Imagine it’s 325 B.C.E and you’re at Aristotle’s school, the Lyceum, in Athens. A builder has come to ask Aristotle’s advice. He explains that his workers have not done well with recent jobs and the customers are finding other builders. He has corrected the issues he’s found in the work but this is costing him his profits for the job when work must be redone. He asks, “can you help me?”
Aristotle ponders for a moment, then says, “Quality is not an act, it is a habit.” And so, we have history’s first formal statement about quality: Quality is not a special, ‘extra’ activity, but a way of intrinsically performing one’s work.