You have heard of March Madness? Fantasy Football, perhaps? Well, I have a new one for you – Fantasy Management. Every now and again, I get to be the “pesky auditor,” out there in the trenches, serving clients with scrutiny and smiles. At a recent client surveillance audit (now this client has always been a curve distorter: engaged top management, executive staff and production workers, excellent processes, good adherence to said processes; actually living the system! So the rest of the story should not surprise you, but I nearly flipped!), I discovered that the visionary quality manager had engaged one of his top inspectors into the internal auditor team. The manager also created a process-based internal audit schedule that actually included customer focus / satisfaction as a process to be audited.
So, when the seasoned inspector was auditing top management, she called them on commitments that had been made in management review two years prior that had yet to be adequately completed. She even rejected top management’s first response as inadequate! Naturally, we may all sit here in awe of the quality manager who envisioned this audit, and certainly of the auditing inspector who declared her worth, but my pick is the top management official who not only expects deep scrutiny in the company internal audits, but permits it of himself! Fantasy management – we have all longed for it somewhere in our careers! I promised him that I would not use his name for fear of his safety when other managers hear of this! Nevertheless, it was great to find this terrific organizational maturity with ISO 9001 among our family of companies!
PS: the auditor also gave him an opportunity for improvement. Consider: in addition to a satisfaction survey of the top 20 customers, also surveying brand-new customers who represent potentially large accounts! We should all have such perceptive auditors!