How Important is Executive Priority to Quality Management Maturity?
There is a misalignment between the value of Quality Management and Executive perception, but what does this mean to day-to-day Quality Management?
LNS Research’s survey data provides a constructive perspective. LNS Research tracks a number of elements in its long-running Quality Management survey – metrics, practices, trends, etc. As a part of its research, LNS tracks this question: “Is Quality a Top Executive Priority?” For the glass-half-full crowd, 38% answer in the affirmative; and for the Glass-half-empty crowd, that’s a pretty low number given the importance of Quality.
#1 factor: “Quality is a Top Executive Priority”
As it turns out, while there are many important elements to Quality Management Operational Excellence, Executive Priority is the single most important factor in Quality Maturity. How so?
We compared the Adoption Rates across 21 surveyed Best Practices across two camps: those that had Currently Implemented “Quality is a Top Executive Priority” and All Others. The analysis shows that Executive Priority drives substantial and universal increases in Adoption Rates across all practices, more than any other characteristic analyzed.
Compare the raw Adoption Rates in the table below. As an example, take “Formal risk management framework established.” In this case, 34% of those with Quality as a Top Executive Priority had adopted a Formal risk management framework, while only 13% of those without Quality as a Top Executive Priority had managed the same.
Secondly, we compared the results above to identify the increase in likelihood that a practice is adopted. The graph below shows that “Quality is a Top Executive Priority” has a sizable positive impact on every single Practice, resulting in an increase in likelihood of practice adoption anywhere from 234% to nearly 5 times more than All Others. None of the practices were negatively correlated, or had adoption rates comparable to All Others.
Although not shown below, EQMS is also 21% more likely to be deployed when Quality is a Top Executive Priority.
Finally, let’s look at the difference in Average Number of Best Practices Adopted by respondents. Those where Quality is a Top Executive Priority had nearly 3 times as many Best Practices Adopted, on average.
This set of data provides empirical evidence that Executive Priority has a large and universal correlation with higher levels of Operational Excellence in Quality Management. It also shows that the magnitude of that impact is substantial.
What’s does this mean to Quality Maturity?
It’s simple: Quality Leaders looking to become Market Leaders must gain Executive Priority and commitment. Executive Priority is pivotal to Operational Excellence because Executive Priority triples the average number of adopted Operational Excellence practices.
Executive Sponsorship and Priority is particularly important for Quality, in part because Market Leading Quality Management requires participation across all functions. Getting buy-in, adoption, and active engagement from all functions is a tough job when done bottom up. It takes years – decades – of effort and demonstrated success to pull this together.
Conversely, Executive Priority and commitment can make this nearly impossible task nearly impossible to resist. Averaged adoption rate of cross-functional practices is less than 10% of respondents without Executive Priority, but this adoption rate more than doubles and can increase by up to 5 times with Executive Priority.
Quality leadership’s top priority should be to make “Quality a Top Executive Priority.”
How to get Quality in the Boardroom?
How do you get executive priority if you don’t have it already? It’s not going to fall into your lap, and everyone wants it. You need a compelling event – a positive and controllable compelling event – to make this shift, which brings us back to the Executive Business Case. Over the coming weeks we’ll continue to look into the factors of the executive business case.
Join the webcast, on Thursday, June 16, 2016 @ 1:00 will provide senior leaders with best practices for building a business case around quality and the foundational framework needed to gain executive commitment.