1. 6th International Best Practice Competition – Call for entries

    May 15, 2018 by ahmed

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    The International Best Practice Competition encourages organizations to share their best operational and managerial practices, processes, systems, and initiatives and learn from the experience of others. It provides an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of individuals and teams that have been responsible for creating and/or managing the introduction and deployment of best practices.

    To submit your Best Practice please visit http://www.bestpracticecompetition.com/entry-form where you can download an entry form. The First Call for entries closes on 1st of August 2018. Last year there were 45 entries with 26 qualifying to the Competition Event.

    The 6th International Best Practice Competition will be held in Abu Dhabi, UAE, 10-12 December 2018 as part of the Global Organisational Excellence Congress courtesy of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

    The Congress will also include:

    24th Asia Pacific Quality Organisation International Conference

    • ACE Team Awards Competition 2018
    • 18th Global Performance Excellence Award

    12th International Benchmarking Conference

    • 6th Global Benchmarking Awards

    6th International Best Practice Competition

    • 2nd Organisation-wide Innovation Award

    Sheikh Khalifa Excellence Award’s Best Practice Sharing Conference

    The other awards/competitions that will be held as part of the Congress are explained here https://www.globalorganisationalexcellencecongress.com/enter-a-competition

    The winner of the International Best Practice Competition in 2017 was Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (Mumbai Refinery), India with a best practice titled ‘Employee Health Management System’. In 2015 the winners were Al Jazeera International Catering LLC, UAE with a best practice titled ‘Our Planet – Our Responsibility’. and Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services (DCAS), UAE, with a best practice titled ‘Cultural Sensitivity Gives Birth to a Maternity Care’. For the full list of winners and their presentation videos click here.

    Winners 2017 - Dr Vandana Shinde and Pushpalatha Ravi, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited with judges

    Winners 2017 – Dr Vandana Shinde and Pushpalatha Ravi, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited with judges


    Add the Congress to your calendar


  2. Get your employees in sync with text messaging

    May 8, 2018 by ahmed

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    You’re going about your day when suddenly, calamity strikes at your business. As someone in charge of employees, how do you alert your staff? Email’s can’t be relied on to get read, and calling every employee on the phone to tell them would take hours.

    So when police were ambushed outside The Dallas Omni Hotel, they turned to texting. Already using a text messaging software for regular employee communications, they immediately used it to alert their entire staff, and told them to stay away until the situation was resolved. Because of the quick thinking and even faster communications, they were able to keep their employees and guests safe.

    This just goes to show the effectiveness of texting. It’s immediate, attention grabbing, and reliable. So whether you’re trying to keep staff safe or notify them to a new company policy, it’s time for businesses to give texting a try to improve employee communication. SMS give you the power to reach your employees in an instant. From making last minute schedule changes, to offering industry insider information to your employees, text messaging helps you connect better with your workforce. When you give your HR department the ability to send messages through Texting with your staff, the processes of the HR department are more streamlined.

    Make Scheduling Employees Easier
    If your HR department is responsible for scheduling employees on various shifts, save time when shift scheduling by automating the process. Employees will have the ability to ask for time off, or to text in at the last minute that they can’t make it to work. It becomes much easier to fill in open shifts by simply sending out a text blast to all employees. Your HR department will have to spend less time on scheduling and finding people to fill in, opening up more time for other tasks.

    Share Important News or Reminders Through SMS
    Provide employees with up to date information on upcoming meetings, scheduled events, and more. When you use a text messaging system to reach out to your employees and share company-wide news, your employees are going to know what is going on. With open rates near 98% for text messages, your employees are going to know what is going on at all times through SMS.

    Gather Valuable Employee Feedback
    When you want to know how your employees like a specific event or training, gathering feedback is essential. Unleash the power of SMS by creating a mobile survey and send it out to attendees when the training or event is over. Your employees won’t be in a rush to complete survey paperwork before leaving, and you are more likely to get honest feedback. You can then use the feedback to make changes to how you run your company if necessary. The feedback you receive will be more useful.

    Get Employees Engaged
    To keep employees happy, it’s important to engage your employees in things that matter. Employees who feel ignored, or those that don’t think their thoughts are valued are not going to work hard for your company. Through SMS marketing, you can motivate your employees and keep them interested in industry news at the same time. If you have an employee you want to showcase, you can send out a link to your website with a write up of the employee. Use texting as two-way communication to get in sync with your employees.

    Be Ready for Emergencies
    Your company will experience an emergency at some point that requires reaching the widest number of employees as fast as possible. To keep your employees safe, a text message is the quickest way to reach your entire workforce. Whether you are closing because of inclement weather or there is a security risk in the building, your employees can be notified immediately.

    Managing a large workforce takes tremendous effort. To ease the burden of your HR department, use tools for communication such as text messaging. This allows your HR staff to reach out to employees, to answer quick questions, and to fill in shifts fast. You will be prepared in case of an emergency and be able to reach a large portion of your workforce right away through SMS. Keep your employees motivated and receive important feedback when you implement a text messaging platform for communication within your company.

    Author Biography:
    Ken Rhie

    Ken Rhie is the CEO of Trumpia, which earned a reputation as the most complete SMS solution including user-friendly user interface and API for mobile engagement, Smart Targeting, advanced automation, enterprise, and cross-channel features for both mass texting and landline texting use cases. Mr. Rhie holds an MBA degree from Harvard Business School. He has over 30 years of experience in the software, internet, and mobile communications industries.


  3. Best practice benchmarking project: A framework to reduce the prevalence of diabetes

    May 3, 2018 by ahmed
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    DHA team receiving the trophy from DGEP’s Secretary General

    Diabetes describes a group of metabolic diseases which cause high blood sugar levels. In recent years, diabetes has become one of the leading causes of deaths worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, around 1.6 million people worldwide died due to diabetes in 2015. In 2017, an estimated 8.8 percent of the adult population worldwide had diabetes.

    Diabetes in the UAE is rising at one of the fastest rates in the world. Rapid economic growth, lifestyles and unhealthy diets have contributed to increasing the risk factors, also, an increasing population and a greater understanding of the condition have also contributed to the increase in patients diagnosed with diabetes. According to a 2017 survey, 15.2% of Dubai’s population are diabetic and 15.8% pre-diabetic (people at risk of becoming diabetic due to their high blood sugar levels) with the UAE as a whole having the 10th highest rates in the world.

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    Diabetes prevalence 2017

    The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is one of the government entities that participated in the 2nd cycle of Dubai We Learn initiative, a one year programme consisting of a range of knowledge sharing and organisational learning activities designed to fast-track organisational improvement and stimulate innovation. A key part of this initiative has been the mentoring of benchmarking projects by DGEP’s partner the Centre for Organisational Excellence Research, New Zealand. Project teams used the TRADE Best Practice Benchmarking Methodology – a rigorous 5-stage approach that involves searching for and implementing leading-edge practices.

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    Stages of TRADE Benchmarking Methodology

    Terms of Reference Stage:
    The Terms of Reference (TOR) is the first stage of the TRADE Benchmarking methodology. This is where the team developed a clear aim of what they wanted to achieve, specified the resources required, and what was expected in terms of financial and non-financial benefits.
    The Dubai Health Authority’s (DHA) project aim:

    To develop & start implementing a Dubai Diabetes prevention framework based on worldwide best practices within one-year (2017); to reduce the Pre-Diabetic population, (356,460.48) adults by at least 10% by 2021.

    The target of reducing the pre-diabetic population by at least 10% by 2021 was ambitious considering the adverse trends in some of the risk factors such as obesity, unhealthy diet, smoking and lack of exercise.

    Review Stage:
    The main task of the Review stage is to study and understand the current status of the area of focus. The DHA team used several methods and techniques, such as literature review, community needs analysis questionnaire, brainstorming sessions, fishbone diagrams, and SWOT analysis. DHA recognised that it would not be able to have a significant impact on diabetes on its own and therefore needed to work closely with other stakeholders that could influence or play a role in reducing diabetes. For example, during the brainstorming sessions, DHA invited Dubai Municipality (to explore issues such as how public parks are used and the monitoring of the food offered by food outlets)) and the Dubai Sports Council (to understand how government sports clubs and initiatives can help to prevent diabetes).

    A brainstorming session with the stakeholders

    A brainstorming session with the stakeholders

    Some key findings from the Review stage:

    1. The most important factors to prevent diabetes are weight loss through healthy eating, and at least 150 minutes per week of regular physical activity. This can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 58% in individuals at high risk.
    2. An important gap to be bridged is the lack of coordination between the different parties responsible for activities that lead to the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.
    3. A screening and early detection programme for people who are most susceptible to diabetes and determine pre-diabetic cases, will allow reducing complications of diabetes as well as the burden of the disease.

    Acquire Stage:
    After setting the plan for the whole project and studying the current state, it was time to start looking for solutions or best practices to bridge the gap between the current and the desired state. The team set criteria for selecting benchmarking partners which were: organisations who have developed similar strategic initiatives that serves Dubai vision 2021, who have used public health innovations in the area of prevention, who have implemented prevention programs, who have lifestyle modification initiatives, who have achieved high success rates in terms of implementation, and who have the best health outcomes related to non-communicable diseases. DHA identified 17 potential partners which were reduced to 9 partners for site visits and internet conferencing.

    The benchmarking partners were from different fields, which enabled DHA to learn a wide variety of practices. This was besides an extensive desktop research conducted on: Health Promotion & Campaigns, Screening & Early Detection, Innovative Initiatives, Policy, Research, and Applications. In total, DHA were able to record more than 50 improvement ideas for potential implementation. For example, the best practice of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), the winner of the 5th International Best Practice Competition Award was considered for implementation. In BPCL, all employees undergo an annual health check and receive a Wellness Index Score (WIS). The WIS of all employees are then averaged to obtain a company WIS. Initiatives such as Yoga, meditation, counselling by dieticians and health talks are provided to address the most common health challenges faced by employees. As a result, the company’s WIS has improved each year and the number of staff at risk of diabetes has dramatically reduced.

    Deploy Stage:
    In the Deploy stage, the team translated the ideas and best practices found in the Acquire stage into actions. The team developed and refined the actions through holding a number of meetings and brainstorming sessions with its stakeholders.
    By April 2018 the team was able to implement 30 improvement ideas, the three most important were:
    1- Developing a Dubai diabetes prevention framework and gaining acceptance of this within DHA and the wider stakeholder group. Previously, there was no diabetes prevention program for Dubai; there were scattered efforts, which were not systematic or collaborative

    Dubai diabetes prevention framework

    Dubai diabetes prevention framework

    For each sub-element of the Dubai diabetes prevention framework, an action plan outlines what needs to be done in co-operation with each stakeholder, it also assigns the responsibilities for each task and timeframe for implementation until 2021.

    Dubai diabetes prevention action plan

    Dubai diabetes prevention action plan

    2- Implementation of Diabetes Screening: The screening program was developed in primary health care for early detection of diabetes and the risk factors through adapting the National Periodic Assessment and Diabetes Risk Assessment tool (Finnish Diabetic Risk Assessment Score).

    3- Developing and implementing a pilot Happiness Prescription Programme. This programme was adapted from the Social Prescribing Programme from NHS (UK). The pilot phase of the Happiness Prescribing Program involved a total of 43 participants. It consisted of a comprehensive health survey, nutrition and health education and support, and various fitness classes.

    Evaluate Stage:
    The main task of the Evaluate stage is to evaluate if the project aim has been achieved and to measure the financial and non-financial benefits. Although, the main aim of the DHA project was targeted for completion in 2021, there were other objectives to be achieved within the one-year time frame of Dubai We Learn. For example, developing the Dubai diabetes prevention framework and getting all the stakeholders to approve it and be part of it within one year was a huge achievement.

    Other achievements included increasing awareness of diabetes. From 2017 till 2018, DHA held more than 460 awareness campaigns which covered more than 47,000 participants with a satisfaction rate of 98.1%. The campaigns were held in different locations such as public parks, government departments, and private sector companies. Also, to target a wider audience base, the DHA worked with the public media to conduct awareness campaigns using the social media, radio, TV, and newspapers. In total, DHA estimated they reached 560,000 people.

    Another important achievement was the successful pilot phase of the “Happiness Prescribing programme”. The 43 participants achieved good rates of weight loss ranging from 7 to 11 kg in six months. In addition to 13% risk reduction from severe to intermediate risk and 7% risk reduction from intermediate to low risk in the women’s group. For the men’s group, there was 7% risk reduction from high to moderate risk.

    DHA’s project achieves 7 stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
    Each project team of Dubai We Learn initiative gave a 15-minute presentation and submitted a benchmarking report which was assessed by an expert panel. The projects were evaluated based on the TRADE Benchmarking Certification Scheme. Three of the teams achieved 7 Stars, four teams 5-6 Stars, and four teams 3-4 Stars. These were exceptional results as even to achieve 3-4 Stars and reach TRADE Benchmarking Proficiency is challenging within a one-year timeframe. Dubai Health Authority project was evaluated as 7 Stars project, which means the project is considered as a role model in the approach and deployment of the TRADE Benchmarking methodology.

    For more detailed reports about Dubai We Learn projects, join BPIR.com and get access to best practice case studies, report, clips, and much more.

    Do you want to achieve outstanding results in your improvement projects, attend a TRADE Benchmarking workshop or email us at trade@coer.org.nz for more information about arranging an in-house workshop for your organisation. To receive the latest news sign-up to COER’s newsletter here.


  4. TRADE Best Practice Benchmarking Methodology update

    May 2, 2018 by ahmed

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    The TRADE Best Practice Benchmarking Methodology is a rigorous step by step approach that involves searching for and implementing leading-edge practices. The TRADE benchmarking methodology focuses on the exchange (or ‘trade’) of information and best practices to improve the performance of processes, goods and services.

    In the most recent version of TRADE the Research stage has been renamed the Review stage. This change has been introduced to reduce any confusion with the requirements of this stage. In some cases, the “Research” stage was being interpreted as conducting desktop research for best practices when it was meant to refer to “Research the current state” and research related to understanding the organisation’s own processes and performance.

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    Change from Research to Review
    The steps within the Review stage have stayed the same:

    • Understand area of focus to be benchmarked
    • Define performance measures
    • Identify current performance
    • Prioritise and finalise the practices to be benchmarked
    • Review project progress and Terms of Reference
    • Obtain approval to start the next stage of TRADE

    The five stages of the TRADE Benchmarking methodology are now:

    1. Terms of Reference (plan the project)
    2. Review (review current state)
    3. Acquire (acquire best practices)
    4. Deploy (communicate & implement best practices)
    5. Evaluate (evaluate the benchmarking process & outcomes)

    The TRADE Best Practice Benchmarking Methodology was developed by Dr Robin Mann for the New Zealand Benchmarking Club which existed between 2000 and 2004. Initially the methodology was called the New Zealand Benchmarking Club’s benchmarking methodology but was later changed to TRADE when Bronwen Bartley, one of Dr Mann’s doctoral students, suggested that “TRADE” would be a more memorable name and it could be used to symbolise the “trading of information and knowledge” between organisations.

    In 2007 the methodology was significantly enhanced when the Centre for Organizational Excellence Research (COER) was commissioned to provide the benchmarking methodology for Singapore’s public sector. In 2009 further developments to the methodology were made with the introduction of a certification scheme to increase the professionalism of benchmarking. Individuals now trained in TRADE can advance from benchmarking “Trained” to “Proficiency” to “Mastery” level as shown in the figure below. The status of Trained is given based on an individual attending a two or three-day training course on TRADE by an approved training instructor. The status of Proficiency is granted based on the submission of a completed benchmarking project which needs to meet a base-line standard. The status of Mastery is granted based on the submission of two completed benchmarking projects which both need to be graded at a “Commendable” level. Individuals that reach Mastery have the skills and experience necessary to facilitate or lead benchmarking projects in such a way that they are likely to lead to significant operational and financial gains.

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    TRADE certification levels
    From 2015 to 2018 further enhancements to the TRADE methodology were made as a result of its use in the “Dubai We Learn” initiative as part of the Dubai Government Excellence Programme (DGEP). In particular, the project management system which utilises Excel Spreadsheets has been refined and strengthened with more benchmarking resource worksheets added. In addition, the certification process includes an assessment of the projects using a 7 Star system with projects reaching 3 to 4 Stars receiving TRADE Benchmarking Proficiency certification and those reaching 6 to 7 Stars receiving TRADE Benchmarking Proficiency with a Commendation.

    The latest TRADE methodology information including TRADE project management worksheet and training notes can be obtained from the BPIR.com. The material is available in English and Arabic, if you are BPIR member, you can access the TRADE section from here. If you are not a member, join BPIR and get access to the TRADE Benchmarking methodology and much more.

    For the upcoming TRADE Benchmarking workshops visit this post or email us at trade@coer.org.nz for more information about arranging an in-house workshop for your organisation. To receive the latest news sign-up to COER’s newsletter here.


  5. Love was in the air (and financial reserves are in the wallet)

    April 26, 2018 by ahmed

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    Originally posted on Blogrige by Harry Hertz

    Spring 2018
    The greatest challenge I have each year when I return from the Baldrige Program’s annual Quest for Excellence® Conference (QE) is prioritizing the most important messages for me and my organization, whether that is my work organization, volunteer organization, or—yes—my family (this one might be stealth). There are always so many great ideas that I know I will not succeed at implementing any of them unless I select only a few for action. The 30th anniversary conference was no different. I returned energized and started organizing my thoughts.

    My process begins with seeking thematic highlights and also capturing one or two individual gems of wisdom that I heard from individual speakers. Maybe these will help you set some of your priorities, even if you were unable to attend the conference. Maybe my reflections from this year’s conference will also encourage you to attend QE next year and discover your own themes!This year there were five 2017 Baldrige Award recipients (link is external) from the business, health care, and nonprofit sectors: Bristol Tennessee Essential Services (BTES), Stellar Solutions (Stellar), Adventist Health Castle (AHC), Southcentral Foundation (SCF), and City of Fort Collins (Fort Collins). Their products and services are widely different, but their approaches to excellence have remarkably similar, positive outcomes.

    Six Themes
    Following are my six themes. We have seen components of each of them before—they are not new concepts—but when they are practiced together, they yield very powerful results. I will begin with the most pervasive theme this year. It has always been present in Baldrige Award recipients; however, this year the word (not just the intent) was used frequently and unabashedly, and it set the tone for me for the whole conference. The word is love.

    Love Matters
    These five organizations love their employees, love their customers, and love their communities. For all of them it is about relationships. And as an outcome of those relationships they have the financial resources to treat all these people well.I was first struck by the boldness of this theme when Kathy Raethel of AHC shared her organization’s core competencies, of which one is “Love Matters.” AHC focuses on a culture where love matters to the extent that it permeates all relationships and everything the organization does. Within the first 90 days of employment, all employees attend an empathy-building workshop entitled “In Their Shoes.” This is accompanied by a set of “Always Behaviors” to promote caring interactions among workforce members and patients and a compassionate, healing ministry.SCF, too, is all about relationships—the organization’s customers are its owners, in deed and in fact. The acronym for SCF’s operating principles is RELATIONSHIPS. With those relationships, SCF goes “behind our eyes and with our hearts” to build true empathy.

    At Stellar, the vision is “satisfying our customers’ critical needs while realizing our dream jobs.” And 97% of Stellar’s employees say the leadership team shows an interest in each of them as a person, not just an employee.

    Fort Collins describes its culture with a three-word acronym: IT—WE—I. (IT is what we do, WE is the love for the people we work with, and I is the support for achieving my personal and professional growth.)

    BTES’s values statement uses the Rotary 4-Way Test (link is external), ending with “Is it fair to all? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”

    Storytelling
    Highly technical organizations are not generally known for the softer side of people interactions. They generally focus on knowledge transfer, facts, and data.

    This is not true for Stellar; even with a geographically dispersed workforce serving at its contactors’ sites, Stellar has an annual storytelling issue of its Constellations newsletter. How else would you share dreams and dream jobs?

    BTES, another technical company, considers storytelling so important that it retains a professor to teach storytelling to its employees. SCF started each of its presentations at QE with the speakers sharing their tribe and a story. At SCF, a core concept is WELLNESS, and the first “S” stands for “share our stories and our hearts.” AHC, too, values storytelling, saying it is about every patient, every employee.

    Community Commitment
    All Baldrige Award recipients are good citizens and stewards of their communities. This year, community focus was at the core of each of the recipients’ frame of reference, going beyond the focus I have seen in the past.

    For Fort Collins, its core competency is “commitment to community.” For Stellar, community outreach is one of its 16 key processes, and 100 percent of the employees say, “I feel good about the ways we contribute to the community.” They contribute to their community through the Stellar Solutions Foundation and through humanitarian research and development with their Quakefinder project (for earthquakes) that additionally fosters STEM education.

    BTES is a local business serving its local community. So every chance meeting of a BTES employee (or even a family member of an employee) with a Bristol citizen is an opportunity to listen to the voice of the customer. And those individual messages are causes for action when brought back to BTES. Its mission is about providing service to customers and the community.

    AHC exists because of community involvement. It was intense community interest that launched a campaign in 1953 to establish a medical center in Windward O‘ahu. Today, AHC is first in Hawaii for population health. The organization’s vision states, “We will transform the health experience of our community.”

    The SCF vision is “A Native Community that enjoys physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness.” And the mission is about working with the organization’s customer-owners to achieve wellness. In addition, SCF leaders talk about “growing their own” to guarantee health care to their community for generations to come.

    Process Orientation
    An organization doesn’t become a Baldrige Award recipient without a process orientation. This year’s award recipients brought that focus to a new level. I don’t remember a time in recent history where process focus has been so significantly a focus of senior leaders’ presentations and so well related to leadership systems. Furthermore, for these five organizations, the process focus is driven from the organizations’ visions and strategic plans.

    BTES has a defined process for cascading strategic plans down to each employee’s role. By the company’s open admission, Stellar employees “are rocket scientists,” who manage their performance through 16 key processes. Each process is defined using the Baldrige assessment scoring guidelines of ADLI (Approach, Deployment, Learning, and Integration) and LeTCI (Levels, Trends, Comparisons, and Integration). The LeTCI help ensure that appropriate results are defined and tracked for each process. Each process has a defined goal, objectives, subprocesses, measures, a “what we care about” statement, and tools and products.

    Surprisingly, Fort Collins also has 16 key processes. I don’t know that 16 is the magic number, but I do believe this coincidence has meaning—an organization needs a realistically trackable number of key processes or else they lose meaning as key processes and can’t be regularly reviewed by the senior leadership team. These key processes also serve as a communication tool of what is really important to achieving the mission and vision of the organization.

    One of the key lessons AHC learned on its Baldrige journey was that deploying an integrated strategy and performance management system creates a “remarkable ability to execute.” AHC specifically references a remarkable ability to execute for the benefit of employees, patients, and other key stakeholders. Finally, SCF, a two-time Baldrige Award recipient, is already well known from its prior Baldrige presentation on its Nuka system (link is external), an integrated process for care relationships and care delivery.

    Tracking Key Metrics Yields Great Financials
    This year, I saw a clear line of sight from strategy to customer and operational process key performance indicators, and to actual reported in-process and outcome measures. Furthermore, I repeatedly heard that when the right performance indicators are tracked, including key indicators of employee engagement, the financial performance outcomes will follow. This was a message delivered by all five recipients.

    Imagine a utility company that could go from broke to having five years of capital funding in the bank and deliver reliable electrical service with 60 minutes or less annual outage time for your household (that’s BTES). Imagine a health care system that could go from the bottom quartile to top decile performance in population health in five years and do it debt-free with a 10.3 percent EBIDA margin (that’s AHC). Imagine a health care system that is owned by its customers, delivers 97 percent customer satisfaction and performs in the 75th–90th percentile on many HEDIS measures (that’s SCF), while growing the operating reserve by 6 percent from 2012 to 2017. Imagine a city that receives a 90 percent rating on overall quality of city services and commits to being carbon-neutral by 2050, while maintaining a credit rating of “Aaa” by Moody’s, a rating maintained by only 4 percent of governments (that’s Fort Collins). Finally, imagine a small company of rocket scientists that has defined metrics for each of its 16 key processes, with leadership communication and community outreach being two of those key processes, and where 100 percent of your customers would recommend you to other organizations, with sufficient earnings to fund a foundation and humanitarian R&D (that’s Stellar).

    Technology Focus
    Today, technology is pervasive; but this year’s recipients uniformly went beyond the norm in using technology to drive innovations that serve their customers. Given the challenge of its extremely large and frequently remote geographic service, SCF has been a pioneer for years in the use of telemedicine. AHC prides itself on combining “state-of-the-art technology with state-of-the-heart care.” Stellar is doing rocket science “for a living,” while also developing autonomous trucks and performing humanitarian research on predicting earthquakes. BTES is delivering 10 Gbyte/sec Internet speeds to all its customers, while many of us are receiving residential service around 1 Gbyte/sec at premium rates. Fort Collins is one of the most digital cities in the United States, is reducing its carbon footprint while growing its population, and is already controlling traffic lights with Bluetooth data that react to the volume of traffic.

    I hope some of these six themes resonate with your organization. Considering these as six themes that exemplify contemporary excellence, I invite you to see if there are opportunities in these areas for your organization to pursue. Doing so isn’t rocket science (except for some of the technology)!

    Two Gems
    Occasionally, there are some simple truths that strike a particularly responsive chord with me because they provide great wisdom in a single statement. There were two of these gems in remarks made by Darin Atteberry, city manager of Fort Collins:

    “Treat metrics as a flashlight to shine attention on an opportunity for improvement, not as a hammer to beat on responsible people or processes.”

    I encourage you to consider how you use your overall organizational and process metrics.

    1. Are the metrics measuring what is important?
    2. Are you using them to guide performance improvement?
    3. Are you improving with a flashlight or a hammer?

    “Don’t lead in an average way; you’ll get average people and average performance.” Or to rephrase, “Lead your organization toward remarkable goals, and you will develop a remarkable workforce, producing remarkable results.”

    How Are You Leading Your Organization?

    • Are your goals to reach average or the 50th percentile? Or are your goals to reach the 90th percentile or benchmark performance?
    • Are you celebrating success along the way? Or are you ignoring or, even worse, punishing people for not making sufficient progress?
    • Are you using setbacks as a cause for negativity or a source of information to determine cause and reward process improvement?

    Are you on the road to performance excellence?