Motivation is an Attitude!

We all talk about #motivationmonday, share quotes, raleigh people on, me included.What are we actually doing? Reaching out to and for support, looking for tips on how to motivate ourselves and others?

In my speaking I teach people that we have in fact everything inside us right now to follow our intended purpose / vision. We will always be learning but if we feel so inclined to do something we can because it was there in the first place for is to think about. When we find our ‘job’ in life we stop searching.

The thing about not being happy is we tend to point the finger in every direction but ourselves! A bad boss, the need to provide, too late to change etc..Sure external things have an effect but ultimately you are responsible for your own happiness and how you wish to view the world. On the reverse external things can motivate us and our team, bonuses, perks, cars but that soon wears off after a while. You need the next pat on the back or recognition to spur you on – the truth is the only way you will feel truly motivated and happy is when it comes from inside and not anything else.

When was the last time you heard anyone talking about their job as rewarding, fulfilling, stretching them, a feeling of belonging and for a mission or cause. Motivation comes from an inner desire to do something which in turn is from your why and vision behind the actions you take. Therefore this must be your first port to call on for you and your team; for they follow your shared vision. If your team members do not share the same values and vision for the future as you it will be very difficult to be fully satisfied and motivated by what they do. You can inspire and move people but they have to actually want to take action! I cannot motivate you only help you to recognise the motivation within that will drive action.

There is no such thing as laziness I believe it is just disinterest – desire is lacking. We must reach out to the individual, find out what their needs are and we are all different. It is shocking how many big companies do not have time for the ‘fluffy stuff’, they claim to be a fair company and treat all the same and that is the failure in my eyes.

“You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” James Allen

THINK – FEEL – ACT

Everything that is created first happens in the mind and imagination before it becomes a reality. So surely how you approach things (your attitude / motivation) is crucial. Changing the way we think about things helps us progress; therefore shouldn’t we be teaching mindset to help engagement? We want to know who fits in and actually wants to go on our journey with us. If we teach it early enough surely our younger generation will follow their heart and find jobs they want to be in.

Attitude is also contagious, the mood or attitude you show up to work with will spread quickly with every interaction; soon affecting your whole team. So why do we put such emphasis on Mondays. You get a chance to relax, chill enjoy yourself for the weekend, some even moan the weekend away, but then what? Then you have to face the reality of what you have built as your working life; having fun only 2 out of 7 days is not living in my eyes. I believe that everyone has the right to love to go to work, which is why I’m passionate about awakening people to address the why of what drives them. The mobalise and empower them to take action to make changes. It doesn’t have to be massive things small steps taken each day to achieve a massive change in you and your happiness.

Message me and I will give you ten changes that have made a huge impact on my life and my positive attitude. Or better still schedule a call or coffee I would love to hear your story.

Before you go do one thing SMILE, now notice that feeling spread to the whole of your body. Start to notice others around you as they catch you smiling and grinning – it’s infectious!

Shine your light on the world and go make a difference.

Angela X

How to use your process map to direct change?

Your process choice

How to use your process map to direct change?

A great start to either setting up a business or taking stock of where you are and where you need to be is a process map of what you want your business to look like. Starting with the end in mind as Stephen Covey said.

When you embark on this exercise you need to be able to close your eyes, use your imagination and see what your business is going to be like. Get yourself in the mindset of the end result business owner. Drawing up an organisational chart is an useful thing to do, even if you have to put you in every position at the moment, gradually you will follow the vision and replace yourself with others. Design your business the way you want it to run, one the risks of not doing this are the business grows organically. As you take on others they invent the roles as they go, each helping the best they can to shape the company following your lead. The result: A process that was not designed in the most optimum way to achieve your goal, worst case scenario you fall out of love with the business because it is not all you dreamt it would be.

With an established business there are two phases to process mapping:

  1. We have to map out where we are, document the status quo. This helps us see the big picture, identify risks and gaps within what we do; it also shows us improvements that can be made.
  2. What do we want our business to look like, if we could streamline, automate and have everything the way we plan how different would the picture be.

When we get stuck and need to move forward with our businesses we sometimes hit overwhelm, it can be easier to take no action because we don’t know where to start. There may even be a new picture and vision to follow which can be daunting. Perhaps you are at the stage where you need to take a growth step and employ or perhaps your outlook for the future has changed in what you want. Creating a picture of your business can make things much easier to understand, reasons for change become obvious. The process map then becomes a catalyst for instigating the desire for change within your team.

Try and picture each part of your process as a series of steps and each one needs to be defined. I want you to imagine the process as a series of customer-supplier relationships in a chain.

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When we set the right boundaries, expectations and requirements at each stage we will have happy customers throughout the company. This is what I call creating harmony in the workplace. Taking things step by step will enable you to understand the most complex of processes, and with your map you will be able to keep the big picture in mind.

So what now?

A client recently said to me about their newly designed streamlined process “I love it but I’m not sure what to do with it, put it up on the wall?” This is a phrase that I am hearing a lot of at the moment thank you so much but what next? It is good to have a passion for where you are taking your business but it has to be a catalyst in creating the next phase – the change process. The problem I have recognised is that a complete map can give you so much detail that it can put you into overwhelm, so much that you can’t see which step to do first. Here are my tips for approaching the next step to process improvement.

Create the buzz – Be prepared to share and listen

Share your vision, get people excited about what you are trying to do (Put your map on the wall)! Involve them in discussions, ask their opinion. This may sound obvious but there are many businesses I talk to where it is not their first thought to involve team right down to the front line.

Look at the framework

Make sure you revisit your values and vision together, are they complementary? Is everything you want to do in tune with your core beliefs and purpose? I often say that one of  most important questions after ‘what is your why?’ is ‘what are the the day to day decisions that have to be made to achieve your goal?’ If you want your team to make great decisions they have to understand this direction & purpose.

Communicate and listen

Once you are crystal clear on your objectives they need to be communicated. I don’t mean a poster on the wall, live and breath them, lead by example and get your team on board.

If you believe in your purpose with a passion, and tell your story to others, then your team around you will start to live and recall that story. Make sure all of this is communicated to the outside world too, your customers need to know your story. It’s is the same with driving changes within the company. When you are transparent and honest in what you do, listen to others opinion and explain why; you will get a much more favourable response.

Not many people like change, even less when they don’t know what is going to happen. Fear will set in and they will make up a story where there is none. We need to cut cost, jobs will be lost, the company’s in trouble; you know the drill we have all heard this type of gossip. Don’t let this happen to you, nurture open communication.

Plan for change

From your process maps you will have areas that need to change and new systems that could be significantly different to what people are used to. These changes need to be carefully planned and prioritised being conscious of the time and resources needed. You are not going to get the support and engagement from your team if you start putting them under too much stress, and likewise for yourself when you take on too much.

Itemise the areas in your process where you have found risks, gaps, duplication of tasks, inefficiency or possible automation. Your can always add to this list as you find other things on your process map. If you have taken your map to the next level and rewritten a streamlined version a lot of this will be covered in the report you receive.

This list can be split up into areas to help with project planning, for example the Sales Process, Finance and accounting, Operations or handling customer concerns and improvements.

I use my own tool (based  upon tools tool like PFMEA and risk analysis), It will enable you to think about the individual improvements and their impact on the business. The list of actions get rated or scored on impact, resources, investment and timescale, the result is a prioritised list based on fact. I am happy to provide a template and work through a prioritised action plan with you.

Don’t set yourself up to fail! Plan change step by step and include some quick wins to boost morale. It’s all about the strategy and the team.

Make sure the time and resources are planned BEFORE you execute your plan; there is nothing worse than having a team fired up and innovation stifled because they cannot access what they need to succeed.

Communicate your strategy for change

Let people know the big plan, the game changer! You want people to be excited about the end result and be part of it. You can choose champions for the projects and channels for the feedback such as boards, internal comms or social media. You need a platform that can be used to celebrate the success stories and the challenges ahead. If you are open about the choices you make, even if you make wrong decisions, being honest  will gain you support. Not everything will run perfectly, you are human after all; what defines us is how we rise after a fall. Learn from everything and turn it into an opportunity for improvement!

Take action

Now for the important bit, once you have a strategy for change you need to start taking action. If you are redesigning part of your process ensure you consider the big picture and links on the process map. Be mindful of the impact your changes can have on other areas of the process, the company goal and customer experience. Always follow the discipline of root cause analysis, prove your chosen solution, test and install. The success of your plan is down to you taking responsibility and action – if it is something you are excited about it should be infectious!

Celebrate achievements & milestones

One last thing – feedback and celebration. Change isn’t an easy path so don’t forget to stop and give yourself a pat on the back, when you do your business planning in fact write down the reward you are going to give yourself and your team for each milestone and do it!. Have fun and celebrate in style.

Also if you are doing great things talk about them, quite often there is work going on with the community and charity that don’t ever get mentioned, (I was guilty of this in the being).

Embed the change, support the transition

When you make changes do not overwhelm and change to much at the same time. Make sure people are comfortable with things before you move on. Your leadership, support and understanding at this stage will be critical to the success of the project. If you want a fun exercise to demonstrate what happens in change and where and why support is needed message me and I’ll send it to you; it will help others understand what is happening within the struggle for change.

A final word

Systems is not all about logic and sequence it is about people working together in harmony to achieve a goal. The thing is people are not always logical they have things like emotion and baggage. Then there is a thing called organisational climate, we all have our own take on what culture is ‘the way things are done around here’. Well climate embraces everything culture, leadership style, processes and how the interact with each other – the point is that all these things have a major impact on how people behave under different circumstances. Put people and process together,  communication and knowledge is key, I encourage you to think about your company as a learning organisation, become dynamic and fluid. Be flexible and don’t restrict yourself by what others believe. I know with the right direction, guidance and support you will always get where you need to be.

Have fun, you know who to ask if you get stuck !

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The value of the process map during growth

A period of growth can be exciting and motivating, it can be a challenge but equally it can be a risk. If growth is to be sustained it has to be planned for and financed, under investment is a common failure which means building less capacity than is needed to serve the customers rising demand. This is the same with your business systems and processes, what might cope now will almost definitely need to be adapted for the future to mitigate risks. Technology is also accelerating the pace of business, there are so many routes to the customer now and every contact you have needs to reflect your brand and values. How do you ensure that this customer experience is controlled and every member of your team embraces it. When you allow your company to be under strain you put stress onto everyone involved, the chances of them being present and engaged to deliver this customer experience reduce. So how do we stop the decline and plan for our successful and sustainable growth?

Every turning Point or Revolution needs a starting point, I believe a process map is the answer.  There are many reasons for this but the visual representation of the business says more than words. It allows everyone to see the bigger picture and get that light bulb moment, following the road to customer satisfaction. People will start to recognise the business journey and want to improve it, find the best route.

Improving information and data flow through the business will also have a vast impact. As I mentioned above within the world of technology and connectivity there opens up more and more options available to streamline business operations.

As business owners you need to take a step back and design your business for future growth.  Make sure you look at every aspect of your business process leave nothing out and no stone unturned.  Find your purpose and what you want to achieve,  then think about what day to day decisions you need to make to achieve this. Analyse the steps you take to deliver your goal and map it out, flow charts are very beneficial but you can start with a list of activities. Now you have your status quo recorded and can plan your new improved system.

Ensure you involve your whole team in this exercise and when you have finished you can talk about improvement projects to design the best way to accomplish each step with the people that matter most – your team. When you find the most efficient and effective way to accomplish your goals I would suggest  where possible you automate; take out as much human error risks as possible.

 One word of caution:

I see so many problems because companies have bought different software packages and apps to help them do jobs quicker then find – They don’t communicate. This leaves a very disjointed system that can lead to major issues and errors when the company grows. If you plan to use software packages do so with a holistic approach, consider the bigger picture and ensure that they talk to one another. They need to be able to grow with you, don’t put in manual data entry or transfer if it will not be sustainable when the company ends up 2, 4 or even 10 times it’s current size.

 

Selling Quality Management Systems to the CEO

This is an article I wrote that was first published by the Chartered Quality Institute in Quality World, they have kindly said that I can share this with my own followers as well as providing a knowledge piece for their members. Sometimes when we are experts in our field we forget that others do not carry the same passion for the subject nor speak the same language.  One of the many challenges we face today is putting Quality into the heart of the company strategy, back in the board room where it belongs.  Remember the phrase ‘Get better or get beat’; it comes from the US in the late 80’s when they had to do a real push for Quality following the Japanese market success.  The media today still seems to only focus on the quality profession when a disaster happens.  As quality professionals we understand that ISO9001 is a holistic approach, and that it can give a competitive advantage, mitigate risks and support growth.  So how do we convince the CEO to play his or her part?

ISO9001:2015 is very clear now especially through the leadership clause 5 on how the new CEO role is defined with regard to the Quality Management System. It is the role of top management and ultimately the CEO to make sure that the the Quality Policy and objectives are aligned with the business strategy and take full responsibility for these. It must be an integral part of the the business way of life not a bolt on as we see all too often these days which saddens me. Even this week I sat in a Business Excellence Forum and a keynote speaker said ISO is the worst thing invented and it just makes you write down everything you do, now that is being imprinted on 700 delegates in the room. My vision is to turn the tables and be the person up there telling Entrepreneurs the truth about the principles behind ISO9001 and change the bad press. As CEO’s or business owners they must promote the principles behind the standard especially the process approach and risk based thinking; encouraging and supporting everyone to contribute in an effective quality management system. They must also make clear the consequences if the company and team do not conform to the systems they create.

The Management representative role is now not a requirement but that does not mean the role and responsibility has disappeared nor does it mean that the role transfers to the CEO or other top management. In fact most companies that I talk to will keep the Management Rep role going. It is a focus change that we are looking at in encouraging the senior management teams and CEO’s to take ultimate accountability and understand what they need to do relative to the Quality management system. I could briefly define a CEO role as this:-

Provide clarity on the vision and the values
Promote and engage people
Create other leaders within the company
Direct and support individuals in their roles
Take responsibility for performance and effectiveness.
Now place the Quality management system in each of these sentences and the role doesn’t change just an additional focus to pay attention to.

The CEO or business owner understands that they must work on the business not in it, sound familiar?  After all a business is a commercial profitable enterprise that works with or without that owner. We therefore need to put ourselves in the same mindset and language mode as the business owner when talking about ISO9001:2015. Our job as I see it is to focus on the detail and the risks, helping the business owner plan for success; we should be their right hand man (or woman).  Company growth is great news but only when built on a great company will it be long lived.  Every CEO or business owner will have different priorities for their company and the skill is understanding and helping them interpret the standard and how it supports these company goals.  When we think about the likes of Google and Amazon there are key elements that make them world class. Some essential elements relate to the Quality Management systems; the question is how sellable these systems are to the CEO? If the CEO is not passionate about why the company needs a Quality Management System how can he lead with that focus? We support the purpose – the “why” the business or company exists – and ensure that there is a clear line of sight between this and the front line. This allows the right culture to grow, with everyone feeling part of a community; and  knowing that they contribute to something much larger for a greater cause or experience.

Successful companies don’t ignore anything, they innovate and when it works they systemise it. Systems don’t have to restrict they don’t cause these companies to stand still; they just help make every improvement a habit.  There was a quote in Forbes from the Dijwans leaders (this was a company that had a good product related to mapping networks of web content but it epically failed as a start up missing the detail).

“A good product idea and a strong technical team are not a guarantee of a sustainable business. One should not ignore the business process and issues of a company because it is not their job. It can eventually deprive them from any future in that company”.

I could go into why they failed but the purpose of this quote was for you to understand the message we need to convey to top management, and it’s this.

An effective quality management system supports the vision & goals of the business and enables the owners to lead from a position of authority.

In turn, this enables the right culture, which inspires people to achieve more than they thought possible.

They need only to understand the detail well enough to lead, and it’s still our job as experts to interpret that detail into best business practice for them.

In order for us to influence the business owners, we must therefore strive to understand the business vision and goals well enough to connect them to the value of a good quality management system.

Get Visual

As I take the journey through re-vamping my systems, webs, literature and first impressions to the customer I would like to share my thoughts on being visual.

Starting with your Unique vision

We get an idea for a business, we daydream, we make it happen but it mustn’t stop there. For the first time this year I did a vision board. I have been on quite a journey of learning and one of the key factors in my success so far has been understanding the law of attraction. Learning to take your focus off the negative aspects and turn my attention to what I desire in my personal and business life. Put simply if you focus on lack of customers or money guess what the law of attraction brings? Yep, you’ve got it, more of the same! So if we don’t develop our visions and adapt them how do we progress along our journey? My advice here is to start mapping out in your mind the long term strategy and vision, even visualise milestones, winning awards or contracts. What ever is significant in your business see it and sense it in your mind down to the last detail, what will you be wearing and who will be with you? When you start to see things in this much detail it is easier to become that person and achieve the right mindset. Mindset is another key element; for example if you want to be a million pound business you first need to become and make decisions as a million pound business owner, being able to actually see yourself already there will make the journey easier.

Moving this vision to your team.

When you tell your story to others they will engage with your story and relate to it, and the same is true in business. So what if we add powerful images to this story, how much more compelling does it become then? I recently met an artist who made me think, she had worked with a company on their core values. The staff had been allowed to create paintings of how they thought their values would look as images e.g. trust & integrity. These images have been put onto literature with the values and are carried around in handy sized credit card sized leaflets by all staff. Now employees can relate to their paintings and the values taking ownership of what they have created together. I loved this and think it is so important to use photos and images to capture the aspirations and goals of the company. Even more to get everyone from the bottom up to contribute and understand their part in the journey and ongoing story.

Explaining to your customers.

Nearly all business owners I have spoken to have said what a different using videos or re-branding their business with new graphics has made. We need to show our customers what we do not just tell them. Statistics show that we only have a limited number of seconds to make an impression so images really count. They don’t stop to read, may not feel like pressing play on that video today but they have already seen the image you put there. My journey is looking at images that portray what I do, which can sometimes be very technical. My aim is to show a solution to a customer problem in as little words as possible. This is not an easy job and I would recommend the help of an expert but I hope to share my ongoing story and show what a difference it can make.

Within the business structure

My business revolves around creating good business systems and adding value by giving structure and stability to the company growth. I love flowcharts, sad some may say but a great tool nonetheless. The use of images and diagrams for education and training has been proven so why not find something that gives instruction step by step. A flowchart also allows you to see who your internal customers and suppliers are to help you understand what and why you do what you do. Having critical success factors within these processes give clear measurables, enabling the team to instantly see where they are successful in delivering the needs of the next step in the process. A good idea is to also look at the risks associated with each process as well as understanding the overall business risks. That way the team fully understand the controls in place and the consequences of not adhering to the system.

I digress when I talk systems but flowcharts and process maps are my thing! Let’s also not forget about the power of using pictures to engage, learn and train. Graphics on why things matter, training simulation, video tutorials are crucial as we all learn in different ways. If you eliminate the visual, chances are you eliminate a proportion of your workforce that learn in that way. I prefer visual flowcharts but I do not eliminate detail altogether. When you hover over a step in one of my flowcharts there is a link to written work or form examples or check lists; it’s all about layers and those who need to dig deeper into detail can and will. Phonographics are another great tool as they show a number of complex steps in a simple visual form. i am looking at working in partnership with a new company and the first thing we are working on is an info-graphic to describe the benefit to the customer of our joint approach. Can’t wait to share this with you shortly.

A word of warning

What ever you do; do it consistently. Quality and consistency are key to growing your brand.

With your website is hard to find your space within the noise that is the internet. Good strategy, planning & persistence will get you there; being consistent with timing and content will raise your chances of staying there.

I am no expert but I know the feeling I get every time I decide to draw something or illustrate the subject matter; when eyes light up and they say “I get it now”.

I would love to hear your stories so do get in touch, it is great to bounce ideas from one another and see the innovation that comes out of these conversations.

 

 

 

 

Achieving work life balance needs a system!

You will often hear me talk now about creating harmony in the workplace, true harmony is when all of your processes interact with each other seamlessly to achieve a common goal. Sounds easy enough until you put people, external factors and risks/opportunities into the mix. So how am I helping with work life balance? I will enlighten you. To me ‘systems thinking’ is all about being able to understand the whole or the bigger picture. We need to put this deeper understanding into practice as we manage our day to day activities and changes that are occurring in our businesses. Do you feel that you have adequate time to do your job well and spend Quality time away from work? If the answer is no then Why? Maybe you are so consumed by what you do that the answer will not come without refocusing.

Some of us spend far too much time either fire fighting to survive or having conversations with ourselves over situations. Having precious little time and fighting the internal dialogues of our mind does not lead to us enjoying a healthy relationship with the business and a good work life balance. These are my tips to take you from surviving to thriving.

  • Take time out to relax and refocus, spend time on the business.
  • Look after you – if you are not in good health you won’t be in the right place to move forward.
  • Understand your business process, what is it that you exist to do?
  • Realise why systems are so important to creating sustainable growth.
  • Walk your process and start mapping out your business, design the way you want it to run and look like.
  • Implement systems that work for your business and your staff – involve everyone. (No forced templates)
  • Understand the risks and controls in your business, what is actually affecting your ability to deliver?
  • Prioritise – take things one step at a time – work on the things that are going to make the biggest impact to your customers and bottom line first.
  • Automate when you are able but only after you have defined the process first. For example your CRM system is not your process it is only a tool to help automate part of the Sales process.

If you need a gentle introduction to all of this then check out our new course and give yourself a different perspective on systems.

Have a great day!

What’s your golden ticket for 2016?

What’s your golden ticket for 2016?

Well I hope it’s a Happy New Year for everyone I have certainly been focusing hard on my plans for this year how have you been doing? Just before Christmas I gave you some food for thought and tips on key elements to improve for success. Well after some interesting networking conversations to start off the year I feel I need to ask the question “Do you really know what ISO9001 is and the principles that drive it?”

You may not need to go for ISO9001 accreditation but I feel everyone should at least familiarise themselves with the key principles of this successful management system. The standard has been used over and over and it works for improving businesses, so why ignore this golden ticket to your business improvement? Setting up a robust business process I feel is key to sustainable growth it is not restrictive to innovation; you become consistent, efficient and much more capable of delivering right first time. Without first defining your business system you face growing with out purpose, things grow organically. As you grow and more people become involved in doing similar work they each do it their own way, inconsistencies and duplication creep in. Your customer doesn’t just need that wow factor on one visit from one exceptional staff member; they need it every time in each interaction and all members of staff. Happy loyal customers mean repeat business and referrals which go straight to the bottom line. So what are these principles?

The ISO9001 standard was founded on 8 principles as follows:-

  1. Customer focused organisation – What are you going to do differently in 2016 to listen to your customers? Do you understand why your loyal customers are loyal? Have you asked the customers you lost what happened? Gain a better understanding of who all of your interested parties are and how they perceive you.
  2. Leadership – Do you lead by example and follow your system? If you do not follow the rules how can you expect your staff to. Do you have a story? Knowing the why behind your business enables you to engage people with your story. True followers of a leader want to be inspired and the art is to help them develop their own dreams for their lives both work and at home.
  3. Involvement of people – How are you going to build on your teams this year? Are your staff going to be talking about being part of something bigger and sharing a vision?
  4. Process Approach – Are you going to finally get around to improving the way you do things and questioning the norm? Is your business process clear and run itself?
  5. Systems approach to management –  Is your dream to have more time or to get that work life balance? If so systems allow your business to run without you, how are you at working on your business for 2016? Systems management is about understanding the holistic approach and seeing the interrelationships between the processes that can create harmony.
  6. Continuous Improvement – Do you encourage your people to question the norm, and suggest improvements? Do you ever thank and feedback the results for their effort? When you make changes for 2016 look at whole not individual problems. Use proven tools & techniques to analyse and assess the impact of the change before you role it out. Give yourself a greater chance of success and involve others on the journey.
  7. A factual approach to decision making – The more you measure and test your processes and system the better your decision making gets. Your changes are based on fact taking the guess work out of running the business.
  8. Mutually beneficial Supplier Relationships – How is your supply chain looking for 2016? Look at you communication channels are you giving the right information to allow things to happen smoothly? Take action to de-risk your supply chain where it has a direct impact on the quality of your service/product and your customer.

This may be a bit of a whirlwind tour but I hope that this has given you an insight into the thinking behind the standard. Think about how you can use these principles in 2016 to make a difference in your business world. For those of you that have the new ISO9001:2015 take time out to read the bit everyone skips over, ‘the introduction’, you will be amazed at the little gems of information that are contained here.

My challenge to you for 2016 is why not benchmark your company against ISO9001 and get a bespoke action plan? You can call me direct on 07745 482426.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you every success with your plans for 2016.

Business people celebration

 

 

 

Food for thought over Christmas

On the run up to Christmas you will be seeing many articles on what changes you should be making for the New Year. “What will you be doing to make a difference in 2016”, they ask. They are many good ideas and areas to focus on to improve, but whether it is your numbers, marketing or operations your people will be the key to success.

Your focus on your staff as the core of the changes is fundamental to the success of the improvement. Yes you need to look at the impact of any changes you make to ensure you address all possible risks but the new thinking required by employees does not happen on it’s own.

Having a fantastic business process is very important and should be celebrated but put it into the wrong environment and culture and it will not become the norm. Ask yourself this question about procedures you have put in place in your organisation. Is there anyone that repeatedly tries to cut out certain things, bypass your system? Have you asked the question why? Did you encourage your front line staff to help you write the procedure so that you can understand what life is like there?

Over the coming month of January my blogs are going to explore this more as it links to a lot of the areas covered by the new ISO9001:2015 standard. I want companies to understand the difference between instigating change within their company and building in fundamental lasting changes that will have an impact on their business.

Below I share my tips on key things to think about to nurture your culture and prepare for the changes ahead in 2016, these are not in order of importance just food for thought over the Christmas period..

  • Processes and systems – Have systems that are well written and effective. if there is a problem focus on the system first not who to blame, blame cultures destroy innovations and improvement.

  • Leadership and vision –  Knowing the why behind your business enables you to engage people with your story. True followers of a leader want to be inspired and the art is to help them develop their own dreams for their lives both work and at home. Lead by example and adhere to your systems; otherwise how can you expect anyone else to value what you say if you are not committed yourself. Systems also allow you to add the degree of control needed and put the boundaries in place to enable you to lead and manage the business.

  • Listen – Listen to your customers, listen to your staff and all interested parties that may have a direct impact in you being able to fulfil your purpose for the business. Do you actually know what your customers perception of you is? What do your staff say about you and the company?

  • Knowledge – Build a knowledge hub, encourage the sharing of information to remove the knowledge is power culture. Understand and build on the competencies of your people, make sure it links to the risks affecting your business. Ensure that your staff have the right knowledge to do their jobs, the most willing individual cannot perform if they do not have access to the correct information this is my next point.

  • Fact based decision making – You’re probably collect a lot of data without even knowing it, or maybe you do but it’s not not in an easy format to report from. Take away assumptions and start basing your decisions and fact, know your numbers and analyse for your Key Performance indicators.

  • Be SMART with your actions – Always link objectives to your why and make sure they are SMART, clear actions are the only way to achieve what you want and enable others to help you get there.

  • Values – We all have values we hold with high importance, make sure this is reflected in your business and maintain that integrity. Define your values for others and recruit on this basis to maintain your culture. If you have someone poisoning the culture it is far better to lose them however much knowledge they hold. The most efficient working team environment is one that is happy, fulfilled and dedicated to it’s purpose.

The important thing to remember is the clear line of sight between your vision and why to all of the above. Make sure there is reason and understanding behind what you do and communicate this in a way that your staff can understand and delivery on..

To all my friends, colleagues and customers have a very merry Christmas and I hope all your dreams for 2016 come true.

Merry Christmas to all

Merry Christmas to all

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get Better or Get Beat

Get Better or Get Beat!

Quality, remember that word? It has so many definitions and meanings to each and every one of us. Quality has come a long way since the 80’s and the phrase Get better or get beat comes from the US in the late 80’s when they had to do a real push for Quality following the Japanese market success.

So my question is do you think that putting Quality as one of the key elements in the heart of your strategy can give you the competitive advantage you need? Isn’t that one thing we strive in order to survive, market superiority? This lead ahead has to be sustainable and affordable, we need to be efficient and consistent in what we deliver. S. C. Wheelwright identified six characteristics of a strong competitive advantage, so how do these fair with ISO9001:2015?

  1. Driven by customers wants and needs – You need to give your customers value that your competitors are not. The 2015 standard clause 5 is LEADERSHIP and under this category we look at customer focus. It is your responsibility to demonstrate leadership and commitment to ensure customer focus so that all requirements are determined, understood and met. This needs to be related to all interested parties which is why you need to ensure fully understand the context of your organisation. Know the risks and opportunities that can affect your product or service to make sure that you can maintain the focus on enhancing the customer experience.

  2. Makes a significant contribution to the success of the business – I think this is self explanatory but reports have shown that companies who truly embrace the principles of the ISO9001 standard reap the benefits. For a relatively low fee the standard provides a PROVEN METHODOLOGY, techniques and ideas that in turn increase customer confidence, help them operate more efficiently and meet your customer needs consistently.

  3. Matches the organisation’s unique resources with opportunities in the environment – No two companies are exactly alike they have different people, vision and culture. Cause 4 of the new standard covers understanding the CONTEXT of the organisation, so you will need to determine all external & internal issues that are relevant to your purpose and strategy. Purpose is a great word and under ISO9001:2015 you need to be more RISK BASED in your thinking, so what is it that affects your ability to achieve results & fulfill your purpose? Think about your SWOT & PEST analysis opportunities as well as threats, this is what defines your strategy, policies and objectives. With this clear line sight and visibility throughout the organisation your actions and resources will be directly in line with your strategies.

  4. Durable & Lasting, difficult for competitors to copy – Nothing stays unique for long you need to be able to develop and embrace innovation to stay ahead of the game. Clause 10 of the new standard is now IMPROVEMENT stating that you need to select opportunities for improvement, then implement any that meet and enhance existing customer satisfaction and future needs / expectations. Add to this the expanded section on DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT in Clause 8.3 and Clause 6 PLANNING the actions to address threats and opportunities; then you have a formula to capture and develop improvement ideas. Of course customers don’t always know their future needs until they are created, which is why we must innovate!

  5. Provides a basis for further improvement – quite often ideas act as a catalyst and can provide a stream of improvements which can be rolled out step by step. It is important to remember this for changes to your Quality management system. Clause 6.3 PLANNING OF CHANGES reminds us of the emphasis we need to place on ensuring we know the impact of these changes, and carrying things out in a controlled manner.

  6. Provides direction and motivation to the entire organisation – I love this last one as I believe it reflects the new requirements regarding fully understanding the context of your company, then demonstrating LEADERSHIP & COMMITMENT in your strategy. When you embrace ISO9001 and involve everyone it is a team effort. It’s about defining your expectations and boundaries but giving your employees responsibility, trust them to do the job you brought them in to do. This is a favourite of mine and why so many business owners need systems, to have the confidence to let go of the day to day in the business and start working on their business. Employees will do amazing things if given the opportunity and encouragement, so use systems to define your expectations and help them understand where they fit into the bigger picture.

My feelings regarding the ISO9001:2015 standard I hope are clear – I am a convert, but my advice is to ensure you consider three things in order to give you that sought after competitive advantage:

  1. Put it into the right environment – CULTURE IS CRITICAL

  2. Share and involve people on your journey- UNDERSTAND CONTEXT AND LINK IT TO YOUR WHY, YOUR STRATEGY RIGHT DOWN TO HOW YOUR EMPLOYEES CONTRIBUTE TO IT.

  3. Be disciplined and think process – EMBRACE THE PROCESS APPROACH, PAY ATTENTION TO DETAIL AND ADDRESS RISK SO YOU FULLY UNDERSTAND THE IMPACT OF CHANGES.

Ok so that is a lot put into three points but people like to look at a small number of things as a summary! I hope this has encouraged you to look into Quality Management Systems as a route to giving your company a competitive advantage to your business. I am happy to discuss any of these points or explore stages of improvement that can be rolled out.

LEAVE A COMMENT, MESSAGE ME OR EMAIL afumpson@white-tiger.co.uk

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