Three Critical Traits Needed on the Journey to ISO 9001:2015

ISO 9001:2015 ChangesIt is really happening. The new version of ISO 9001 is coming soon, and if you are registered you will have to invest time changing your quality management system to meet the new requirements.

To make matters worse, this is a huge revision. This time it’s more than just a new numbering scheme. Entire sections have been added, others removed, new terms from some other planet have been dreamed up, and what hasn’t changed has been moved around.

As if you weren’t busy enough. How are you going to get through this?

At Cavendish Scott, we’ve been studying the revisions as the various international committees have been considering, voting, and releasing drafts. We think the changes are good and will make things better. Really. We mean that. The new standard is going to increase focus on planning and acting to prevent problems. Done well, that means fewer fires and customer freak outs. At the end of the day, quality management personnel the world over will benefit from implementing the changes in the revised standard.

With the right approach and three important traits, you can make the transition. You can get the value and look good doing it as well. Consider this your pep talk.

Trait One – Patience

I’m not talking the passive kind of patience that helps you get through your daily commute. I’m talking the kind of patience that can help you step away from the urgent to focus on the important issues that make a big difference.
The coming changes are going to require new approaches and new ways of thinking. Yes, documentation will need to be rewritten. Yes, people you have worked with for years will question your consistency when you start speaking of new ideas such as, “interested parties,” and, “documented information.” Patience with yourself and those around you will get you through.

Show the patience of a clay pot. Go into the kiln, and patiently sit in the fire as it changes you into a stronger version of your former self. Your quality management system will reflect the strength you gained.

Trait Two – Commitment

Converting to the new version of ISO 9001 will not be a walk in the park, that’s for sure. You may have some false starts, and you may make some mistakes along the way. Committing to the changes and demonstrating persistence is going to be key to completing the journey.

Commitment is demonstrated only by those who are in the game, so get in early. Procrastinate and you will have no chance to practice commitment, persistence, or patience (see above). Start figuring out the new requirements now! Call your registrar, contact a consultant, use google and LinkedIn to research your new world.

Within your organization, you will need to be persistent working with top management and colleagues. The new version of the standard will ask more of them, using new ways of thinking. Just like it will take time for you to get up to speed, your colleagues may also struggle. Or they may try to live in denial and hope the changes just won’t happen. Either way, you will need to demonstrate commitment and get the attention needed to make the necessary changes. Now is not the time to meekly retreat in the face of resistance.

Trait Three – Expertise

Frodo had Gandalf. Luke had Yoda. Neo had Morpheus. You need expertise on this journey. The first thing you need to do is find that expertise.

Don’t sit around hoping the knowledge you need will land in your lap. Start your research now. Buy a copy of the standard (at whatever stage of draft is available) and read a little bit every day. Take the new terms, new ideas, and new approaches apart by carefully reading what is stated (and concentrate on what’s NOT said too). Keep in mind you will not only have to change your quality management system to address the new requirements, you will have to defend the changes you made to a registrar auditor who may also be struggling to apply the new requirements. This is no time to be the person in the room who knows the least about the standard.

The consequences of not developing the knowledge you need outweigh the time, effort, and money you will expend. Missing requirements will not only lead to a substandard quality management system, it could lead to audit nonconformities that will consume hours submitting corrective actions to your registrar, and if the findings are bad enough, may result in additional on-site audit days.  Misunderstanding requirements could cause you to do what’s required in a burdensome and inefficient manner, adding to bureaucracy and bogging everyone down doing something that doesn’t need to be done.

From this vantage point it may appear easier to ignore the inevitable and hope it will all work out at the last minute. We prefer succeeding by design over succeeding by luck, so we are working diligently to provide expertise and knowledge to ensure success.

As consultants, we’re passionate about knowing the standards inside and out, and applying them to every organization under the sun. It’s what we do. We stand ready to teach you what you need to know about these changes, and help you understand how to update your quality management system in an efficient and intelligent way. Yes, this may sound like a blatant sales pitch for our services. It may also be the best thing you can do for yourself and your company. You have a business to run. Give us a call and let us help you figure out how you can take care of your business while adjusting to the new reality of ISO 9001:2015.

Cavendish Scott, Inc. has been consulting, training and auditing in ISO 9001 and related standards for over 30 years.  We are always accurate and professional and generate meaningful management system solutions.  We guarantee successful certification in a non-bureaucratic, value added way.  We are excitedly preparing for the ISO 9001:2015 transition with training opportunities, consulting solutions and auditing/gap analysis/project planning packages.   For more information contact us at

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