1. 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.


  2. 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)


  3. 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?


  4. The Impact of the Baldrige Award . . . 15+ Years Later

    February 1, 2017 by ahmed

    15years

    Originally posted on Blogrige by Christine Schaefer

    Earlier this month, 2001 Baldrige Award-winning University of Wisconsin–Stout hosted a lively campus engagement session. (See for yourself via this video of the livestreamed event, which kicked off with dancing.) The university holds the so-called “You Said… We Did” sessions each January to demonstrate its responsiveness to the input of its employees and students.The same week, UW–Stout released news highlighting the ongoing impact of the Baldrige Award and excellence framework on its values and practices.

    Following is a recent conversation on that impact with Meridith Drzakowski, a senior Baldrige examiner and the assistant chancellor at UW–Stout who oversees the university’s office of Planning, Assessment, Research and Quality.

    1- Tell us about your university’s ongoing use of the Baldrige Excellence Framework (which includes the Education Criteria for Performance Excellence)?

    Since the 2001 Baldrige Award, nearly all of the people who were part of the team that led us through that process have left UW–Stout. However, within the past several years, we’ve started an informal Baldrige team. Membership is open to the entire campus, and we meet several times throughout the year to discuss ways in which we are following the Baldrige Criteria and addressing our opportunities for improvement. The focus isn’t about writing a new Baldrige Award application; instead, it’s about how we can continue to grow and learn using the Baldrige Criteria.

    We also send teams to various Baldrige professional development offerings through the state-level Baldrige programs in Wisconsin and Minnesota, as well as to the Baldrige regional conferences and occasionally to the Quest for Excellence® Conference. And we encourage them to become examiners through the state-level Baldrige programs.

    In addition, we use a Baldrige-based approach to meet our regional accreditation requirements through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). At the HLC’s 2017 conference, I’ll be co-presenting with Jan Garfield, another Baldrige examiner and HLC peer reviewer, about how to integrate HLC requirements into daily operations. We’ll be talking about how understanding and using ADLI (i.e., Approach/Deployment/
    Learning/Integration, which are process evaluation factors in the Baldrige Criteria) can reduce the burden associated with preparing for comprehensive visits, quality initiatives, and required reports associated with meeting HLC requirements.

    Incidentally, UW–Stout had its comprehensive review in March 2016. The review team leader said it was the best portfolio he had ever seen.

    2- Would you please describe a few examples of how Baldrige-based practices have contributed to your organization’s success?

    One of the most significant processes that has been impacted by the Baldrige Criteria is our planning process. The planning process aligns feedback we receive from the campus with data we collect on key performance indicators and with our budget. Our student jobs program and “You Said…We Did” events are great examples of initiatives/actions implemented through this process.

    UW1

    UW2

    To encourage innovation, one principle that is important to us in planning is starting with the idea first, and identifying resource needs second. It’s easy to start by saying, “We only have $X dollars,” and then let that limit your thinking. However, starting by thinking big has helped us to implement new initiatives in innovative ways.

    One example is our e-Stout (laptop) program. Students pay a per-credit fee to receive a laptop that is refreshed every two years and that they keep after graduation. The fee also provides for a number of support services, software programs, etc. This idea would never have come forward if we started by looking at the amount of money we had available.

    Other examples of innovative ways we have funded initiatives include partnerships with our foundation office, forming grant-writing teams to apply for external funding, and increasing efforts for fundraising. (We have a university priority on fundraising and are starting the process of implementing a comprehensive campaign.)

    Baldrige has also helped us to focus on a smaller number of metrics that are most important to us. Every five years, we update the list of our key performance indicators that we use to assess the success of our strategic plan. Although we collect data on hundreds of metrics campus-wide, the Baldrige framework helps us prioritize to focus on those metrics that are most important to our success and that align with our strategic plan—which keeps them to a small number.

    3- What are your top tips for using the Baldrige framework to support improvement and innovation?

    -Trust the process. When new faculty and staff members are hired at UW–Stout, it’s common for them to look at our planning process and say that it’s too time-intensive or complex or impossible to reach consensus with so many stakeholders. We tell them to trust the process, to give it a year and then decide whether they think it works or not. After the year is over, most people understand and buy in to the importance of the process.
    -You can start small. You don’t have to begin by deciding to write an entire Baldrige Award application or implementing all of the Baldrige Criteria. Start with the Organizational Profile, and then pick a specific item or core value to start with. The way we engage people in the process is by involving them in aspects of the Criteria that impact them directly or that they are interested in learning more about, or about which they have ideas or concerns. It’s not about receiving the award; it’s about learning and growing as an organization.

    4- Would you please outline what participants may learn at your university’s session, “From Crisis to Confidence,” at the Baldrige Program’s Quest for Excellence® Conference in Baltimore in early April?

    During difficult budget times, the easy thing to do is to stop or cut back on new, innovative ideas that emerge through the strategic planning process or to administer across-the-board cuts.

    However, despite the significant and ongoing budget cuts that UW–Stout has experienced over many years—including the most significant cuts we’ve ever received within the last biennium—we have always continued to focus on what’s important and never stopped planning, listening, and making decisions based on the data. We’ve had to cut back and be more selective about what is funded, but we’ve never stopped putting our time and resources into these processes.

    Our presenters, Maria Alm and David Ding, will also discuss how visionary leadership at UW–Stout has helped support our focus on what’s important. And we will discuss the critical role that the leadership has in building and maintaining trust, as well as some of the processes we use to build trust.

    [Added Alm, “Participants will learn how UW-Stout’s commitment to the Baldrige Criteria helped us navigate the most recent round of state budget cuts. While the cuts were significant, we never lost sight of the importance of (and our values related to) planning, innovation, and people. For that reason, after what was a very difficult year, we were still able to celebrate our accomplishments and to dance!”]

    5- What are a few key reasons that organizations in your sector can benefit from using the Baldrige framework?

    The framework can help [universities] meet regional accreditation requirements. We have one process for planning, one process for accountability, one process for assessment, etc., and requirements for the HLC are integrated within those processes.

    At the same time, Baldrige helps us put our primary focus on taking action because it will benefit the organization. In other words, the framework can help organizations focus on taking action not because an external organization told them they had to do something but because it’s important to them. When an organization is trying to encourage buy-in on processes related to planning and assessment, the last thing that people want to hear is, “We are doing this because it’s required by our accrediting body.”

    Also, the Baldrige framework provides guidance in making resource decisions—in good times and in bad.


  5. Baldridge Excellence Framework – 2017 Criteria emphasises 2 areas that no business can ignore

    January 29, 2017 by ahmed

    2015_2016_Baldrige

    The Baldrige Excellence Framework or the Criteria for Performance Excellence, has for the past 30 years, captured the essence of what excellent performing organisations do. It describes what it takes for an organisation to be sustainably successful in the long term. Reviewed every two years the Criteria changes are made to reflect the current business environment. The changes in the Criteria provide a useful indication of today’s business environment and what will drive the competitive advantage of leading organisations in the future.

    ‘Today the 2017–2018 Baldrige Excellence Framework offers organizations of all kinds the world’s most valuable, nonprescriptive guide for leadership and management that facilitates a systems approach to achieving organization-wide excellence.’, Robert Fangmeyer, Director of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program

    Whether or not you subscribe to the Baldrige framework or one of other Performance Excellence frameworks in use across 85 countries today, there are many thousands of organisations that use the Criteria to improve. Some of these organisations may be your competitors. The changes in the Criteria will be areas they will be focussing on right now to gain an edge in your market.

    So, what changes have been made in the Baldrige Excellence Framework for 2017?

    In making changes, the authors of the 2017-2018 Criteria for Performance Excellence, note the following:

    “The Criteria must balance two important considerations. On the one hand, the Criteria need to reflect a national standard for performance excellence, educating organizations in all aspects of establishing an integrated performance manage¬ment system. On the other hand, the Criteria need to be accessible and user-friendly for a variety of organizations at varying levels of maturity.”

    Two key areas

    There are two key areas that underpin the Criteria revision for 2017.
    The first is cybersecurity.
    In a recent blog posting ‘Has the dark side captured Yahoo!’, I described Yahoo!’s security problems in which thieves stole the private information from over 1 billion user accounts. Experts describe this as the largest known breach of its kind on the Internet.

    Yahoo! are not alone in not being able to keep their information systems secure. Some would say they were lucky because at least they knew their systems had been hacked. There were an estimated 300 million cyberattacks during 2015. Of those only 90 million were detected. This means 70% of cyberattacks go unnoticed. And such attacks are increasing at an annual rate of approximately 40 percent.

    For businesses and organisa¬tions of all kinds, managing and reducing cyber risks to data, information, and systems have become a necessity.

    The second key area is in enterprise risk management.

    Who would have thought that an earthquake, could cause a tsunami big enough to destroy emergency generators that were cooling a nuclear power plant, which in turn would cause a meltdown and radiation leakage, that would cause the evacuation of the only plant in the world that made Xirallic pigments, and prevent Ford customers from buying their favourite metallic black motor vehicles. See ‘Enterprise risk management and tuxedo black’. And yet that is exactly what happened to Merck at their Onahama factory when the magnitude 9.0 Tohoku earthquake hit off the coast of Japan in March 2011.

    It is essential that businesses or enterprises manage risk. The international standard ISO 31000: Risk Management—Principles and Guidelines, provides a framework from which all enterprise risks including those from events like the Tohoku earthquake may be identified, analysed, evaluated, and treated in a systematic manner.

    All organisations need to take risks to be successful. Deciding which risks are intelligent and worth taking needs to be carefully considered and can mean the difference between extinction, survival, or role-model performance.

    2017 Revision Criteria category changes

    For those familiar with the Baldrige framework, the following summarises where changes have been made for 2017.

    Category 1 (Leadership) has been re-organised, and duplication removed to clarify that senior leadership involves taking action in three key areas:

    1. vision and values,
    2. communication, and
    3. mission and organi¬sational performance

    Category 2 (Strategy) now emphasises the importance of considering the many questions about strategy as elements of managing strategic risk in your organisation. Questions on work systems have been reorganised to assist making decisions on work processes and effective work systems.

    Category 4 (Measurement, Analysis and Knowledge Management) has undergone change to improve clarity:
    The area on Best Practices has been moved to item 4.2 as part of manag¬ing organizational knowledge.
    Item 4.2, now renamed ‘Information and Knowledge Management’, has been reordered and realigned to focus on the quality and availability of data and information and on organisa¬tional knowledge, including the sharing of best practices.

    Data and Information security and emergency availability have been moved to Operations.

    Category 5 (Workforce) includes two new requirements:

    1. The need to ensure new workforce members fit your organizational culture
    2. To consider the learning and development desires of workforce members in your learning and development system

    Category 6 (Operations) is where key work processes have been introduced as an overall requirement) to recognise the importance of being clear about these processes:

    The risks associated with product and process design also now need to be considered.
    Supply-chain management has been moved to reflect its importance as a key work process.
    The 6.2 (Operational Effectiveness) item, includes how information systems are managed during both normal operations and during disasters or emergencies.
    Information systems reliability, security, and cybersecurity need to be assured.

    Category 7 (Results)
    Item 7.1 Product and Process Results, now include results for security and cybersecurity processes and your safety system.
    Items 7.2 and 7.3 have had name changes.
    Item 7.4, Leadership and Governance Results, includes results for managing risk and taking intelligent risks.

    Using the Criteria
    There is no question about the value that any type of organisation of any size, in any industry, or at any stage of its maturity will benefit from the Criteria for Performance Excellence. For over 30 years the Criteria has provided leaders with answers to three fundamental questions;

    1. How can I tell if my organisation is doing as well as it could?
    2. How do I know?
    3. What should I improve or change?

    The Criteria tell you WHAT. They are non-prescriptive and will not tell you HOW.

    For the HOW, you need to learn what other successful organisations have done to improve, realise sustainable results, and get to the top of their chosen niche. This is best practice benchmarking, where you can learn from the best to apply even better practices to your own organisation. Best practice benchmarking saves us from starting with a ‘blank sheet of paper’, and increasingly this is available online. For example, the bpir.com, described as ‘the complete resource for improvement and business excellence’ provides thousands of benchmarks, best practices, tools, including networking with best practice leaders.

    Before you rush off to commission your best practice benchmarking project just remember to make sure that you have assessed your organisation against the very latest 2017 – 2018 Criteria so you know that you are working on the most important area you need to fix right now for 2017.

    Wishing you all the best for coming year,
    Michael.

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