Do not stop reading because of this poor-looking title !

Grassroots movement were first called this way in 1907. More than a hundred years of activism and it does not look as tough it is going to stop anytime soon.

The online Webster thus defines it :

Definition of GRASSROOTS

1:  basicfundamental <the grassroots factor in deciding to buy a house>
2:  being, originating, or operating in or at he grass roots <agrassroots organization> ,<grassroots political support>
:  not adapted from or added to an existing facility or operation :  totally new <a grassroots refinery>


Fundamental…as is quality.

Operating at the roots… as is quality.

Not adapted from an existing facility or operations… well, if history has anything to teach us it is that Quality HAS evolved BECAUSE of norms and regulations in most instances….it probably did not really exist in the mind of the early managers to start with. Deming, Juran et al would not have to re-invent quality if that had been the case from the beginning.

Let’s look further into the definition from the Webster dictionary…

Other Government and Politics Terms

Autarky ??

I loooove hyperlinks….

Definition of AUTARKY

Oh, I love definitions (except a strict one for Quality !!)

So, grassroots for quality would be independent… of management. A life of its own. A living desire to achieve quality throughout the organisation. No push necessary from upper management.

But I prefer the term grassroots.

Because of grass.

Sowing grass is the cheapest and most efficient form of weed control. Grass seed cost close to nothing compared to herbicide and fertilizer. Sow grass every few week, over-sow grass on top of good looking grass and it grows so thick no weed can pierce through it.

Why ? Because of the ROOTS !!!

Look carefully at the picture above. The root system is interlaced, interconnected, interwoven …and strong !! Plucking a single leaf of grass is possible with very little effort. Removing the roots is, let’s say, dirty and sweaty !

A single leaf of grass is weak whereas the turf itself is very strong, resilient, resistant to all sort of trauma, survive drought for a surprising period and grow back rapidly when conditions allow it.

Grassroots movements are thus built and maintained. By sprinkling seeds regularly, allowing it to grow and adding a little water once in a while. This is cheaper than spraying herbicide or fertilizer and much more efficient in the long run. Sprinkling seeds….and keeping the turf well connected on the underside.

Well connected. Well, well, the wirearchy comes back to haunt us ! These connections are not only natural, they are essential to strengthen the whole organisation. And Quality !!

Quality with a BIG Q!!

The Quality embedded in all the processes, not only for the manufacturing part of the organization.

It might sound and look so simple, even simplistic, but believe me, by the look of the people when I teach those concepts (connection, interaction, collaboration, etc) to achieve the right level of Quality, it is NOT as widespread as one might think.

How can we build grassroots movements for Quality in our organization ?

How can we sow and over-sow the seeds of Quality on a continuous basis ?

What can be done concretely, simply and frequently to make it happen ?

How can we sustain it ?


Interactions, interconnexion, wirearchy …not as far fetched and philosophical as one might think ……

Forget Facebook, or the intranet…..are YOU connected to yourself and your team ?

Do you have frequent and deep discussions about the meaning of Quality for you and your team ? Do you share this vision with other teams and the management committee ?

Are you prepared to start your very own grassroots Quality culture ?

Look at the picture above once again…..are you as strong as the turf on the front lawn of your organization ?

Remember the old saying ? You reap what you sow…

What do you sow ?


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