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Respect Your Quality Manager Like Your Lawyer

By Janet Lentz posted 05/20/24 09:07 AM



It has struck me more than once how, as a quality professional, I needed to think and act like a lawyer. Quality professionals are a lot like lawyers to the people they serve.

Lawyers give legal advice to clients based on their experience and expertise in the law. QPs give advice to organizations based on their experience and expertise in Quality. They both give advice everyone wants to hear - until they hear the price. Lawyers help you avoid jail, quality professionals help you avoid defects - and sometimes jail.

Lawyers ensure clients don’t end up as fodder for the next episode of “Law & Order.” QPs ensure their organization’s name doesn’t end up splashed all over the internet for recall of defective product, or worse. The internet is a brutal place.

When it comes to problem solving, anyone who follows true crime knows lawyers solve legal puzzles with more twists and turns than a mystery novel. QPs solve large and small problems every day, some of them very complicated. Both need Sherlock Holmes level analytical skills.

Lawyers and QPs follow strict ethical codes. Most QPs have been pressured at some point to ship defective product to meet budgetary goals. Both need strong backbones to push back on shortcuts and unethical behavior.

Lately there’s been some news about serious quality problems at large corporations. There’s no doubt in my mind that the people running the show ignored their Quality staff. Hopefully they are giving their lawyers more respect.

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