By Jim McCarthy Oct 19, 2010 0 comments

Does Quality Matter to You? What the Heck is Quality Anyway?

In live entertainment, “quality” is not a word that gets kicked around a lot.  And I don’t think that’s because no one cares about quality; it’s just not a frequent topic.

So we’ll give it a little airtime here.

Is quality important to you, your organization or your venue?  Here’s a story that may be apocryphal but I heard it in Business School, and it’s stuck with me ever since:

There used to be a company famous for building the world’s most durable, strongly made filing cabinets and other office storage furniture in the world.  For years, this company’s product was the gold standard for this type of product because it was built to last, with pride and sold at a fair, if not cheap, price.

At some point, there appeared inexpensive alternatives, built out of inferior materials, some even out of plastic that wouldn’t stand the test of time, but were cheap and worked fine for several years.

Reacting to this, the CEO in a meeting one day said, “I don’t understand why customers don’t see how much better our cabinets are than those cheap things they’re buying.  Can’t they see the excellent workmanship?  Don’t they understand that our cabinets will still look good and work well in 20 years?  Hell, you can literally throw one of ours out of a 3rd story window and it will still work.  Don’t the customers know that?”

And one of the executives in the meeting (or maybe the secretary) said, “Yeah, but boss, nobody throws a cabinet out a window.”

The company was so locked into the definition of quality which meant that it was “well made” or “durable” or “good in the long run” that they lost site of the fact that those qualities were not qualities that the buyers of office cabinets were placing a high value on.

So my question to you is this: what does quality mean in live entertainment?  In theatre and performing arts?  In professional sports?  Ask the Tampa Bay Rays or the marketing director of any of dozens of theatres doing technically top notch work if “excellence” on the stage or field is enough to be successful.

Is quality something you think about?  How do you define it?  I’d like to know.

Share and Enjoy

    Comments are closed.