Getting management buy-in for ISO excellence: Step 1

October 17, 2012 9:13 pm Published by

Management Buy-inIn our last blog post we encouraged readers to preach the value and benefits of ISO standards in their businesses because ISO defines how businesses should be run. One of the hurdles, as we pointed out and often hear, however, is a lack of management buy-in for these efforts.

Starting and implementing an ISO certification process takes a commitment from throughout the company, and often discussions about management standards end before all the benefits for a company are even identified. That’s why it’s important to set the right expectations of what’s required.

Step 1: Tell them what to expect

Management teams sometimes do not understand the amount of support and commitment required to implement standards because they do not fully understand that ISO is indeed the framework that can and does redefine their organization system.

For the most part, adopting an ISO system is a cultural change that requires leaders to champion the mission. Educating management at all levels early and often throughout the development and implementation of the system is paramount to its success.

We often see that management relies possibly too much on their representatives to take on the entire change effort. But the key to making it work is to encourage management to understand that they are the key to building and guiding a coalition/team that needs to create a sense of urgency to meet determined goals.

We encourage highly visible communication and tasking at all levels to drive responsibility and ownership. The more active and engaged leaders in management positions are, the more others will follow – and in turn become leaders themselves.

That’s a lot to chew on for any management team. But it’s an important topic to discuss before getting started because for implementation to succeed management needs to realize that corporate culture has to change as much as the processes.

Before suggesting the implementation of management standards for your company, ask yourself:

  • Does my company have the culture needed to make this work?
  • Does the company have a good record of communicating?
  • Are there enough change agents in management to make this work?
  • Is management currently preoccupied with other challenges?

Even if the commitment is a turn-off for management, they’re sure to understand the benefits of ISO certification. We’ll share some of those in our next blog post.


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This post was written by Roy D'Ardenne