A survey was done asking the question who is responsible for quality here. Most people answered everyone. and the survey included a line that said if you are not sure turn the paper over and there was a mirror. If we are all responsible why does it seem quality is declining?
What causes people to take less ownership and pride in what they do? We hear it all the time; the management doesn’t care or appreciate what they do. They are only a “number” and can easily be replaced. Fortunately this is not an opinion shared by all. Working with my clients, we discuss the impact of outsourcing some departments. We ask how it will affect our customer, our other departments, our image. Who will assure that the performance maintains the high level of competency? Usually, the jobs that are outsourced like website design and social media are easy to monitor.
Calling customer service is like embarking on an odyssey—except you’re navigating an endless loop of hold music and automated responses. Need assistance? Press 1. Want to scream into the void? Press any other button. Your call is very important to us, your wait time is 3 days, our staff is busy helping everyone else but you I could go on. Cheers to poor quality control, making us appreciate human interaction and elevating our patience to Everest-like heights! How many customers left you due to poor quality service, which asks what is truly the cost?
Like my clients and many companies you may use there is an answer to improving quality; Implementing a culture of allowing all employees to make quality decisions. While the degree to which this is practiced varies, there are a few companies known for giving their employees more decision-making authority. Forbes created a list of the top 10 that give employees tools to fix problems. Although not on that list Saturn car company empowered its factory workers to stop the assembly line if they saw an issue. it saved millions. they no longer exist for other reasons.
Netflix is not on that list either but it is here.
- Netflix: Netflix has a unique approach to decision-making, emphasizing individual responsibility and freedom. The company values a culture of open feedback and expects employees to make decisions based on the company’s values rather than seeking approval from higher-ups. This approach has been credited with fostering a creative and agile environment, enabling quick responses to market changes. Netflix employees operate in an environment of “no rules,” characterized by a high degree of employee freedom and responsibility. In terms of freedom, employees make strategic decisions “in Netflix’s best interests” without managerial oversight, do not need to seek pre-approvals for reimbursements, and can take unlimited vacation, which is not tracked. There are high levels of responsibility, in which all employees are charged with “question[ing] actions [of others] inconsistent with our values.”
- Zappos: The online shoe and clothing retailer Zappos has embraced a concept known as Holacracy, which replaces traditional hierarchical management structures with self-organizing teams. This approach encourages employees to take ownership of their roles and make decisions collectively. While Zappos’ adoption of Holacracy has evolved over the years, it highlights the potential for distributed decision-making.
- W.L. Gore & Associates: This materials science company is known for its flat organizational structure and commitment to fostering an environment of trust and collaboration. Employees at Gore are encouraged to pursue their passions and are given the freedom to create their own project teams. The company’s unique lattice structure promotes communication and cooperation across different functions.
- Buurtzorg: A Dutch home healthcare organization, Buurtzorg, empowers nurses to make decisions about patient care and management. The company’s decentralized structure has led to increased job satisfaction among nurses and improved patient outcomes. Buurtzorg’s approach emphasizes local autonomy and collaboration among team members.