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A QualitEvolution is intended to capture positions and experiences as a participant in the evolution of the Quality profession into the 21st century. From its origins as the brainchild of Corporate Industrial Statisticians, our profession has transformed and evolved to incorporate and adapt to the demands and expectations of our modern existence.

The scope of the subject matter within A QualitEvolution extends to the furthest ranges of quality, business transformation, management science, and quality issues especially pertinent to the members of ASQ in Canada.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Humbled and Exalted

There is a phrase, expressed multiple times in scripture, which contrasts the relationship between modesty and boastful behavior.

To paraphrase, "Those who exalt themselves shall be humbled, and those who humble themselves shall be exalted".

There is another old writing from Desiderata, credited to Max Ehrmann.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Our present society and business culture tends to reward the boastful and the greater the claims, the more extensive is the admiration.  Such tendencies are reinforced by the immediate successes realized by bombastic individuals who make extravagant claims and assertions.

Humility is a virtue, and should not be confused with shame or weakness. The foundation of humility is the recognition of our true natures, and acceptance of such limitations.  Through authenticity and integrity, we can take realistic assessments of our respective capabilities and manage our expectations accordingly. 

Humility is essential in situations requiring teamwork and collaboration.  This is the foundation for servant leadership and enables the trust and mutual support to be formed.  When participants do not feel diminished or marginalized, their best qualities can emerge to create surprising new capabilities.

Those who exalt themselves without humility attempt to raise their stature without authenticity or integrity.  When challenged, these self-promoters, lacking a foundation of legitimacy, conduct themselves like the cornered rat and attack their critics with inflammatory and disparaging invective.  The true intent is to deflect attention from their own shortcomings to incite doubt and suspicion toward anyone who would dare to question their exalted status.  This creates a toxicity and hostility that overtakes any virtuous influence that could come from exalted stature.

The true nature of humility is revealed when accolades and rewards are shifted back to the cause.  One example is when the Nobel Peace Prize money, awarded to the recipient, is instead donated to the victims of the cause.  This humble act not only draws attention from the individual to their causes, but induces others to make similar selfless gestures to their passionate concerns.

This is not meant to diminish the accomplishments and recognitions that one may receive.  Think of it as a way to sustain the hope in your heart, for as long as you have hope in your heart, you'll never walk alone.