A recent client is keen to break into the Quality Audit market and find a new career there. Looking at the difficulties they face has made me realise how very lucky I have been in my career. I guess I am a sort of 'accidental Quality Manager' - someone who has ended up with a career they love without ever setting out on that direction. A few lucky breaks, the realisation that this was something which I loved doing and some hard work on my part (achieving Chartered status, becoming a Lead Auditor to name but two hard work tasks) and here I am. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I'd followed the careers advice at school 'go into teaching - teaching the mentally handicapped - you have good experience for that' (my sister has Downs). I am so very glad I didn't!
This week I've been delivering a 3 day 1 to 1 programme for a lovely client. We've explored so much around quality management and audit and being able to work on a 1 to 1 basis means we have had time to cover what was important to this client. That said 1 to 1 means it is 100% go for the trainer and I'm glad I'm having a restful day tomorrow!
I'm spending much of this week working at the Holiday Inn on Tadcaster Road in York. Once again the service and conference facilities are second to none. Having a great venue is one thing, having a great venue with excellent service is quite another, and for the trainer or conference organiser knowing that everything will work effortlessly - from the room layout to the refreshments - makes such a difference. Thank to
Whilst I do love working for myself, one of the things which I occasionally miss is the chance to sit down and talk current issues over with colleagues. Sometimes that chat by the kettle whilst making a coffee, or whilst you walk to the sandwich shop together can be SO helpful. I relish the fact that I am part of many teams - with my client base - but sometimes, just sometimes, it would be good to have those office kitchen chats again!
During an audit I identified that a company had a break down in it's system for recording service and maintenance of plant. They didn't know who was responsible for the maintenance of hired plant and the correction of faults found and were at risk as a result. They corrected this problem, for the particular item of plant we had found in the audit, but their review of the root cause didn't take place and as a result they didn't see the bigger picture. This month I've been back in and looked at the issue again. I've now drawn their attention to the much wider issues which are there and encouraged them to dig into this issue and sort it out across the whole organisation and for all associated plant and equipment.
In discussing the problem with them it was clear that management were unable to see the risk that the issue presented to them, and we spent some time identifying the 'worst case scenario' and looking at just how serious the issue is.
When you have audit findings to address make sure you look at the bigger picture - just putting a bit of sticking plaster over the problem isn't the answer.
I've been intrigued by friends who are recording 100 Happy Days via their Facebook pages and have today looked into this in more detail. It is something I am determined to do because we are all too keen to focus on the negative and a drive to positivity can only be good for the soul . . . but will I remember to do my post each day? Time will tell!
Needed a very quick word with someone yesterday, rang but got no answer. Left a cheerful message asking them to call me when they could, and got an email back saying they were too busy to talk and could I email them. They said they would get back to me if/when they could. Another email received suggesting that I might link in to a 1 day meeting and training event 'via Facetime' rather than having to attend in person, presumably driven by a desire to save money.
What is wrong with this world of ours? Are we really all too busy to engage in conversation and face to face dialogue? Today accept the challenge of making PERSONAL contact with someone rather than just pinging them an email. Wish them a happy Friday and a good weekend and enjoy the warmth of human contact. Better still, if they are nearby speak to them in person. Go on, you can do it!
Out of interest I chose not to bother emailing back as requested yesterday - I decided that I was too busy to waste time on that!!
The new issue of ISO9001, due in 2015, is widely expected to include a clause on Leadership. I've been pondering this today with one of my client's and have been reflecting on various businesses I worked in/for and the impact of the leaders involved. One case comes readily to mind. A business had a go-getting enthusiastic guy in charge of day to day operations. He knew his market, his staff, his targets and he shared his passion and vision with his staff who were motivated and engaged in the business processes as a result. He had 'Monday morning' meetings with employees where he praised them for their work. Another company recognised his talents and poached him and what followed can best be described as silent management. A brilliant strategist took charge and undoubtably knew what he wanted to achieve but he wasn't a people person and he just didn't inspire. A similar scenario has come to mind more recently but in this case the brilliant guy wasn't replaced directly - the remaining management team decided to share out the role and as a result confusion reigned and the staff became disheartened. SO I welcome the idea of a clause focussing on leadership - and the challenges that will bring!
Today a project which has occupied me since August last year drew to a close. I am left feeling pleased with a job well done but sad that the company which I have built such good links with won't be in my diary as much now. A job well done though and I am pleased with how much has been achieved over the last 8 months. Now I move to providing 'on line' and 3 monthly visit support and I look forward to being back with them in July to see just how well their systems are supporting their business. Now to the next challenge!
thoughts on current business issues