The Quality and Compliance Management Guide to Stranger Things
Over two fulfilling seasons we’ve traveled back to the 80s and along with the great music, big hair and nostalgia, we were given answers about the governmental experiments, supernatural forces and captivating updates on old and new characters’ lives.
Although Stranger Things is a science fiction/horror story, I feel there’s a lot that we can learn from this fictional world that can coincide with key factors that are critical to heavily-regulated Life Science professionals.
Following these lessons for quality and compliance management can be “easy peasy” just like Bob says.
Always, Always Document
Documentation ensures that information remains valid and unblemished. Having the ability to record data and then manage the creation, approval, distribution and archiving of all documents ensure an error-free process and avoids premature release.
A Document Control system ensures an enforceable audit trail by making it possible to see what happened at a particular time, what could have brought things to that point and initiate the help and understanding of who was involved.
Stranger Things has taught us to never believe all that we’re told. In fact, it taught us that it is important to always keep files. In season two, Joyce and Hopper urged Will to document his “now memories” so that they could better understand what was going on. This gave them the insight to build a trail and the ability to understand where Will would travel in his episodes.
If You Spot a New Species, Tell Someone
Nonconformance Management software is not only used to manage nonconformities within production, but also to manage the review and disposition of any materials that do not conform to normal specifications.
Like for example, say you think you’ve found an innocent pollywog and shortly after it proves it is anything but normal and it’s actually a run-away species from another dimension. It may benefit you to log its behavior with all relevant information and launch a risk assessment (especially after it kills your family’s cat) and create a plan with conditional routing options to alleviate complexities and grave risk—I’m looking at you, Dustin.
Train Your Team
Comprehensive training is a fundamental component of any organization. Ensuring that all employees are on the same page and know how to work towards quality, while achieving safety even in events that are unlikely to take place, helps you take ownership of risk.
Training your team to handle critical processes, is important. When Eleven runs away to find her mother and ends up learning about her sister 008, she teeters on the edge of Good vs. Evil. Her sister, Kali, teaches her how to harness her powers by channeling the things that make her most angry. Although Eleven decides that killing bad guys isn’t for her and heads back to her “party” in Hawkins, she was able to take that lesson and use it toward a different event. Harnessing her power through anger enabled her to close the gate and protect her loved ones.
Get Organization-Wide Buy-In
Buy-in across an entire organization is the most vital element of building a compliant culture. Individual engagement is important, but team cooperation is necessary.
Leadership and employee participation are two qualities that help create an authentic commitment to quality and compliance. Having multiple parties understand the goals of the culture makes it easier to adapt to threats.
In Stranger Things, Hopper was the first person to put his neck on the line to help Will and Joyce. From there, Bob Newby (super hero!) was able to tackle the technology behind the labs power switches and fight the demo-dogs!
In the beginning of season two, everyone was skeptical about the Upside Down, chiefly Max. She wanted nothing to do with the “party” after they excluded her, but in knowing that she wanted friends and “friends don’t lie” she began to trust them.
If it hadn’t been for Max running away, her brother would have never come looking for her and they wouldn’t have been able to get into the Upside Down by taking his car.
Joyce, Jonathon and Nancy were able to work together to sweat the “Mind Flayer” out. They had to knock Will out, tie him down and burn it out of him while trying to not give any leads as to where they were location-wise. When the phone rings and gives their hide-out away, they had to adapt and work together to save Will and the town of Hawkins.
Whatever requirements your industry is held to, tools like document control, nonconformance management, audit management and employee training can help build a compliant and progressive organization and hopefully you won’t have to go through the hassle the Stranger Things team did, come your next audit!