Quality Professionals: Work With the CEO to Solve Business Problems
One of the issues we see constantly for quality professionals is their desire to communicate more effectively with management. How can you encourage them to make the right company decisions based on your quality data? How can you get them to see what you see?
During one of this year's ASQ World Quality Conference sessions, Mike Adams discussed exactly how you should go about solving your CEO's business problems with quality. It involves a shift in thinking, and a tactical approach to management, and we'll delve into some of the topics covered during his presentation.
Several of Mr. Adams' most broad beliefs involve both facts and challenges of the modern organization. First off, not much is new with quality tools and techniques: because with the right practice and training, they work. Another ongoing challenge that we personally also see all the time is accurate, timely, and useful quality data. The last challenge, which many quality professionals express as their major pain, is the gap that exists between C-Levels and the quality department.
A major challenge for CEO's is their ability to accelerate top and bottom line growth, preferably as quickly as possible. For the top line, they are looking to add new products, expand their core, and dip into emerging markets. To increase their bottom line, they want to optimize costs, redesign or standardize processes, improve manufacturing productivity, and incorporate new technologies.
Understanding these big-picture challenges is essential to reaching through to your CEO. While inspections, quality assurance management, and the ISO series are essential, they are not a sufficient means of communication. For the C-Level, it's all about leadership, strategic planning, operations focus, and business results.
Taking this into consideration, there are now new imperatives for quality, as the CEO sees it. Quality must be integrated into business leadership efforts - value creation, innovation, and accelerated cycle time to market should all be made a priority. Quality principles are preceived to be already present, which is absolutely necessary by not necessarily sufficient. Near perfect quality is now assumed, or is at the very least the basic expectation for the customers of today.
Today's quality professional must widen the range of how "quality" is interpreted. Modern quality data management technology has enabled speed, data mining, capture, and presentation of information, where fundamentals of statistics and fact-based decision making remain a foundation for interpretation. This is the first step to bridge quality practices to current CEO challenges and global trends.
Source: "Answering Today's CEO Challenges with Quality", presentation by Mike Adams & Company, LLC at the ASQ World Quality Conference, 2012.
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