The CQIU Origin Story

A common question we receive when talking about our company is “What does CQIU mean?” (or if you’ve only known us via the web…”Ka-cue? Seekiu? Did they fall on the keyboard?”)

Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) is a well-known business management philosophy that focuses on reducing waste, increasing the quality of products and services from the customer or client’s perspective, and improving work flows across all sectors of an organization. The philosophy encourages regular monitoring of key processes to identify opportunities for improvement and testing ways to make an organization’s operations more effective and/or efficient step-by-step. This can be achieved in a wide variety of ways, from engaging leadership to shift an organization’s culture toward CQI to using simple tools that help staff better understand process strengths and failures. Understanding where you are now, and collecting data around important outcomes as you test possible improvements, is a critical component of effective CQI.

So there you go. CQI - we’ve explained 3 out of the 4 letters included in our name.

CQI is a relatively new concept in the non-profit world. For many organizations, the introduction to CQI arrives when a desired funding source requires it as a condition of receiving a grant or other financial award. For small businesses trying to get off the ground, standard CQI practices may not be a top priority when the business to-do list is never-ending or the bottom-line seems dire. This is where the U in CQIU comes in. We believe that CQI is a universal philosophy that can be applied to correct many of the issues that non-profits and small businesses face on a regular basis, especially when starting a new endeavor, scaling an existing operation, or when facing frustration that desired outcomes have not been achieved. Common obstacles include constrained resources, inefficient processes, and a lack of evidence-based best practices.

To further explain the U, we really! We believe that the people who drive a mission are the most valuable resource any organization has, and our consulting techniques and educational materials emphasize the role of healthy employees and volunteers within an organization. Workplace satisfaction, personal life satisfaction, and overall work-life balance are intricately linked. Workplace stress and dissatisfaction impact personal satisfaction outside of work, while personal stress both inside and outside of work can impact job performance. Workers with low levels of wellness have higher rates of absenteeism and can drive up organizational costs, with one study showing that organizations collectively spend over $2 billion in absenteeism costs annually. We utilize systematic CQI tactics to not only improve organizational processes, but to also improve the quality of life for the workers involved.

And finally, a personal tidbit about the U: CQIU founders Darcey Terris and Nishita Morris met at a university, and have both extensively taught and worked in university settings. We bring academic educational and research experience to workplaces in a really fun and approachable way! (Ok, sometimes we’re the only ones laughing at our jokes, but it’s rare. And, if you don’t want to laugh with us, you can certainly laugh at us. It’s okay.)

Wishing you quality in work and life,

Darcey and Nishita