The nine key elements for a Successful Quality and Excellence Initiatives.
Everyone knows Aristotle’s famous quote “Well begun is half done”, but it is seldom true when it comes to sustaining organizational change initiatives for achieving better quality and excellence. Understandably, change is uncomfortable for most of us, and therefore, it is quite normal for people to resist it. Many times, organizations find their quality and excellence initiatives stalled because of the loss of enthusiasm in employees. At the same time, there are some good examples, where the organizations have not only successfully implemented the quality and excellence initiatives but also have sustained them.
There is an old age saying “Winners don’t do different things; they do things differently”. If we wish to decipher the secret to successful Quality and Excellence initiatives, then we should take a closer look into how successful organizations implemented winning strategies by handling change management differently. As an example, Motorola had adopted, a three-pronged approach: quality of forethought, quality of workmanship, and quality of objective self-appraisal. This means that the quality program took into account all three stages of production: pre-production, production, and post-production. This approach undoubtedly rewarded Motorola by securing its place at the forefront of American business for the next several years.
Organizations like Motorola, General Electric, and Toyota have been recognized as role models in this domain since long but there are very few life science organizations which can be considered as a role model in this regard. Perhaps, this is because of the nature of the life science industry business, where to get the product from idea to market the company needs to spend about a decade, several billion dollars, and there is about a 90% chance of failure. It is very different from the other businesses, where product delivery times are shorter which naturally requires employees to be more agile and adaptive to the change.
We have working experience with a large pool of life science clients as well as clients from other industries that have shorter delivery timelines. Our analysis tells that some life science clients have seamlessly adopted QualityKick modules for Document Control, Risk Assessment, CAPA, and Change Control than the others. This has enabled us to identify nine key elements that lead to successful Quality and Excellence initiatives. These are the organizations that have typically made the changes stick longer.
From our experience, we identified nine key elements. In this article, we are going to share the secret to successful Quality and Excellence initiatives by elaborating on how these key elements play a vital role in adapting to the change initiatives.
“Quality is a way of life in a business, not an advertising term." Robert W. Galvin, President, Motorola Inc., October 1962, Quality Assurance magazine.
Employees look up to their leaders all the time. If they find out that their leaders are not interested to ‘walk the talk’, then they are unlikely to walk down that same path as well. Therefore, leaders need to convince themselves about the initiative first, because the best way to convince others is to get convinced yourself first.
The leaders should have a large part of their deliverables or the key performance indicators associated with the new change initiatives. They should have an active involvement in driving the change through their actions. If it starts at the top, it automatically makes its way to the down.
The clarity of purpose is of utmost importance for everyone working in the organization, from top to bottom. Everyone in the organization must be well aligned on the purpose for which change is being adopted. For example, an organization may want to adopt a document control module to automate the process for template preparation, version control, audit preparations, and also to avoid physical movement of documents for review and signatures, to save time and costs. However, if an employee misunderstands the adoption of this new initiative as a micromanagement strategy, then the management can hope for the least adoption of the new system.
In our view, well defined and well-intentioned initiatives that are aligned with organizational goals as well as employee deliverables result in successful implementation.
When employees have clarity about their key deliverables or the key performance indicators and how their role is aligned with organizational goals, then they tend to visualize the big picture. This enables them to contribute better to the newly rolled out initiatives.
The role of each employee should be defined in such a manner that he or she feels proud about being able to contribute to the system. At the same time, utmost care should be taken to avoid the duplication of roles and responsibilities, which leads to loss of motivation in employees.
The duplication of role fosters petty politics and a game of passing the buck starts within the organization.
Every team goes through the usual forming, storming, norming, and performing phase, what matters is how quickly the teams get into the performing phase. Improvement initiatives, be it for quality or excellence, require not only smooth teamwork but also swift cross-functional teamwork. The leadership from the top management plays a key role here.
Effective communication is the key to the successful implementation of any strategy. It is not only about changing the practices and systems, it is about changing hearts, minds, and behaviours.
The leaders play a very critical role in this case also. Through effective communication strategies, leaders should be able to convince the employees that the change is for the better.
Training may require some initial investment but it is always accounted for in the ‘cost of good quality’ in the ‘total cost of quality’. It is still possible to save some bucks on training, by using cloud storage and automated assignments of training for specific user roles with the help of the QualityKick Training Module. Some simple and easy to understand training content may help get the team in performing phase without hassle.
Culture of Transparency
The fear of loss of a job or unhealthy criticism from the management’s part may force the employees to do superficial risk assessments and to give the ‘all is good’ feedback to the management. This situation is certainly not helpful in the successful implementation of a change initiative, because, for a successful quality and excellence initiative, it is important that teams openly talk about the ‘hidden factories’.
Culture of Transparency table.
Metric for Success
It is important to define a measurement criterion for determining the success of a Quality and Excellence initiative. This can be easily done by keeping track of the number of quarterly non-conformance occurrences before and after the implementation of the new initiative. Lesser the number of non-conformance occurrences more is the success of the Quality and Excellence initiative. Keeping the track of metric and seeing the difference, also serves the purpose of keeping employees motivated for sticking to the new initiatives.
Rewards and Recognition
Employees who actively contribute to make the change initiative a success should be recognized and rewarded in a quarterly meeting, where the number of non-conformance occurrences for each quarter is declared. A healthy competition for rewards and recognition may motivate employees to follow the new initiatives and make it a better success.
In the end, if we take a closer look at all the key elements, we come to know that the largest responsibility of making any new initiative a success lies with the leaders. Because it is the leaders who identify the need of change, it is the leaders who define goals, it is the leaders who assign the role, it is the leaders who build the team spirit, it is the leaders who create transparent work culture, it is the leaders who communicate the change effectively, it is leaders who identify training needs, it is the leaders who identify the right metric for evaluation of success and finally it is also the leaders who reward and recognize fellow employees for their great work. Therefore, much depends on the leadership of the organization. Yet the leaders should always remember that ‘the only person who likes a change is a baby with a wet diaper’ and hence, they must prepare themselves to handle the resistance. It should be anticipated that employees will fall back to their old practices, every now and then but eventually as time passes the new practice will become an old practice with patience and perseverance.