Imagine that two people died in their sleep last night while in hospital. One patient died because his nurse didn’t inject him with his life-supporting medication. The other one passed away because his nurse injected him with the wrong drug.
On 15 July 1410, the Polish-Lithuanian coalition scored a decisive victory over the Teutonic Order in the battle of Grunwald. Many factors contributed to this outcome, which set the wheels in motion for the ultimate demise of the Order.
However, one element stands out: the Polish king controlled his army from a command post on a hill. In contrast, the Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights fought with his troops on the battlefield – the Order gained a great and committed soldier, but they lost a general.
In August 1996, I wrote an editorial for The Quality Magazine, titled ‘Quality Management in Retail’. In the article, I lamented the lack of interest in TQM (Total Quality Management) amongst Australian retailers. Twenty years later, the industry still struggles with sub-optimal results, but I believe that I’ve now discovered one of the reasons why TQM gets the cold shoulder.