“Quality is Job One” is a slogan used by Ford Motor Company back in the 1980s, once they decided that perhaps making rust buckets that nobody wanted maybe wasn’t such a good idea (Remember the Ford Pinto? Yeah. That.).
Though I can applaud the reasoning behind the slogan, the actual words always rubbed me the wrong way.
Quality is one of those words that sound great to shareholders and CEOs, but less great to actual human beings. Nobody ever says, “I converted to Catholicism because I was looking for a quality religion”, or “I buy Beethoven because I like quality composers” or “The wife and I are hoping to conceive some quality offspring.”
And nobody wants to be a “quality employee”, either. People want to be rock stars. People want to be inspired. People want to set the world on fire.
And it’s up to us, as employers, to allow them, within reason, to be “totally frickin’ amazing”. Because that’s what they really are looking for, even if they don’t know it, yet.