As a 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 of 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. I’ve experienced firsthand that quality is a key area on which any company or organization can focus – and the results can be transformative!
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 by the recommendation of the 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 went around to our different business locations to invite every employee to attend Operation QIC day. Our goal was to create curiosity and anticipation. This can be done creatively. We dressed up and handed out items that exemplified the day to build anticipation.
Even though we did not tell them what Operation QIC was or what it meant, we sure played up that it would be a special day that they would not want to miss.
Two weeks out, we did a similar invite, creatively and personally inviting the team reinforcing the idea of contagious.
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. It was amazing how prompt everyone was that day. No one was late for this meeting!
As people arrived, we gave everyone a 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.
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 they 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)?”
Afterward, all business units reconvened as a full group to give a report of each group’s findings.
I was thrilled with the ideas produced by 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 by the potential for improvement.
Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men. Proverbs 22:29 ESV
The meeting ended with me challenging everyone to embody the QIC spirit and head back to work inspired to tackle the quality issues at hand.
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