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Taking responsibility for quality

Any organisation which intends to put quality and excellence at the top of the agenda must have the full, complete and wholehearted commitment of the senior management team. If the chief executive officer, president, chairperson, managing director or members of the board do not make this commitment, then quality and excellence have little chance of survival.

The role of the senior team
When introducing quality and excellence, the senior people have to lead the way. This means that everyone in the senior management team must:

understand what quality and excellence are and why they are important

be prepared to commit the necessary resources - time, money, equipment, training - to make quality and excellence a reality

recognise that changes do not happen overnight in any organisation

be prepared to overcome staff resistance to change by explaining and demonstrating - over and over again - why quality and excellence are the keys to survival in a highly competitive marketplace

maintain a consistently ethusiastic approach

Involve the workforce

No matter how enthusiastic the senior team, or how many systems and procedures are in place, it is the workforce - the people working at the regular, run-of-the mill jobs - within an organisation who will make quality and excellence real.

So for anyone who wants to introduce these elements into their business, the first step is to:

communicate their vision to everyone in the business - e.g. We intend to make the best quality pine furniture in the world

explain the importance of quality and excellence

involve everyone in the search for quality and excellence

make it clear that quality and excellence are the responsibility of everyone in the business

everyone means every single person who works in the organisation, regardless of their status, job description or salary

everyone includes part-time staff, people on fixed term contracts, and people who work in support jobs like security and cleaning

imagine you are facing major surgery tomorrow, you know that your chosen hospital has a reputation for quality and excellence

how would you feel if you were told that the person responsible for sterilising the surgical instruments was unaware of the need for quality and excellence

Imagine that you have just bought a brand new car. You know that your car's manufacturer has a reputation for quality and excellence

How would you feel if you were told that the person responsible for fitting and checking your car's braking system didn't realise that the work was a part of the quality and excellence initiative?

Every single employee needs to understand that quality and excellence within the business are relevant and important to them, as individuals, and are not just about productivity and profitability for the organisation.

Excerpts from The University of Leicester Diploma in Management Resource Development International (RDI) Jamaica. www.rdijamaica.com
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