Building A Quality Mindset With Your Staff (or Not)

by Sandra Gauvin

Now that your Quality System is in place, does your staff have the mindset to support and improve the system?  Creating and nurturing a quality mindset isn’t limited to just quality type activities, such as internal audits.  It’s everything that you do in addition to audits….that includes your actions and attitudes towards quality.

I thought I’d have some fun and use David Letterman’s top 10 format to show you how your actions can shape the way your staff perceives quality.


No. 10 – Your staff isn’t allowed to make improvements to the Quality System or procedures.
How it’s interpreted: You personally implemented the Quality System and wrote the procedures, so improvements are like saying ‘your baby is ugly’.

No. 9 – You don’t like the results of an internal audit, so you negotiate with the auditors what you want them to report.
How it’s interpreted: You have no interest in fixing the issues and you don’t want to be on your bosses #$%^ list.

No. 8 – You set metric targets well below historical performance.
How it’s interpreted: You want to guarantee that you meet your targets every month and aren’t interested in making improvements.

No. 7 – You select performance metrics that only showcase what areas of your department or business are doing well.
How it’s interpreted: It’s all about making you look good during the management review and you aren’t interested in knowing how well your Quality System is performing.

No. 6 – You ‘shoot’ the messenger in Quality Management Reviews when you don’t like the data.
How it’s interpreted: You don’t like hearing about issues, so next time the presenter should report only positive information (plus anything that makes you look good) and ignore the issues.

No. 5 – You get Certificates of Analysis (C of A’s) with your incoming raw materials and you never look at them.
How it’s interpreted: You’ll take anything from your supplier, because you don’t want to be bothered making sure you’re receiving quality materials that meet your requirements.

No. 4 – You have a lot of nonconformance’s for the same issue.
How it’s interpreted: You’re investigation doesn’t have to be thorough and you don’t care if the root cause is ever found….just close the record on-time!

No. 3 – Your training has lapsed and yet you’re still able to perform activities that require your training be up-t0-date.
How it’s interpreted: Training’s not that important.  It’s o.k. to continue performing your job, even if it means you’re out of compliance and you’re following an expired/different version of a procedure.

No. 2 – You don’t spend time throughout the year auditing your Quality System, then a few weeks before an external audit you plow through all of the elements.
How it’s interpreted: Internal audits aren’t important….you just need to make it look like we have an internal audit program.


No. 1 – Before signing a controlled document you ask “what date do you want me to put on this?”
How it’s interpreted: It’s o.k. to back date (aka lie).  Everything documented in your Quality System doesn’t reflect what’s really going on.

Hopefully these examples help illustrate how your actions and behavior can influence your staff’s mindset regarding Quality.

What’s your top 10?  Share them in the comments section.

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