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10 Essential tips for a great quality system - #2

Involving everyone

“When everyone in an organisation is at least aiming in the same direction, it will naturally have a better chance of getting there”.

This tip is a natural progression from the previous one ‘Management commitment – leading from the top’. For, if top management are genuinely committed to the quality system, they will encourage the involvement and development of the people in the organisation. Why? Because if everything ‘quality’ is left to just one key individual or even a few people:

  • The system will become narrowly focused – with only one set of ideas
  • When they move on (leave/retire/transfer/give up in frustration) the system will fall in a heap
  • While the quality ‘champions’ may put in a superhuman effort, the sum total of most people not contributing will more than make up for it

 

The difference between a successful and unsuccessful organisation can sometimes be a result of some subtle factors – in one case, there may be a sense of unity and purpose; people at least knowing what the organisation’s values and goals are, and that they have a part to play in achieving them. In another case, there may be disunity, with individuals and business units working to different – and sometimes – conflicting agendas. In terms of quality management, a successful organisation tends be one where everyone contributes – rather than considering “Quality? Nah! that’s not my job. We’ve got someone who looks after that”. When all the people in an organisation are at least aiming in the same direction, that organisation will naturally have a better chance of getting there.

So, just how can people be encouraged to be more involved?

  • Starting on day one, an explanation of the organisation’s policy and objectives should be part of induction training
  • For existing personnel, ‘quality awareness’ may be included in team meetings or ‘toolbox talks’. An opportune time may occur when introducing new software or methods
  • The quality policy should be widely communicated – put it on your web site / intranet site / include in tender submissions / display prominently in work areas
  • Objectives should be set at different levels throughout the organisation – for the organisation as a whole, departments, teams and individuals. These should of course be complementary and consistent with each other
  • By establishing clear responsibilities and authorities e.g. in job descriptions
  • By creating a culture that encourages communication and rewards ideas, and providing the mechanisms for that communication to happen

One useful tool may simply be re-branding. Eyes tend to glaze over at the mention of quality manuals and procedures. To many, the very word ‘quality’ conjures up visions of heavy, dusty folders from 1980’s/90’s vintage systems where consultants seemed to get paid by the kilogram of documents they produced, empires were built on bureaucracy, and auditors nitpicked over the minute details of documents. Why not call the system your ‘Business Management System’ or ‘Business Guide’?