Take me to your Leader!

Take me to your leader!

ISO 9001:2015 Clause 5 – Leadership – the ‘make it or break it’ component of any management system.

Leadership is one of the 8 Management Principles we’ve used for years as the guiding lights for our systems. They are now described in section 0.2 – Quality Management Principles and have been reduced to 7 by combining ‘Process Approach’ and ‘Systems Approach’ into one Principle. You’ll recognize all of them.

To meet the Leadership requirements, we’ll have to show how our Quality Policy and Objectives are ‘…compatible with the context and strategic direction…’ of our organization. For me, this additional requirement will help us weave our management system into the fabric of our organization.

It also heads us in the direction of making this a ‘business management system’ rather than just a ‘quality management system’. This concept is supported by another new requirement to make sure that the requirements of ISO 9001:2015 are integrated ‘…into the organization’s business processes…’ not just the ‘quality’ processes (5.1.1 c)

There’s a specific requirement for Leaders to ‘…promote the use of the process approach and risk-based thinking …’ (5.1.1 d). Very helpful, in my opinion, to get more Engagement of People (Quality Principle 3) and tap into the expertise in our organizations to find Improvement opportunities (Clause 10 – Improvement).

There requirements for resources haven’t changed much but there’s some new language around management’s involvement ‘…engaging, directing and supporting persons to contribute to the effectiveness of the quality management system…'(5.1.1 h)

This suggests (in my opinion) that we’ll have to have some evidence of management’s understanding and support of the system. In fact, Top Management is now accountable for the effectiveness of the management system (5.1.1 a). Evidence might be seen in Management Review (9.3).

The word ‘results’ shows up in Clause 5, too (5.1.1 g). We can demonstrate this through internal audits if auditors focus on results, rather than checking only for robotic adherence to procedures. Management will need to find ways to demonstrate their leadership and auditors are going to have to decide what kind of evidence would meet this requirement. Be sure to check with your Registrar to find out what they’re thinking and how they’ll audit these new requirements. There’s going to be some give and take here, for sure. You’ll

In the training classes I teach, I always remind participants that customers want more than just what’s in the contract (needs). They also want us to return phone calls, be reliable and show empathy (expectations). I was thrilled to see the phrase ‘needs and expectations’ survive the final edits to this Standard (4.2).

We’re already familiar with the next clause – Quality Policy. ‘Communicating’ has been expanded to include ‘…relevant interested parties…’ (5.2.2 c) but the other requirements will be familiar to you.

To wrap up this Clause, you’ll be right at home with the ‘Roles and Responsibilities‘ requirements and will have them in place already. There is no longer a named position for what we refer to as the ‘Quality Management Representative‘ but the same requirements still have to be met – this is the cue to develop a ‘Quality Culture’ just like we did for Safety.

Have a look at some articles on ‘Leaders vs Managers’ to see the difference – the bar has been raised!

Know Quality, Know Profit…No Quality, No Profit

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Next post: Clause 6 – Planning

1 thought on “Take me to your Leader!”

  1. Jean Tourigny

    Great summary Jim! Very useful as usual. Indeed, without the support of senior management, no management excellence initiative can be fully successful.


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