To Improve Your Business, Involve Your People

Part #2 in a Series: What Our ISO Certification Means to You

You’ve heard it from many companies, in their marketing materials and in the speeches given by top executives at industry conferences: “Our people are the secret to our success.”  Or “our most important assets ride the elevator down every night.”

It’s a nice sentiment, but you can’t help but wonder if it feels that way to the people who work for those companies day in and day out. In reality, it probably depends on the personal style and philosophy of the owner or the executive team in charge at the time.

Not a Pleasantry –a Performance Metric

Well, in a company that has achieved ISO 9001:2008 certification (like we have) you don’t have to wonder. That’s because one of the factors required for earning and keeping that certification is this:  “Involvement of People.”

To successfully meet this standard, people at all levels of the organization must feel involved and empowered to contribute their skills freely. In turn, they are held accountable for their own performance. This helps ensure that unique skill sets are tapped to help move the organization forward and the people providing those skills are held accountable for their own performance. It also helps prevent the formation of large, lethargic corporate structures in which  people don’t think that their individual performance matters; they feel anonymous, and act accordingly.

In addition, the ISO standard in this area mandates an open atmosphere throughout the organization, with information exchanged freely and any problems or other issues  discussed openly and resolved. It’s easy to see why this part is so important. This kind of free-flowing two-way communication keeps everyone focused on helping the organization function with maximum efficiency and impact.  Problems aren’t given the time to fester. They are brought to light immediately and solved more quickly for the benefit of all involved.

What Does This Mean for Us – and You?

Superior Business Solutions might have an advantage over other businesses on this one. Because we essentially provide a service (print supply chain and promotional product management) more than we do a particular manufactured product, we already know that we succeed and thrive only when our people excel at their jobs.

ISO standards call for us to value and utilize the skills of our associates. The certification process has inspired us to place people in positions in which their special expertise becomes a competitive advantage for our company. That’s a good thing for our customers, because it ensures that you get the full benefit of that experience and capability.

Our efforts to achieve ISO 9001:2008 certification have helped us realize how important that ‘free flow of information” aspect is. For example, an open relationship with vendors and suppliers, and thorough and deliberate  communication within our organization, have helped us (and our customers) avoid unpleasant surprises. When a production or shipping problem may cause a delay, an open dialogue can make the best of the situation by expediting delivery, choosing an alternate product or putting together a workable  “Plan B”

We’re ALL Involved in Serving You

To be sure, the ISO standards reinforced it, but involving our people in every aspect of our business is just good business, as far as we’re concerned. When people feel ownership in their jobs, they are naturally going to do those jobs more effectively, and feel happier along the way.

If you’d like some help in figuring out just how to increase the level of involvement  your employees feel in your business, just give me a call. Some of the things we’ve learned in going through the ISO process might be helpful for you. And stay tuned for  future posts in which I’ll talk about some of the other key elements of the ISO certification process and how, by embracing those elements, we believe we’ve made our company even better.

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