Mr. Philip Crosby did a lot of work with various companies and he came up with the following 5 points from his experience. While my experience is not as world-renowned as his, it has demonstrated the accuracy of these points.
Make Sure Management’s Commitment to Quality Improvement is Genuine and Evident
This is the #1 reason a quality improvement process fails. If management is saying the words but does not mean them, employees will know and will only give a cursor level of investment in the quality improvement process. If a middle manager is trying to do this knowing their management is not on board, they will have very limited, short-term success.
Keep the Quality Improvement Process Serious, but Fun
This is people’s livelihoods on the line. Do this wrong and jobs are going away, most likely yours will be one of the first to go. Select serious issues but be willing to let team members be spontaneous and open. Sometimes the only way to create that spark in a quality improvement process is with a little humor.
Make Sure Everything in the Quality Improvement Process is Positive and Handled with Respect.
The team must be equal. This means no one person’s opinion is more valued than the other team members and no one’s opinion is less valuable than the other team members. There is a reason people are on the quality improvement process team. Have a non-judgmental way to capture ideas and evaluate them.
Make Sure All Managers Are Involved in the Quality Improvement Process,
Understand the Concepts and Steps of the Quality Improvement Process, and Are Able to Effectively Communicate Them with Subordinates.
Hold a discussion with the managers about the quality improvement process. Encourage them to speak about their concerns and then address those concerns. It takes only one manager saying all the right things but quietly placing roadblocks to the process to bring the quality improvement process to a grinding halt. Watch for the team member that has not had the time to complete an assignment and consider what action needs to be taken with their manager. That should include identifying a non-supportive manager and turning that problem over to the next level up.
Adapt the Quality Improvement Process to the Company and/or Location’s Personality
This is a process and depending on the company culture it can take many forms. If everyone has a 4 year degree and works in a paperless system, the process will be much different than for a company where the majority of employees cannot read or write in any language and communications is through pictures and colored tags. One is not better than the other. The quality Improvement process must fit the culture.