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Re-Positioning the Quality Profession [CQI Guest Post]

For all organisations, the delivery of high-quality products and services is essential. The consequences of failure to deliver can be highly significant in today’s world of increasing customer and stakeholder expectations, regulatory oversight and the use of social media to broadcast success or failure.

 Organisation’s don’t deliberately set out to fail, so something clearly is not working. As the leading body for the quality profession it is our responsibility to set and maintain standards but crucially our stakeholders demand it from us. Following research with our members, industry leaders and international organisations they told us that, Quality Professionals:

  • Must have a broad set of skills. The profession needs to define the required competencies and experience needed to develop effective future quality leaders and teams.
  • Need to talk the language of the business. The case for quality must be made with reference to facts based on customers and other stakeholders, and presented in language and perspectives that resonate with leaders.
  • Must be agents for broad-based business change. Armed with a cross-functional perspective and a wider set of skills and experience, the quality professional can become a more influential agent for driving change in the business.

These are just some of the key themes, which emerged from our research. They highlight the need for quality professionals to have the right competencies, to perform their role effectively and crucially, influence top management.

Leadership teams often need help to see quality as a key agenda item – helping them to do so will earn respect for the quality profession. This can be done effectively by obtaining data that shows the impact of quality, helping people to understand the problems and fix them.  The focus here must be to really change the perception of quality.

The solution

To meet the challenges our stakeholders have set, we have started with a vision that clearly sets out the three key areas Quality Professionals operate in – highlighting why they are fundamental to all businesses. They are:

  • Good governance
    Ensuring the interests of customers and stakeholders are understood and respected.
  • Agile assurance
    Establishing appropriate methodologies to protect and enhance reputation through the mitigation of risk.
  • Evaluation and improvement                                                                                          Transforming ways of working to maximise effectiveness and eliminate unnecessary cost and waste.

One of the key themes highlighted by our stakeholders was the need to define the competencies required by future quality teams. To achieve this we have developed the CQI Competency Framework structured around our vision – Governance, Assurance and Improvement, the Context, which we work in, and the Behaviours we must show.

CQI Competency Framework

© Chartered Quality Institute 

The framework provides an overview of the competencies that the profession requires, to do its job effectively, by:

  • Providing a clear benchmark for competence for use by the CQI, employers and individuals
  • Helping individuals plan their career development
  • Helping employers develop their own competency frameworks.

It is one thing to create the tools but we need all quality professionals to join us on this journey. This may seem like a huge challenge but the benefits to business and society are equally significant. If the profession as a whole can deliver the value that it is capable of providing, then new opportunities will emerge for our stakeholders.

Over the next few months we will take a look at each element of the framework, explaining why it was chosen and how it impacts on quality professionals working in Governance, Assurance and Improvement.

Topics: CQI Guest Posts

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