April  - 2015
Business is constantly in flux.  To keep up with the ever-changing trends, business leaders need to find their best processes and to create a steady flow of quality improvements.

The article below discusses what you might be missing in quality improvement and ideas on how to make them successful.


Patrick S. "Coach" Frazier

Patrick S. Frazier, CBC
The Coaching Authority
(574) 286-1123

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Are You Missing Your Best Quality Improvement Ideas? 
This month I want to address starting a quality improvement project. That is:
  • How do you decide what project to work on?
  • What issue or process is causing the most waste, is doing the most harm, or is most affecting the bottom line?

Maybe you are an executive and you have an idea of what is generally causing problems. The probability is that unless you are directly involved in the contentious process, you probably are not aware of what the exact problems are and are not aware of possible solutions.

This leads us to the conclusion that in order to discover the many problems facing every organization, especially in terms of wasted effort, time and money, there has to be in place a mechanism for the problems to surface to the leaders from the front lines of the organization.

There has to be a way for the leaders to hear about the problems from those who are directly involved.
For instance, does anyone in your organization know what ideas the cleaning staff has for making the organization better? When I say that there has to be a way for the ideas to surface, I don't mean that the only ones with a voice should be the professionals. The entire staff is involved in quality improvement.

Do you need help finding innovative ways to get the best ideas from your staff? We can help! 

I know of a few organizations where the leadership/president go out several mornings every week to talk to staff at all levels and customers to see how things could be better and to get some positive feedback about what things are going well. Perhaps at your organization you want to start something like this. As time goes by and as suggestions are implemented, staff will feel safer about making more suggestions.

Leadership needs to make sure that staff feels safe about making suggestions, no matter what the method of suggesting changes is used. Perhaps you might want to use an anonymous survey for collecting initial suggestions. After some of the suggestions are acted upon, the staff will feel like the leaders really want good ideas and will feel safer making them known. This approach will help a large organization start making many positive changes quickly, rather than using the idea of slowly spreading the means of change throughout an organization, as some prefer.

Whatever your initial process of getting the ideas percolating up in the organization, after some ideas for quality improvement recommended by the rank and file are successfully implemented and after the improvements and savings are made known in the organization, it is time to create ways to get more ideas.

Perhaps you want to have regular meetings with a designated leader and representatives from several staffing areas that will bring up ideas. That means that the rest of the staff must feel comfortable about making suggestions to these team members.

If your organization has few employees, then perhaps it would be best to have regular staff meetings with all employees where the agenda always includes time for quality improvement ideas and for updates on ongoing projects.

Whatever method you decide works best for your project, be sure that an atmosphere of safety and security exists for all the staff. This may mean going so far as to guarantee that no staff will lose there position as improvements create more time to get things done.

So, once you have a steady flow of quality improvement ideas being generated by all in the organization, which ones should you act upon?