Consider Organization A.
- Regular annual report, normally provided and available to stakeholders in May-June span, remains unavailable in August with no disclosure of a future publication or release.
- Since the publication of the previous annual report (June 2019), the organization has encountered
- - significant restructuring and
- - asset transfers,
- - change of participants in the executive roles.
If you were auditing or evaluating the management system for Organization A, what would be among your top concerns?
Your case is describing a failure of the governance function of the organization, not the management function. Governance should provide the oversight of the executive team to assure that the organization can sustain its purpose and deliver on value to owners (this is true for either privately-held organizations, or publicly-held organizations).
Your situation describes an ideal case to argue for the need of quality thinking in the governance of the organization at the level of board membership.
Marcos E. J. Bertin has been pushing for this since he delivered the first paper on the subject in 1997. There had been planned a "Quality Governance Cafe" at the WCQI. It was piloted with executives in Buenos Aires in May. There is an IAQ Think Tank that is working on this concern with the World Bank.
Clearly to me, the Board needs a better system of governance controls and establishing an operative quality policy for the entire organization that can be the foundation of its improvement-based DNA.
1. Policies and procedures are living documents that should grow and adapt to the organization, policy review and revision is a crucial part of an effective policy and procedure management plan. Outdated policies can leave the organization at risk. as old policies may fail to comply with new laws and regulations. They may not address new systems or technology, which can result in inconsistent practice.
If policies do not exist then it is time to start investigating why. In the current climate so many businesses are struggling it's not surprising that things are not being released as usual. I would want to look for patterns of not meeting requirements, stated or self-imposed. Clearly the organization is struggling with changeover and restructuring challenges and it would be a concern to an auditor evaluating the management system. It is not necessarily in peril though.
Your first comment seems a little "idealistic" as I know of no major corporation that requires the executive function to do anything! Most senior management teams scope the policies and procedures to apply to the "lower" extremities of the organization and not to themselves. This may be a convenient avoidance of responsibility; however, it is what they do. Perhaps an interesting, although a somewhat moral question, would be should organizations establish strict policies for the executive function? What would be thought of as an adequate penalty for non-compliance? Terminate the CEO? Who should conduct the audit? Surely not an ISO9000 auditor! Managing the governance function of the organization, especially in large organizations is the job of the Chairman and the Board of Directors. External financial auditors do their job under the oversight of the board and failure to comply with this direction can, indeed, get an executive terminated. I do not think I have ever met an ISO9000 auditor with the expertise to do these kinds of audits, or for that matter to work with the Board of Directors of a major company. While this might work with a small organization, when the auditor has significant experience, most large corporations do not perceive much value in the growing "auditing creep" that is being sponsored by ISO. I think that this could be a wrong signal for ISO to send to the business community - and that it has a tremendous risk of creating alternative "quality system audits" so that no longer is there a truly global standard.
Food for thought!
I think there are concerns and problems at the level of the governance's process and outcomes. It may be urgent to evaluate and tackle quickly major drawbacks to safeguard timely and effective future delivery. In the other hand, it is important to explain ASAP to all stakeholders aspects behind the report's delay and thank them for their patience.
If external reports of the business have not been released on time, then the company may be in violation of the law and subject to legal reprisals from either the commercial or tax authorities. A "Must-be" quality item for companies is compliance with the legal and regulatory constraints on their business. These organizations do not have patience, nor should they. Any organization entering into business must understand the essential ingredients that are absolutely required of their business model. Failure to understand and comply cannot be a matter of an apology and request for patience.- it is fundamental to the principles guiding the organization.
Of course some may say that apology and requesting patience apply to customer issues. However, my comment is that customers only retain patience for so long. They prefer the other "p" word - performance over promises.