Please permit me to publicly give my heartfelt congratulations to the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) for receiving the Public Service Award of Excellence at the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (GCCI) Annual Dinner and Awards ceremony. The event, which was held at the Pegasus last Friday evening, was to give “due recognition to worthy businesses, which can be used as role models for the progress and development of people, country, the business sector” and communities.
As most may know, the challenges in dealing with government agencies are many. The encounters often cover the spectrum of emotions and beg for accurate and timely dispositions along with some kind of an effective management system, such as the ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System, to reduce venalities and other concerns, provide greater accountability and achieve consistency in performance.
Concerns about working effectiveness in government agencies and the need for improvement in their functions were addressed by President Donald Ramotar, the Guest Speaker for the event, when he presented his very candid unity-based vision for Guyana.
In his remarks, the President made clear his intention to align businesses and citizens in general with government priorities through a learning-centred approach to both quality-based competitiveness and the LCDS objectives. The President also spoke about:
* accelerating changes needed for rapid economic development:
* promoting operational standards that will raise the level of efficiency in government agencies: and
* committing to the completion of the hydro-electric power station which is considered critical to economic expansion and the advancement of the people of Guyana.
GGMC’s Public Service of Excellence Award captured the possibilities for government agencies. Their approach to success via consistent leadership and changes to the business culture should be considered exemplary.
In his book Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun, Wes Roberts said, “Leadership is the privilege to have the responsibility to direct the actions of others in carrying out the purposes of the organization, at various levels of authority and with accountability for both successful and failed endeavours.”
Success at the GGMC was the result of effective leadership that aligned, motivated, and inspired staff to embrace new thinking and culture changes based on the application of Lean principles, Six Sigma concepts, and the Core Values and Concepts of the American Society for Quality’s Malcolm Baldrige National Award programme. The leadership team, headed by Commissioner (rtd) William Woolford, had the unequivocal support of Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, the former Minister of Mines and the GGMC’s Board of Directors.
The Commissioner’s visionary leadership, steadfast focus on managing both efforts and resources; his timely interventions; his intellect, good spirits, and his adamantine commitment to the ISO 9001:2008 certification process kept the entire team on task. The results were higher levels of customer satisfaction, significant reductions in lead times for key processes and the achievement of the coveted ISO 9001:2008 certification. These accomplishments have gone a long way in assuaging most of the aforementioned concerns.
Effective leadership and a commitment to success also existed in the ISO implementation team led by Commissioner (ag,) Livan. The Commissioner brought a perspective which efficiently and succinctly defined the “as-is” state, consequently enhancing the quality of the ISO documentation. In the two months prior to the SGS audit, she led the team through many twelve-hour days and a few Saturdays and Sundays in the final push for ISO 9001 certification.
Then there were those committed few who gave a lot of themselves and spent a considerable amount of time away from their families to ensure a successful outcome, like the veritable Mr Scotland, who was one of the most dependable and reliable team members. He quickly and quietly dispatched assigned action items and found it easy to take on more than his fair share of responsibilities.
Strong support also came from Mr Arthur Gibbs, Ms Adele Butts, Ms Thandi Seaforth, and Mr Donald Singh. They collectively defined the spectrum of documentation needs and made possible the enthusiastic buy-in of the ISO 9001:2008 principles by those affecting the targeted processes – a critical component of any successful implementation process.
As was stated earlier, the journey to enhanced process efficiencies and ISO 9001:2008 certification involved new thinking and culture changes. The LCDS focus and the demand for transparency added another dimension to the change process that led to the use of the ISO 26000 guidance document on social responsibility. ISO 26000 then became the umbrella document used to ensure accountability by GGMC for social, economic and environmental issues.
For those not familiar with the ISO 26000 standard, ISO 26000 defines social responsibility as the “responsibility of an organization for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment, through transparent and ethical behavior that:
• contributes to sustainable development, including health and the welfare of society;
• takes into account the expectations of stakeholders;
• is in compliance with applicable law and consistent with international norms of behaviour; and
• is integrated throughout the organization and practised in its relationships.
The journey through the GGMC’s business culture change process has hopefully changed forever the staff‘s understanding of their roles in meeting the expectations of their customers.
It must be noted that the many processes at the GGMC, though not perfect, continue to experience improvements in quality while the leadership team continues to spearhead the push for business improvement in order to meet the strategic needs of the commission.
The approach the team used to manage the many demands on their time and the strategies used to overcome the ever present resistance-to-change phenomenon, will be outlined in an article to follow.
Once again, congratulations to Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, the GGMC Board of Directors, Commissioner (retired) William Woolford, Commissioner (acting) Karen Livan and all of GGMC’s staff for achieving GCCI’s Public Service of Excellence Award.
Lean Six Sigma & ISO Quality
Management Systems Consultant