'Quality is about customer delight rather than customer satisfaction. It is about total staff involvement rather than hierarchical, top-down system imposition. It is about incremental quality improvement rather than giant quality leaps. It is about living, loving, passion, fighting, cherishing, nurturing, struggling, crying, laughing…'
Tony Henry quoted in Sallis and Hingley, Total Quality Management
Quality does not just happen. It must be planned for. Quality needs to be a major plank in an institution's strategy, and needs to be approached systematically using a rigorous strategic planning process. Strategic planning is one of the major planks of TQM. Without clear long-term direction the institution cannot plan for quality improvement. The first of Deming's 14 points is create constancy of purpose. This can only be achieved within the context of a corporate strategy. Underlying the strategy must be the concept of strengthening the customer focus. A strong strategic vision is one of the most important critical success factors for any institution.
The process of strategic planning in education mirrors that normally followed in industry and commerce. The tools employed for establishing mission, goals and analysing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats translate well. The tools themselves are simple and easy to apply. Their power results from the focus they give to the corporate thinking process. They force a questioning of why the institution exists, for whom it exists, and whether it is pursuing the right goals. These are important questions, particularly for institutions that have achieved independent corporate or grant-maintained status.