A 15-minute cookery demonstration from Neven Maguire can teach you a lot of what you need to know about ISO 9001, Clause 5 Leadership!

I recently had the privilege of watching one of my favourite chefs give a cookery demonstration at ‘Taste of Dublin’. It struck me afterwards, that in that 15 minutes, Neven Maguire had managed to demonstrate leadership in a practical and visible way.

Clause 5 of ISO 9001 may feel a little obscure and difficult to demonstrate when it comes to an audit. However, if leadership is there, the results are evident – in this case a delicious plate of satay prawns followed by five spice chicken and finished off with a summer berry and Coole Swan Cheesecake to a newly wed couple– not bad for 15 mins!!

The leadership clause gives accountability to top management for the success of the quality management system, so here’s some tips you can take from that 15-minute demo….

Working with your supply chain

He not only understood the importance of good suppliers, but it was evident he had excellent working relationships with them, understanding their processes as well as his own. He talked about each producer as if they were a part of his own company, knowing their names, techniques and why their products were of exceptional quality. It was a partnership of mutual respect. Yes, this works both ways – as a producer to have Neven Maguire credit your produce is a great boost, but you can be sure because of this Neven will always get their best quality – it’s a win-win and shows how good supply chain relationships can benefit everyone and ultimately the final customer.

Questions for your organisation?

Do you know which of your suppliers are critical to the final quality of your product? Is there a good working relationship and sharing of knowledge (your requirements and their capabilities)? Do you understand your supplier’s quality system enough to give you confidence in consistent good quality of supply? What can you do that would make your supplier want to give you their best every time?

Supporting, Engaging, Directing

Clause 5 makes leadership responsible for engaging, directing, and supporting others, for providing resources, promoting improvement and ensuring results. We have all seen the chefs who shout, curse, throw pots to get the job done, but this is not the approach favoured by ISO 9001!! Throughout the demonstration, Neven repeatedly gave praise to his team, recognised their contribution and demonstrated a genuine respect. He automatically gave a thank you as his highly proficient team had everything to hand before he even asked like a well-oiled machine. I doubt he even noticed as he made slight adjustments, a quiet word of assistance, a minor correction so that the outcome was as intended.

Questions for your organisation?

So, in your company, are staff engaged, supported, continuously improving. If they make a mistake, what is the response? Is leadership engaged at staff level to see where the adjustments are needed. Is everything your staff need easily to hand?


Customer focus

There was a lucky couple seated at the table chosen to taste the outcome of the demonstration. Neven was constantly checking in with them ensuring they were ok and getting to know them. He would let them know what was coming, and what to expect. He made all the final checks to ensure that the product they received was 100% as intended and would delight them. After the first few mouthfuls he was checking in again to see if everything was ok, and to get their opinion on the final product. By the end of the demonstration, he understood what they loved the most, what they would have again and why they liked it.

Questions for your organisation?

At Top Management Level do you know what your customer expects, are they properly informed. What delights them and what do they want more of. Are you confident that the final checks and controls are in place to ensure the product is not released until it is to the standard expected.

In 15 minutes, Neven made it look seamless and in the end there was a happy customer, a happy supplier, happy staff and a happy boss. Now that is leadership !!