Do Not Fear Change

Walter image

Name: Walter Zawadzkas

Role: Sr. Manager Quality Systems

Location: Cleveland, OH

Time with Philips: 2+ months

Former Employer: Medtronic


Do not fear change. I believe most Quality professionals agree with this statement. Change is something that’s inherently part of the medical device industry. We focus so much time and energy on continuous improvement that compared with other professions we are better prepared to be change agents. For Philips, change means opportunity.


But when I walked into my new job in Cleveland I could not have anticipated the scope of change I was about to become a part of. I have 15+ years’ of experience working in Quality and Regulatory for other healthcare technology organizations like Medtronic and Covidien, but I’ve truly never seen anything like what I’m seeing here. So far this has been an eye-opening experience I felt compelled to share, so here are my top 3 observations as a new Philips employee working in Quality and Regulatory:


1. Leadership investment in Quality is unprecedented. This is a quote from our CEO, Franz Van Houten I received in an internal communication, “We remain focused on wide-ranging efforts to further improve our quality management systems. I cannot emphasize enough how the responsibility to deliver outstanding quality to our customers lies with each and every one of us. Quality must be viewed as an intrinsic commitment in every action we take -- and every product and service we deliver.”


From what I’ve experienced this is not lip-service from a high-ranking executive. There is a global commitment to make Philips Q&R the industry standard and that starts by investing in our people. For example, there is an intensive multi-phased training program underway called QUEST (Quality Understanding for Empowerment Sustainability and Transformation). Through this program we are all developing new skills and behaviors conducive to success in our field, such as collaboration, interpersonal and communication skills, escalation and conflict resolution tools. We’re also gaining a deeper understanding of Lean, QMS System, QSR Regulations, and Post-Market Surveillance. All of it is designed to help improve our skills and transform Philips to a more open culture of quality and compliance.


2. Major transformation means significant career opportunity. Coming in during a major change and having the ability to see it through from start to finish is an tremendous opportunity for professional growth in Quality. Quality Systems Management at Philips was an opportunity I found very attractive to enhance my own career as well as contributing to such a dynamic team. The pressure for us to succeed is always there, but so is the support. We’re hiring incredibly skilled people to help drive this change. I’ve noticed that everyone’s skillsets are developing even further, because the pressure is organically making us all better and more knowledgeable.



3. Greater exposure to different areas of our business. The ability to network internally at Philips is such an important factor in my work. I am collaborating with several different departments beyond Q&R, including Software Engineers, R&D, and Operations. I’m getting a much broader view of the business compared to past companies I’ve worked with, which is important to Quality professionals no matter what your experience level might be. In the end working with multifunctional teams make you better at your job and as a Philips Q&R team member.


If you’d like to learn more from Walter about the work he is doing in Quality with Philips, he can be contacted via LinkedIn.

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