I just got around to reading the May issue of QP. Your article on continuous versus continual is interesting. While you show several dictionary definitions, it all comes down to what a person interprets the words to mean. Many do not make a distinction.
I am getting up in years and have been messing with ISO 9000 standards since they first came out in 1987. I was told about the time the 2000 version came out that the TC folks specifically chose continual to imply that all organizations will have some set backs now and then. Continuous was considered to always be improving and no organization will do that all the time, so a 'break' should be allowed.
I personally do not have a problem if the word is changed, but some how we need to make it clear that (as you said) organizations will have some setbacks. They should have a process in place to deal with this as a learning experience and move on. It is sort of like an issue I dealt with in a previous job, and that was related to safety. Our top management would always set a goal for injuries at ZERO. However, as soon as the first injury occurred, people assumed the goal was shot and they did not pay as much attention and we had more injuries. I finally convinced them to set the injury safety goal as a percent reduction for the year. After that we seemed to maintain the focus on preventing injuries.
Food for thought.
Baton Rouge, LA
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