5 Keys to Quality Management

What is Quality Management (QM)?  Quality Management can be defined as pursuit for customer satisfaction through continuous improvement of all organizational processes.

© 2014 Jason Taellious. Creative Commons. Click here for full citation (#19).

© 2014 Jason Taellious. Creative Commons. Click here for full citation (#19).

Wow!  What a mouthful!  But what does it really mean?  And does it really apply to a Christian school?  If yes, how are we as leaders giving attention to QM?

As I was recently reading Robbins (2005) Essentials of Organizational Behavior, it became very clear to me that QM is a very apropos discussion for Christian school leadership.  So guiding our look at QM will be 5 Keys to Quality Management.

1.  Intense focus for the customer–while often the foundational documents–mission statement, vision statement, goals,–miss the obvious, a Christian school is a service organization.  Our customer is the parents and families or extended families that we serve.  In our quest to serve, sometimes we lose focus of the fact that we serve customers.  The students that fill our classrooms are an extension of families–customers–and we must focus intensely on those that we are serving.

2.  Concern for continual improvement–QM is a commitment to never be satisfied with good or even very good.  As servants of Christ we should strive for EXCELLENCE.  Collins(2001) in Good to Great reminded us that “Good is the enemy of great.”  We must resist the human tendency to become satisfied with good, with being a little better than our “competitor.”  Our goal is to be Great–not for our glory–but for the glory of our Lord.

3.  Quality improvement in every aspect of ministry–we must continually seek to improvement all aspects of our schools.  While we often hyperfocus on one aspect of our school ministry, this key is a clarion call for balanced attention for quality improvement.  A school is not a state-of-the-art building; however, our buildings should be attractive, appropriately appointed, and academically conducive.  Academics are paramount in a school’s focus; but other areas also need a makeover–i.e. chapel program, fine arts training, biblical worldview training, etc.  Solomon’s admonition fits here–A false balance is an abomination to the Lord–all areas of the school need quality improvement.

4.  Accurate measurement–Here’s a stunner!  A first glance we might think of a school’s grading program, and that can be a part of this key point.  But it is much more.  How accurately are we measuring achievement, biblical worldview, parental satisfaction with our school or some aspect of our school, teacher satisfaction with their ministry workplace, etc.  And the list goes on and on.  As leaders, we must constantly seek to improve the accuracy of our measurements.  We will not improve the quality of our school until we get accurate information on which to base improvement initiatives.

5.  Empowerment of employees–This is more than a cursory recognition that in most schools teachers teach and leaders lead.  Many schools have neatly compartmentalized expectations for each employee and for each administrative person.  Often there is a “no man’s land” in between.  QM is built on the concept that school leaders should work with teachers to create shared vision and team learning.  While abolition of an effective command chain leads to chaos, QM sees the need to change the stilted and ineffective structure often found in Christian schools.

So, will you dare to break out of the status quo and pursue QM?  The five keys offered by Robbins will serve as a great jumping off point.  May the venture prove meaningful and beneficial for you and your school.

Where will you start?  Which one of the above “keys” will be your first step to QM?  

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Edward is the founder and managing editor of Focus on Christian Education. He also serves as the Executive Director of the South Carolina Association of Christian Schools.