How to Promote a Philosophy of Continuous Quality Improvement

CQI for Certifying Boards

Certifying boards stake their reputations on an ability to verify that their people are up-to-date experts in a given field. Almost all certification organizations have demanding continuing education requirements in place to test that knowledge.

It makes sense then that the certifying board itself should make an equal commitment to staying ahead of the curve in its core competencies. This can be achieved through an organization-wide commitment to Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI).

What Is CQI?

Making products and services better is the goal for most businesses, whether that means increasing efficiency, increasing profitability, or enhancing the user experience. Many of these improvements are driven by quality assurance measures.

Typical quality assurance happens after the fact. A process is completed, or a product rolls off the assembly line, and a dedicated quality checker inspects the asset. CQI differs in that it demands a company examine every element at every stage of the process and undertake a never-ending systematic approach to fine-tuning the company’s output, and how they arrive at the desired goal.

So, now that we know what CQI is, how do you adopt and promote this philosophy in your organization?

The Blame Game

It’s hard for some people to receive critical feedback. One major benefit to adopting a Continuous Quality Improvement philosophy is that team members are encouraged to see the root of all obstacles as being systemic or process-oriented, rather than pointing out the faults of individuals. A CQI approach would look at an under-performing individual and say – that person is not properly supported by the systems in place.

This framing device is essential to getting all team members to adopt the CQI philosophy – it’s not about identifying problem people, it’s about identifying the problems affecting an organization’s people.

CQI: I See You

The following are your essential steps for implementing a philosophy and practice of CQI. 

  • Empower everyone. CQI only works if everyone in an organization is permitted to make a quality improvement suggestion at any given time.
  • Create an oversight team. A dedicated team needs to be established in order to ensure that identified areas for improvement can be translated into meaningful and timely action when appropriate. It’s ideal to have a leader for this team who is not part of management, so that other team members can feel free to make suggestions without fear of reprisal from their superiors. And, always remember, CQI is focused on fixing systems, not people.
  • Once areas for improvement have been identified, use statistics, analytical tools, and the scientific method to isolate and test variables before implementing the most effective solutions to your organization’s obstacles.
  • The carrot always outweighs the stick. The best way to encourage full buy-in on a philosophy of CQI is to reward the teams and individuals who make substantive improvements for the organization. “Reward” means something different to different people, but it’s important that contributors to excellence receive acknowledgement.

Embracing CQI as a fundamental organizational value will see individuals rewarded, and those rewards multiply for the certifying board as the whole organization benefits from a culture of increased accountability, the development of new collaborative habits, and an institutional nimbleness that comes from a willingness to make positive changes. Often, the solutions that you discover for an single problem will guide improvements in other areas as well.

A well-run CQI program makes heavy use of data and analytics to hone an organization’s workflow. ROC-P is the most efficient unified workflow management system available for certifying boards. ROC-P’s exhaustive set of analytical tools helps boards and staff make smart decisions about how to guide an organization. Contact the ROC-P team today to learn how your processes can become more exponentially more efficient and cost-effective in as few as four weeks.

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