Picture the scene…..
We’re working away on the iAbacus project and my business partner Dan is describing his motivation. I know what he is trying to say and I agree. It’s all about being enablers, facilitating the thinking of others, encouraging internal quality assurance, rather than perpetuating dependence on external quality control. You know what I mean, inspectors, in grey suits and clip boards, who slip in, unannounced, and start taking notes. Always disinterested (they have to be) and often unsmiling (they don’t have to be). They disappear and, a few days later, a report is dropped off stating what most in the set up know, or should know. It’s frustrating, expensive and often unnecessary. These are the violent do-gooders of quality control. They measure outcomes and hector about how well we ought to be doing.
Let me describe what Dan and I are trying to do with the iAbacus – as a trailer for a blockbuster movie…..
Cue music and voiceover…””THE SELF-EVALUATORS!”
The camera zooms in… the rain falls… the voiceover begins… “There is a woman in a house, a teacher in a school, a manager in a business. These people are your friends, your relatives, your work mates. They are desperate, depressed and damned. Her relationship is dying, the school is failing and his business is struggling…..”
Entrance of the Violent Do Gooders…the screen splits into three – we see a neighbour, inspector or boss advancing menacingly. They begin to gossip, report and hector. Our threesome get the shudders, “You should do this! You should do that? You shudder done something else!” We see anxiety, angst and anger on the woman’s, the teacher’s and manager’s face. “”They already knew just how bad things were.” We feel their pain…
They implore their interrogators….
“We are drowning here and all you are doing is describing the water!” They turn to the camera, “Save us from these quality control freaks, solution pedlars and advice givers!” The voiceover intones, “The quality controllers mean well but the collateral damage is just too much to bear. These Quality Controllers disempower, patronise and incapacitate the very people they are employed to help. What can be done?”. Fade to black…
A happier, sunlit scenario pans in…
A man in a house, a teacher in a school, a woman managing a business. Each exudes a blend of: fit, successful and fulfilled. His relationship is wonderful, the school is outstanding and her business is booming. The screen splits once more – the same neighbour, inspector or boss intervenes. This time they are obsequious. They admire, praise and borrow the recipes for success. Our second trio accost the intruders, “We’re busy here but you lot interrupt to: weigh our pig, dig up our roots, taste our success – clear off!” The Quality Controllers slink away. Fade to black…
iAbacus man shows the way forward…
iAbacus man, in blue shirt and kindly face, smiles at camera, takes a breath, “Do you feel fat, failing and frustrated, or fit fun and fantastic? Do you want to get better, need to get better and wish stay on top of things? We say – Get your revenge in first! Don’t wait for nosey neighbours, insipid inspectors, or barmy bosses. Nurture your nous! Empower your employees! Create your capacity! But first,let me whow you how to answer my 4 secret questions….
Fade to black…. titles scroll… “iAbacus, coming to a school near you… soon..
The trailer ends…
Putting make believe to one side (I really wish we could) Quality Control is a passive process, usually for external benefit, whilst quality assurance is a live, learning process that helps insiders answer key questions confidently. In quality assurance we take control of our own relationships, schools and businesses. We self-evaluate to improve our speed of progress or sustain success. We become independent of quality controllers.
In the very best relationships, schools and businesses a critical majority of us can not only answer key questions but also challenge and support our colleagues in doing so. We understand the safety and strength of interdependence and the power of saying, “Looking at what we do, with a view to doing it better next time, is part of what we do and all of us do it, all of the time”
Imagine you had an iAbacus man, or woman, to sort your evaluations and inspections for you (we used to call them Link Advisers by the way) Or, imagine there was a simple interactive process to support you in evaluating and planning – wouldn’t that be wonderful? If you could link and collaborate with others, share strategies, plans and successes, that would be even better…and if you could create simple, colourful reports to demonstrate progress over time… that would be just amazing.
Well, Dan and I think we’ve just designed and produced these things. It is called iAbacus and it’s available, on-line for EDUCATION. Later versions will be appearing soon for BUSINESS and then FITNESS & WELL-BEING. So, if this trailer has whetted your appetite – ask for a free trial (from the HOME page) and see if what we claim is true for you.
Seriously, Dan and I think iAbacus is unique BECAUSE it puts each individual at the centre of evaluation, analysis and planning by starting with your judgement, your view of the world, your understanding of circumstance. We also wanted it to look great feel intuitive and be enjoyable to use. Best of all, we wanted it NOT to be about filling in forms.
And we believe something else will happen. If enough of us get our self-evaluation and internal quality assurance sorted, we’ll see off the nagging neighbours, insistent inspectors and bully bosses of quality control. There will be less need for them and the few left may well smile a bit more because their job will become easier. Why? Because we will be supplying the evidence and it will be of a higher quality, as we really understand our relationships, our schools and our businesses.
John – Updated January 28th 2013