‘I have a handbook and procedures so I am doing well in quality management’.
Paper and ink printed letters do not make quality, people do. Of course, a system is the basis, this is the starting point and ultimately the point to fall back on. However, the foundation is laid much earlier. It begins with the vision, mission and core values of the organisation. Is this all aimed at maximum quality of your product? Something the staff really believes in? If this is not the case, a very important cornerstone of quality management is missing.
Different perspectives within quality management
When talking about quality management, we refer to two different perspectives. The systems perspective consists of quality systems, measuring, analysing, evaluating, procedures, processes, models and planning. Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA-cycle) in a systematic process.
The second essential part of good quality management is the socio-dynamic perspective. This is about culture, characters, team compositions, team behaviour, team performance, motivation, communication.
The relationship and cooperation between people is crucial. This must be in good balance with the systematic process. A very common fallacy in the design of ISO 9001 systems, for example, is the 100% focus on the production process. This is where the product is made, right? That is where quality is essential.
However, you must not forget that the people who do the work there are selected at a much earlier stage, for example by an HR department or an external HR partner.
How well do they know the company culture? The interests? The missing skills within a team? Do they look for the same type as the one you already have ‘because he does his job so well’? Or do you look for the right balance?
‘That should be part of ISO, shouldn’t it?’
It is no coincidence that “friction makes shine” is an often-used metaphor. There is a great deal of truth in this. On the other hand, the sometimes impenetrable urge to write everything down is a common mistake in the systems engineering perspective, because ‘Isn’t that what ISO says?
If, when setting up a system, you reason from the thought ‘it has to be from ISO’, or whatever standard, the system is doomed to fail. People don’t feel the energy and feel it as a burden and thus the social-dynamic perspective is out of balance yet again.
You reason from your basis or foundation, which mission and vision do we have? What are our spearheads or core values? How can we integrate that properly in our system documentation?
To remain in the metaphorical sphere, ‘Do what you say and say what you do’ can be enormously helpful in the thinking phase when drawing up documentation.
Don’t write something down because you think someone else should, write down what you think is important in order to achieve maximum quality. The usefulness and necessity of documentation has a huge influence on the motivation of employees, is there any result of what I am doing here, ‘because it says here that I have to do this?’
Quality management is a way of life
From a social perspective, following on from the above: keep challenging staff to keep thinking about the usefulness and necessity of process steps, why am I doing this? What does it contribute to? Why is this result important for the organisation? Dare to challenge yourself in this process by asking the why question to colleagues.
A quality management system can only be of added value if it is truly embedded in the processes. It must be a way of life and not an assist line that you let run alongside your ‘normal’ business. This is a common phenomenon. Companies have a primary process and they have ISO 9001. Totally pointless, inefficient and contributing nothing to the organisation except for hefty bills from expensive consultants and certifying bodies.
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My ISO Genius is designed to keep that right balance from the systems perspective. It contains a foundation that makes working with ISO9001 fun. In addition, it has long been proven that “feeling ownership” is one of the most important elements for good employee motivation.
The best way to create that is to let employees think and build it themselves. My ISO Genius is a perfect partner to get this done.