Quality Progress - March 2013 - (Page 55)

StandardS OutlOOk BY Dale K. GorDon Confidence Game Standards should assure customers of product safety, quality For the second time in my 55 years on this Earth, we are seeing a crisis of confi- tion, President Carter said (excerpted): It [confidence] is the idea which These wounds are still very deep. They have never been healed. Looking for a dence. This stems from many factors, not founded our nation and has guided our way out of this crisis, our people have the least of which has been the devastating development as a people. Confidence turned to the federal government and and crushing recession of 2008 to 2009 and in the future has supported everything found it isolated from the mainstream of the very slow and painful global economic else—public institutions and private en- our nation’s life. Washington, D.C., has recovery we are witnessing. terprise, our own families and the very become an island. The gap between our Constitution of the United States. Con- citizens and our government has never to more than a generation that saw nothing fidence has defined our course and has been so wide. The people are looking for but unprecedented and unparalleled eco- served as a link between generations. honest answers, not easy answers; clear nomic growth from 1992 to 2001, followed by We’ve always believed in something leadership, not false claims and evasive- a brief recession and growth again until 2007. called progress. We’ve always had a faith ness and politics as usual. The loss of confidence is understandable This was not the norm from the 1950s to the 1990s when we would experience a cycle of five to seven years of business that the days of our children would be better than our own. What you see too often in Washington and elsewhere around the country These changes did not happen over- is a system of government that seems growth followed by recession. Did we night. They’ve come upon us gradually incapable of action. You see a Congress become too confident that growth was over the last generation, years that were twisted and pulled in every direction by never-ending and the positive effects of filled with shocks and tragedy. hundreds of well-financed and powerful that growth—low unemployment and high We were sure that ours was a nation special interests. You see every extreme confidence in future prosperity—would of the ballot, not the bullet, until the position defended to the last vote, almost continue on indefinitely? murders of John Kennedy and Robert to the last breath by one unyielding Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. We group or another. You often see a bal- before. In a speech on the subject [of con- were taught that our armies were always anced and a fair approach that demands fidence] back on July 15, 1979, in response invincible and our causes were always sacrifice, a little sacrifice from everyone, to a period of slow growth extending from just, only to suffer the agony of Vietnam. abandoned like an orphan without sup- energy shocks to the economy in 1973 that We respected the presidency as a place of port and without friends. resulted in high unemployment and infla- honor until the shock of Watergate. Looking back, we have been here Sound familiar? Substitute the headlines of the last five years for the events mentioned in this speech, and it sounds strikingly current and relevant 35 years later. So what is confidence? It has been defined in some cases as a state of being certain either that a hypothesis or prediction is correct or that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective one, versus the antithesis that confidence is a self-fulfilling prophecy as those without it may fail or not try because they lack it and those with it may succeed because they have confidence rather than because of an innate ability. March 2013 • QP 55 http://www.qualityprogress.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Quality Progress - March 2013

Up Front
LogOn
Expert Answers
Keeping Current
Mr. Pareto Head
The Right Ingredients
Before the Fact
Apples to Oranges?
Five at the Forefront
Innovation Imperative
Measure for Measure
Quality in the First Person
Career Corner
Statistics Roundtable
Standards Outlook
QP Toolbox
QP Reviews
One Good Idea

Quality Progress - March 2013

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