1. 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.


  2. Why Employees hide their knowledge and How to encourage sharing

    July 4, 2016 by ahmed

    Originally posted on Ideas For Leaders blog

    Key Concept

    Employees who refuse to share knowledge, either by playing dumb, being evasive, or saying that other factors are to blame, undermines the cooperation, efficiency and effectiveness of organizations. Understanding how perpetrators and targets view the damage from knowledge hiding is an important step in preventing this behaviour.

    Idea Summary

    While employees are supposed to share their knowledge with other employees for the benefit of the company, employees will often find a reason to keep that knowledge to themselves. Perhaps they believe that they will lose some status or power; sometimes employees who share knowledge will then be judged or evaluated based on that knowledge; and often employees who don’t trust their colleagues will be reluctant to share knowledge. Situational factors — the knowledge is complex, the knowledge is not task-related, or there is no culture of knowledge sharing in the organization — will also reduce knowledge sharing.

    Knowledge can be hidden in different ways, and the consequences vary for each. One type of knowledge hiding is simply playing dumb: professing ignorance when in fact employees have the answers. Another type of knowledge hiding is evasive hiding, in which the perpetrator promises to provide the knowledge but in fact has no intention of doing so. Finally, there is rationalized hiding, in which perpetrators feel that they are unable to provide the knowledge or blame a third party for preventing the sharing of knowledge.

    Although recognizing that knowledge hiding often damages relationships and can lead to retaliation (the target refuses to share knowledge in the future), perpetrators and targets have different views on exactly what damage occurs.

    From the perspective of the perpetrators:

    1. Evasive action will harm relationships with targets, and also induces them to refuse and avoid sharing knowledge with the perpetrators in the future.
    2. Rationalized hiding harms the relationship with the target but does not induce the target to withhold information in the future.
    3. Playing dumb does not damage relationships, because, perpetrators believe, the targets have no idea the perpetrators have the knowledge. At the same time, the perpetrators acknowledge that targets are likely to withhold knowledge from them in the future: why should targets go out of their way to help people who never help them?

    The targets’ reaction is somewhat different.

    1. While perpetrators believe rationalized hiding would harm relationships but not cause them to withhold information in the future, in fact targets respond positively to the explanations, and consider the relationship improved (and are indeed happy to share knowledge in the future).
    2. Conversely, while perpetrators believe playing dumb would not harm relationships but cause them to withhold information in the future, in fact targets respond negatively to the explanations, considering the relationship damaged. And while they don’t retaliate by deliberating not sharing information in the future, they are more likely to withdraw from the perpetrator.
    3. Both perpetrators and targets agree that the worst damage is caused by evasive action. The relationship is damaged, and targets will retaliate by not sharing knowledge in the future.

    In short, although the extent of the damage can vary, the unwillingness of employees to share knowledge, which research shows does exist, can damage relationships and seriously undermine the effectiveness of teams or even an entire organization. The fact that perpetrators and targets see the damage differently only compounds the negative impact.

    Business Application

    Organizations must take steps to limit the damage of knowledge hiding. Among these steps:

    1. Be aware. Many managers and executives may not be aware that knowledge hiding is even a problem. It might be assumed that employees, as no doubt instructed and encouraged, are working as teams and sharing knowledge as appropriate. The first step is monitoring for uncooperative behaviour.
    2. Increase perception of trustworthiness. One reason knowledge is not shared can be a lack of trust among colleagues. As with team building in general, you can increase the perceptions of the trustworthiness of colleagues by emphasizing a shared identity. We are all in this together.
    3. Enhance a sharing climate. Employees (and managers) are naturally influenced by the environment and culture of the organization. It’s important to enhance the sharing climate by emphasizing the vital importance of knowledge sharing and rewarding it. If, for example, employees find themselves under fire for knowledge they shared, that knowledge in the future is going to stay hidden.
    4. Open the lines of communication. As shown above, perpetrators are not fully aware of the consequences of different types of knowledge hiding on the other. Increasing the social action and communication between parties will help perpetrators understand the negative impact of their behaviour, and lessen the desire of targets to retaliate.