“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.”
– Red Adair
We need people to help our business reach lofty goals, set new direction, challenge thinking, execute the plan, and to collaborate with to be at our very best. And yet, we the people that make up the backbone of companies around the globe are also what cause the major dysfunctions and roadblocks.
In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins describes how organizations transition from being good to great companies (and sustain at being great), and how most companies fail to make the transition. Chapter three focuses on hiring great people as a key part of the formula for success. His research team, made up of more than 20 people, studied 6,000 articles, generated more than 2,000 pages of interview transcripts and created 384 megabytes of computer data in a five-year project. Here’s one conclusion they uncovered regarding people:
“To be clear, the main point… is not just about assembling the right team – that’s nothing new. The main point is to first get the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) before you figure out where to drive it.”
Raise your hand if you’ve got a “wrong person” in a seat on your corporate bus. Painful, right? You can go ahead and put your hand down.
The Beginning of Change
So how do we get beyond the trouble and extract what’s best out of these teams around us? In short, we find the right people, put them in the right seat, on the right bus, going in the right direction. So, who are the right people? Here’s a quote from the book, “Traction” by Gino Wickman that sums it up perfectly, “The right people are the ones who share your company’s core values. They fit and thrive in your culture. They are people you enjoy being around and who make your organization a better place to be.”
Now let’s pair that ideology with Section 7 of ISO 9001:2015, which peers into the requirements of the people needed in the organization to effectively implement the quality management system and the operation of control of its processes. Specifically, section 7.1.2 says,
“The organization shall determine and provide the persons necessary for the effective implementation of its quality management system and for the operation and control of its processes.”
We can see that we’re required to get enough bodies in the seats to ensure that our management system is effective and that the company runs well, but can we amp that up a little and really get some bang for our buck here?
One Step Back, Two Steps Forward
EOS tells us that first we must determine the right structure for our organization – that we define all of the critical functions and roles required to achieve long-term success. So, we forego the idea of WHO is in the seat until we decide what the seat should look like. When we build out what we call an Accountability Chart that starts with defining the seat and then work on filling it with the right person, that’s where we gain traction.
Step back – take a 30,000-foot view on the organization as a whole, decide the structure, then layer in the concept of section 7.2 addressing competence. After all, we can’t determine who we need until we honestly decide what we need. Once we’ve figured out the seat, we then decide if we have people that GWC the seat – that’s people who Get it, Want it, have the Capacity to do it.
If they do GWC the seat, we can move onto ISO 9001:2015, 7.2.2 Competency, Awareness and Training, which specifies that we ensure our people are competent. This, of course, is a demonstration of skills and knowledge and ongoing approach to training. Success in any assignment, comes from defining what constitutes competency for a role, evaluating the assigned staff and, where they come up short, providing the necessary actions – including training in whatever form that may be – and re-evaluating for competency to ensure the actions taken “stuck”. So, we find good people and then work on training them up in areas that they need to be better at their jobs, which helps us to take two GIANT steps forward!
The Art of Communication
George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” So true! So, let’s finish by tackling 7.4 in the ISO 9001 standard – Communication:
“The organization shall determine the internal and external communications relevant to the quality management system…”
Although here we’re really targeting the specifics of the QMS, we can take a more holistic approach and challenge ourselves to communicate effectively from the top down about the relevance of our team member’s position in the organization, and how it relates to the QMS and to the overall vision. When an employee truly understands how they play a part in the big picture, it inspires and engages, gives a sense of purpose and direction, and helps them to see the value of their role. Employees tend to go home happier, healthier and more inspired to help the organization achieve the vision, and energized about coming back into the office on Monday.
Put all together, if we take the time to determine the structure required to take our organization to the next level, then ask if the people in the seats of our organization GWC the seat (get it, want it, and have the capacity to do it) we’ll figure out quickly if we have the right people in the right seats. And when we do… it’s game on!
Kirsten Smith is the owner of Made to Thrive Consulting, LLC, an organization born from a passion for excellence in business and a desire to help people and organizations reach a higher potential than they thought they could.
Andy Nichols is an experienced Quality Management consultant, trainer and author.