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A Quality Manager


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#1 Simon

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 07:36 PM

Multi skilled, proactive, well organised and dedicated yet destined to loiter forever amongst the processed ham that is middle management. If it were not enough of a burden being permanently compressed betwixt two thick stale crusts we are even berated by the other ham!

It's enough to squeeze the relish from anyone so who'd be a Quality Manager in the 21st Century? What is a Quality Manager? What skills and characteristics do you need to be a good one? And which skills have served you well?

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#2 Jim Wade

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 11:26 PM

.... permanently compressed betwixt two thick stale crusts we are even berated by the other ham!

Love that description (not that I agree with it ;) )

I have a minor criticism, though. It paints a picture of the QM's position in organisational terms.

How would you use your obvious talent with words, Simon, to describe things in terms of business processes?

rgds Jim
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#3 Simon

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Posted 22 October 2003 - 09:09 AM

Although I was feeling a bit strange last night the post is merely a caricature, written with tongue firmly in cheek and with liberal sprinklings of poetic licence to boot. The intention to provoke a general discussion on the role of QM's past, present and future.

On day one of my first role in quality I was handed the organisations ISO 9002 certified manuals and the remit to become universally despised as quickly as possible. My boss basically wanted me to put myself about and bang down a few doors. A similar job description to the 'The Hulk's' in his latest film. I obviously ignored him and did things my own way...How things have changed...or have they?

The old days of inspection and carrot and stick (vertical) have all but disappeared and the modern approach is a process-based model (horizontal), which has engendered a shift not only in the way people manage and do their work but also how they think about their work. In this context there shouldn't be a sandwich or at least there should be much less crust.

So with organisations changing shape and emphasis some questions:

What should a Quality Manager's role be in a process-based organisation?
What old skills are still valid?
What new skills are required?
Is that better Jim? ;)

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#4 rheath

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Posted 22 October 2003 - 04:34 PM

Simon,

A few quotes to describe the Quality Manager:

"There is a difference between knowing the path and walking it" and " I can show you the door, but you are the one who has to walk through it." - Morphius (The Matrix)

Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviours. Keep your behaviours positive because your behaviours become your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny. - Gandhi

Not really answering your questions but I thought I would give you a more philosophical reply..


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#5 Simon

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Posted 22 October 2003 - 07:32 PM

Along the same lines, Emerson:

"What you are thunders so loudly; I cannot hear a word you say."

A genuine manager knows that his worth stems not from what he says but from his behaviour and the kind of human being he is. I'm going to set an example by being a lot less vague tomorrow but for now…I'm going to watch the football.

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#6 Simon

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Posted 23 October 2003 - 12:52 PM

Basically if you cut through all the flowery language?what we've got so far is not a lot except the agreement that a Quality Manager or indeed any manager needs first and foremost to lead by example.

I will start a generic list (in no particular order) of some of the most important characteristics IMO that a modern day Quality Manager needs in order to achieve success for the organisation and self. Obviously the exact profile will vary from organisation to organisation depending on the human resources available therein.

- leads by example
- determination / persistence
- up to date knowledge of quality / business improvement tools and techniques
- communication skills
- organisational skills
- project management skills
- negotiation skills
- presentation skills
- selling skills
- facilitation skills
- problem solving skills
- analytical skills
- commercial awareness
- understanding of regulatory / legislative issues
- integrity (or not depending on the situation)
- personable nature
- innovative and creative

Hopefully we can develop this list more comprehensively through discussion. Looking down the list so far is it fair to say that the profile of the modern day Quality Manager is more in alignment with a Business Executive rather than a Scientist or Engineer?

What do you think?

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Simon


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#7 rheath

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Posted 23 October 2003 - 03:03 PM

Add to this, that for many of us, the trend is to cover Health, Safety, Hygiene, Environment & Quality within 1 rob role.

So, effectively we have 4 job roles at exec level - lets all go and see our bosses for an 8x pay rise - then see where our negotiation skills get us. :unsure:


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#8 Simon

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Posted 23 October 2003 - 03:15 PM

Add to this, that for many of us, the trend is to cover Health, Safety, Hygiene, Environment & Quality within 1 rob role.

Oh yes, and don't forget training and anything else that either nobody wants or understands.

:(

Lifes a ....

Simon
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#9 Jim Wade

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Posted 24 October 2003 - 12:12 AM

Simon wrote "Looking down the list so far is it fair to say that the profile of the modern day Quality Manager is more in alignment with a Business Executive rather than a Scientist or Engineer?"

Funny you should say that.

As I looked down your list, my first thought was "that looks like a great list of characteristics of a good modern manager".

Followed by the thought 'If a good proportion of an organisation's managers had those characteristics, would they need a quality manager?"

rgds Jim


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#10 Simon

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Posted 24 October 2003 - 10:05 AM

Ooh Jim, very controversial, quite ingenious and an opportunity but unfortunately for most organisations probably still not very practical or possible even for those organised around processes.

Thinking about it even if every manager had the skills described there would still be the need for a management representative to tie up all the loose ends. Who else would take the Certification Body Auditor to lunch? :D

IMO the Quality Manager should negotiate, facilitate and delegate with the objective of farming out the jobs that should be owned by the process managers.

In this scenario the QM with 'feet on desk' is actually a very good QM. Unfortunately this would be very difficult for the employer to assimilate as he may just think that the QM is a lazy bar-steward. <_>
Hmm?
Simon


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