by Stephen Danos
The benefits of building and maintaining a culture of quality can be measured in dollars. According to a 2014 study, companies that emphasize quality, and ultimately make fewer mistakes, can save an estimated $67 million per every 5,000 employees.
At a time when customers increasingly use social media and online reviews to make informed purchasing decisions, the pressure is increasing for businesses to continually raise the quality of their offerings. This emphasis on quality — combined with pressures to respond to changing demands at speed — can lead to more mistakes for companies that lack a clearly defined doctrine of quality.
So, how do effective leaders build and sustain a culture of quality — without sacrificing speed? Here are some ways business leaders can get started.
Define Clear Goals & Strategies
Providing clarity around decision making and business strategies makes it easier for teams to understand how their tactical work aligns with higher-level initiatives. A clear strategic perspective, where leaders share insights and other key learnings, can lead to more confident decision making at the team and individual contributor levels.
Aligning everyone’s understanding around strategic information, decisions, and standards helps secure consistent quality, even as teams look to execute at faster speeds.
With Smartsheet, leaders can make corporate strategies more transparent through a centralized portal. They can add the right resources, such as brand messaging or team key performance indicators (KPIs), and make it accessible to all employees; this helps align all departments to the greater company strategy and results in fewer hours wasted searching for the right information.
Create Stretch Goals for Accountability
Most enterprise-level organizations ensure that managers, teams, and individuals set quarterly and annual goals. With standard goals, workers might stay busy but not increase speed and quality, meeting the minimum of what they are capable of accomplishing.
Leaders who make stretch goals both visible and a regular practice also promote accountability. This form of clear pressure motivates teams to work at a faster pace without churning out inconsistent work.
Smartsheet dashboards provide for a simple way to display KPIs that need to be widely circulated. For example, metrics such as sales leads or customer retention rates can be pulled from sheets and rolled-up so they display as a line chart in the shared dashboard.
When KPIs and goals are set with quality outcomes in mind, maintaining high quality literally defines success for an organization.
Become a More Powerful Communicator
Whenever departments are out of alignment, poor communication or team silos are often the culprits. Whether at the executive or manager level, leaders need to be convincing communicators that encourage contributors to do their best work. Leaders who exemplify powerful communication impress core values on their employees at all-hands meetings, earnings calls, and casual conversations in office hallways.
And given the rise of digital communication and collaboration platforms, such as Workplace by Facebook, Google’s Hangouts Chat, and Slack, work execution and internal communications strategies have irrevocably changed. Some employees might view using these applications as a chore, but with the right touch from leadership, they can be used to sync departments through common interest groups and channels.
Executives who leverage these applications, whether posting customer updates or sharing information about new products via a 30-second video recorded on their smartphone, can reach a wider internal audience, and keep the emphasis on quality performance and delivery front-of-mind.
Seek Out Innovation
Where do the best leaders get their ideas? Often, those who only look inside their organization create ideas in a proverbial vacuum. They might seem appealing and logical from the internal point of view, but they might not resonate with actual customer needs or requests. Instead, to improve products, internal processes, or customer experience, it's important to know how and when to find innovative solutions outside of your company.
Also, as a leader, you can count on change being a constant part of your approach to business. As technology advances to push companies to work faster and smarter, the way businesses operate is also in a constant state of flux.
With new technology comes new work practices and processes. Leaders who embrace and prepare teams for change are taking steps toward keeping them nimble and adaptable. And as production speed increases — whether coding algorithms, updating software features, or building hardware — teams deserve innovative tools that can adapt with their needs.
To learn more about the Smartsheet platform, check out the following introductory video:
Source: Smartsheet Blog
Writers and Bloggers from Smartsheet.