Strategies for Going In Blind - My employer is probably confused why I'm here

D

David Mullins

#1
I always like to give a little history/background on things (often too much) so here we go.

I am a Quality Manager who has structk a hurdle and is trying to figure out what to do - as in a plan for activities.

I have been in the 'quality game' for 20 years, before it was fashionable, and now it may be going past fashionable. I have worked as an employee for 9 companies during that time, in industries including automotive, manufacturing, retail, service, defense, health, consulting engineering and software. So when it comes to quality I have seen more than most, but never been shot (like some forum members)!

I have a serious problem. I have started with, yet another, new company. They have a defined structure which exists in a line and project structure. My boss is the Business Imrpovement manager. I have been THE quality manager in companies I've worked for over the past eleven years. My boss openly admits he knows nothing about "Q stuff", and he is absolutely correct.

I work indirectly for a range of projects. The position description really describes nothing about the position. Now I find myself wondering what the **** I'm doing here.

The company is 9001:1994 certified, has no structure to manuals, procedures, etc. Projects are allowed to re-write corporate procedures as project procedures to suit their specific needs or likes. Their QMS sucks but they like it, and think it is mature and that they should move to a more Laissez Faire (very liberal) relaxed system of allowing each person to do things however they like, os long as they can pull some completely uncontrolled piece of paper that loosely describes what they're doing.

This morning, on the way to work, I was running late, but didn't care, I thought about comparitive approaches.

Let's say I'm a wide eyed engineer starting work at a consulting company, and my contract says I have to invoice 3-4 times my salary each month or I'm fired - what do I do?
I'm guessing I look at what work my predessors was doing, whom with, are there pre-existing contracts that require on-going work? What types are industry are my customers in, who can I expand to include from like-industry potential customers. Which customers haven't done business with us for a while, etc.
Then I do the workj on the book and cook up sales pitches to the people I'm trying to attract.

Back to my current dilemma, is this an appropriate approach to adopt to my current predicament?
I.E. establish who is the project managers for each of the projects I'm supposedly involved with, establish their expectations, determine regular meeting and reports I'm expected to generate (and the content of said reports).
Then look at what exists, in terms of procedure/instruction type documents, find out what's appropriate, control it, make sure it's widely accessible, audit it, look at potential improvements in process flow and business activities, develop a vison and strategy for the future, develop a plan which allow by small pool of configartion managemenet people to have clear direction and a vision of the future. (note - obviously interaction with stakeholders and staff is required to reach agreement and concensus on a range of issues, etc).

May be I should get my boss to sign off on all this as being an appropriate plan?

What should I be doing?

Any suggestions are appreciated?

Playing golf and drinking beer would be good, but not practical just at the minute!

I'm not happy, and I'm not convinced that pouring a lot of (mental, physical and emotional) energy (no pun intended) into developing a role, when my employer is probably confused why I'm here as well, is not a very large waste.

All thoughts appreciated.

PS yes, get a new job is an option, but I used that last time and appear to have gone from the frying pan to the fire (in terms of wasting my time).
 
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E

energy

#2
You won't want to hear it!

David,

Give it more time. You have a mind set that it doesn't suit you, right now. If the company is successful, as they must be because they hired you at an exorbitant salary, study them further. Don't rush to judgement. You shouldn't be in a hurry in the race, in your words, to no where. You're young enough to make another change. Take it from the old dude, you will run out of options and will have to adapt to something you can tolerate, sooner or later. I've worked close to 40 years and always found that I was looking for better. It never ends, so go with the flow and then go!:biglaugh: :ko: :smokin:
 
#3
Why did they hire you?

Wow aussie...

You seem to have some work cut out for you... As soon as you can figure out what they expect from you. So: They hired you to do exactly what?

Besides, from your description I'm amazed that they are certified?? They/you may be in trouble when it's time to convert to 9001:2000.

I'd say you need to have a long talk with your boss, with him telling you what he really wants and you telling him exactly what that would mean and why. (Yeah, I've been there too)

Good luck / Claes
 
M

M Greenaway

#4
Dave

Wondering if you could drive change through internal audits - do you do them ? Sounds like you might have some potentially serious non-compliance material (unless of course the system was set up by Jim Wade :vfunny: ).

Seriously is this an option ?
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#5
> Back to my current dilemma, is this an appropriate
> approach to adopt to my current predicament? I.E.
> establish who is the project managers for each of the
> projects I'm supposedly involved with, establish their
> expectations, determine regular meeting and reports I'm
> expected to generate (and the content of said reports).

Yup. That's the first part. Get in with the croud and see what everyone expects - how the system is currently operating at least on that level.

> Then look at what exists, in terms of
> procedure/instruction type documents, find out what's
> appropriate, control it, make sure it's widely accessible,
> audit it, look at potential improvements in process flow
> and business activities, develop a vison and strategy for
> the future, develop a plan which allow by small pool of
> configartion managemenet people to have clear direction
> and a vision of the future. (note - obviously interaction
> with stakeholders and staff is required to reach agreement
> and concensus on a range of issues, etc).

Now we're talking higher level systems - control and guidance systems. and if that's part of your responsibilities, I'd say yup - that's next. Better said, they will be concurrently occurring rather than sequential.

> May be I should get my boss to sign off on all this as
> being an appropriate plan?

If s/he will sign, why not. I'd make up a project plan / Gantt chart (or something similar for projection and tracking) to address all issues both high level and low level.

> What should I be doing?

Working? :vfunny:
 

WALLACE

Quite Involved in Discussions
#6
Roles and responsibilities?

Dave,
You are indeed in the fire from the frying pan yet, I believe that you are mature and skilled enough to take this situation, mould and craft it to be seen by exectuive management as being profitable.
I would start by mapping out (For your own use) the roles and responsibilities of all who may have a major effect upon the established QMS and of course the bottom line, I have found using a LAB (Language and behaviour) profile to assess the motivational capabilities of employees who directly effect business outcomes is an excellent tool to use to assess your potential impact upon the established QMS and their future transition to an updated QMS.
Good luck Aussie.
Wallace.
 
J

Jim Biz

#7
Persistance!!

As I read through this thread I'm reminded of a quote I recently heard from a military General - concerning any type of battle-front.

There are really only THREE things to keep in mind.

1) This IS NOT baseball - three strikes and you out does not apply.

2) There is ALWAYS one more thing you can do to improve a situation.

3) There is ALWAYS ONE MORE THING you can do to improve a situation.
 
T

tarheel

#8
Looking at things differently

It sounds like you may be missing a big opportunity. If things are so undefined, create your own job. I had a manager that had no idea what he wanted or needed. Sometimes it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission. Push the envelope on what you want to do until someone tells you to stop. You might end up creating the perfect job.:bigwave:
 
D

David Mullins

#9
Re: Re: Strategies for going in blind.

Jim Wade said:
Presumably he knows about Business Improvement stuff?
Like policy & strategy, measurable objectives, the relation between leading (process peformance) and lagging (outcome) indicators, active management commitment, effective communication, involvement of the important people (those doing the work), process management .... that sort of stuff?

And above all: does he know the specifiic priority business improvements to be achieved (the next steps of continual improvement)? If not - go after his job!

If so, and assuming the company intends to get an ISO 9001:2000 certificate from an honest registrar, educate him to understand the he DOES in fact know something about Q stuff, 'cos all the stuff mentioned above relates to 9001.

And a correctly set up 9001 system will help him achieve the business improvements he's responsible for managing. In other words, his priorities become [some of] the main 'quality objectives'.

Above all - have fun, Tarheel's right - there is scope somewhere in there to create a great job

rgds Jim
Yes, Tarheel certainly does have a point.
This guy came with the company when it was started in Australia 14 years ago and is part of the furniture. He was a Project Manager prior to QM, made some cronic muck-ups so they put him where they thought he couldn't do much damage - Quality!

He treats the women in the dept extremely poorly, stomps on anybody's ideas except his own, etc., etc.

My opposite number has basically set up a wall around his area so he can control it the way he likes, and ignore whatever else is going on.

Senior management couldn't give a toss about quality, strategic planning, measureables or processes. As long as the 9001 certificate is on the wall then they are happy.

Last week I had a meeting with the people in my dept (behind my wall), and developed a mission/purpose statement, listed and categorised our customers, processes, outcomes, objectives etc.
When I mentioned this to my boss he asked why on Earth we were bothering with such things, as he couldn't see any point to wasting time on this activity. He did attempt to give me some positive reinforcement though, like - "well if you think it's going to achieve something ...... just do it in your own time".

And yes, my boss tells me to have fun also. Usually just after he's kicked you in groin.


On the positive side, I trying to get all the key stakeholders (from my half of the building) on-side so we can try and "adapt and overcome".

Anything in volving my boss is just :frust: :confused: :(

Thanks to all the guys (no gals?) for your suggestions, and well see what pain-minimised progress we can make.
 
E

energy

#10
Re: Re: Re: Strategies for going in blind.

David Mullins said:

Senior management couldn't give a toss about quality, strategic planning, measureables or processes. As long as the 9001 certificate is on the wall then they are happy.

Last week I had a meeting with the people in my dept (behind my wall), and developed a mission/purpose statement, listed and categorised our customers, processes, outcomes, objectives etc.
When I mentioned this to my boss he asked why on Earth we were bothering with such things, as he couldn't see any point to wasting time on this activity. He did attempt to give me some positive reinforcement though, like - "well if you think it's going to achieve something ...... just do it in your own time".

And yes, my boss tells me to have fun also.
David,
I assume you already have the certificate. Yes? What's the problem? I know what you want to do. So? If it's not broken, don't fix it. I wish I was in your position. The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence. I agree with your boss. Have fun. Your reference to the kick in the groin is because he doesn't see your vision. Again, so what?
What you are doing with "your people" is good. Look at it as continuous improvement. There are always those who will never be satisfied or content with what they have. That's just the nature of the beast. Then there are those like myself. Come in to work, get a coffee, put my feet up on the desk, check out the Cove, admire my certificate on the wall & make sure it stays there and basking in the satisfaction that my hard work put it there, put out fires and go home. it doesn't get any better than that! Life's short. Are you hiring? :vfunny: :ko: :smokin:
 
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