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Weaponizing Quality

Quality is a subjective in most cases and when misrepresented can be mistakenly used as a weapon that causes turmoil in teams and ultimately holds up projects and increases the risk of failure. Corporate instructional design is unique, because at the end of the day it’s the money that matters. Sure, we could spend our time having meetings to debate different educational principles and head down the groupthink rabbit hole, but a team that does that is not a team that performs and won’t be a team for long. describes quality in instructional design gauged on three things: effectiveness, efficiency, and cost. I couldn’t agree more, but when “quality” has become weaponized in your team what do you do?

1. Communicate

There is a quote by Stephen R. Covey that has stuck with me over the years. He states, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” If quality is being discussed it must not fall on deaf ears. It must be understood and discussed. Only then can a decision be made on the direction to go.

2. Build Style Guides

In a nutshell, style guides ensure brand consistency. They are also the first step in defining what quality is for your organization. Style guides are technical documents and difficult to create. It’s best to have strong ID’s and graphic designers create the documents with the end goal in mind. These documents can change and adapt with time but are crucial for generating stability in quality.

3. Set Standards

Once you’ve equipped your team with the tools they need for success you can then set standards and goals for moving forward. These standards reflect organizational culture and goals and are used for effectiveness, efficiency, and cost.

Though quality has different meanings to different people, it can also be used as a way to unite and move a team forward if proper communication, style guides, and standards are used.


Covey, Stephen. The 7 habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. Free Press. 2004


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