Wednesday, October 8, 2014
The Pain and Glory of AGMs
For the last 2 days we have met, chatted, planned and ate our way through our CMPT Annual General Meeting. Twelve months of awareness, 6 months of meeting planning, 1 month of getting details into place and 2 days of presentations and questions and answers and stress, and it is over… for another year. Would someone please pass the Advil.
The gist of the meeting with all the pretty graphs and Management Report is available on line for all to see at www.CMPT.ca check in the left hand margin and click on Annual Report.
As much as I stress over this annual event, having now done it for many years, I have to say that I can’t envision running any operation without it. I am a little surprised that ISO90001 talks about Management Review (which is a good thing) and setting Goals and Objectives (and that too is a good thing), but is silent on the importance and value of an AGM. AGMs bring all the players into a single room and create a moment in time to discuss strengths and weakness, and the opportunities and threats (a SWOT conversation!).
CMPT is actually in pretty good shape; we have new digs – good clean and open space, and we have resources and interested partners. I can’t think of any time in our 31 year history when things have been better, keeping in mind we are still working with governments determined to shave medical laboratories slowly out of existence. But as long as patient safety is considered a priority, quality and quality assessment will be central to whatever laboratories do exist. So we are likely to survive in some form or another, provided that we can keep one step ahead, and focus more on the future than on the past.
This year we had for the first time some lessons to be learned which are displayed on our composite customer satisfaction score. A visit to the Annual Report will show what I mean.
We have created a unique composite satisfaction score that is based on survey results, written comments, complaints, and contracts and consultations. The score has an intentional negative bias. Positive findings have positive multipliers of (+5) while negative findings have negative multipliers of (-10 or -25 or -100). The point is to allow negative comments and complaints to dramatically drive our score downward. For the first time since 2002 this downward pressure actually kicked in the current year.
This was primarily due to a survey of users’ opinions of our web-site as a method for data entry. As much as the site scored very high on Quality and Usefulness, Navigation was seen as problematic, and Ease of data entry was not very good; lots of not so positive comments.
I suspected this was going to happen, and my suspicions bore out. I guess if we had wanted our satisfaction score to indicate that everyone was happy with everything that we did, we could have picked another topic for our survey, but what’s the point of the exercise. At least this way we know and have documented that we have a problem that needs to be addressed. And so now we will. And that is a good outcome.
For us the bottom line is that Quality Management is a risky process. When we look for problems we find them and then we have to deal with them. Better to bring this out to the open than to let them sit in the background and fester until the whole program falls apart in one inglorious cloud of smoke.
We are a very small not-for-profit service provider that has impact on patient care and medical services across Canada. If we are not prepared to focus on Quality, then it becomes pretty hollow for us to make demands and expectations on others.
So the planning for next years’ meeting has already begun.
I invite you to visit www.CMPT.ca