How simple can success be? As simple as 1-2-3-4, really. The simplicity of the ISO 9001 standard as a model for a system to manage an organization’s quality and the simplicity of implementing its requirements, in my view, is real genius. These four steps can be applied to achieve an impressive level of excellence. The PDCA cycle is the foundation of the standard and the foundation of the successes so many organizations have experienced who use it.
PDCA stands for Plan, Do, Check, Act. It’s all you need to do to get to the next level.
1. Plan — Create a plan that defines where you want to be and the steps you’re going to take to get there. This is a great habit to adopt for yourself, not just your organization. Get input from your team mates to have a more effective plan for your work group. What are their views? Make sure you include their “vision” to add color to the total picture of where you want to go as a group.
Within your personal area of responsibility, how do you plan your day? What goals, what activities that add value will take your focus, attention and talents for the day? Where do your customers, clients, or significant others most critically need your gift
Once you have the plan established with specific details, communicate it so that all involved understand (note, I used the word “understand”, not “got sent an email”). You’ll have taken the most critical first step.
2. Do – Implement your plan to the best of your ability, ensuring adequate resources and feedback are part of your actions. Support those on your team who need it.
3. Check – Take some time to review the work and activities. You can use special metrics if your process or activity is a bit complicated, or you can use simple tools like time task trackers, spreadsheets, or just measure your outcomes (parts manufactured / phone contacts attempted vs completed / pages written / etc.).
Setting times when you will conduct your checks can be helpful. Establish times during the process, or during your day, to check in and see if you’re on track. How often you do this can depend on several factors, like how often you will need to keep track of your output. Is getting things done by a certain time important so you aren’t holding up others, or do you just need a general feel for how the activity is progressing and what resources are in play?
4. Act – After you have measured the progress of your activities, you can make adjustments and improvements that are based on data and results. In most cases, emotion, hearsay and gut feel can pull you off-track, so pay attention to the source of your conclusions before you shift gears.
Simple, and very effective, there is a master model for helping your organization find excellence, as simply as counting 1-2-3-4.
And that’s P-D-C-A.
Give it a try and share your results in the comments. For more on PDCA, check out the Organizational Overview on TapasForLife here: https://tapasforlife.teachable.com/p/quality-organization-getting-started. And thanks so much for stopping by!