Re-positioning the Quality Profession: Part 2
Last month I explained why we have taken it upon ourselves to reposition the world’s view of quality and those who practice it. It is our responsibility as a professional body to set and maintain standards, but crucially our stakeholders have demanded it from us.
So what is it that they have demanded? Following research with our members, industry leaders and international organisations they told us that, Quality Professionals:
Must have a broad set of skills. The profession needs to define the required competences and experience needed to develop effective future quality leaders and teams.
Need to talk the language of the business. The case for quality must be made with reference to facts based on customers and other stakeholders, and presented in language and perspectives that resonate with leaders.
Must be agents for broad-based business change. Armed with a cross-functional perspective and a wider set of skills and experience, the quality professional can become a more influential agent for driving change in the business.
These are just some of the key themes, which emerged from our research. They highlight the need for quality professionals to have the right competencies, to perform their role effectively and crucially, influence top management.
Leadership teams often need help to see quality as a key agenda item – helping them to do so will earn respect for the quality profession. This should not be done by ‘banging the table’ and playing the ‘policeman’ role, but by obtaining data that shows the impact of quality, helping people to understand the problems and fix them. The focus here must be to really change the perception of quality.
To meet the challenges our stakeholders have set, we have started with a vision that clearly sets out the three key areas Quality Professionals operate in – highlighting why they are fundamental to all businesses. They are:
Good governance - Ensuring the interests of customers and stakeholders are understood and respected.
Agile assurance - Establishing appropriate methodologies to protect and enhance reputation through the mitigation of risk.
Evaluation and improvement
Transforming ways of working to maximise effectiveness and eliminate unnecessary cost and waste.
One of the key themes highlighted by our stakeholders was the need to define the competencies required by future quality teams. To achieve this we have developed the CQI Competency Framework structured around our vision – Governance, Assurance and Improvement, the Context, which we work in, and the Behaviours we must show.
The framework provides an overview of the competencies that the profession requires to do its job effectively, by:
Providing a clear benchmark for competence for use by the CQI, employers and individuals
Helping individuals plan their career development
Helping employers develop their own competency frameworks.
Our vision and the Competency Framework are the start of this journey but there is still plenty of work to do. Following the release of the framework, we will be continuously developing tools to support it.
It is one thing to create the tools but we need all quality professionals to join us on this journey. This may seem like a huge challenge but the benefits to business and society are equally significant. If the profession as a whole can deliver the value that it is capable of providing, then new opportunities will emerge for our stakeholders.
Over the next few months we will take a look at each element of the framework, explaining why it was chosen and how it impacts on quality professionals working in Governance, Assurance and Improvement.
The CQI competency framework is largely complemented by the international quality management systems framework ISO 9001. ISO 9001 supports businesses in adopting a systematic approach to delivering quality at every stage of the business operation. To learn more about changes to this management system standard click here.
Simon Feary is the Chief Executive of The Chartered Quality Institute (CQI). Following a career as a chartered biologist and later in management, Simon joined the CQI in 1994 to head up the International Register of Certificated Auditors. Today he is focused on leading the CQI to tackle the challenges facing the industry today and in future, head on.