There is an awful lot of “stuff” out there. I don’t know about you, but I’ve totally lost count of the number of social media websites that are available out there. I think most of them are for sharing pictures, and I see a lot of people taking photos of their food, but I always eat my food before I can take a photo of it.
Twitter, however, turns out to be a great place for business. A lot of businesses link their blogs to their Twitter accounts, so you can quickly scan through and decide which are the best to spend your time on. It’s also a great way to stay up-to-date with news and changes in your sector.
If you’re involved in Quality in your workplace, these are my top five Twitter feeds to follow:
1. Concentric (@acommoncenter) come out of America and their profile reads: “Concentric partners with the world's leading organizations to make them even better via management system education, mentoring & implementation.” They post links to their articles and white papers, going beyond quality management and into strategic planning and integrated management systems. Good for both new and established quality management professionals.
2. Stacey Barr (@staceybarr) is Brisbane-based and describes herself as “Performance measurement teacher, writer, mentor. Avid runner. Devoted organic vege gardener. Chocoholic.” She tweets links to her blog and her fabulous articles are well worth a read—she writes in an accessible style that novices of performance measurement can understand and will really get you thinking in a different way.
3. The CQI (@CQI) are from the UK and, besides Twitter, have a great website of useful resources for those starting out in quality. They are “The Chartered Quality Institute is the UK's premier organisation for quality professionals”. Their Twitter links to their blog, which is always on my reading list.
4. Quality World magazine (@Qualityworld) is the CQI’s magazine and is “The UK's only magazine devoted to quality. We cover innovation, business improvement, excellence, Six Sigma and more...”. Quality World has some great articles, I’ve found them to be very relevant, even living across the world from them. Also great for quality newcomers and established professionals.
5. The Quality Nerd (@thequalitynerd) – well, I had to mention my own Twitter, of course! I tweet links to my blog, so you can keep up to date with my postings, and I retweet content that I find interesting or relevant to Australia and the human services sector.
If you’ve got a Twitter account that you find interesting and a worthwhile read, please let me know!
Thanks for reading,
A friend of mine, on the day of her first third party audit, posted this picture to her Facebook:
It made me smile because I think this is a fairly common reaction to an audit, or to auditors—watch out, they’re coming!—and of course the ensuing flurry of paper shuffling and panic. But, in my experience, usually once it’s done people say ‘that wasn’t that bad actually’ (as was the case for my friend).
Auditors tend to get a bad rap—we’re seen as boring, pedantic and inflexible. Audits are things to be endured (apparently sometimes by potential auditors themselves! I spotted “Studying this lame subject. Ugh” on a Twitter feed recently!).
Does auditing deserve this? In the years I’ve been auditing I can confidently say ‘no’. Most auditors I’ve worked with are genuinely interested in supporting improvement in the organisations they work with. An auditor with a good attitude goes a long, long way.
I do think, as more and more human services organisations go through a third party audit process, that our reputation and their feelings around the experience will change. In the past year, I’ve definitely noticed that people are starting to take interest in the profession and can see the benefit that auditing and quality management can provide.
If you’re about to go through your first third party audit and are a little unsure about the process, one important thing I learned when I first started out was: your auditor is your business partner. Talk to them about your strengths and what improvements you’re working on. They (should) see themselves as your support service, so see them as that too. Then you won't have to "brace yourself" when an audit comes along - you might find yourself looking forward to it!
Thanks for reading,
Have you ever received an internal audit report with these types of statements in it?
· Some forms in the files were not completed correctly, for example, not dated.
· The support plans for the clients whose records were audited did not include a review date.
· Incident reports sighted in the timeframe audited did not follow correct documentation protocols.
Poor internal audit reports can have a big impact on your organisation. The examples above will often lead to:
· A memo going out to staff reminding them to date forms.
· A staff member being told to go to the audited client files to put review dates in.
· No action at all.
Internal auditing done this way means that, at best, staff will go back to the files you’ve audited and fix the issues you wrote about in the report. But this does little to add value to an organisation and redirects management focus from bigger picture issues, like how the issues impact on clients, services, and
Having a value-adding internal audit program isn’t just about the reports, it starts back at the planning—the audit scope, objective and criteria. Auditors must then have the right skills to look at issues as part of a process and/or system. Audit reports must ensure that the findings link back to the scope, objective
and criteria, and that conclusions are drawn at a higher level. I find that it is better to document the issue first, list examples, then describe the potential risk or impact.
And, of course, internal audit reports can’t exist by themselves—results must be collated to show management what the current and emerging issues are.
If your organisation would like support to implement an internal audit program, please feel free to contact me.
Thanks for reading,
Tina Fey as Liz Lemon (30 Rock) is absolutely my favourite TV character—wicked smart, funny, and with the best hair (and glasses) in the business. I quote Liz Lemon as much as I can (I try not to be too much of a fan-nerd, but, I love her), so I thought, for fun, why not reconceptualise some classic Liz Lemon quotes for
Well, all Quality Managers have felt like this at some point, right? Once in a while I’m sure we’ve all felt that we can conquer all tasks and “save” everything. But this is a lie that will probably leave us overwhelmed and
the rest of your organisation experiencing “quality fatigue”. Best to prioritise and tackle the big risk factors first.
Ever done an internal audit against a procedure or a process review and scratched your head and wondered where some of the process steps came from? I think this is a great question that organisations should ask their staff to continually ask (and just not left up to Quality Managers or Internal Auditors) and raise for action. It’s what a continual improvement framework is all about!
Quality improvement is about making processes better so that outcomes for staff and (especially) clients is better. It should never be about office politics, ego, or change for change’s sake. Focus on the things that matter (through a risk-based approach), otherwise best to steer clear!
Obviously I had to put this one in! My favourite Liz Lemon quote and one that I now use when I see things that frustrate me in Quality Management—like poorly-conceived forms, and procedures that don’t succinctly describe what to actually do. Don’t let your own QMS give you “nerdrage”! Invest in setting it up well; it is easier than trying to fix it later.
For more Liz Lemon fun, see this article “Management Lessons from TV: What We Can Learn From ’30 Rock’s’ Liz Lemon”.
Feel free to share quotes from your own favourite TV character!
Thanks for reading,
The Quality Nerd loves all things Quality Management and Internal Audit...too much is never enough!