1. Learning from the Asian focus on excellence

    December 30, 2016 by ahmed


    Originally posted on Thrive+ by Ravi Fernando

    The past year saw an increased focus on Excellence both in Australia and overseas. The pace of economic and social change continues to accelerate. Innovation is now a necessity for all organisations – no one is immune. Staying static is no longer an option.There is an increasing recognition among policy makers and business leaders that to innovate effectively an organisation must first focus on Excellence and this often means the adoption of Excellence Models to guide behaviour. Asia is at the forefront of this focus on Excellence with substantial investment in Excellence Programs.

    The Thai Experience

    I visited Bangkok in February and was honoured to meet some of the leaders in their Excellence Program. In Thailand, the primary focus of the government is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public sector management which is in turn expected to guide the country’s economic development. Excellence Models are at the heart of the Public Sector Development Strategic Plan with the Public Sector Management Quality Awards (PMQA) framework driving the widespread adoption of Excellence concepts throughout public sector agencies. All state enterprises are assessed through the State Enterprise Performance Appraisal (SEPA) program each year.

    SEPA represents a comprehensive process of external evaluation by independent assessors. Independent external evaluation – as provided by the SEPA – is used make discoveries in areas that need improvement. A detailed report is provided with feedback on an agency’s strengths and opportunities for improvement. The feedback is where the process offers the greatest return on investment to organisations. SEPA is seen to be delivering significant performance improvement in Thailand with notable results being particularly evident in the Health sector. The Thai government is strengthening the requirement to adopt Excellence with funding being increasingly tied to achievement through SEPA and similar sector specific programs.

    The Middle East

    In October, I was invited to provide a keynote presentation at the King Abdulaziz Quality Award (KAQA) Forum in Riyadh. The KAQA was established by virtue of the royal decree with a view to motivating the production and service sectors to apply the foundations and techniques of total quality to raise performance, activate continuous improvement of internal processes and achieve stakeholder satisfaction. The KAQA represents focused efforts by the Saudi government to transform the economy, engage the full potential of the population and create a broader economic base to deliver sustainability.

    During the Forum, I met the leaders of similar Excellence Programs from many countries in the Middle East. Arguably, the more mature Excellence Programs in the region can be found in Dubai and Abu Dhabi where a strong emphasis is placed on delivering Excellence in the public sector. The Dubai Government Excellence Program for example invites leading experts from around the world to join local teams in regular evaluations of all public sector agencies. Through dedicated focus and investment in Excellence, Dubai and Abu Dhabi have emerged as significant global economic hubs.

    The Asian Century

    The 21st Century is often referred to as the Asian century. The world’s most dynamic economies are now found in Asia. Arguably, the economic gravitas has already shifted away from the “western” economies to Asian economies. The heavy investment made by Asian countries into Excellence is unlikely to be a coincidence. This year, the Global Excellence Model (GEM) Council admitted two new members into its midst: the China Association for Quality and the Malaysia Productivity Council. This means that 50% of the GEM Council members are now from Asia, providing further evidence of the continental focus on Excellence.

    With a dedicated focus on the adoption of Excellence Models, Asian economies are delivering growth and innovation that are taking the whole world into a brand new phase of accelerated change. Western economies – including Australia – are increasingly being left behind with the focus on Excellence having declined over the last two decades.

    The Opportunity for Australia

    Australia has one of the most mature Excellence programs in the world with a proud history that dates back to 1987. The Program is represented by our own unique national Excellence Model – the Australian Business Excellence Framework (ABEF) – and the Australian Organisational Excellence Awards. The ABEF and the Awards originated from the necessity to develop a common framework for measuring and improving organisational performance, productivity and competitiveness. The Australian Awards criteria were originally developed in the form of principles and operational statements and were then formed into an integrated Excellence Model in 1996.

    We estimate that over 600 organisations – across all sectors – in Australia use the guidance of the ABEF to deliver success. However, there has been minimal government focus on the national Excellence Program since the late 1990s. Perhaps the continual growth and resilience of the Australian economy reduced the imperative to focus on Excellence.

    With many economic challenges now becoming apparent, the time to reinvigorate Excellence in Australia is upon us. This is evident in the increasing interest in Excellence and Innovation by all levels of government. Australia has a wonderful opportunity to leverage its mature and proven Excellence Program to deliver ongoing economic success. The investment of Asian governments in Excellence should be examples Australia should seek to emulate and learn from.

    For further information about Excellence on the global stage, please feel free to contact Ravi by emailing RaviF@thriveplus.com.au

  2. Study reveals business-changing journey for small businesses

    December 9, 2016 by ahmed

    Originally posted on Blogrige by Dawn Marie Bailey

    Many economists have surmised that the health of U.S. small businesses is key to the health of the U.S. economy. In fact, a Forbes article by Ian Shepherdson, “Small Businesses Are The (Missing) Key To A Full Economic Recovery,” cites that small firms account for about half of the nation’s gross domestic product and employ about half the workforce, “so if they are struggling it is very hard for the economy as a whole to grow in line with its long-term trend.”So how can we help give a foundation to U.S. small businesses so that they don’t need to struggle?

    A recent study “Quality management (QM) leads to healthier small businesses,” published in the Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, explores how small businesses in the housing industry that have embraced quality management approaches, such as Baldrige, Six Sigma, and EFQM, are seeing improved performance.

    Study authors William H. Murphy and Denis Leonard interviewed ten owners of small family-owned businesses who have won the National Housing Quality Award (NHQA), which is based on the Baldrige Excellence Framework and its Criteria. Sponsored by Professional Builder magazine and the National Association of Home Builders Research Center, the NHQA provides housing contractors with the opportunity to submit Baldrige-based award applications to receive an assessment by QM experts on development gaps and to possibly receive an award. (See also the recent blog “Adapting Baldrige to the National Housing Industry.”)

    “Once small business owners realize that the QM journey is a sensible, necessary, business-changing journey, change can happen swiftly,” write Murphy and Leonard. “Yet, truly seeing the truth of this claim and following up by changing one’s business toward a QM journey is often a tough step for many small business owners to take. After all, small business owners are often extremely busy, with time-pressing commitments and little wiggle room for figuring out how to engage new platforms such as QM. Yet, as our interviews repeatedly revealed, life gets a lot easier for everyone once QM is part of the business.”

    The Baldrige Excellence Framework, with its eligibility category for small businesses (500 or fewer paid employees), is one quality management tool that the study cites.

    “Baldrige, once believed too complex for small businesses to pursue, let alone attain, has proven to be a platform providing excellent performance results for small businesses,” write Murphy and Leonard. According to another article—“Don’t count TQM out: evidence shows implementation pays off in a big way” (Quality Progress, Vol. 32, No. 4, pp. 35-42)—Baldrige small business category winners outperform benchmark companies by an average of 63 percent, while large organization winners outperform their benchmarks by only 22 percent.

    Indeed, two of the four 2016 Baldrige Award recipients are small businesses: Don Chalmers Ford and Momentum Group. The other two recipients, both in the health care sector, are also small: Kindred Nursing and Rehabilitation Center – Mountain Valley is a 68-bed skilled nursing center and Memorial Hermann Sugar Land is a 149-bed community hospital.

    As a whole, the small business owners interviewed in the study were “certain that positive outcomes follow” once a business implements QM; however, the owners did recognize some barriers to engagement. “A key variable precluding business improvement may be the belief that one’s business is doing fine without QM,” write the study’s authors. “If this is the case, familiarity with QM may be a necessary but not sufficient factor in small businesses adopting QM—until there is an accompanying belief that one’s small business has weaknesses in the absence of QM, embracing QM may not occur.”

    Small business owners recommend customizing tools and staying the course once started on QM. “Interviewees strongly feel the barriers are small relative to gains realized through QM,” write the study’s authors.

    According to Murphy and Leonard, “The first step toward launching QM is generally the hardest, as most businesses have to stumble along for a while before truly catching on to QM’s logic and potential. And yet, by targeting easy projects and using a few tools from QM toolboxes, change for the better is soon realized. Over time, with a conviction gained by success and the developing belief that QM is a game changer for one’s small business, owners may find themselves pushing their QM platforms in unexpected directions.”

    To find the complete article, go to “Quality management (QM) leads to healthier small businesses.”

  3. COER News – Benchmarking and Business Excellence, December 2016

    December 7, 2016 by ahmed


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

    If you are short of time to read the PDF we wish to inform you of a major event next year – The 5th International Best Practice Competition. This Competition will be held in Mumbai, India, 25/26th April 2017. The First Call for entries closes on 23 January 2017 so please think about what you do well inside your organisation and apply for entry at http://www.bestpracticecompetition.com/entry-form. This is a fun event and great for learning and sharing best practices. If your best practice is selected you will be invited to give an 8 minute presentation in Mumbai, India and share your best practice with more than 30 others with the chance to be selected as the Winner! Entry is free but there is a fee if you qualify to give a presentation to cover the competition’s administration costs.


    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
    • Dubai We Learn – Knowledge Sharing and Innovation Initiative
    • Benchmarking Certification (New 7-Star Recognition System)
    • A Guidebook for National Productivity Organisations
    • COER’s research projects
    • PhD Research Opportunities
    • Read the LATEST on our Best Practice Resource – BPIR.com
    • BPIR.com – Looking to make a Bigger Impact
    • COER’s workshops
    • Events
    • Other Activities/Articles of Interest

    You can download the newsletter from here

  4. Cyber security risk management: what should we be talking about?

    November 27, 2016 by ahmed


    Originally posted on Blogrige by Dawn Marie Bailey

    Disrupting, destroying, or threatening the delivery of an organization’s essential services—no matter what industry they are in—can be mitigated by chief information officers following six steps—among them elements that are in complete alignment with the Baldrige Excellence Framework, according to a cyber security expert.In a recent blog “CEOs: Interviewing CIOs? Six Things to Listen for Regarding Cyber Security Risk Management,” Todd McQueston, head of global product marketing and business development for Wolters Kluwer Health, compiled what C-suite leaders should be talking about, based on an interview with Bob Merkle, a cyber security risk management consultant. Among the six things to listen for include long-term systems thinking and a strong quality control system.

    McQueston also highlights the recent NIST announcement regarding the Baldrige Cybersecurity Initiative, which has been publicly endorsed by, among others, U.S. Chief Information Officer Tony Scott, who is helping to lead the President’s Cybersecurity National Action Plan. (The Baldrige Program is currently seeking feedback on the Baldrige Cybersecurity Excellence Builder, a self-assessment tool integrating Baldrige concepts and the NIST Cybersecurity Framework.) The Baldrige Cybersecurity Excellence Builder is intended to enable organizations to better understand the effectiveness of their cybersecurity efforts and identify opportunities for improvement.

    To read McQueston’s complete blog, please go to https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/ceos-interviewing-cios-six-things-listen-regarding-cyber-mcqueston.

  5. A systems perspective to leadership and strategy

    November 25, 2016 by ahmed

    Originally posted on Blogrige by Harry Hertz

    I recently read a summary of an interview with Wharton Professors Harbir Singh and Mike Useem. The interview relates to their new book, The strategic leaders roadmap. In the book they contend that successful senior executives must be capable of integrating strategic thinking with strong leadership skills.Leaders who adopt the Baldrige excellence framework have already successfully addressed this integrative need because of the questions in the Leadership and Strategy categories of the Baldrige criteria. Indeed, the key considerations that Singh and Useem outline are contained in item 1.1 on Senior Leadership and item 2.1 on Strategy Development and are systemically interrelated in the criteria.

    Here are the key points I gleaned from the interview and how they relate to the relevant Baldrige criteria:

    • Leaders must inspire the workforce, and must also deliver strategic inspiration and discipline: The Baldrige criteria (item 1.1) ask how senior leaders create a focus on action that will achieve innovation and intelligent risk taking, and attain the organization’s vision. Item 2.1 asks how the organization seeks out potential blind spots in its strategy to avoid a senior leader’s bias or potential lack of realization that there is a changing external or competitive environment. Such bias may cause a disciplined approach to a poor strategy.
    • Leaders may be good at strategic thinking, but thin on making things happen, driving strategy and change through the organization: This is the very reason that starting with the Baldrige excellence builder, the criteria ask (item 1.1) how senior leaders set an overall focus on action and, in specific, in item 2.1 ask about the ability to execute the strategic plan and to achieve transformational change.
    • Leaders must realize that execution is not just about the workforce following orders, but that it is about creating and enhancing the value proposition to the client and getting ideas from the entire workforce: In item 1.1, customers and the workforce receive significant attention. At the Excellence builder level the criteria ask: “How do senior leaders communicate with and engage the entire workforce and key customers?” In the more detailed Baldrige criteria there are questions about senior leaders’ two-way communication with the workforce, and their actions to reinforce a customer focus, foster customer engagement, and create customer value.
    • Leaders must balance quarterly results with setting the tone of an ethical climate and a policy of integrity first: Here too, item 1.1 of the Baldrige criteria sends a clear message by asking how senior leaders’ actions demonstrate their commitment to ethical behavior and how they promote an organizational environment that requires it.
    • Leaders must create agility and adaptability in the organization: Item 2.1 specifically asks how the strategic planning process addresses the potential need for organizational agility and operational flexibility.

    While I have given some very specific examples from the Baldrige criteria, these are just examples. The systems perspective of Baldrige means these topics are addressed at appropriate places throughout all seven categories of the criteria to cause linkages wherever valuable.

    Professors Singh and Useem summarize their treatise by saying that senior leaders must be strategic in thought and lead well. I would assert that you can simply operationalize this unified concept (and more) by following the advice given in items 1.1 and 2.1 of the Baldrige criteria. And in the process, gain a systems perspective of all that is important in leadership and strategy.