Better Days

Quality management system creation and implementation

Success can be Simple


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.

Here’s how:

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:  And thanks so much for stopping by!

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  1. Making a plan that simple makes me want to do it.

  2. Day, Thank you for this message. It is really simple by following the plan, do, check, act. I will be more mindful of using this.

  3. Hi Day
    Thank you for sharing this information it sounds like a very sound way of building synergy among your team, giving each member the support they need and a way to measure both inductance team results.

  4. Plan – Do -Check – Act. Great information. Thank you Day

  5. What does one do if they work by themselves… and not by choice but because of … hmmmm…. not being able to find someone to work with them?

    Thanks for the article.

    • Rip, that’s definitely a challenge for those who are self-employed, or working on a singular project, like writing a book, for example. We can still 1. Plan – plan our project in terms of number of pages to complete within a month. We can plan our team-building efforts (how we will reach out, how many contacts we’ll make, how many presentations within the next month). We can plan to build a client base (# of contacts, network events, # of referrals we can ask for in a month). 2. Once you have a plan, do it! (#DoItNow) 3. Check how you’re doing. At the end of the day, or week, assess how you did. Was your plan successful? Do you need to make adjustments to the plan or to your actions to get you closer to your goals the next day or month? 4. Act on what you learn from your check. If you need to spend some time in the next week learning a new approach to get referrals, make that adjustment. If you need to increase the time making contacts, schedule it in for the next week. If you are behind on the pages you needed to write, schedule either a different time of day when you’re more in the flow, or cancel some distractors for the next week.

      Try some of those perspectives, Rip, and let me know how it goes.

      Also, my friend, Mark Januszewski, has a wonderful program called OATS that can help you drive your “DO” phase. Check it out here:

      • oooOOOOOO…. Great advice, Thank you! …and great information on the link to worldslaziestnetworker.

        Do you have any advice for finding an accountability partner?

        • Rip, I have connected with people through my professional network. Once we connect on a project of mutual interest, I find the relationship grows into helping each other grow in other areas and projects as well.

          I have also reached out to individuals who participate in membership areas who express interest in something I’m also interested in, and connected for awhile in those areas.

          Napoleon Hill defines a master mind as, ““The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.” So anyone who you find working toward a definite purpose that you feel aligned with can work as an accountability partner. I find more people are willing to say “Yes” when they understand you want to support their needs too. Good luck!

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