Quality Improvement in 7 steps

Quality Improvement (QI) in Charity improvement must be done at a core process level. It is the  essential re-thinking and radical redesign of business techniques to achieve advances in critical methods of performance, such as cost, service and method of delivery. It seems like a lot and that there may be as many steps to it as there are Dalmatians, but it’s not really the case.

Its also not ‘fixing things’, does not involve anything vague and should not result in platitudes. Its about change.

It’s important to understand the principles behind Quality Improvement (QI) especially in the core processes of your Charity.  I hope we can offer a useful construct for leaders who wish to understand the systems behind a successful cycle.


  1. Identify the process or procedure for quality improvement change,
  2. Ensure your leader or team are happy to embrace change and understand the ,
  3. EVERYONE must understand at the beginning that the costs will outweigh the benefits. This means in a an environment with a low risk appetite it may very challenging and resistance to change may be embedded. People may say things like you are changing too many things…quality improvement means change.

 7  justifications for Quality Improvement change

  • Any justification for improvement summarises what’s happening to the business enterprise or industry, what’s changing and what current priorities are.
  • The justification must highlight the business problem that is a cause for concern and signalling change (the problem)
  • There must be audit and analysis to demonstrate why the business has not improved already to meet business need. (why hasn’t it already been sorted)
  • There must be specified results from the QI, so you have a measurable (proof of need)
  • What cost will inaction bring – the results of not changing must be made clear (what are the costs of inaction)
  • Key performance indicators (for success) are identified, along with clarity around those areas being directly changed and those not changing at all. (KPIs are set)
  • Communication is all, so those supportive of the change must be identified and along with your or a specialist QI leader be encouraged to support the change as a change for the better.


We recognise in the QI and cycle by these 4 ideals

  1. It’s all about the process, and the process may take you across organisational boundaries, or task boundaries.
  2. It really is ambitious: minor advancements aren’t enough; QI And  core expects ‘big hairy audacious goals’ (BHAG – S.Sinek 2014)
  3. It breaks the guidelines: assumptions of field of expertise, collection and timing are intentionally ignored.
  4. It is really is creative:especially in the removal of bottlenecks and the use of IT and digital strategy.

It may upset the apple cart. You will have to manage the change.

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Improved processes have these  15 characteristics:

7 Characteristics of Quality Improvement for:  The Employee

  • Employees make decisions, reducing an audit and administration layer
  • Processes must be flexible and versatile
  • Each process must have multiple options, with a system in place to choose which option fits the circumstance.
  • Work is conducted where it creates the most sense,to be able to get rid of hand-offs and spend less in both time and money
  • There is a single contact point for any case, project, or client
  • Employees must be aware client satisfaction is as import as provision.


7 Characteristics  of Quality Improvement for:  The Job

  • Jobs get rolled into one.
  • Jobs become multidimensional and are prepared by education rather than training (long-term inputs not short-term)
  • Roles are not managed but empowered
  • Performance becomes results driven and measurable,
  • Rewards, can be in income, promotion or recognition, not just one.
  • We pay for performance, promote for ability. and understand the difference between performance and ability.
  • Core Values and behaviours are as important as competencies.

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7 Characteristics of Quality Improvement for : The Manager

  • There is an increase in service management.
  • Introduce fun
  • Manage rather than supervise
  • Coach rather than control.
  • Managers must be motivators
  • The management structure will flatten
  • Executives need to lead




The next steps are where you look for the opportunities to improve in part 2 and then in part 3 how to get quality improvement wrong.

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