bunch of quality directives and expecting our employees to magically turn into employees that do things right the first time. It takes time working with the staff to build this type of organization, hiring the right people and working to retain them. One word of warning: Mr. Crosby had some bad experiences with Human Resources and has very little good to say about that area.