In some organisations it must be very strange being a Quality Manager right now. Some degree of schizophrenic ambivalence must be a job requirement: at least in order to stay sane.
How else could any normal person be expected to be responsible for a management system which is:
- there to uphold quality - but commonly ignored by everyone other than the Quality team;
- often referred to as a business management system but seen to be inferior or subsidiary to the 'real' IT systems which drive operations;
- expected to run with minimal budget, minimal resources and little senior management oversight?
For many Quality Managers - but mercifully not all - this is reality. In such organisations QMSs/BMSs/IMSs are viewed as little more than lip service mechanisms for maintaining an accreditation tick in the box.
For these poor people, ISO:2015 with its brand new leadership requirements cannot come quickly enough. Their challenge will be to hold their ground long enough for the impact of the new regime to be felt.
As Paul Graaf in his CQI blog states: "some top management may find this a difficult step to take". They surely will and we must all be ready to address the inevitable management reaction that we will see over the next few years as senior teams try - sometimes unsuccessfully - to adjust to the new regime.
But try we must. Not only to help any struggling Quality Managers to maintain their sanity but because as we have said previously, ISO:2015 is a very positive move forward. It holds the tantalising prospect of being THE unifying and universal improvement mechanism for all organisations.
The management system is no longer just the domain of the quality manager. The requirement to ensure that the QMS integrates with the business processes, thereby automatically demanding the involvement of all the process owners. Some top management may find this a difficult step to take, and cite confidentiality as a reason not to. However, top management engagement and transparency leads to better business. In many organisations, this in itself would demonstrate top management leadership, drive internal stakeholder engagement and promote employee motivation towards the stated goals and strategic objectives.