Reviewing and maybe resetting your business objectives is an often overlooked compliance activity. By overlooking them you put your business at risk. External ISO Auditors, that I have spoken to recently, note that this is a common non-conformance.
This seems strange to me, as checking to see if you are meeting your objectives is one of your most important activities in your Management System.
Your objectives clearly demonstrate to your interested parties the direction your mangaement systems and your business will take over the next period (probably the next year).
Now is the time to perform that objective review.
With uncertainty swirling about the Covid-19 crisis, it's time to review what was normal and reset your objectives into a "new normal".
This blog comes from an ongoing series that originated from "26 Ideas for Working from Home for Compliance Professionals".
So how do you review and reset your objectives?
What Should You Consider
The activities that should be considered when reviewing and resetting your objectives are:
- Did we achieve last year’s objectives?
- New or reset objectives are best if they are data driven.
- When asked, you should be able to demonstrate progress against those objectives.
- You need to be able to demonstrate that Management are committed to them or at least discussing them in meetings/forums.
- They need to be known by employees and your interested parties
- You can’t just rewrite the law and call it an objective
- Your objectives should be "improvement focussed" and not lag driven
- Your objectives need to align to your mission/vision and to your policies.
What Information Should Drive Your Objectives?
So where do you find the information to help you identify your objectives:
- Customer Complaints
- Audit findings
- Product failures
- Production or services records
- Variance Reports
- Meeting minutes
- Staff suggestion
Collect and analyse those data points.
Determine what is impacting your business and look to set some objectives to improve the situation.
What Are the Do's and Don'ts When Setting Objectives
Looking at your failures is confronting. But that’s where the greatest value and return to the business can be found in them.
Avoid creating easy objectives. Setting easy to meet objectives allows you to "pat yourself on the back" when they are achieved. However, that’s just being lazy and anyone one can do that.
Often the objectives are very generic and are hence of low value. A reason for this is that it takes time to identify useful trends. But that’s what the Compliance person gets to paid to do, so there's no excuse for you to create a generic or average objective.
Don’t make the mistake of creating too many objectives. It's easy to drown the Management Team in them. I think having 3 to 5 objectives is a good fit.
It's a good idea to have some objectives in your "back pocket", so that when one objective is met and completed then it can be replaced with another. Therefore, when an objective is met then replace it. Don't waste time reporting on objectives that have been achieved.
The objectives should be a mixture of short, medium and long term objectives for the business to work on.
Finally once you have identified your objectives, publish them, embrace them and let your employees know what they are, so they can help you to achieve them.
Now is the perfect time to get going on this.
Go for it!