G U E S T A R T I C L E
What does BBQ have to do with Quality you ask? I hope to show you how, but perhaps in a way you were not expecting. To start, I’m sure that you have heard work safe, be safe, and think safe. Thinking and acting are behaviors. In more and more industries you will even hear a new acronym, SBC– Safety Based Culture.
It is a culture of safety behaviors that bring the lowest incident rate to a company. But what about Quality? Have you heard work Quality, be Quality or think Quality? What do those sayings really mean anyways? Traditionally when people think of Quality the words that come to mind are Control and Assurance. These are not behaviors. Control is typically reaction to post-event issues and Assurance attempts to be pre-event by making sure Quality practices are in place. The problem is that these are typically both reactionary in nature and provide little to no organizational structure for positive performance or cultural change that would embrace Quality as a behavioral necessity. To meet this challenge, I propose a new acronym: BBQ – Behaviour- Based Quality.
In support of this cultural approach I would add my three tenants of Behaviour- Based Quality as CPI, which I consider the foundation of Quality behaviours. These would be Compliance, Prevention and Improvement. Quality doesn’t just happen. One needs to take the initiative to comply with requirements, prevent errors and improve processes. These are behaviours. Now let’s BBQ.
Is your BBQ Working?
Part of the challenge of BBQ (Behaviou- Based Quality) is that this is so far from the way people think in a work environment that they just don’t get it. Let’s take a different approach. What about Quality of life? We think of the Quality of our food, drinking water, air, service, entertainment and just about every aspect of our life that directly affects us. Most of us take actions to improve poor Quality in our non-work environment. Why not at work? Perhaps you don’t feel empowered to make changes. Perhaps you tried but didn’t get the results or support you were hoping for. That’s a sign that the BBQ is not working.
A culture of Behaviour- Based Quality is led from the top and cascaded down into the organization so that every employee participates equally in Compliance (conformance to requirements), Prevention of non-conformances and Improvement of processes to reduce all forms of waste. While you can have bits of these in different parts of the company; if not led, promoted and supported from the top, equally throughout the company, it will not be sustainable and the rush for making revenue, profit, etc. may be met but will become a constant “firefight.” Let’s explore more deeply the Quality tenants that comprise a Behavior Based Quality culture. Consider a three legged stool that sits stably in most uneven flooring situations.
Each leg provides a support in rough situations and the dynamics of three means that stability is provided even if all legs are not of exact equal lengths; whereas four or more legs even of equal length are not as stable in rougher flooring situations. For Quality, the power of three, based upon Compliance (conformance to requirements), Prevention of non-conformances and Improvement of processes to reduce all forms of waste provides the foundation for a culture of Quality behaviours The absence of any one or more of these three tenants of Quality will limit any company from being stable in its growth and financial performance.
So where is your management on Quality?
While many companies say they are committed to Quality, organizational structure and behaviours may tell a different story. So what do Quality professionals do in a situation like this? I would suggest that they uniformly adopt the Behaviour- Based Quality (BBQ) philosophy within their own department by setting the example for incorporating the CPI behaviours of Compliance, Prevention and Improvement. This also means implementing metrics for each of the three tenants and taking the appropriate remedial corrective actions and prevention steps to provide sustainable results. As improvements of the Quality departmental metrics become visible, seek recognition and gain the support of upper level managers and executives by having them endorse additional implementation initiatives within target departments that are process driven, but seldom come under metric scrutiny (engineering or finance as an example).
The first step is Phase A, where the “A” stands for accountability (through metrics) for Compliance, Prevention and Improvement. Train the departments in how to build metrics for each tenant of CPI. As metrics are recorded and examples are proven, roll out CPI into other departments. As improvements are documented, you will notice that behaviours are changing in those departments.
Here’s an important side note: recognition must be provided to these improving departments. If your company is ISO certified and you are conducting management reviews (I recommend monthly or quarterly at a minimum) then you already have the venue to provide for management recognition.
As the executives start to realize that positive financial value is being created with the BBQ approach they will be more prone to endorse and support the cultural shift throughout the company. This is the start of Phase B, where “B” stands for Behaviours. Continued success can’t help but garner the support of a cultural shift to BBQ with the top executives, as they will be witness to improved metrics that are positively impacting the financial bottom line and general company performance.
About the author:
Mr. Angle has a rich international background in industries ranging from high-tech commercial and consumer electronics, network communications, to light and heavy manufacturing in the energy sector. He is a proven leader skilled in Quality, Lean Manufacturing, Global Sourcing, Project Management, New Product Introductions and financial control in rapid growth and mature businesses.
His educational background includes a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technologies with a Master of Science degree in Systems Management. The combination of these two disciplines provides a unique perspective between the integration of supporting system and company processes that bring value to customers and about profitable results to a company. This background has allowed him to develop his critical thinking skills to understand an organization’s strengths and weaknesses; identify external threats and opportunities; define and adopt strategies to changing conditions while developing initiatives to achieve sustainable organizational goals and objectives.
Mr. Angle coaches and mentors cross-functional teams to achieve exceptional rather than expected results by bringing dynamic solutions to management that provide positive impact to a company’s bottom line through engaging and coaching company teams to look beyond the quick, often not sustainable, tactical fix to prevention based strategic initiatives to achieve long term sustainable results.
This article has been published with permission. Title picture is not associated with the original writing.
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