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Quality advocate: John Mason. Quality advocate: John Mason.
18 August 2019 Posted by 

VIEWPOINT: Walking the talk: looks easy, difficult to do

WALKING the talk.  Easy to say.  Problematic in practice.  We all know the plumber with the leaky tap at home or the wealth advisor with the dodgy commodore.
No matter the business or the business network / association, behaving like a business and walking your own talk is imperative.
 
I am proud to be a member and support partner of Australia’s greatest local chamber of commerce, Sydney Hills Business Chamber (SHBC).  Why so? 
 
Mostly because SHBC behaves in a very business-like manner with a very clear focus on their members.  Governance, strategic planning, risk mitigation, marketing / branding, service delivery and so much more. 
 
Not the least being SHBCs ability to attract resources to achieve planned outcomes.  A strength most evidently demonstrated through their support partner program.
 
And so it was my pleasure to enter into one of these mutually rewarding support partner agreements to design, implement, certify and support a quality management system to the international quality standard ISO 9001. 
 
In just four months, processes were documented, data was gathered, and the leadership team led by example with operational controls, monitoring and measurement and continuous improvement resulting in a successful third party certification of the way SHBC does business.
 
A truly independent edification of just how business-like or should I say quality business-like SHBC behaves.
 
So, I suppose you would like some insight into the process?  Giving away trade secrets is my speciality, as the more who know about quality business, the more who will pay it forward to their ‘members’, customers, supply chain, etc and together we can make Australia not only the lucky country but the quality country as well.
 
The real secrets are commitment and planning.  The rest is implementation. But before you start a quality management system, you need to establish a business case to do so.
 
Need to be prepared
 
There are significant costs and restructuring around some quality management systems, so you need to be prepared. 
 
Don’t just get one because you think you will get more government work.  Do your research, talk with your suppliers and speak to your peers and customers.  Learn from their experience.
 
Your business case can be as complex or as simple as you desire, just make sure there is a return on investment and measure it.
 
When you have the business case, sell it to stakeholders and management.  Demonstrate the return on investment and what will be in it for them.  Say things like; better governance, more profits, less waste, greater succession planning and knowledge preservation. 
 
Once you do this you will have the needed buy-in.  Without it the design and implementation may not necessarily get the desired return.  With it, you will get active participation and a better resourced outcome.
 
Then when you get management behind the project, it boils down to typical project management techniques.  The first steps of which are to determine the goals, objectives, desired outcomes, resource availability and timelines. 
 
With this data gathered, a simple gnat chart will get you started, and you are on your way.
 
Perhaps the biggest hurdle is around resources and whether you have the expertise to keep this project inhouse or have it outsourced.  So many pros and cons.  So many variables around commercial realisations. 
 
But heck, I am in the consulting game, so I recommend you get an expert in and let the journey begin. 
 
Just be careful.  Being a subject matter expert in all things quality and quality certification is as easy claiming so in your LinkedIn profile.  But in the real world most, if not all who profess (and just a little too hard at times) about their expertise, cannot back it up by having a quality business or one that is certified to the international standard ISO 9001. 
 
Ours is.  So, walking the quality talk in the design and support of quality management system is very evident.
 
Oh, and one last thing.  Why do we design and support quality management systems?  Well our purpose is to make quality certification easy and make it available to any business.
 
Is yours ready?
 
John Mason is managing consultant, author, quality advocate at

 
 


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Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) covers the business and community issues of the Greater Western Sydney region of Australia. WSBA is the popular media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities and networks.