Relationship Engagement Culture


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AS9100D:2016 Aviation, Space and Defense Internal Auditor Training. May 16-17th, Chandler, AZ. Register Now!

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Our newsletters provide information on business management systems and process improvement methods. These systems include ISO 9001 QMS, AS9100 Aviation, Space and Defense, ISO/TS 16949 Automotive, ISO 27001 Information Security, ISO 13485 Medical Devices, ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard, and others. Subjects include performance improvement methods such as Six Sigma, Lean Enterprise, and other topics of interest to our readers.

Celebrating our 15th Year in Business in 2017!

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Relationship Engagement Culture


In our February newsletter, we spoke about Leadership Strategy as a management core competency for creating a Culture of Organizational Excellence.

This article focuses on Relationship Engagement as the second Key Driver of Culture, and the importance of establishing systematic processes for establishing role model Senior Leader Engagement. These processes include Listening to the Voice of the Customer, Engagement of the Workforce though goal-driven Performance Management, and Workforce Learning and Development systems.  


Engagement alone is not sufficient, and must be linked to the organization’s strategy and supported by a systematic approach for quality management. An effective organization must learn to be strategy driven, engaging both the workforce and customers served by the enterprise, and create alignment with work systems and processes though a senior leadership driven quality management system.


Senior Leadership Engagement

Leadership Engagement starts with serving as role models for the organization’s mission, vision and values. Leading organizations design Leadership Systems that translate Strategy into front-line accountable goals that are aligned with the workforce. Two-way communication systems are intentionally designed to communicate key decisions to the workforce and establish trust as the foundation for all relationships. An environment for success can be created with the cultivation of organizational learning, innovation, and intelligent risk taking. A focus on action and personal accountability helps set expectations for high performance and creating value for customers.


Voice of the Customer
With real time customer relationship management approaches emerging through the use of social media, senior leaders’ efforts in customer relationship management must go beyond merely listening to the voice of the customer through complaint management and service recovery, but learn to enhance engagement through customer input for new product and service development, as one example. Determining customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction with current or potential customers – is just the beginning.

Building and managing relationships requires a proactive approach to exceed expectations in each stage of the customer life cycle to increase engagement and leverage opportunity from competitors’ customers to build market share and enhance the brand image


Workforce Engagement

In many organizational the weak link to effective execution on strategy is the lack of workforce alignment to the achievement of goals to attain the desired quantitative results. Senior leader engagement beyond the human resource leader and department function is critical, as often time it is the senior leaders themselves who are not engaged or role-modeling the desired behaviors essential to creating a culture of excellence.

The workforce environment, employee benefits, policies, and job descriptions should be the “given” foundation. However, the highest performing organizations have defined their workforce engagement strategy through approaches that assess the drivers of engagement, to create a culture that empowers the workforce for innovation, intelligent risk taking, and rewards and recognizes high performance. A workforce Performance Management System supported by a Learning and Development System, reinforces new knowledge and skills, and aligns performance reviews with organizational goals.


Linking and Aligning Leadership Strategy with Workforce and Customers

What’s the secret sauce? With an overall effective organizational strategy deployed to the workforce to meet customer expectations, business effectiveness can be enhanced with deliberate and intentional measureable direction and progress. However, often dysfunctional Work Systems and Work Processes may impede the ability to provide the services that the Strategies and Engaged Workforce are attempting to provide.

The importance of a Quality Management System, as another linkage between Strategy and Workforce Engagement, will be expanded upon and explored more in our next month article.

For any questions about this article or further information, contact our Consultant Dennis at
Our services include comprehensive organizational assessments of leadership approaches and systems. We are available to guide your organization toward improved organizational effectiveness.


Aviation, Space and Defense Training


Is your company transitioning, or considering seeking certification to the AS9100D:2016 Aviation, Space and Defense Quality Management System Standard?

We are delivering our two-day AS9100D Process Based Internal Auditor Training on May 16-17th, 2017 at the Hyatt Place Phoenix/Chandler Fashion Center 3535 W. Chandler Boulevard, Chandler, AZ.  All students will receive a comprehensive workbook and a certificate of completion is awarded. Group discounts are available and lunch is included.

If not aware, all AS/EN/JISQ 9100 certification body audits will be to the new revision starting in June 2017 to ensure full implementation by September 2018. This new standard includes a variety of expanded requirements that internal auditors have never been required to review, and the need to ensure effective implementation and consistently meeting requirements.

For course description, registration and payment see our website.  Contact us with any questions.



We want to inform our readers that in our March Newsletter we advertised that The Arizona Technology Council (AZTC) was hosting the Sixth Annual Conference for Arizona’s Aerospace, Aviation, Defense and Manufacturing Community on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at ASU SkySong.  We were informed by the AZTC after distribution, that this conference has been postponed to the June 2017 timeframe. Upon notification of the new conference date, we will inform our readers of the details.



The Signs of Poor Risk Management

Risk based thinking (RBT) is one of the most profound changes to ISO management systems in recent years, but is certainly not a psychological term. It is a clearly-bounded methodological approach that distributes risk across the full scope of a management system as an integrated business function. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has this to say on RBT:
“Risk based thinking ensures these risks are identified, considered and controlled throughout the design and use of the quality management system”.
According to an article posted on the NQA website blog, the true purpose of RBT is more than just creating a systematic, precautionary approach. Instead, you should look at risk based thinking as a form of  organizational knowledge


In order for the organization to learn about new risk, it relies upon a program of internal audits and management reviews. Risks are therefore considered too infrequently to capture and control emergent threats.  Risks are also often managed centrally by a firm. Organizations commonly lack the insight, scope and flexibility to handle risks that occur at a grass-roots level. Decisions to prevent and mitigate risk can sometimes be delayed as employees do not have the capability to assess risk. Often this happens because employees do not feel empowered nor confident to take preventative and corrective action in the first place.

There are 5 common symptoms which could highlight to you that your approach to risk management could be improved: 

1.   Uncertainty – the organization struggles to collect the right, or enough information about its risks. Checks are too infrequent. The scope of information about the organizations risk is narrow.   
2.   Complexity – the organization is collecting enormous amounts of information about risk. Decision makers cannot interpret the information. Opportunities are overlooked. 
3.   Ambiguity – the organization is not able to formulate the correct questions in order to understand its risk. Additional information is useless because risk is not understood. 
4.   Equivocality – there are multiple interpretations of risk between individuals across the organization. Risk management is mutually exclusive or in conflict. A power struggle usually ensues between individuals with conflicting views and beliefs. 
5.   Silo Mentality (larger organizations) – different business units resist communicating information about risks across the organization. This typically leads to a condition of both uncertainty and equivocality. 


How to Fix the Problem? 
Choose the right risk management tools: Digitization, globalization, and competitive rivalry have changed the nature of business – almost beyond recognition in recent years. Risks are no longer linear, and many of the tools developed to provide risk management in the past decades may not work. The right management tools enable organizations to evaluate risk, to share this information internally, and to provide legitimate intelligence that may aid business development.


Understand the standards: You need to correctly interpret the terminology applied to ISO management systems. Risk is not always stated explicitly in each ISO standard. Terms like “suitable” and “appropriate” will often imply that you need to demonstrate a balanced approach towards risk based thinking. Fundamentally your approach must accept risk as a systemic property in a management system. You need to consider all of the functional aspects of your management system, and how effectively risks are identified and controlled in real-time.
Transition into a risk-intelligent business:  This can take a considerable length of time and experience. The value of implementing an ISO management system (in particular the new 2015 standards) is that it determines the focus for a Risk-Based approach. But it does not tell you which business tools to apply – this choice is yours.

We want to add that it is of critical importance that all Systems Managers, not only Quality Managers must not only understand risk, but also adopt a risk based approach to both thinking and internal auditing.  


Internal Audit Evidence Collection

According to the definition, an audit is a “process for obtaining audit evidence and evaluating it objectively to determine the extent to which the audit criteria are fulfilled”. That means that the competent auditor will prepare for the audit in order to know what kind of evidence he or she needs to look for, and will be able to seek out that evidence rather than requiring the auditee to “serve up the evidence”.

The competent auditor will take care of the following aspects during the audit planning:


a) Comprehend the auditee’s structure, business and management practices;
b) Understand the auditee’s processes;
c) Risk based thinking relevant to the industry sector or specific to the organization;
d) Pre-evaluation of statutory and regulatory requirements;
e) Consider the effect of the audit activities on the auditee’s processes;
f) Identify possible audit evidence to look for in the audit work documents;
g) Adequate time allocation.

During the audit process, it is the auditor who has to evaluate compliance or noncompliance based on the audit evidence collected. That means that if the auditor is not capable of finding evidence of conformity it should not necessarily be taken to infer that the auditee does not comply with the audit criteria.


During the audit, the auditor should always keep in mind the definition of “audit evidence” and the principle of an “evidence-based approach.
Objective evidence: as defined in ISO 9000, is “data supporting the existence or verity of something. Objective evidence can be obtained through observation, measurement, test, or by other means. Objective evidence for the purpose of audit generally consists of records, statements of fact or other information which are relevant to the audit criteria and verifiable.


Evidence-based approach: the rational method for reaching reliable and reproducible audit conclusions in a systematic audit process. Audit evidence should be verifiable. It will in general be based on samples of the information available since an audit is conducted during a finite period of time and with finite resources. An appropriate use of sampling should be applied, since this is closely related to the confidence that can be placed in the audit conclusions.


Auditors should be aware that objective evidence does not necessarily depend on the existence of documented information, except where specifically mentioned in ISO 9001. In other cases is up to the organization to determine what documented information is necessary in order to provide this objective evidence.




In the News
Management System for Educational Organizations    


While an educational organization can never guarantee the success of its learners, there are a number of ways that it can more effectively meet their needs and contribute to better learning outcomes.

ISO 21001, Educational organizations, – Management systems for educational organizations – Requirements with guidance for use, is a management system standard that is partially aligned with ISO 9001:2015 for quality management systems. It provides a common management tool for educational organizations aiming to improve their processes and address the needs and expectations of those who use their services.
The future standard will also help educational providers align their activities effectively with their mission and vision and offer more personalized learning, both of which benefit not only learners but, thanks to improved processes and a system in place for their improvement across time, educators, parents and other stakeholders who will also reap results from the more consistent outputs. For more information, visit the ISO Website.


Encouraging News:  Hiring Is Up

There’s encouraging news on the jobs front: Hiring has picked up. Gallup’s U.S. Job Creation Index represents the percentage of workers who say their employers are hiring new people minus the percentage who say their employers are letting people go. In 2012, the Job Creation Index averaged +18. For the first three quarters of 2016, it averaged +32.


And worker optimism is on the rise. Typically, when a relatively high number of employees voluntarily leave their job, this signals greater confidence among workers who believe they have more and better options. The number of Americans voluntarily leaving their job in August 2012 was 2.1 million. In December 2015, BLS data showed that the number of Americans who voluntarily left their job reached a post-recession high of nearly 3.1 million workers. In August 2016, the number still stood at 3 million workers.

For the most recent State of the American Workplace report, visit the Gallup Website.


Training Courses
All courses can be delivered at your company or at our training centers. We do provide training beyond our home state of Arizona. Click on the course title for description, schedule, registration and payment. Group discounts are available. We also provide custom designed training to fit your specific needs. All training is fully documented for your training records and certificates of training are awarded.
Don’t see a course or schedule that fits your needs?  Contact us.


Transition Start Murky At Your Company?  


Shouldn’t be.  Time is running out – Get started – We can assist you with the following and more…
1. Identify the gaps needing to be addressed with the new requirements.
2. Develop an effective implementation plan.
3. Provide appropriate training and awareness for all parties that have an impact on organizational effectiveness. 
4. Update your existing documented management system to meet the requirements and provide verification of effectiveness.
5. Conduct and document a complete system internal audit to ensure all internal requirements are being met, which includes the new standard requirements, customer, and any applicable business regulatory requirements.
6. Communicate with your CB for transition schedule and arrangements.      


Plan and Execute a Successful Transition Now! 

Walter Tighe and SES Team
Sustaining Edge Solutions, Inc.
Toll Free 888-572-9642


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