Sunday, July 4, 2010

Culture of Quality - Part 2

As we were preparing for our ISO 15189 accreditation, we started to see some glimpses of a developing quality culture that extended beyond the quality professionals, and manifested with a interested cohort of about 60 or so employees in a variety of positions; some sample collectors in patient service centres, some sample receivers in accessioning, some bench technologists in a variety of disciplines, and some (few) in the management group.  Indeed it was interesting to me that as a group the non-management group were far more interested and committed to the notion of quality achievement. 
We fostered this group in part with information, but I suspect our most successful tool was a series of discussion groups with free pizza.  There was no doubt that they came for the pizza, but they stayed for the discussion.
The seminar series came to an end a few months ago, and we can already see the slippage.  I am betting that we can get it back with a return-to-discussion in September (fingers crossed).

For those interested, there was a brilliant interview in the September 2008 volume of the journal QUALITY AND PARTICIPATION published by the American Society for Quality.  Its an interview of Steve Gerhardt who talked about a very successful development of a Culture of Quality in one of the divisions of Ford (APAO). 

It highlights some of my own observations (oh yes, and those of W. Edwards Deming too!)
Quality Programs beget Quality Culture.
Quality Programs by themselves are insufficient.
Laboratory workers have to have a sense of ownership of their procedures.
Knowledge sharing promotes Culture.
Command and Control can be damaging to growth of a Quality Culture.

A few questions come to mind - is this stuff real or just part of the wishful thinking of a quality-junkie and does even if it is real, does it matter to the organization?
More later.

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