It is said that the quality of an organization won’t supersede the quality of the minds of the people in it. Very true. Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of intelligent effort declares John Ruskin.
Quality orientation is a mandate that every organization is working towards. The core of success rests in how well each member is motivated for them to be inspired in delivering quality work. The manager pays a crucial role in fostering a quality culture in the organization. While the top management or the quality departments might design the most perfect plan for ensuring quality in the organization, it is really the manager who can hold the key to how well this design is implemented.
Here are some tips on how each manager can motivate and inspire a quality culture in his work-group:
- Start the quality focus at the hiring stage itself. Emphasize quality to the recruiter and the candidate at the time of hire. Ask candidates for specific examples of when they have demonstrated adherence to high-quality standards
- Set quality standards for the group so that every associate has a common reference point. Ask the team to help develop the quality standards. Specify gradations in quality standards from minimum acceptable quality to superlative quality.
- Adopt quality standards endorsed by external professional associations. Pursue certifications supported by accredited bodies.
- Educate the team about the implications and effects of substandard quality. Quantifying the costs of substandard quality is a powerful way to communicate the importance of quality consciousness. Also, make education about quality a big part of the induction process.
- Create a training manual for the department that outlines quality standards for each task. Make the manual a compulsory reading as part of the induction phase. Revisit the manual every year as refresher courses; use mini-quizzes to reinforce the shared knowledge.
- Convene team meetings that involve every team member. Ask every person to share his or her to-do lists and commitments. A public commitment will act as a pressure point for compliance. A shared understanding of the complexities of each associates task is a desirable by-product of the team meetings. It enables the team to appreciate and respect each other’s quest for quality compliance.
- Convene a quality meeting every quarter to discuss the group’s success in meeting its quality standards. Do a quick informal check-in with the work group’s customers on the quality of work delivered and use the results to spark discussion during the meetings. Start a quality case-study portfolio to document each task-force improvements; it can serve as a valuable reference.
- Match new recruits with senior associates; focus these relationships on helping new associates learn and meet quality standards.
- Empower the associates to reject substandard work. Verbalize support for them in their insistence on quality
- Tie a quality incentive to the compensation
- Create monthly or quarterly awards for quality based on predetermined quality standards. Ask team members to nominate the fellow-associate they think has contributed the most towards upholding quality.
- Require associates to seek feedback about the quality of their work from at least three internal customers.