1. An exploration of innovation: An organization’s only insurance against irrelevance

    March 17, 2017 by ahmed

     

    Originally posted on Blogrige by Dawn Marie Bailey

    Prepare for an inspiring journey is the message for audience members of the upcoming 29th Annual Quest for Excellence Conference, as they listen to keynote presenter Polly LaBarre, co-founder and director of Management Lab (MLab) and co-founder of MIX (Management Innovation eXchange).Addressing some probing questions-such as “How do you create a DNA-deep, sustaining capacity for innovation?” “What does it mean to be a leader in a creative, connected, disruptive world?” and “How do you create organizations that unleash rather than squash human potential?”-LaBarre will reveal practical, high-impact ways to innovate, adapt, and succeed, redefining how leadership, change, innovation, collaboration, employee engagement, organizational culture, accountability, and disruptive strategy are done.

    Through a virtual interview, I asked some of my own questions of LaBarre, who is also co-author of Mavericks at Work and founding member of Fast Company.

    Your website says you have a passion for “framing the big questions that will rule the future of business.” Can you provide some of those questions?

    The first big question is How do you create a DNA-deep, sustaining capacity for innovation?

    You’d be hard pressed to meet a CEO or a leader today who doesn’t put innovation at the top of the agenda. And yet, how many organizations have devoted the energy and resources it takes to systematically build innovation into the values, processes, and practices that rule everyday activity and behavior? Not many. According to a recent McKinsey & Co. study, just 6 percent of leaders are satisfied with their company’s innovation performance. What gives?

    That disconnect isn’t due to lack of human ingenuity or resources. It’s a product of organizational DNA. Productivity, predictability, and alignment are embedded in the marrow of our management systems. Experimentation, risk-taking, and variety are the enemy of the efficiency machine that is the “modern” corporation. Of course, it’s variety (and the daring to be different) that produces game-changing innovation. If you want to develop a sustaining capacity for innovation, think about how do we make our management systems and practices enablers and catalysts of innovation (rather than impediments to it)? Put another way, how do we plan and prioritize, define roles and structures, allocate resources, measure and evaluate, equip and reward people, and develop new products to support innovation?

    For instance, you might ask yourself:

    • How might we create more slack and support for the pursuit of new things?
    • Could we re-think how we design work to cultivate more entrepreneurial energy?
    • What could we change in the way we evaluate leaders to cultivate more experimentation?
    • Could we open up our product development process to involve more stakeholders?
    • What market-based approach could we imagine to evaluate and fund new ideas?

    The answer to every one of those questions is what I call a “management hack”—an alternative to conventional management practice designed to uproot bureaucracy and cultivate innovation and adaptability.

    A second big question for the future: What does it mean to be a leader in a creative, connected, disruptive world?

    We live in a world where leadership, power, and influence are less about “where you sit” and more about “what you can do.” The most compelling leaders understand that authority is not bestowed by a title but is rather a currency you earn (and must keep earning) from your peers. The most effective individuals are constantly striving to maximize their ratio of accomplishment over authority.

    In that context, what is the work of leadership today? How do you conduct yourself as a leader day in and day out to keep yourself and your team moving with the times? A short course in 21st century leadership would probe the following:

    • Are you learning as fast as the world is changing? The imperative today is to remain open and hungry when it comes to discovering and experimenting with new ideas and new methods—to cultivate a first-person experience with the future.
    • Do you ask more questions than you give answers? This is a good one for anyone in a position of authority—parents and leaders alike. Questions offer up a powerful advantage in a world of expanding complexity and intense change—they help you attract more possibilities, surface more perspectives, and enlist more support to your cause. It’s not easy to get in the habit of asking questions in a world that values knowledge and mastery. If you’re having trouble, take your lead from a toddler and start asking: Why? Why not? What if?
    • Are you unreasonable enough? Turns out that all change is against the rules. Creativity is fundamentally subversive in nature. It’s the leader’s job to develop a contrarian point of view, invite dissent, and take an activist role in questioning and devising alternatives to the status quo. The most productive rebels aren’t out to make trouble—but to make genuine progress in the world.

    A third big question: How do you create organizations that unleash rather than squash human potential?

    One of the most important question for any leader today is How do we create a work environment that inspires exceptional contribution and merits an outpouring of passion, imagination, and initiative? It doesn’t matter if you are part of a giant, global company or a local chapter of a nonprofit, the most important leverage you can get when it comes to building a vibrant and sustainable organization is the human edge. What are you doing to unleash each person’s human gifts—creativity, zeal, resourcefulness?

    The most effective and inspiring leaders today understand that there is no tradeoff between creativity and discipline, between inventing the future and “turning the crank.” Instead, they are relentlessly clever when it comes to creating mechanisms for individuals to express themselves, to contribute, and to hold each other accountable at the same time.

    A final big question to consider: Are you different enough to make a difference?

    More than ever, the value you create is a function of the values you assert as an organization. Organizations animated by a deeply felt and widely shared sense of purpose are breeding grounds for passion—the ultimate multiplier of human effort.

    At a time when customers are contending with a seemingly limitless universe of urgent and compelling alternatives and demands on their time, how do you stand out? This isn’t an exercise in branding so much as a process of excavating, sharpening, and sharing a powerful sense of purpose. What do you stand for? What are you against? How do you draw that line in the sand? How do you keep sharpening the set of ideas in every interaction with your people and your customers?

    Two helpful questions to keep asking yourselves as leaders and as a larger team: What ideas are you fighting for? And, are you really who you say you are?

    Why is the focus on innovation so important to a business? Is that importance still true for a nonprofit, a health care organization, a school?

    Innovation is the only insurance against irrelevance in a world of unrelenting change. It’s the only antidote to the margin-crushing impact of global competition. It’s the only defense against younger, hungrier industry insurgents. It’s the only guarantee of continued customer loyalty.

    And it’s just as crucial for nonprofits, health care organizations, and even schools. Why? Every organization and every leader today is contending with a rapidly changing reality—wave after wave of disruptive technology, increasing interdependence of our institutions, social and environmental challenges, and the escalating demands of a variety of stakeholders. Organizations operate within the toughest constraints, and most need to tap into the full potential of their people to build a sustaining capacity to innovate and adapt. One of the most cost-effective, risk-bound, and fast ways to start to build your innovation muscles is to experiment with experimentation. How many options can you generate, quickly test, and iterate on? How many people can you involve across the organization in creating its future?


  2. Which is most popular – Baldrige, EFQM or Deming?

    March 8, 2017 by ahmed

    baldrige-efqm-deming-award

    I am often asked which business excellence framework is more popular – the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence or the EFQM Excellence Model. I answer this question by saying that more countries use the EFQM Excellence Model primarily because there are so many countries in Europe. COER’s research in 2015 showed that 61 countries have a national business excellence award with the EFQM model being used most often. However, the countries that use the Baldrige framework tend to be larger such as the United States and China so perhaps the number of users of this framework are greater?To explore this question and for a bit of fun I used Google Trends. There were various searches I could do as the names of these awards/frameworks can vary and would have an impact on the search results. The ones I chose to search on first of all were the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, EFQM Excellence Model (I thought this term was best to search for as most countries promote the model and their national award rather than the EFQM Excellence Award) and the Deming Prize (it was interesting to add this to the mix as the Deming Prize was established in 1951 as the first major prize for TQM orientated organisations).

    This graph reveals that the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award was easily the most searched for item with two to three times as many searches in comparison to the EFQM Excellence Model. The Deming Prize was rarely searched for.

    baldrige-efqm-deming-award-1

    The next graph shows a second search. This time I searched for Baldrige, EFQM and Deming. The results are very interesting. As can be seen Deming was easily the most popular search with three to four times as many searches as for Baldrige, which came second, or the EFQM. This search shows the continued relevance and impact of Deming’s work worldwide and that the Baldrige and EFQM “brands” have not reached the same level of popularity (even though these frameworks have largely embraced Deming’s 14 points in their core values and concepts).

    baldrige-efqm-deming-award-2

    The findings from this research points to the opportunity to grow the brand of “business excellence” in general. This finding is supported from other comparisons of “business excellence” with other tools and techniques as per the previous Google Trends article.

    This article was written by Dr Robin Mann, Head of the Centre for Organisational Excellence Research, NZ.


  3. Which is most popular – Benchmarking, Best Practices, Business Excellence, Innovation, Lean, Six Sigma, Balanced Scorecard, Knowledge Management, ISO 9001 or IS0 14001?

    March 7, 2017 by ahmed
    My friend from the Australian Organisation for Quality – Michael W McLean, Managing Director, McLean Management Consultants Pty Limited brought to my attention the usefulness and fun of using Google Trends. Michael had compared the popularity of business excellence with a number of other improvement methodologies and techniques. His point was the relative lack of awareness or popularity of business excellence in comparison to other improvement approaches, in particular in comparison to ISO 9001. This was disappointing but no great surprise as it supported the findings of a study that COER undertook for SAI Global on the Australian Business Excellence Framework (ABEF) in 2007 (study shown here) – this revealed that only 9.5% of senior managers/directors in Australia had heard of the ABEF and only 1.3% had used the ABEF to improve their performance over the last 5 years.
    The graphs below are from my own comparisons using Google Trends. The first graph shows the popularity according to the number of searches for Benchmarking, Best Practices, Business Excellence and Innovation. These topics are the areas of expertise for my organisation, the Centre for Organisational Excellence Research (COER). The graph shows the popularity of these approaches over 5 years from a worldwide perspective and only including results of searches of a “business and industrial” nature rather than on “games” or “sport” for example.most_popular1The graph shows clearly that innovation is the most popular search item, approximately four times as popular as searches for best practices and benchmarking. Business excellence is a 1/100th as popular as innovation. (Note the numbers on the left hand axis represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region and time. A value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. A value of 50 means that the term is half as popular. Likewise a score of 0 means the term was less than 1% as popular as the peak).

    The second graph shows the popularity according to the number of searches for Benchmarking, Lean manufacturing, ISO 9001, Innovation and ISO 14001. This graph reveals that Innovation is the most popular topic with ISO 9001 second (at 50% popularity), Benchmarking third, ISO 14001 fourth, and Lean manufacturing last.

    most_popular2

    The third and final graph shows the popularity according to the number of searches for Benchmarking, Six Sigma, Balanced Scorecard, Innovation and Knowledge Management. This graph reveals that Innovation is again the most popular topic with Six Sigma second (at 50% popularity), Benchmarking third, Knowledge Management fourth and Balanced Scorecard last.

    most_popular3

    These searches reflect the interests of business people around the world and therefore should be taken seriously. Innovation can be seen as the hot topic over the last 5 years and yet systems/approaches/methodologies to help organisations become more innovative are still in their infancy. Those of us that understand business excellence will recognise that business excellence models have innovation integrated into the model criteria and yet the models are relatively unknown and unused. This presents an opportunity for the administrators and promoters of business excellence to leverage off the interest in innovation to offer their holistic business excellence model as a guide to building innovative organisations.

    This article was written by Dr Robin Mann, Head of the Centre for Organisational Excellence Research, NZ.


  4. COER News – Benchmarking and Business Excellence, February 2017

    March 5, 2017 by ahmed

     

    This February, the Centre for Organisational Excellence Research (COER) has issued its latest newsletter.

    The first section includes important news about the upcoming 5th International Best Practice Competition and – closing date for entries 27 March.

    Whether you are looking to know the latest COER publications in the field or you would like to know what are the latest must attend events you will find it in COER’s newsletter.

    The contents for the newsletter are listed below:

    • 5th International Best Practice Competition
    • Podcast: Benchmarking – An interview with Dr Robin Mann
    • COER’s workshops
    • Benchmarking Certification (New 7-Star Recognition System)
    • PhD Research Opportunities
    • COER’s research projects
    • Winners of the 5th Global Benchmarking Award Dec 2016
    • Which is most popular – Benchmarking, Best Practices, Business Excellence, Innovation, Lean, Six Sigma, Balanced Scorecard, Knowledge Management, ISO 9001 or IS0 14001?
    • Which is most popular – Baldrige, EFQM or Deming?
    • Book: Deep in Crisis, The Uncertain Future of the Quality Profession
    • The QMOD (Quality Management and Organisational Development)/ICQSS Conference 2017
    • Baldridge Excellence Framework – 2017 Criteria emphasises 2 areas that no business can ignore
    • Interim Results – First Global Assessment on the Current State of Organizational Excellence

    You can download the newsletter from the COER website here


  5. It started out about an award, it ended up about operational improvement

    March 1, 2017 by ahmed

     

    Originally posted on Blogrige by Dawn Marie Bailey

    Throughout the almost 30-year history of the Baldrige Award, high-achieving organizations that might already be tops in their industries have been attracted to the idea of winning this highest, national, Presidential award for organizational performance excellence-another feather in their caps and highlight for customers and investors. But often, the journey to the award becomes something more. The journey becomes less about the award and more about what was learned along the way.

    PWC-Team

    At the upcoming 29th Annual Quest for Excellence® Conference, Allison Carter, director at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Public Sector LLP, will be sharing what the Baldrige journey meant to this consulting practice that was already considered at the top of its game among peer organizations.

    “We started our [Baldrige] process focused on the award. After a few years of developing Baldrige applications, we realized that if we really embraced the Criteria across our business, we would start to see some major improvements in the business. That makes sense whether you want to win an award or not, right?” asked Carter. “It started out about the award, and it ended up becoming about improving the business.”

    Carter said her Quest presentation will focus on the importance of and how to identify gaps in business operations using the Baldrige Excellence Framework.

    The process that PwC Public Sector used was to first look at the questions within the Criteria and flag those for further investigation that staff were not able to answer or were answering in different ways, she said. She added that the step of identifying gaps first was important to save a lot of time and headaches, especially if your organization moves to the Site Visit Review of the Baldrige Award process. It was also important to consider what you’re currently doing and how that might stack up with other organizations, Carter said.

    “A pitfall that many organizations may run into is something we found. . . . They pick up the Criteria to start writing an application, and they think we’ll just submit and we’ll win an award. And then they quickly realize after one or two times of doing that, a smarter approach is to first figure out where your gaps are and implement initiatives to address those gaps before ever submitting an application. So you’re not wasting your time, and you are focused instead on improving your operations using Baldrige standards.”

    An example of a success that PwC Public Sector has had using gap assessment methodology and looking at its Baldrige feedback was an integrated dashboard. Carter said the organization collects a lot of data on different things and uses that data to measure performance, but these data were housed in several different systems owned by several different people.

    “There wasn’t one place to go for all that information in one view to use it for effective decision making,” she said. “You could look at system A and system B and patch all of that together and start using it to make decisions, but it would have been much easier if that data was consolidated in one place–not only to look at everything all at once but to compare your performance over time.”

    She said PwC Public Sector Practice created a dashboard that pulled all of the information from these areas and systems into one dashboard that staff members could then use to get a holistic view of the metrics that were important to the business and to enhance the ability to make good decisions based on that data.

    Other top tips from using Baldrige that the organization has implemented follow:

    • Don’t look at Baldrige as an awards program. Look at it as an opportunity to improve your business. “It ultimately is an award, and everybody likes to win awards, but you should be focusing on Baldrige as an opportunity for improving and enhancing business,” said Carter.
    • When writing an application, it can’t be aspirational; it has to reflect reality. “It’s easy to write a Baldrige application about what you think you should be doing or what you want to do, but that doesn’t necessarily reflect how you’re operating, which is why identification of gaps is so important,” she added.

    At the upcoming Quest for Excellence Conference, in addition to learning about a structured methodology that participants can use for gap identification, Carter said she’ll also be sharing some leading practices that PwC Public Sector Practice uncovered through its own gap identification process.

    She added that using the Baldrige Excellence Framework and its Criteria “helps you to achieve a higher level of integration and coordination across your business that you wouldn’t necessarily get from using another framework like Lean/Six Sigma. Integration is really a key beneficial factor of using Baldrige.”