As I leader, I’ve often struggled to identify what company-wide message or theme I should promote to our people. Let’s face it, this is one of the key roles for the leader of an organization. While most of your team is busy serving your customers, it’s up to you to identify the larger objectives and direction for the company.
If you are dealing with the same struggles, I think I can help! Over the years, I’ve developed and promoted several messages and principles for my organizations. One thing I’ve experienced first hand is that quality is a key area on-which any company can focus – and the results can be amazing!
Years ago, I took our leadership team over to our graphics design firm for all of us to see the proposed logo for our upcoming year, company-wide theme, Quality Is Contagious.
And to our surprise, we were all completely blown away with the recommendation of Operation QIC® (pronounced “quick” for Quality Is Contagious) logo.
Immediately, we started to brainstorm ideas playing off the word “contagious”, and how we could have a fun, impactful half-a-day workshop for our employees. We all commented to keep our planning a secret to create a sense of anticipation for the workshop.
Four weeks before the big meeting, our company controller and I dressed up in surgical outfits, complete with head coverings and booties.
We went around to our different business locations to invite every employee to attend Operation QIC day.
Even though we did not tell them what Operation QIC was or what it meant, we sure played up that it was going to be a special day that they would not want to miss. Then we passed out surgical gloves as a reminder to attend.
Two weeks out, we did a similar invite, wearing our surgical outfits. This time we passed out surgical masks as a reminder to attend.
Well, you can just imagine the anticipation that built up in our employees. I heard some employees were trying to bribe a leadership team member to tell them what was going-on and what Operations QIC was!
The Arrival and Kick-Off
Well the day finally arrived, and we asked for everyone to arrive at 7:15 at an out-patient physical rehab clinic (again playing off the word “contagious”). It was amazing how prompt everyone was that day. No one was late to this meeting!
As people arrived we gave everyone a surgical scrub shirt to wear, with each shirt bearing the Operation QIC logo. We also gave everyone a button that simply read QIC.
I kicked-off the workshop by challenging our people to guess what QIC stood for. The first person to correctly guess the answer was rewarded with a toy ambulance.
Next, we went through a PowerPoint presentation on the difference between good and poor customer service. This prepared us to have a mindset that everything starts and finishes with how we serve our external customers.
Every leader can have amazing company-wide results by involving employees with three simple questions.
At that time, the company had three business units. So we separated our employees into three rooms, each room representing a business unit.
In each room, we had people sit in groups of no more than eight people per table to encourage interaction and discussion.
The Three Questions
Each table group used flip charts to record their ideas and answers to the following three questions as it related to their business unit:
- Diagnose by asking, “What do we do best?”
- Diagnose by asking, “What should we do better?”
- Prescribe by asking, “How we should make desired improvements (including when and who)?”
Afterwards, all business units reconvened as a full group to give a report of each group’s findings.
I was shocked by the ideas produced from each group. Our people came up with 100’s and 100’s of quality improvement ideas!
Not only was I impressed with the results, but our leadership team and employees were excited and inspired about the potential for improvement.
The meeting ended with me challenging everyone to catch and spread the QIC spirit and head back to the operating room (place of business) to handle the quality epidemic.
Meetings like this require some time and effort to pull off, but the results are worth it! Each organization is different, but the questions above are universal, and can serve as the framework for your own, successful company-wide meeting!
When was the last time you involved your employees in the decision-making process? Would you like to tap into the wealth of your employees’ customer-centric quality improvement ideas? Please share your comments <here> and share this blog post with a friend or co-worker.
Quality is Contagious