The importance of leadership

The importance of leadership

Di seguito il testo di un articolo di Andrew Holt is (Technical Content Executive at the CQI and writes for Quality Word Magazine) relativo al passaggio da  “Management responsibility” a “Leadership” introdotto dalla ISO 9001:2015. Buon lettura.

The move from  “Management responsibility” to “Leadership” is perhaps the most significant and far-reaching change contained within ISO 9001:2015, although the actual impact will depend very much on where each organisation is starting from.

Sub-clause 5.1.1 identifies specific aspects of the quality management system where top management are expected to demonstrate both leadership and commitment.

This means a top list for top management.

This starts with top management taking accountability for the effectiveness of their organisation’s quality management system.

They must ensure that their organisation’s quality policy and quality objectives are consistent with the organisation’s overall strategic direction and the context in which the organisation is operating.

Top management must also work alongside their people in order to ensure that the quality objectives are achieved. In addition, top management must ensure that the quality policy is communicated, understood and applied across the organisation.

Top management must also ensure that quality management system requirements are integral to the organisation’s business processes – that is, the quality management system must not be just a “bolt on”.

They must promote awareness and the adoption of the use of both the “process approach” and “risk-based thinking”, and must make sure that the resources required for the effective operation of the quality management system are made available.

Top management must stress the importance of effective quality management and of conforming to the requirements of the quality management system.

They must make sure that the quality management system is achieving the results intended and must lead people to contribute to the effective operation of the system.

They must drive continual improvement and develop leadership in their managers.

All this amounts to a considerable amount of focus for top management.

On a final point, when ISO 9001:2015 uses the term “top management”, it is referring to a person or a group of people at the highest level within an organisation, that is, the people who coordinate, direct, and control the organisation.

What this means for audit professionals

Auditors must seek evidence that top management has a “hands-on” approach to the management of their quality management system.

Auditors must understand which ISO 9001:2015 requirements top management can delegate and which they cannot.

Auditors must ensure that they are equipped to challenge top management in respect of their commitment to their quality management systems.

Auditing at this level is likely to be a new experience for many.

To be effective and gain the respect of top management, auditors will need to have a good understanding of management activities, be able to engage with top management on a range of subjects, and speak the language of top management.

For many auditors, this will involve developing new and enhanced competencies.

Developing the quality policy

There is also additional emphasis on top management and leadership on developing a quality policy within the organisation.

Sub-clause 5.2.1 sets out the requirements of top management in respect of the organisation’s quality policy.

Top management must establish a quality policy that is appropriate to the purpose and context of the organisation and crucially, it must support its strategic direction.

It must additionally provide a framework for the setting and review of quality objectives, and include commitments to satisfy any applicable requirements and to continually improve their quality management system.

It is the responsibility of top management to implement and maintain the quality policy.

What this means for audit professionals

Auditors should seek evidence that top management have created the quality policy, and are implementing and maintaining it.

Auditors should ensure that the policy is appropriate to the context of the organisation as well as its purpose and that there is a commitment to improve the organisation’s quality management system.

They should also seek evidence that the organisation’s quality objectives are consistent with the policy.

The requirement to determine that the quality policy is appropriate to the purpose and context of the organisation reinforces the need for auditors to establish their personal understanding of the context that the auditee is operating in.

However, from an audit perspective it is important that top management can demonstrate that the policy is compatible with the strategic direction and context of the organisation, (as required by sub-clause 5.1.1 b).