The Right Message

Leadership’s role in quality management

I will not name names in the interest of protecting the innocent (or guilty, as the case maybe), but I have an engineer friend who told me, over a casual conversation about work, that his organization’s message from leadership to the folks on the floor—or at least their interpretation of the message—was to favor speed and cost savings over quality any day of the week.

Yikes, right? And super scary if you’re an unknowing customer of such an irresponsible entity. Unfortunately, I don’t think this sentiment is isolated. Take Takata’s suppliers, who insisted the company put savings of a few dollars per airbag above all else, ultimately leading to deaths as a result of the products, a story we published recently on the Quality News Today site. (http://tinyurl.com/suppliers-takata).

These stories illuminate the importance of capable, responsible and conscientious leaders in driving strategy and decision making throughout the organizations they lead. The new version of ISO 9001:2015 recognizes the value of that leadership role and serves to create the structure and tools necessary for leaders to focus on what’s important. Learn more about leadership’s emphasized role in ISO 9001:2015 in "Leading the Way," this month’s cover story.

"Coordinate, Collaborate, Consolidate," looks at how organizations can improve performance by aligning certain functions through oversight activities. The article gives some great tips on instituting ways to align audits, risk assessments, peer reviews and gate reviews to strengthen the ability to manage these activities.

A second article on auditing, "Elephant in the Room," cautions auditors to be wary of making assumptions and illustrates how things aren’t always what they seem using an old fable about six blind men and an elephant to support its theories.

"Diving Deeper," unveils a new statistical tool called LEARN (look, examine, assign, regression and natural selection), which aids in understanding processes via simple models. With the explosion of data available, creating simple models to communicate with leaders is key to getting your message heard and understood.

And finally, a feel-good story about how one quality professional faced news of a possible career-ending disability—only to overcome it after finding the right tools. He continues to work in a quality role today. Read more in "Refocusing Your Goals".

Seiche Sanders

Seiche Sanders

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