QOS: Activity 1 – Purpose, Mission, Vision, and Beliefs

in Quality as an Organizational Strategy (QOS)

by David M. Williams, Ph.D.

In a recent blog post (here), I shared how Associates in Process Improvement transformed Dr. Deming’s theory of Organizations Viewed as a Production System into a five-part approach known as Quality as an Organizational Strategy. In this series, we’ll take a deeper look at each of the five activities, including Purpose, Mission, Vision, and Beliefs; Organization Viewed as a System (includes measurement); System for Obtaining Information; Planning; and Managing Improvement Efforts.  

Activity 1 – Purpose, Mission, Vision, and Beliefs

K&N Management in Austin, Texas, manages local food chains, including Mighty Fine Burgers and Rudy’s Bar-B-Q. In 2010, they won the Malcolm Baldrige Award for Excellence.

Picture: Sign at Rudy’s Bar-B-Q, Austin, TX (David M. Williams)

On K&N Management’s website, they present a clear purpose statement that includes their mission, vision, core values, and key business drivers. 

  • Mission: “To Guarantee Every Guest is Delighted Because of Me”
  • Vision: “To be the best restaurant operation in America”
  • Core Values: “Excellence | Quality | Integrity | Relationships”
  • Key Business Drivers: “Food Quality | Speed of Service | Cleanliness | Texas Hospitality℠ | Accuracy | Team Members | Value | Energy”

Organizations need a clear statement of purpose that continually supports the leaders and employees. How a statement of purpose is crafted varies, but common components include:

  • Mission – What need are we fulfilling to society or customers?
  • Vision – Where are we going? How will we be different in the future?
  • Values – How will we act as we meet our mission?

Most organizations have something drafted; they may even be displayed. Few use them as guidance for how to meet the customers’ needs and how to act in doing so. K&N Management makes a personal guarantee to delight every customer. That’s a tall task, and putting it as the mission should make it central to how you serve customers. If you drop down to their values, you see words like “integrity” and “relationships.” How do these translate into practice? How does it guide how you act in the workplace? In quality organizations, these are not just words but commitments to continuously follow.

If you don’t have a clear statement of purpose, stop and take the time to develop one unique to your organization that serves you well. If you have one, pause and reflect on it. Does it have meaning for you? Is it in use as a guide?  Is it more substance than fluff? Having a clear and meaningful purpose statement is essential and is the first core activity of quality as a business strategy.

In Activity 2, I’ll look at mapping an organization as a system of linked processes supported by a vector of measures.

COMING in 2024: Quality as an Organizational Strategy: Building a System of Improvement from Lloyd Provost, Cliff Norman, and Dave WIlliams

Reference: Associates in Process Improvement (1999, October). Quality as a business strategy: Building a system of improvement. Austin, TX: Associates in Process Improvement

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