1. Best Practice Report – Achieving High Levels of Employee Happiness

    February 20, 2017 by ahmed

    BPR_employee HappinessEvidence from decades of research has shown that improving happiness in the work­place delivers significant increases in profit, productivity, and innovation; it also leads to substantial cost savings.Happier workers are healthier, more effective team players, and provide better customer service. Happier businesses attract top talent, and are more likely to retain their best workers.

    This excellent report outlines the best practices research undertaken by BPIR.com in the area of employee happiness. The best practices have been compiled under seven main headings. This new layout is designed to enable you to scan subjects that are of interest to you and your organisation, quickly assess their importance, and download relevant information for further study or to share with your colleagues.
     

     

    Sub-Topics:

    1. What is “employee happiness”?
    2. Which organisations have received recognition for achieving high levels of employee happiness?
    3. How have organisations reached high levels of employee happiness?
    4. What research has been undertaken into employee happiness?
    5. What tools and methods are used to achieve employee happiness?
    6. How is employee happiness measured?
    7. What do business leaders say about performance happiness?

    For a limited time this report will be available for FREE via this link.

    Over 80 best practice reports are available to BPIR.com members so why not join? New best practice reports are added every one to two months.


  2. Gettging airborne: Cultural transformation in the Navy

    February 14, 2017 by ahmed

    getting airborne 01

    Originally posted on BTOES insights by Chris Seifert

    When Ernie Spence arrived as the new commanding officer for the Navy’s largest F-18 training squadron, he was met with disarray. Of the squadron’s 117 planes, most had fallen into disrepair – leaving just one plane safe to fly. As a result, the team responsible for training about 60 percent of Navy squadron pilots was more than a year and a half behind schedule.The maintenance and spare parts delivery schedules for the Navy aircraft had been planned back in the 90s. As American involvement in the Middle East began to ramp up a decade later, Navy missions required these planes in action far more than initially expected. The squadron quickly found itself going through its spare parts at a much faster rate than it had resourced for, forcing planes out of commission while awaiting components that never came. As time wore on, the squadron deferred regular maintenance on the idle aircraft, eventually even using them as sources of spare componentry for other planes in need of repairs. Soon, the amount of work it would take to bring any single plane back to service became far too daunting to take on.

    “While there were external pressures, the majority of the group’s issues were internal.”

    The way Ernie saw it, while there were certainly external factors that put the squadron in a difficult situation, the majority of the group’s issues were internal.

    “There are externalities that affect every organization,” Ernie says. “But does the leadership actually take stock and measure what the effects of those will be? Do they allow the cumulative effect to pile up to the point where they appear to be unmanageable? If so, what becomes the tipping point where they decide, ‘We have to start dealing with this issue?'”

    To remedy the mindset that made the squadron so vulnerable to change, Ernie set out to augment its culture.

    Implementing culture change in a complex environment

    The F -18 training squadron is the Navy’s largest, comprised of about 1,300 military personnel, contract partners and government civilian employees spread across multiple sites. Implementing deep and lasting cultural change is never easy, but it is made far more difficult in such a complex environment. To truly change the way the squadron approached its work, Ernie had to engage with people both as individuals and as a collective unit.

    “Every single individual in an organization has the ability to make a difference.” Ernie says. “But for the organization to truly be successful, every single person must contribute to making that difference.”

    “That was the fundamental difference in culture that the squadron was missing. It was the notion that of those 1,300 folks there, any one of them could have sent them on the path to making the squadron better and more capable of operating the way it should have been. But, in order to really get the results that were required, we had to get every single person on board and working toward the same collective goal, taking a very methodical approach to how we were doing business.”

    getting airborne 02
    Ernie’s squadron was responsible for training about 60 percent of Navy pilots.

    Seeking alignment through belief

    To align the group, Ernie’s first step was to decide what a culture of success would look like. What mission, vision and values did they have to embrace to better perform their jobs? Having defined these ideas, the next step was to figure out how to turn them into action. In Ernie’s squadron, this posed a particular challenge. Because military leadership is relatively transient, people who don’t agree with particular leaders’ strategies can simply wait them out, resisting change until the commanding officer is replaced. So, Ernie knew he could not be passive – he had to actively make sure every individual bought in to the new culture.

    What Ernie realized motivated most people was meaning. For the problem he witnessed wasn’t that people weren’t willing to work hard, but that they believed their jobs didn’t matter.

    “Once an organization starts to falter, it’s easy for folks to come to work and say, ‘It’s not important what I do today,'” Ernie says. “What I saw in that particular squadron is that a lot of folks were coming to work and they were working very hard, but they were working on things that were meaningful to them at a very individual level – they were not contributory and not focused or coordinated across the entire organization. You had a lot of folks that were doing a lot of things, but not working toward what the squadron existed for.”

    Before he could expect someone to get behind the culture, he had to demonstrate why the new mission was meaningful, then explain precisely how that person’s job would contribute to realizing the mission. Having inspired belief in the new culture, Ernie eliminated actions and processes that did not align with the squadron’s values or move it closer to its mission. In their stead, the leadership established a new set of fundamental expectations designed to guide future action toward the squadron’s mission.

    Cementing culture with constant communication

    To drive their importance home, Ernie made these expectations the focal point of every policy decision, newsletter publication, team meeting, performance review and hiring decision going forward. Every action the squadron took from then on was shaped by the culture it was striving toward.

    “Driven by a new organizational culture, Ernie’s squadron saw dramatic results.”

    After about six months of constant communication, every member of the squadron was able to repeat from memory the group’s mission and the expectations that guided their behavior. According to Ernie, this is when he truly began to see a shift in the squadron’s day-to-day productivity toward the goals they had set out to achieve. Rather than taking his foot off the gas when he smelled success, Ernie says the key to sustaining the new culture was working as hard to promote it after six months as they did on day one.

    Driven by a new organizational culture, Ernie’s squadron saw dramatic results. Within six months, it had managed to bring about 20 airplanes back into service. By the time a year went by, it had completely restored nearly 60 planes, returning about $3.5 billion worth of Navy aircraft to the skies. With a functional fleet back in the air, it took less than a year for the squadron to get on pace to complete its training schedule. Plus, the new operating models were more efficient, cutting maintenance costs by as much as 36 percent.


  3. Podcast: Benchmarking – An interview with Dr Robin Mann

    February 12, 2017 by ahmed

    benchmarking

    Listen to Dr Robin Mann, Head of the Centre of Organisational Excellence Research at Massey University, discussing one of the most powerful, yet greatly underused organisational improvement methods – best practice benchmarking. This was an interview by Michael Voss (CEO of Pyxis and MichaelVossNZ.com).

    Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.

    Topics covered were:

    • Tell us about what benchmarking is and why a business leader should pay attention to it?
    • Our listeners will know about benchmarks – and I am sure that many are comparing their performance measures with others in their industry, but will probably not have heard about best practice benchmarking. Can you briefly explain how these two are different?
    • I have noticed the term ‘best practice’ seems to have lost favour with many lately – everything today seems to be put forward as best practice. Do you think the term has lost its meaning?
    • There are many benchmarking processes on offer, what made you decide to develop the TRADE methodology?
    • I know that you have taken TRADE further than just Singapore where we used it to pilot the Jumpstart Benchmarking programme for the Civil Service College back in 2006. What impact has it made in Singapore and elsewhere?
    • What are the key things that a leader needs to know to run a successful benchmarking project in their organisation?
    • Tell us what made you set up the BPIR.com?
    • You have also set up the International Best Practice Competition. How does this work? And what types of organisations is it for?
    • There does not seem to be much appetite recently here in NZ for excellence or benchmarking other than in the local and central government sectors. Why do you think this is?

    For more information about TRADE and Best Practice Benchmarking go to COER.


  4. It’s not how much you practise, but how often

    by ahmed

    practise

    Like many people, I like to make resolutions at the start of new year. New Scientist reported that only 10% of the resolutions made in January will survive until December. In many instances, it is because new habits were not formed so we can make the necessary changes to our lives.Lots of my resolutions involve learning new things – a language, a new way that I want to behave, a craft I have always wanted to master. I am not alone in saying that I don’t achieve mastery for every resolution that I’ve made over the years, and it’s not without the best intentions.

    Psychologist, Ebbinghaus observed that once we learn something, without practice we soon forget.

    Did you know that 70% of what you learn is lost within 24 hours after learning without practice?

    In 2008 psychologists at Carnegie Mellon University discovered that if you test your knowledge regularly at carefully timed and ever expanding intervals, new knowledge will be retained. The good news is that there is an easy way to retain 70% of what you have learnt for the long term. ?

    information-remembered

    How do you do this? The research suggests that to learn new things, you need to be able to recall and regularly use what you have learnt.

    But what happens if you take a break and don’t use this knowledge often? Will you forget? How long have you got before you need to completely re-learn what you have lost?

    he Carnegie Mellon psychologists found that to retain 70% of what you have learnt you need to practice within 1 hour after receiving the information, and then again after 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, and then after 6 months.

    My advice is, when planning to learn anything new that you want to become competent in, answer the following questions first,

    • Will I need to use this knowledge within the next few months?
    • Do I have time to practice within 1 day following the learning?
    • Will I be able to practice, or apply this new knowledge 1 week, 1 month and 6 months following the learning?

    Unless you answered yes to all, you may be wasting effort and you should change your current plan.

    This article has been provided by Michael Voss, Owner of PYXIS & Associate Consultant of COER (Centre for Organisational Excellence Research, NZ)


  5. The ups and downs in an evolution of excellence

    February 8, 2017 by ahmed

    Lexus-9.13.16

    Originally posted on Blogrige by Dawn Marie Bailey

    According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, an evolution is a process of continuous change from a lower, simpler, or worse to a higher, more complex, or better state. Here’s a story of an organizational evolution that includes a recession, natural disasters, and growth-and the excellence that came out of it.

    At the upcoming, 29th Annual Quest for Excellence conference, Jamie Capehart, Performance Improvement Specialist at Baldrige Award recipient Park Place Lexus, will be sharing a story of how the car dealership used the Baldrige Excellence Framework to propel itself through a recession, the loss of product due to a natural disaster, complacency, and massive growth. The session will outline the ups and downs of the service organization’s evolution of excellence.

    Park Place Lexus, which sells and services new and pre-owned Lexus vehicles, and sells Lexus parts to the wholesale and retail markets at its two locations in Plano and Grapevine, Texas, began its journey to excellence in 1994, benchmarking business practices outside of the automobile industry, with the intent of emulating the best business practices staff could find and bringing innovation to the industry. Four years later, the company conducted its first internal assessment using the Baldrige Criteria (now part of the Baldrige framework) to identify areas for improvement. But a lot has happened since 1994.

    michaelainsworth@gmail.com

    Capehart said using Baldrige resources guided the organization to solidify its internal teams “to propel us into the future with sustainable processes and plans,” adding that the process has created a “Baldrige bond.” Park Place Lexus is even being honored this year with a best practice recognition for its focus on customers.

    “Since going through the Baldrige process, we have been able to break down walls and look at our business from a whole perspective versus a siloed perspective,” she said. “Our performance improvement teams have realized more success in one year than they had in the previous three years utilizing the knowledge gained through the framework, as well as through other [Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award] MBNQA recipients.”

    As a Baldrige Award recipient, Park Place Lexus, through Capehart, will be sharing other tips to help U.S. organizations improve and evolve. For example, Capehart suggests

    • Do a very honest gap analysis using the Baldrige framework and other available Baldrige assessments.
    • Thoroughly understand the Baldrige Criteria, attend state/national Baldrige conferences, network with recipients, and invest in a coach.
    • No matter how far from being “recipient worthy” you may feel along the way, follow the Baldrige process as far as it can take you. Then, do it again!

    Capehart said Park Place Lexus has continued to use Baldrige resources since its win in 2005. “Our industry/sector is highly competitive, and the [Baldrige] framework helped us think strategically through each category and facet of our business to uncover blind spots, including segmentation of our Clients/Members, the effective use of data, and understanding what true innovation and risk taking can do.”

    And such thinking has certainly contributed to its evolution of excellence.

    What could such an evolution look like for your organization?