Quality Progress - May 2014 - 54

STANDARDS OUTLOOK BY LES SCHNOLL Consulting Quandaries 10 challenges and ways to overcome them FOR THOSE OF you who provide profes- people and know when to push and when a consultant's standpoint. Assuming the sional consulting services, you attempt to to pull back-and it's not a simple thing to regulatory filing system is robust, when provide your clients with the same level of do. While I will draw the line at unethical the eighth highest priority (which was advice you would to employers. You also or illegal behavior, I also want to remain No. 1 two weeks ago) is again shifted up, try to follow the principle that "the client in business, so I've learned to deal with restarting the activity is simple. is always right" (barring something unethi- occasional idiosyncratic behaviors-thus, cal or illegal). the consultant's quandary. While consultants want to run a profitable business, most don't want their clients to spend money without a tangible For the most part, your recommendations and efforts are gladly accepted, and Challenges and lessons return. I periodically remind clients that you continue to coach your clients on best My list of the top 10 challenges consul- have a difficult time setting priorities that practices, industry expectations and regula- tants face, in no particular order, includes: I don't want them to waste their money- 1. Constantly changing priorities. especially because they have to pay me for tory and standards compliance. Your primary contacts are usually knowledgeable Whether it's a start-up or a well-estab- work that I perform for them regardless. and keep the pressure on for you to provide lished business, many organizations just This approach allows me to guide their those deliverables on a timely basis. can't determine their priorities. Today, prioritization and help them develop a Inevitably, though, you will come the priority may be bringing product A to strategy that best fits their corporate goals across clients that have no sense of market and obtaining regulatory approv- and objectives. urgency, and it will become your respon- als, and two days later, product A becomes sibility to encourage them to allow you a nonstarter, and product B is in the fore- client's short term and long-term objec- to meet your contractual obligations by front. One week later, product A is back tives. compelling their organizations to show front and center. Or, last month, a key some signs of life. initiative was process validation; now, that Most people love their pets, and some take project is changed to updating standard that affection to extremes. If an organi- operating procedures. zation is manufacturing nuts and bolts, As a consultant, you sometimes must walk the fine line of being (appropriately) assertive and going too far, thus alienating your difficult clients. I've learned to read Lesson: Thoroughly understand your 2. Having four-legged employees. While this constant shifting can be bringing a pet into work may not be an annoying, it shouldn't be a big deal from issue. If your business is one that manufactures aerospace products, food, drugs or medical devices, however, it is not a good idea to allow Fido to roam through the manufacturing area, or to let Kitty Cat climb atop an open blending tank and leap across it onto a filling line. Aside from the potential health risks and product adulteration, you never know when a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigator will pay you a visit. Pet sounds emanating from a packaging area will get the investigator's attention and will 100% of the time result in a regulatory violation being issued to the organization. To the FDA or the U.S. Department of Agriculture, finding a pet 54 QP * www.qualityprogress.com http://www.qualityprogress.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Quality Progress - May 2014

Up Front
LogOn
Expert Answers
Keeping Current
Mr. Pareto Head
Catching Fire
Making the Rounds
Plan of Attack
Virtual Voices
Innovation Imperative
Measure for Measure
Quality in the First Person
Career Corner
Standards Outlook
QP Toolbox
QP Reviews
One Good Idea

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