Written by our Founding Director. Kate Krachai
The theme for this year’s World Quality Day was ‘Everyday Leadership’. As the leader of an organisation that promotes quality, I wanted to take this as an opportunity to revisit why I chose quality as a career, what quality means to me and hopefully reflect upon how I try to sustain and improve performance, from a personal and team perspective, every day of the year.
Quality is a funny thing. It means different things to different people and different cultures. One person’s quality can mean error free, without flaws, absolutely perfect. Another person’s quality can be fit for purpose, good enough, that’ll do. To me quality is far reaching and an opportunity to always produce the very best standard that you can, be it: quality of being, quality of life, quality in what we do and quality in how we do it.
The fact that I found a career in quality is no real shock to me, or perhaps to anyone who knows me. Quality is at the core of who I am. It’s at the heart of how I live my life, both professionally and personally. I’m a quality kind of gal. I’ve always striven to be the best that I can be, a better me than yesterday and I try to exceed expectations. I’ve always been driven to do more and to be better.
To me, quality is about doing things right and doing the right thing. That means accurately, precisely, reproducibly, with real pride and passion. With honesty, loyalty and with care. To do this day in, day out, requires some hard work and dedication. But when it is your passion, it never really feels like hard work.
I am, and always have been, a stickler for detail; precision and accuracy matter to me. Somebody once asked me what motivates me. It’s a really tricky question, particularly as I get older, as many things motivate me, more now than in my 20s or 30s. But the crux of it is my inner drive to do things right, to the absolute best of my ability. No half measures, it’s all or nothing. This drives all aspects of my life, from being a scrupulous quality professional to being a fabulous mum, a dedicated school governor and a motivated fundraiser, volunteer and patron.
In a moment of soul searching I asked myself why I’m like this. Am I scared of failure? Do I have a deep seated need to prove myself? To impress people? To be accepted? No, I don’t believe so. I’m happy with who I am and I know I’m good at what I do. I know that my family and friends would be proud of me whatever. I’m not scared of failure because, to try and to fail is just a way of figuring out what wasn’t right. I want to be my best self and I hope that this influences some others along the way: my daughter; my team; my peers. Not for praise, or acknowledgement, for plaudits or for adulation. Just because it’s who I am and it’s the right thing to do.
I try to live and breathe these philosophies every day at Quality Context. Throughout the eight years since I started the company, I have not only strived to be a great leader but also to support others in their development to become great leaders. In fact, four members of the senior and supervisory team started off in more junior roles and have now become integral to the running of the business – it makes me incredibly proud to see the journeys of those around me.
I try to be an inspirational leader because I want my team to know that when you give it your all, great things happen. I want those around me to know when you have done your best, you and everyone around you will be proud.
Just looking at our growth, our reputation in the industry and our own approaches to quality, I know that my team share my values. We give it our all, we learn from mistakes and we never, ever settle for anything other than excellence. As a leader, this fills me with pride and joy and continues to inspire me – every day.