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ISO 9001:2015 – Why Leadership In Quality Is Critical To Success

24 March 2020
ISO 9001:2015 is about risk based thinking, continual improvement, effective planning, customer perception and most importantly making top management responsible and accountable...

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” – Steve Jobs

There are many different ways of leading, and many misconceptions of what makes a good or even great leader.

As someone in top management you will have the same common goals as your worker bees, and some that are critical to achieving top management goals which do not always need communicating in finite detail to anyone outside of top management.

The measure of your success as a leader will be only truly be known when you leave the organization; what did you implement that will survive your departure and how seamless was your handover?

ISO 9001:2015 is about risk based thinking, continual improvement, effective planning, customer perception and most importantly making top management responsible and accountable for the quality management system, requiring you to know all aspects of your business.

By adopting LEADERSHIP it may be said that you will satisfy the 10 requirements of ISO 9001:2015:

  1. Listen and Learn – A CV and interview for a position will tell you little about who works for you. What skills do people have that are not being utilised? This may lead to significant improvements of revenue, processes, or product. Often, asking questions rather than telling people things can open up new opportunities.
  2. Empower – Very few people like micro management, in fact it is often regarded as poor leadership, waste of resource and a significant reason for people leaving or not caring about the job. Empower people to think, contribute, and provide the resources for them to carry out their work effectively.
  3. Accountability – You are accountable for all; decisions, policies, products, governance and effective implementation.
  4. Delegate – Ensure that the managers and people in authority are effective and can carry out what you require, have confidence in the delegation.
  5. Empathy – Recognise the challenges of your worker bees and also that you are in the position to change for the better.
  6. Resilience – Not all decisions will be popular particularly surrounding change, however you have been appointed for your competence to make positive commercial decisions based on experience and reason, stand fast.
  7. Sincerity – Along with accountability it is critical that your customers and colleagues trust you, your ability and that you are being sincere.
  8. Humility – Be a leader; get in the trenches with your staff, know your staff, when you talk to your staff think of their importance not yours; let them leave the conversation empowered and on top of the world. A birthday card to staff members for £2.99 can make their day and gain you loyalty.
  9. Inspire – Lead by example and show how each person's actions are important and affect the overall outcome of the business. Do not leave it up to managers to communicate everything, be visible.
  10. Purpose – Your purpose is to advance the team, product and business for the better and remain solvent to ensure stability for the business and all who work there and the customers you serve.

Out of the 10 above, what would you score?

The Standard requires that you are able to show that you are accountable for the quality management system. See below some ways in which you can demonstrate this to your auditor:

  • Effective management review minutes which you can discuss with the auditor

  • Quality policy – How you ensure it is met and remains effective

  • Evidence of appraisals – Personal records are not expected to be reviewed however evidence of how you are aware of whether people have the right level of support and resources for their roles, and also the managers

  • How you communicate requirements

  • What improvements have been made

Customer focus

Along with being accountable, the Standard requires leadership to be responsible for all statutory and regulatory requirements where a breach will impact on your customer as it may hinder service.

As part of risk-based thinking you may want to consider and discuss how compliances are met and also how customer requirements are met and how you gather their perception of the service.

It is vital that your team understand the importance of customer satisfaction and your requirement for excellence in achieving this.

Roles and responsibilities

By using LEADERSHIP deciding on roles and responsibilities can be a very useful exercise. Are the right people in the right place? Are people getting enough out of their role?

Although you have the ultimate accountability for the system, it is often motivational to ensure people know what their part is in the system to help make it effective, you can consider building KPI’s into this.

When people understand their role and the relevance of it in the bigger picture, you may find that there is more useful information gathered when receiving reports and what you want to analyse to advance improvements. This is another good way of ensuring that your processes are working as intended.

For more information on this topic please email us here or call us on 0800 052 2424 and a member of the team will be happy to help.

If you'd like more in-depth and comprehensive introductions into the clauses of ISO 9001 then take a look at our range of CQI and IRCA approved training courses here.

Author: Jude Hargreaves - NQA Regional Assessor