Does Your Internal Audit Program Meet The Requirements Of ISO 9001:2015?

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(Video) Whats new in ISO 9001:2015

 

What’s New In ISO 9001:2015

On September 23, 2015 ISO released the latest revision to the ISO 9001 Standard. So now that the world’s most popular and widely utilized quality management standard has been formally released to the public, I thought it would be a good time to give you a brief explanation of the changes and what effect those changes will have on organizations and the people who have the responsibility of implementing, managing and auditing the new standard.

Let me give you a little history…

ISO 9001 has been around since the early eighties and has evolved as business needs and requirements change over time. The most recent version of the standard, ISO 9001:2008 has been in effect for the past seven years and was due for a makeover.

ISO 9001:2015 builds on the foundation of the previous versions of the standard to better guide businesses and organizations in achieving quality products and services, by streamlining processes, focusing on continuous improvement efforts and placing a greater emphasis on management responsibility and risk identification.

ISO 9001 has long been a valuable tool for businesses and organizations to adopt a process approach and create effective quality management systems and processes that improve efficiency and provide confidence to potential clients that a standardized level of quality will be met. ISO 9001:2015 maintains this emphasis on a process approach while also stressing the importance of proactive and strategic planning.

So what are some of the changes included in the new 2015 revision of the standard?

 

While many of the concepts from the 2008 version of the standard remain, there are some significant changes and additions to the 2015 version which we will take a closer look at right now:

  • One of the more obvious changes to the 2015 revision will be in the look and structure of the standard itself. In an effort to maintain consistency across multiple ISO management systems, the latest revision takes on the new Annex SL format that is shared by other standards such as ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems (both the IS0 14001 and new ISO 9001:2015 share the same clause structure) to allow organizations the ability to implement and integrate multiple management systems more easily and effectively.
  • Another major addition to the ISO 9001:2015 revision is the incorporation of risk based thinking within the management structure of the organization. This is not to be confused with a standalone risk management procedure, but the incorporation of risk awareness and identification throughout the system as a whole. Top management are now required to develop processes that allow foresight and planning for possible risk factors that may have a negative impact on process and performance as well as identify and take advantage of possible opportunity. With the addition of risk based thinking, the section addressing preventive action (Sub-clause 8.5.3 in ISO 9001:2008) has been deemed redundant and therefore removed from the 2015 revision.
  • Greater Emphasis on Leadership and Management Commitment – The new standard is intended to promote integration and alignment with business processes and strategies. With this integration, top management now have more responsibility in taking on a proactive role in the health and promotion of the quality management system. The requirement for a single point of contact or management representative regarding the QMS has been removed and a new section on leadership has been added to better emphasis a greater involvement from the leadership team.

Along with the major structure and concept changes that are prominent in the new ISO 9001:2015 revision, there are some additional changes that many people familiar with the ISO 9001:2008 version will notice almost immediately.

  • No Mention of a Quality Manual – One of the biggest omissions to the new standard is the requirement for an organization to maintain a documented Quality Manual. Organizations that wish to continue this practice and maintain a quality manual outlining its QMS are welcome to do so, however it is no longer required by the standard.
  • “Product and Service” – Another notable change is the replacement of the term “product” with “product and services” which is intended to better address service based organizations.
  • “Documented Information” – Along with the change in the term “product” the 2015 revision also replaces the common terms “documents” and “records” with “documented information”. The new standard is less prescriptive on when and where this documented information is required and how and organizations should manage this.

This is not an exhaustive list of amendments to the new version of the standard, but a high level look at the new content and structure of the newly released standard.

So what does this mean for the ISO 9001:2008 version of the standard and the organizations that are currently certified to or following this standard?

The new ISO 9001:2015 standard has been formally released for public consumption and implementation. However, organizations are not expected to be compliant to the new changes immediately. Starting the day the new standard was released, organizations have been granted a 3 year transition period before compliance to the new standard is required for those that maintain certification to ISO 9001:2008. So don’t throw out your copy of the existing 2008 standard just yet!

Organizations and quality professionals are urged to become familiar with the new requirements and perform gap analysis of their current system to determine the steps required for eventual implementation of the new 2015 revision by September 2018.

While quality personnel and auditors are still required to be proficient in the 2008 standard it is important to be proactive in learning the requirements of the 2015 revision in order to understand the concepts and requirements and better assist their clients and organizations with the transition process.

To Learn more about the latest edition of ISO 9001:2015 Check out our ISO 9001 Online Training Packages!

ISO 9001:2015 Is Here!

The world’s quality management systems standard, ISO 9001, has been revised. Here, Kevin McKinley, Acting ISO Secretary-General, and Nigel Croft, Chair of the subcommittee that revised ISO 9001, tell you everything you need to know about the new edition of this landmark standard that enhances an organization’s ability to satisfy its customers and provides a coherent foundation for growth and sustained success. Check out the video here!

Learning From Disaster – Germanwings Flight 9525

airbus-a320-germanwings-d-aipx-crashedAs someone who has a lengthy professional background, as well as a personal interest and curiosity, in aviation – I, like millions of others who are watching the continuous coverage of the Germanwings disaster on every major news outlet, have a professional and natural human interest in this horrifying situation that took place Tuesday 24 March 2015.

But, as is the case in most, if not all, disastrous incidents there are valuable lessons to be learned.

I feel it is important that we highlight and discuss these lessons so as to arm ourselves against repeating past mistakes, or to close gaps that may not have been as apparent before. Not doing so, in my opinion, would be an added disaster of incredible magnitude, knowing we had the knowledge and experience to prevent such a recurrence.

Can we predict the future?

It’s human nature that we are not gifted with the ability to see the future – regardless of the claims some might make to the contrary – and that we cannot foresee all events or deficiencies that may lead to an eventual unfavorable situation, but in many cases we have the ability to assess situations and with proper attention and analysis we can make educated assumptions and mitigate risks to prevent undesirable outcomes from occurring in the first place.

Whether you are connected to the aviation industry or not – I’m certain you will be able to relate to the concepts I discuss in this article – I felt it important to highlight some of the issues that are believed to have been factors in the untimely death of 150 souls on board this ill-fated flight. By doing so we can bring these lessons forward in our own careers and improve the processes that we encounter on a routine bases.

How can quality management help us?

For most people, when they think of quality management, have the misconception that it only applies to technical functions such as reducing defects in manufacturing or quality control inspections after we perform a technical activity, but the more I hear of the factors leading up to the Germanwings crash, it reinforces and compels me to share my view that quality management philosophy, process, and procedure are not only important, but vital in every part of an organization, and all professionals should be encouraged to incorporate its philosophies and concepts, whether it be technical, corporate, regulatory, or social.

It will not only show in your contribution to your organization but will have a positive effect on your career as well.

Evaluating the gaps

So what does this little “ra-ra” quality rant have to do with the Germanwings crash you may ask? Well lets take a look at the main factors believed to have been the cause of flight 9525 crashing into the French Alps on Tuesday. Taking into consideration that it is still early and there is much more investigation to be done before confirmation of the facts, but it is fairly certain that the flight was intentionally brought down by the co-pilot once the Captain left the cockpit.

This raises the obvious question as to what would provoke a trained pilot to intentionally maneuver a commercial jet into terrain, killing himself and the passengers whose safety was his primary responsibility.

Contributing Factor #1: Medical disclosure

Well one would assume, and this is becoming more and more apparent as additional details come to light, that there was some sort of mental unbalance or illness at play here. In fact, it was discovered during a search of the co-pilots residence, that he had in fact been issued a medical note from the doctor stating that he was “Unfit to work”.

In addition to this discovery, it is being reported that he may also have been treated for depression in the recent past yet none of this information was reported to the airline, or to his superiors, as it is deemed the responsibility of the individual to be forthcoming and report any and all medical, mental, or social issues that may have an effect on their ability to fly.

Now, it may be that I possess a superior ability, through my years of quality management experience and training, to spot the possible “chink in the armor” with this process, or, the more likely explanation, is that there is a glaring deficiency in this otherwise efficient system.

I am an optimist at heart and I realize most pilots recognize the responsibility they hold, respect that responsibility, and are willing to do the right thing in these situations to divulge any issues that may affect their ability to perform their jobs safely and effectively, but the implications of such full disclosure could find them shut out from doing the very thing they love and are trained to do – flying airplanes.

Not to mention the financial impact that this could have should they suddenly find themselves out of a job that they have spent thousands of hours and dollars to obtain. They have families and responsibilities to consider as we all do.

Contributing Factor #2: Cockpit door lock system

The second contributing factor in this tragedy was the ability of the co-pilot to effectively lock out the Captain once he left the cockpit to use the restroom. Leaving himself in complete control of the aircraft in order to carry out this unspeakable deed, while the Captain was left helpless with the rest of the passengers on the other side of a reinforced door.

The security system installed on all transport category aircraft carrying passengers implemented after 9/11 provides an automatic locking system on the flightdeck door with a secret code allowing flight crew (Captain and Co-pilot) access should they find themselves locked on the cabin side of the door. This system also provides the ability for the flight crew to “Deny” or override this code function from a control panel located in the cockpit, leaving the door in the secured and locked position.

Although this is a simple yet effective system in performing the function and it was designed for – which is keeping people with malicious intentions out of the cockpit – the situation in the case of Flight 9525 was not an obvious consideration to its designers and policy makers.

Contributing Factor #3: Minimum 2 crew in cockpit at all times

The third factor which also relates to cockpit access, is the requirement, or lack of such requirement, of having a second person in the cockpit at all times and never leaving a single individual alone in control of the aircraft.

This has many advantages, such as providing assistance should the remaining pilot become incapacitated unexpectedly due to a sudden medical issue, or to provide assistance of any kind until the other pilot was able to return. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has already issued a temporary recommendation that this action be implemented by all airlines.

What can we learn?

Now, I think it obvious in hindsight, that by mitigating any one of these factors discussed above would have given the crew a chance to change the fate of this flight and its passengers and crew, or even prevent the opportunity for this to happen in the first place.

If the psychological issues and treatment would have been brought to the attention of the airline beforehand, and not left to the discretion of the individual who, as we have discussed, had a lot to lose in making such a disclosure and was suffering from a mental disorder and not to be relied on to make such a decision for himself.

If the cockpit door locking system had some failsafe worked into it to prevent a single individual to barricade himself, leaving the captain helpless on the other side of the door, or having a policy or process in place that ensures that the flightdeck is occupied by two crew members at all times.

In order to help us to make such policy and procedure, we must have the tools to analyze and interpret situations both technical and operational to develop sound processes before negative or costly consequences can arise. Now there is no guarantee, or method available to foresee every scenario, or gap before it happens, but it is clear to me that there is no area of business, service, or regulation where the concepts of quality management and process development are not useful and beneficial.

The concepts and philosophies of quality management can provide individuals with new ways of looking at their own positions and the contributions they can ultimately offer and not just leave it up to the “quality departments” or policy makers.

The fate of Flight 9525 is truly a tragedy and an unspeakable heartbreak for the families of the 150 passengers and crew, and almost an unbelievable event for those of us following the details unfolding in the news, but it is vital that we learn from the lessons provided to us.

What do you think? Leave a comment and share your views on this topic.

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Would you like to learn more about systems that will help you advance your career from someone who has spent countless hours researching and implementing these strategies? Just give me your name and email address, and you’ll get access to my private email list, including strategies and tactics I won’t share anywhere else.

Aviation Safety – What We Can Learn From Harrison Ford

KABC_plane_crash_ford_inset_jef_150305_16x9_992In a day that saw two high profile aviation accidents in the US, one involving a Delta Airlines commercial jet skidding off the runway after landing at a busy New York Laguardia Airport in snowy weather, coming to a halt just short of the icy waters just beyond the end of the runway, and the other a private PT-22 vintage aircraft piloted by Star Wars and Indiana Jones superstar Harrison Ford, crash landing on a Santa Monica golf course, the topic of aviation safety and reliability once again found itself front and center on North American news networks like CNN Thursday March 5.265C597E00000578-2981393-image-a-1_1425595265630

This follows a very active 2014, which resulted in 8 commercial aviation accidents worldwide, some of which, garnering mega media coverage all around the world, such as the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, almost a full year ago on March 8, the shooting down of yet another Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Eastern Ukraine on July 17, and then on December 28 AirAsia flight 8501 goes down in stormy weather into the waters off Borneo.

The private (or general) aviation sector had its own share of highly publicized accidents as well. In Gaithersburg, Maryland in the USA a small Embraer jet crashed into a suburban home on approach to the runway, killing all three people on board and three more on the ground. In January of this year a 7 year old girl walks away as the lone survivor after her families Piper PA-34 twin engine aircraft crash landed in Kentucky killing her entire family.

POTD_Flight_MH370__2848692kNow, in the case of MH370, which has yet to be found, and is believed to have gone down somewhere in the Southern Indian Ocean – a fact which has still yet to be confirmed – there is no available data to determine a cause for this tragic incident. MH17 was an unfortunate victim of miss identification, and wound up in the flight path over top of a conflict its passengers and crew had no stake in, was shot down by a surface to air missile.

Now as anyone who has involvement with the aviation industry knows, commercial flight is by far the safest method of transportation, even with such highly profiled tragedies. Clearly the vast majority of commercial air disasters are the result of extremely rare and extenuating circumstances. There is the swiss cheese effect, where all those random holes come together to create a perfectly linear path to allow an unfortunate and unlikely outcome.

There are stringent rules, regulations, and standards governing commercial air operation, spanning every aspect of the industry, from meticulous maintenance schedules , ground and flight operations, air traffic control, even inflight safety and hospitality. All established to keep the flying public safe and the industry viable.

But what about the private sector of aviation? With an estimated 2000 private and general aviation accidents recorded every year in the United States alone, is there reason for concern that safety and quality may be slipping through the cracks?

Yes, privately owned and operated aircraft and the general aviation industry are regulated, and there are certainly standards, and an expectation of quality and safety to be maintained and adhered to. But with the vast majority of aviation accidents stemming from privately owned small to medium sized aircraft, operating under the general aviation regulation, should there be closer attention paid to assuring methods of quality, safety and adherence to standards are enough?

(Photo: AOPA Germany)

(Photo: AOPA Germany)

Now, of course there is a numbers game to be considered here, and with the sheer numbers of privately owned aircraft operating under the general aviation classification, sharing the skies and operating out of small and often uncontrolled airfields , maybe it makes sense that there would be a sizeable difference in the number of incidents.

Could it be that due to the nature of the industry, in that every pilot must begin there aviation career in the private and general sector in order to gain experience. Could it be atributed to this lack of initial experience for new pilots or that many small aircraft are operated by enthusiasts with very little flight time or training?

Another consideration could be the enormous cost involved to adequately maintain a state of airworthiness for any aircraft regardless of the size or complexity, or the lack of redundant systems to fall back on in the case of a mechanical failure.

Whatever the reason, should there be cause for alarm. Should we be concerned about the 2000 plus small aircraft incidents that occur every year similar to the latest involving Harrison Ford? Is there a need for better quality and safety standards in both how an aircraft is maintained and its operation?

What do you think? Leave a comment and share your views on this topic.

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Little Room For Error In NASA’s Dawn Mission

pia18921-DawnStill1_700x394On March 6, 2015 the Dawn spacecraft, equipped with its payload of highly sophisticated and sensitive surface mapping and scientific instruments, slipped into orbit around the protoplanet Ceres and began its mission to explore and map the surface as well as perform scientific tests to determine the composition and evolution of this very distant and icy orphan castoff from the very beginning of our solar system.

The second stop of an approximate 7.5 year journey which saw its first celestial check stop at the asteroid Vesta, in which it has already achieved great accomplishments spending well over a year circling and surveying the first of two extraterrestrial bodies, Dawn utilized its 3 innovative ion engines, one of the most sophisticated propulsion systems ever conceived, to thrust its way, without fail, through the vast asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

trajec_03_15_13_thmbNow in orbit, Dawn will carry out its mission of surface mapping and scientific data acquisition, with it’s gamma-ray and neutron detectors, and transmit this precious data from its new permanent residence as a perpetual satellite of Ceres.

It is a technological marvel that we are able to conceive of such a mission in the first place, let alone plan, design, construct and then launch such a vehicle, equipped with a full scientific laboratory, into the harsh environment of space to investigate an unknown part of the solar system and get a glimpse of what it was like at the early beginnings of formation.

So with so much time, money, and science riding on the success of this mission, just how much thought and focus is put into developing and maintaining quality during the engineering, construction and operation of such a highly sophisticated piece of technology and ensuring that it performs as designed throughout the lifecycle of the mission?

Well I am no rocket scientist, but I think I can say, without much doubt, that quality management was and remains to be a huge factor in this impressive but high risk process.

Learning from the past

challenger-disaster-myths-explosion_31734_600x450NASA and the world are all too aware of the risk and consequences associated with poor communication and ignoring the warning signs while deviating from established standards and procedure. With the high profile losses due to predictable and forseen catastrophic failure events leading to the complete destruction of space shuttles Challenger in January of 1986 and again Columbia in February of 2003 and the combined loss of 14 astronauts.

Yes, Dawn is an unmanned mission, but the loss of priceless exploratory and scientific data, along with years of planning and development, not to mention the 7 plus years of mission operation just to reach its destination, would be a heartbreaking and costly pill to swallow, more so if the failure was due to poor adherence to quality standards and practices.

What can we learn from Dawn?

Now of course, we are not all employed by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, or likely not even one of the many vendors or contractors utilized on the project, but does that mean we should not place the same emphasis on the development, implementation and adherence to the same quality processes and standards in our own professional duties to ensure we produce the highest quality product or service we can?

Failure is not an option

We all have our missions to the outer reaches of our professional solar systems. It is our responsibility to adhere to established standards and continually improve those standards in the performance of our own individual duties and make certain that our part is not the piece that will bring the overall mission to a grinding halt!

There are countless possibilities for failure in the planning, development and operational phases of the Dawn mission and a multitude of Countries, organizations and individuals, all with a hand in its success (or failure). Each with their own methods of ensuring quality relating to their individual piece of the puzzle.

Behind the scenes

g-120805-cvr-mars-11p_grid-6x2You can be certain that behind the scenes, hidden from the news coverage and YouTube videos of mysterious bright patches in Ceres craters, there are teams of quality management professionals performing checks, inspections and audits. There are formal written procedures and strict operating instructions, checklists and design standards that have been meticulously developed through years of lessons learned on past missions and technologies.

You will not see them high-fiving in the mission control room on an episode of Nova, during a successful launch, or when the first images of a new dwarf planet are beamed back to earth. But without them there would be no launch, or grainy, yet beautiful, photograph of a rocky and cratered alien surface to cheer about in the first place.

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Jumpstart Your Career With These 5 Benefits of Quality Management

You have knowledge, skills, and experience in your current position, but you would like to set yourself apart from your peers, and get noticed for the value that you can add to your current, or prospective organization.

What makes you stand out from the crowd? You work hard – but lots of people work hard – and put in those extra hours and effort to get things done! Unfortunately, work ethic alone is not going to boost your career in a significant way, and in an accelerated time frame.

You dream of building a successful career that allows you the freedom to grow and explore new opportunities. You hope that one day you will be the person that people turn to for guidance and direction.

But right now, it seems like your career has reached a plateau, and has lost its forward momentum, or you are just not happy in your current situation and require change, or a fresh start.

Sound on the mark? Guess what — there are ways to add to your skill set, and experiences without taking unnecessary career risks or interfering with your current position.

In fact, your employer may even be open to footing the bill for relevant training if you show added value to the organization as a result!

Let me share with you 5 extremely valuable, but under explored, benefits of quality management, and how, by adding basic quality training, tactics, and frameworks to your existing professional expertise, it can help to elevate your career in ways you may have never considered.

The benefits highlighted in this post are not some generic or hypothetical possibilities. I have developed this list from my own first hand experiences and professional endeavors. I have advanced and diversified my own career by augmenting my existing expertise with quality management based skills and proficiencies, and I am confident that they can work for you as well.

Quality management professionals operate in a variety of functions such as – process and systems management, quality assurance and control, supply chain management, risk management, and business improvement – just to name a few.

Any of these quality functions, when added to your current skill set, would be a huge asset to current or prospective employers, or to your own entrepreneurial endeavors.

So with that said – Here are 5 career benefits of quality management, when added to your current skill set:

Benefit #1: Learn valuable management strategies, and the mechanics of how companies operate.


It is puzzling to me that more is not made of the personal career advantages, and knowledge gained from performing procedural assessments, audits, and other quality management related functions.

Procedural assessments of supplier, manufacturing, repair/overhaul facilities, corporate head offices, or internal departments and satellite operations, are a gold mine for acquiring priceless insights on the mechanics of business, and management processes.

Lets look at it from an academic view point. While enrolled in a business program or studying towards an MBA, you were offered the chance to evaluate an established organization from within, ask extremely valuable and pointed questions to people in key positions regarding process development, implementation and monitoring.

What would you say? Of course you would jump at the chance!

This is exactly the kind of access, and learning potential that is available when performing quality audits, and assessments.

There is an abundance of practical knowledge to be gained, whether you are performing an assessment of a product assembly line, or breaking down the procedures that make up a corporate risk management process.

Now, of course, it goes without saying that there are ethical responsibilities to consider here, and the integrity of the audit process, and the trust, and respect of the organization being assessed must be maintained at all times.

All specifics regarding corporate, tactical business processes, and proprietary information are to be kept in strict confidence, and not to be copied, or shared.

But one cannot help but grow professionally from the exposure to this type of environment, and experience.

Benefit #2: Do you love the idea of business travel, getting away from the office, and getting the guided tour of some interesting organizations?

Do you enjoy traveling for business? Does the thought of visiting various locations, and organizations, both domestically and internationally, sound like an intriguing career option?

I love to travel! I am not particular on the location, or even the method of transportation. I am happy to jump in my car to attend a meeting on the other side of town, or board a flight to another continent to visit a vendor or affiliate organization.

I enjoy the variety it adds to my regular routine, and the experience I gain regardless of the significance – every instance holds a degree of value, and I feel I walk away having grown professionally from each experience.

Through my career in quality management, I have had the fortunate opportunity to experience some amazing locations, shared knowledge with an assortment of businesses, and in those travels have made some invaluable contacts, and friends.

I realize that frequent business travel is not for everyone, and depending on the area, or function of quality management one might focus on, will largely dictate the frequency of travel required – if at all.

As a Vendor/Supplier Assessor, or Lead Auditor for a certifying, or regulatory body you may spend a large portion of your time in transit.

In the case of a Corporate Internal Auditor, Quality Coordinator, or Manager, frequent travel may not be a part of the job description.

The beauty of a career in quality is that you can take the direction that best suits your lifestyle.

Benefit #3: Increase your earning potential, and professional marketability to potential employers or within your current organization.

Who wouldn’t like to boost their ability to earn more, and provide additional value to their organization, or become more appealing to prospective employers?

By taking steps to improve, and enhance your skill set, you not only shine a light on yourself as a viable candidate for career growth, but also become more self confident that your perceived value is justified.

Its no secret that developing, and expanding your expertise, and increasing your level of professional knowledge, are major factors in determining your earning potential.

Yet so many people sit back and rely on the merits of their existing skill set, or education, and hope that by achieving a certain level of ‘time on the job’ will equate to higher pay, and advancement.

But why wait around for the years to add up before pursuing your career objective.

As I mentioned earlier in this post, quality management proficiency can easily be added to your existing skill set without interruption to your current position, or career function, and with minimal financial impact when compared to other alternatives.

And with that added knowledge, and expertise brings career dexterity, and value. This translates into better positioning in terms of advancement, and earning potential.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to say that once you take a few quality related courses, or acquire an auditor certification, you are instantly going to have businesses throwing bags of cash your way, or opening up a corner office, and an executive parking stall!

This is not a realistic view, and one I would not try to falsely claim, but if you make a game plan for your career advancement, and develop your skill set in a systematic way, you will be setting yourself up for future success.

Benefit #4: Seamless transition between diverse industries, or positions.

Industry diversity is a very valuable professional advantage, and one that can provide career opportunities that might never have been possible otherwise.

Many people have the misconception that due to their academic background, or career experience, they are pigeon-holed in their current career, or position.

What many fail to realize is that the education, skills, and experiences acquired over the course of ones career, to this point, are far more valuable, and transferable than you might think.

As is the case with quality management tactics, and processes, you will find that many of the principles remain the same across all industry sectors.

You may find yourself at a career crossroads, but as a quality management professional, you will become well equipped with skills, and proficiency that transcend industries.

There is growing long term demand for quality management professionals across all industry sectors, and can be adapted to all organizations, regardless of type, size and product/service provided.

This professional flexibility allows you the freedom to go where the opportunities are.

Of course, there will be technical aspects of the new position that you will not be proficient in, and industry jargon to familiarize yourself with, but with the help of co-workers, management personnel, and daily participation, listening, and inquiry when necessary, you will develop this knowledge as you progress, and before long, your lack of industry specific experience will no longer be an issue.

I personally moved seamlessly from aviation to oil and energy, and just as seamlessly between technical operations, engineering, and construction – quality management is a truly transferable qualification!

Benefit #5: Follow your entrepreneurial spirit, and start your own consulting, or auditing business.

Becoming an entrepreneur is something that many people dream about. The freedom, and ability to develop, and nurture something that is truly your own, and not the result of someone else’s vision, is a very powerful possibility.

There are almost 28 million small businesses in the US, and over 22 million are self employed, with no additional payroll, or employees and 52% of those small businesses are home-based.

So the allure of being your own boss, making your own hours (within reason of course), and being accountable to yourself, and your valued clients is appealing to many.

If the risk associated with walking away from your current job to brave the entrepreneurial landscape is a little too great for your liking right now, there is also the option of starting up something on the side, to get your feet wet, and test the waters.

Many quality management professionals take this route, and become full, or part time entrepreneurs at some point in their careers. Because quality management so easily transcends industry boundaries, a quality professional could find endless opportunity, and client base, in order to offer their expertise.

Some examples of the direction a qualified quality management professional with an entrepreneurial spirit might take are:

  • Freelance Auditor – offering services for companies, or certifying bodies,
  • Training – developing, and administering training programs, and classes on quality, auditing, and management based material,
  • Consulting – helping organizations improve performance, and build foundations in the areas of quality, operational, and management principles.

These are just a small representation of the opportunities a quality professional could explore in the pursuit for professional independence.

So lets wrap this thing up!

As I stated earlier in this post, all of the benefits I have included here are a direct result of my own personal experiences, and I am confident that with an informed, and strategic approach to career advancement, anyone can take advantage of these benefits in just the same way.

Quality management has a lot to offer, as a dedicated career path, or just an added skill set to enhance your current position and professional expertise.


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Turn Your Experience Into Career Success – How Quality Management Can Accelerate Professional Growth

untitledIt is a bit of a mystery to me that more is not made of the personal career advantages and knowledge gained from performing audits and other quality management related functions.

For me personally, this type of activity has been one of the key factors in my career progression and advancement. Procedural and functional assessments of supplier, manufacturing, repair/overhaul facilities, corporate head offices, or internal departments and satellite operations are a knowledge gold mine for acquiring priceless insights on the mechanics of business and management processes.

What are the career benefits of quality management?

Lets take a look at this from an academic viewpoint for a moment. While enrolled in a university or college business program or studying towards an MBA, you were provided the opportunity to perform a detailed evaluation on an established organization from within, have one on one interaction with and ask predetermined, pointed questions of people in key positions regarding process development, implementation and monitoring.

Do you feel this would be a valuable learning experience? Of course! Anyone who is keen to gaining real world insight in this area would jump at the chance! This is exactly the kind of access and learning potential that is available when performing quality audits and assessments. I am by no means trained, or experienced in the discipline of business finance and accounting or human resources, for example, but through the performance of corporate QMS (Quality Management System) procedural audits, I now have a general, yet firm, understanding of these vital corporate functions, and how they are managed, both on a project, and corporate level.

How industry is evolving and the advantages it offers

I realize that not every Auditor, or person involved in quality related activities, has the opportunity to assess all functions of a corporation, and the scope of involvement depends highly on the level of integration a company chooses to include in its QMS. But there are extensive learning opportunities in every assessment, regardless of the scope, whether you are performing an assessment of a product assembly line or breaking down the procedures that make up a corporate risk management process.

Many industries and organizations are now realizing the advantages of seamless integration of all related components of a business into one coherent system. Integrated Management Systems are combining such functions as quality, safety, risk management, finance, human resources, etc. Placing the same emphasis on process development and assessment throughout the organization and corporate disciplines. This allows greater access to varied corporate functions for auditors and quality personnel, increasing the personal career development value.

Important ethics and legalities to consider

Now, of course, it goes without saying that there are ethical and legal responsibilities to consider here, and also the integrity of the audit process. The trust, and respect of the organization being assessed must be maintained at all times. All specifics regarding corporate and tactical business processes and proprietary information are to be kept in strict confidence and not to be duplicated, or shared in any way, shape, or form. That being said, one cannot help but grow professionally from the exposure to this type of environment, and the general knowledge and experience it provides.

Who can benefit from Quality management?

You do not have to be a full time quality management professional or certified Lead Auditor to reap such benefits. By adding quality to your existing skill set with initial internal audit training, or volunteering to participate in the company audit process as an observer, would not only allow you to take advantage of a valuable learning opportunity, but also increase your professional resume and marketability.

There is added benefit to the company as well, if management were to encourage participation of personnel in quality activities. It can go a long way to promoting a quality culture within the organization both with management and personnel. Informed and involved employees are much better equipped to perform at higher levels.


Would you like to learn more about systems that will help you advance your career from someone who has spent countless hours researching and implementing these strategies? Just give me your name and email address here, and you’ll get access to my private email list, including strategies and tactics I won’t share anywhere else.

Also, get my FREE Quality Essentials eCourse and learn how Quality Management can help to diversify and expand your professional skill set.

Looking for a Career Transition? Consider Quality Management

shutterstock_76415941Have you ever felt you could accomplish more in your career, or long for a change in direction or to explore a new field? Maybe you’ve felt frustration because you lack the knowledge or skills to excel in a corporate environment or manage a team of professionals?

All of the above scenarios are possible without interfering with your current position, or starting from scratch and spending four plus years and thousands of dollars obtaining a new university degree or college diploma.

Keep reading and I will share the exact frameworks I used to go from working night shift as an aircraft technician, to landing a position as a Corporate Manager by augmenting my pre-existing skill and experience with quality management  principles and literally doubling my salary in a relatively short period of time.

Why Quality Management?

Why would I decide to get into the field of quality management? What benefit could that possibly have on my career advancement? I don’t know anything about auditing, quality control or assurance!

You may not realize it, but you likely have a sizable degree of competency in quality management already. Through your career experience you understand the processes and procedures required to complete tasks proficiently and meet requirements, but you see it in the context of production or an end result, and not for the strategically planned and systematic steps to reaching the final goal with accuracy and consistency.

Each of those individual steps has a purpose and when you step back and deconstruct the process you can see the mechanics that make up the whole. This is Quality Management, understanding the reasoning behind the mechanics of a process and ensuring their execution to reach that expected result each time.

With a mixture of select quality and management training and an informed action plan you could be on your way to becoming a quality management professional and taking your career to new heights.

Once you have a level of proficiency in quality management principles, and frameworks, you can apply those principles to any industry or corporate discipline. Quality management principles remain the same regardless of the application and can be adapted to all organizations, regardless of type, size and product/service provided.

Familiarize Yourself with the Quality Community

Now that you have a general idea of what quality management looks like, its time to really dig in and immerse yourself. Find out everything you can about quality management and options available in this field. But don’t limit your search to quality specific topics alone. Find out what other skills will assist you in your career goals such as management or administrative accompaniments.

If career advancement has always been a priority, then you have likely done some elemental research on such topics already.

When I first began my career in quality management as a quality auditor I spent countless hours researching the field online, participating in quality related forums and read hundreds of articles. I was determined to learn everything I could to better position myself for advancement. I still do this now!

Read online blogs, and forums on the topic, and find out what others in this field are talking about. Participate in threads and post relevant questions. What skills are required? What training would you have to take to gain the required skill set? Most people will be happy to share their knowledge and experiences with you.

I recommend you reach out to managers or key people at organizations you would be interested in working for or hiring managers within your current place of employment. This will not only give you priceless first hand insight, but could be a much needed foot in the door down the line.

Keep a record of your findings during your research activities, and update it as you go. Take note of websites you find helpful, blogs you enjoy reading or forums that offer value . Make a separate section for courses and training you uncover as well as the method of instruction and start dates. Some courses may only be available in your location at select times, and can fill up quickly, so its a good idea to keep track of this information as not to miss out on a valuable offering.

Maintaining a record when performing research is vital in keeping yourself from becoming overwhelmed, as you chase links and process a hefty amount of information. This may seem like hard work — and it is — but remember, you are doing the work upfront and eliminating the guess work as you start to progress and make career decisions later on.

Develop Your Quality Game Plan…

Establish a game plan and map out the steps you plan to take to achieve your goals. By putting together a strategic list of action steps, you will remain focused and motivated. It will give you a clear path to achieving your goals and help you right the ship if you start to get discouraged or confused about what to do next.

Use the information you uncovered during your research and develop your strategies. Again, as you did in the research stage, keep a record of your plan. This will be a valuable resource as you progress. When you get stuck or become overwhelmed with tactics or lose sight of your next move, go back to your plan and regain your focus. This is a very important step and should not be overlooked. Set achievable milestones along the way to help with motivation.

It’s Time to Take Action…

Begin implementing your strategies. This is where the fun starts! Put your hard work to good use and systematically implement each strategy by following the game plan you have laid out for yourself. Remember to refer back to your plan regularly for guidance and motivation.

Sign up for the individual training courses you identified to be most valuable during your research. Whether it be proficiency in Microsoft Office, leadership skills, or business management. Enroll in an Internal/External Auditing course, or Root Cause Analysis, or an ISO 9000 familiarization course online — or your industry standard equivalent.

You should have the logistics of where and when these courses are being offered from your research. Most Universities will have a continuing education program geared towards mature part time students with careers and families. These courses are generally offered in a blended format, partly online and partly in classroom. You can even enrol in a certificate program if you wanted to go deeper into a particular area.

Remember to reach out to leaders in the quality field, and forge relationships that will benefit you now and in the future. Networking with people in your industry is such an important activity that can add massive value to your career advancement, but is highly overlooked. So give yourself the advantage!

You don’t need to complete everything all at once, but get the ball rolling. You will be surprised how gratifying it is once you complete each step. When I completed a course or training program I could not wait to get started on the next.

These are some of the exact strategies I used to advance my own career. I have learned that by breaking things down into actionable steps and systematically following through, anyone can make themselves more marketable to their desired employers.


 

Would you like to learn more about systems that will help you advance your career from someone who has spent countless hours researching and implementing these strategies? Just give me your name and email address here, and you’ll get access to my private email list, including strategies and tactics I won’t share anywhere else.

Also, get my FREE Quality Essentials eCourse and learn how Quality Management can help to diversify and expand your professional skill set.

 

 

How to Manage Self-Doubt and Advance Your Career

shutterstock_158445290Do you ever notice those people who seem to have “it” all figured out? They are confident when speaking in meetings or in front of large groups. People who seem to always have an intelligent comment to add or are frequently called upon when a decision has to be made?

I notice people like this all the time and I envy them. I envy them for the way others, myself included, elevate them in our minds. I envy them because everything seems to come just a little bit easier. I wonder what it would be like to have the answers available at a moments notice, just waiting there for someone to ask the question.

Do you sometimes find yourself in a social group conversation or business meeting just staring at that person in awe (not literally…that would be creepy!) and wondering how they do it? Are they just that much smarter than me? Is there some active gene in their genetic code that has somehow been left dormant in my own DNA?

In all honesty, I feel this way, to some extent, about 99% of the people I interact with, both in social and business settings. I always have, and at times it has held me back from things I wanted to achieve. I feel it even as I write these words and when I publish a new post. Yet I continue to publish!

Its my inferiority complex and if you struggle with this, even just a little, then you know just how debilitating it can be.

Recognizing Your Insecurities

Now, I am not saying that we barricade ourselves in our homes, isolated from society (although sometimes that is tempting!), and maybe the term “complex” is a touch dramatic, but however the severity, it is something we have to internally manage in our own way. This is also not to be confused with a lack of confidence.

The truth is, at one point or another, even the most seemingly confident people grapple with some form of insecurity or phobia – to a varying degree – the difference is that some of us are able to manage our emotions more effectively than others.

In many cases our insecurities can serve as a motivator or incentive in achieving our goals both personal and professional. Maybe we are driven to overcompensate in an attempt to prove something to ourselves and others or achieve some level of affirmation. Regardless of our individual reasoning, if it works why question it!

How Our Insecurities Affect Our Careers

So you are probably wondering why I am writing about this in the first place? What does self doubt, social phobia, or fear of spiders (sorry, I suffer from this also!) have to do with career advancement or Quality Management for that matter?

Well, if you strive to progress in your career and continue down a path of professional achievement, you are going to have to take chances and walk through some spider webs. You are going to have to come out of your shell and network with people that you may feel intimidated by. Remember those confident people with the special genetics I mentioned earlier? By the way, let me share a little secret, these people don’t have all the answers either!

Sure, some may have a more advanced academic pedigree or experience on a given subject. Instead of intimidation, strive to learn from their knowledge and experience. You would be surprised how open and willing most people are in sharing their knowledge with someone who displays genuine interest. You may also find that you have something of value to offer in return.

Working in quality management has its own set of challenges as well, but its those challenges that make for exciting and gratifying work. You must deal with different types of personalities and be able to challenge someone’s point of view. Not for the sake of provoking a disagreement or to be argumentative, but to reach the root of a problem or to continuously improve a process that has shown signs of becoming ineffective or impractical.

You will be required to ask questions that others may not want to be asked because it challenges the “status Quo”. The benefits that come out of these difficult questions and discussions are extremely valuable.

Managing Self Doubt and Using it as a Motivator

Now, I realise at this point I am supposed to offer up some wisdom on “How to Overcome Insecurity Once and For All!”, or “5 Steps to Eliminate Self Doubt Forever!” The truth is, I don’t believe there is a cure or step by step method to silencing our inner dialogue. The key is in recognising and accepting these insecurities for what they are and developing ways in which to manage and even utilise them to our advantage.

Here are some recommendations to manage insecurity and self doubt and move forward with your career development:

  1. Recognize: Take note of your inner dialogue and identify your fears when it comes to advancing your career or taking uncharted steps into new territory. What exactly do you find unnerving when dealing with people.
  2. Accept: Once you have identified your insecurities you can start to understand and accept them for what they are and determine the methods that work best for you in order to see past them.
  3. Utilize:Put these insecurities and feelings of self doubt to work in a positive way and use them as incentive to achieve your goals. I recognised early on that I had a fear of speaking in groups because I was certain that someone smarter than me would call me out. So instead of shying away,  I put myself in situations where I would have to speak. That exhilarating feeling of success you get after completing something you find difficult is a powerful motivator. This fear never truly goes away but you can learn to accept and manage it effectively.

So now I would like to hear from you. What are some of your inner struggles when it comes to advancing your career? How have you learned to overcome or manage your insecurities, phobias or internal roadblocks?  Leave a comment or send me a message with your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!