Ultimately, while the role of a dedicated quality management professional may differ from that of someone who is responsible for planning and running quality campaigns within an organisation, both are tasked with the job of making things happen as far as improvement strategies are concerned. And, both can learn from common mistakes that are made by others who have walked in their shoes. Putting a quality campaign into motion is daunting at the best of times.
For the professionals who are leading the battle however, many factors come into play. Pressure from management, dwindling budgets, stubborn employees who refuse to jump on board with the plan of action and even simply lapses of judgement in what to do (or how to do it). While this role can be one of the more stressful roles to play, it is also one of the most rewarding roles… once things go off without any major hitches, of course.
What Not To Do When Running Quality Management Campaigns
Whichever role you find yourself in – independent quality professional or hard-working office manager slash quality manager slash admin overlord – there are a few things that you do not want to do during the course of action. Some of the mistakes that should be avoided when putting a quality management campaign into action include the following:
- Frightening people into compliance. You want people to galvanise into action, but fear may not be the best motivator (no matter how effective it can be in the short-term). Compliance is not always as cut and dried as it appears. Warning letters are all very well if the problem is deliberate non-conformance, but often things like lack of knowledge, lack of understanding, problems with team members or even honest mistakes could be at play. Try to focus instead on working with people rather than against them, and open up the lines of communication wherever possible.
- Focusing on damage control instead of adequate prevention solutions. All too often, day to day quality roles involve putting out a lot of fires. Sadly, when there is too much focus on damage control, even the best quality system can be overwhelmed. By seeking out good preventative solutions, such as finding competent employees and putting trust in their abilities, you will find that there are fewer fires to put out (and more time to spend on all your other quality goals).
- Not looking at the bigger picture when it comes to finding errors. It can be easy to assume that the reason for a fault is that a worker has made a mistake. Of course, this could be the case in many instances. Without a proper investigation however, or a solid internal audit, it can be easier to overlook bigger issues that could be at fault. Sometimes, the reason that a worker has made that error is due to a fault in the manufacturing system, for example, or a problem with the quality control process documents. Investigations should always be done before anything else to ensure that you know exactly why an error has been made.
- Trying to change everything, all at once. So many quality professionals want to change the world, within as short a time as humanly possible. This is admirable, but almost always impossible. The best route is to start small with one project or one focus area. Get everyone on board and implement the changes. Once you have seen success with that first step, it will be far easier to succeed with the next step. Trying to do too much and then failing can be devastating – not only to the success of your quality strategies, but also to your potential career as a quality professional.
- Not taking any quality certification courses. Do not underestimate the value of training for your own skills improvement. Quality certification courses offer an excellent tool for anyone who takes on a role within the quality game. As such, it would be unwise to ignore the value that it offers, purely because you do not feel you have time to spare.
Despite the ups and downs experienced along the way, there is no doubt that those who forge ahead with the planning and execution of quality management systems love what they do… at least 99% of the time when things are going fairly smoothly!