In my experience as a quality professional, I have seen the good, bad, and ugly of how we can be treated by our employers and peers, from "finding and fixing the problem" (hero, firefighter badge) to "saying stop, we have a potential quality problem here" (not a team player, naysayer, whistleblower). (Henry Lindborg's excellent QP articles on ethics and integrity speak to me.) My experience says the firefighter is still preferred over the prognosticator of a potential quality problem, one that may take years to surface in public.
The continuing news about Theranos and Boeing make me empathetic to the ones who said or perhaps tried to say, "I think we have a potential quality problem here". Why does society only look for whistleblowers only after a tragedy?
So, two thoughts regarding "what about us?":
- Does social responsibility need an even stronger position on employees' psychological safety?
- Does the definition of quality need to also consider worker safety -- physical and psychological -- of the people creating the product/service?