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Wonder Women of Quality: Karyn Ross -

They’re delivering a one-two punch to defects. They’re ridding the earth of process waste. They’re on the front lines delivering customer service perfection. They’re in leadership striving to make a difference in the world. They’re kicking process improvement butt! The Wonder Women of Quality are here!

This month in the Wonder Women of Quality pantheon we are honored to highlight Karyn Ross! Karyn is the Shingo Award-winning coauthor of The Toyota Way to Service Excellence: Lean Transformation in Service Organizations. Her business, Karyn Ross Consulting, was created to help businesses flourish, thrive and grow by focusing on service excellence.

An internationally experienced consultant, coach and lean practitioner, she has taught organizations of all sizes in sectors as diverse as insurance, HR, transportation and retail how to use creativity combined with Toyota Way principles – a combination she calls, “Practical Creativity.” Karyn is also a practicing artist with an MFA in Sculpture.

Here are Karyn’s answers to a few of our questions:

What is your Quality Mission?

  • My personal (and company) mission is to “Help People Improve the World.”
  • I believe that we are all put here on earth to help each other, and that by teaching people how to work in better ways, we help create a better world! One person at a time!
  • I’ll always find a way to help anyone who really wants to learn!

What is your Quality Superpower?

  • I am an artist as well as a Lean practitioner, so I believe that PDCA is the artistic process as well as the scientific method.
  • I believe in “and” instead of “either/or.” Customers don’t just want ‘this’ or ‘that’…they want it all! So, we have to create ways to give it to them!
  • I don’t believe in “I can’t.” As human beings, every single one of us is innately creative! When we combine creativity with PDCA, we soon find we can accomplish the unimaginable!

What is your Quality Kryptonite?

  • People don’t even recognize when they are saying “I can’t.” It comes in so many forms. As human beings, we make up and tell ourselves stories about what is possible, and what is not, and then we don’t even try to accomplish things!
  • People believe that creativity is only for artists… or those people in the art department… not for them! We’re all creative! No matter who we are or what job we do, we can all “combine knowledge from previous experience in new and different ways,” the Karyn Ross definition of creativity! Unless we come up with new ways to solve problems and serve customers, our organizations won’t flourish, thrive and grow forever!

What are some of your Quality Victories?

  • Co-authoring The Toyota Way to Service Excellence: Lean Transformation in Service Organizations with my mentor and friend, Jeff Liker!
  • Becoming a business owner (in my fifties)! I’ve always wanted to be a business owner – and now I am! I have a Right-Sized-Price alternate pricing strategy and can help all kinds of businesses of all sizes, work towards fulfilling their purpose, so they can improve the world!

Do you have any Words of Wisdom?

  • Start. Stop telling yourself what you can’t do, and get started on what you can. Take the first step. Today. Whatever that is. The longer you put it off, the scarier and more impossible it will seem. Once you take the first step, you will see that you can! What we do changes our thinking, not the other way around! We only gain confidence through doing!
  • Keep going. Some things work out as you think they will. Others don’t. The ones that don’t aren’t failures. They are simply showing you that what you thought would ‘work’, doesn’t. That’s fine. Move on to the next thing!
  • Help others and treat them kindly. Not just because it will help them – and you. But because it will, ultimately, make a better world!

Thanks again to Karyn Ross for her quality thoughts!