Cogito, Vidi, Audivi
“Veni, vidi, vici” this phrase, most famously uttered by Julius Caesar is used to symbolize a swift, conclusive victory. Anyone who works in quality knows there is no swift victory just around the corner. We are constantly looking for ways to standardize and improve active systems and processes. All too often, though, in our pursuit of improvement we encounter the words listed in the title of our article, Cogito, vidi, audivi: I think, I saw, I heard.

Quality is many things to many people. For me, quality is consistency and clarification—consistency for our customers and clarification for our employees. Quality is responsible for establishing a company’s System, Processes, and Documentation. These three items, this sacred trinity, serve the purpose of keeping the employees as a whole and, in turn, the company on track for the purpose the company was formed—success!

One way the company’s System, Processes, and Documentation is adversely affected, one way these become inconsistent and unclear is with two little words: “I think…” Excluding the realm of Research and Development, “I think…”removes us from a System that was painstakingly built to insulate a company from the unknown.

Whenever I hear any variation of “I think…” in my mind a little bell goes off that makes me say ‘let’s check the process or the procedure’. More often than not, the one uttering those uncertain words needs a little adjustment, a kind reminder on what should come next. We don’t want to remove ourselves from the process, instead the process is meant to remove bad practices and superstitions.

We must be vigilant; we must not allow hearsay and unwritten rules to dictate the success of the company. Revisit your company’s procedures. Are the procedures clearly written? Is the information easily understood? Are old and new employees trained and versed in these procedures? If you can answer ‘yes’ in each case you are well on your way to declaring “Veni, Vidi, Vici” and removing “I think, I saw, I heard”.


Please feel free to share your thoughts...
2 Replies
There's a sort of reverse saying, "I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand." For people to follow systems effectively, they need to understand the "why".
Norm Howe
22 Posts
" Cogito, vidi, audivi" is another way of saying confirmation bias. People have a preconceived viewpoint and then subconsciously sort out the contradictory evidence and only see/hear what they want. It's at the root of much more than just quality problems. If we can spread this message in the quality arena, maybe it will have collateral effects in society generally.