A 15 Year Old Uneducated Girl’s Commitment to Quality

by on Aug 15, 2019
Quality is innate

Her name was Mani.

She had worked for me a few years back to help me with cooking.

One morning I asked her to make roti (Indian bread).

She asked me how many I would like.

I said, I will eat one or at the most two.

She went into the kitchen, and I could hear her kneading dough for the roti.

Ordinarily it should take no more than 5 minutes to make a roti.

30 minutes passed, and no sign of breakfast coming to the table.

I shouted from my room, “Mani, is the roti done?”.

“Just give me a few minutes Akka.” she shouted back.

(“Akka” is a kinship term for elder sister in Telugu language, and in Indian culture it is common for domestic helps/cooks to address their employers by kinship terms).

Another 15 minutes passed.

“I am getting late for my BP tablet, is the roti ready?” I yelled again.

I could well smell the rotis, but could not see them coming to the table.

“Almost done Akka. I’ll get breakfast for you in five minutes.”

Another 10 minutes passed.

I got impatient.

And more importantly, I got curious.

“What’s going on?” I thought to myself.

Unable to contain my curiosity, I went into the kitchen, and was surprised by what I saw.

There were a pile of rotis in a dish.

Yet there was one in the process of cooking, that Mani was flipping on the pan.

So of course, I asked what was going on.

Mani explained pointing to the pile of rotis, “They did not come out well, so I’m making another one.”

I did not set any standards of quality for Mani. I would have happily eaten any one of the rotis from the pile. (All I’m conscious about is the salt and spice content in food).

It was totally the standards that she had set for herself.

Quality is a large section of management science. (Which I will discuss in a series of posts later on)

But that day I was amused at what I saw in an uneducated teenager, totally oblivious to any formal quality theories or practices – an innate commitment to quality.

Commitment to quality is – INNATE!

When you are hiring for quality, look for a Mani in the candidate. Or look for this sculptor.