1. What is Governance? A simple but non-trivial overview

    February 14, 2012 by admin

    Board governance, or corporate governance, simply refers to the job of the Board of Directors. Boards are sandwiched between shareholders (or some other kind of ownership) on one side, and the CEO and staff on the other side. Because the ultimate authority for an organisation comes directly form its owners the role of Boards involves:

    1. Regular dialogue with the owners to establish what results are expected.
    2. Translation of the owner’s expectations into written criteria (policy) for success.
    3. Monitor to check that the criteria were actually met.

    Boards of course may do a number of other things, but their core governance functions are simply as stated above – Ownership Linkage, Writing policy, and Monitoring outcomes.

    Governance exists in order to translate the wishes of an organisation’s owners into organisational performance” Dr. John Carver

    The following clip is narrated by Susan Mogensten of Brown Dog Consulting

    What is Governance?  A simple but non-trivial overview


    Our next Best Practice Report which is due for publication in March 2012 will cover the subject of Corporate Governance in detail.

    If you are not already a BPIR member this is an excellent time to consider joining to enjoy the many BPIR membership benefits.

    Neil Crawford

  2. How to get $820 for each $1 spent using a Business Excellence Programme

    February 8, 2012 by admin
    One of the repeated questions in quality management is, what is the cost of quality? is quality free?
    Well, my personal opinion is, it is and it is not. According to quality guru Philip Crosby “Quality is free. But it is not a gift”

    In other words, the organisation needs to “pay” for establishing a quality system in order to get the rewards, it’s like paying for someone to fix the leaks in a system.

    Therefore, with any  improvement initiative there will be some cost associated with the programme but at the end the organisation should gain much more than what they have paid.

    In Dec 2011, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published the results of a research study aimed to evaluate the net social benefits of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Programme.

    The researchers compared the benefits received by the 273 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award applicants from 2007 to 2010 with the cost of operating the Baldrige Program.

    According to the research, the benefit-to-cost ratio of Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award is 820-to-1, which means for every $1 spent to implement the programme the economy will get $820 in form of social value, which is categorized into 3 categories:

    • The applicants’ cost savings from using the freely available Baldrige Criteria instead of a higher-priced alternative
    • Gains to U.S. consumers, who had greater satisfaction with higher-quality products
    • Gains to U.S. economy resources saved by using the Baldrige Criteria
    The researchers noted  that the benefit-to-cost ratio would be much higher  for the US economy but the research only focussed on the benefits stemming from the award applicants (in respect to the social costs of running the whole Baldrige programme). In reality, 1000’s more organisations will have benefited from the programme.

    You can read the full research from here.



  3. Excellence Makes People Happier at Work

    February 6, 2012 by
    Happier at Work


    Is there any correlation between business excellence programmes and employee engagement, morale and satisfaction?  Adam’s Stoehr (Excellence Canada Vice President) is conducting  research about this topic and aims to  answer this question.

    Initial findings suggest that there is a strong relationship between implementation of excellence programmes and employee engagement, morale and satisfaction.

    If you would like to participate in the research you can contact Adam at adam@excellence.ca. For further details about the research and the findings read the post below.


    Why do we bother with Excellence strategies?  This stuff doesn’t really make a difference does it?  What is the return on Excellence?  I have way more important things to do. I’ll put it off until next month/quarter/year.  If this sounds like you or anyone you know please read on.

    Here is some fresh research that may give you the reminder you need to stay the course. I’ve been thinking about the connection between Excellence and People a little too much lately. I’m about halfway through my PhD thesis on the subject and besides the fact that my eyes may pop out of my head, I’ve seen some interesting connections.

    Early results are showing three connections emerging from the data.

    • A strategic approach to quality improves employee engagement
    • A strategic approach to quality improves employee morale
    • A strategic approach to quality improves employee satisfaction

    So far I’ve collected data from a number of organizations and the correlations can be seen in the following scatter diagrams (if you want to learn about scatter diagrams check out last month’s article on how to create them: http://www.excellence.ca/en/knowledge-centre/articles/graphing-marathon-measures-3-scatter-diagram )

    Quality and Engagement

    Happier at Work 

    So far the quality and employee engagement connection is the strongest relationship out of the factors I’m considering with a correlation of 0.753.  What this chart is saying is that as an organization is more committed to quality (higher quality scores) the level of engagement of staff also increases (higher engagement scores)

    Quality and Morale

     Happier at Work

    Quality and employee morale has the second strongest relationship out of the factors I’m considering with a correlation of 0.743. Similar to the previous chart as an organizations quality score increases so does the employee morale score.

    Quality and Satisfaction

    Happier at Work 

    The connection between quality and employee satisfaction is significantly related with a correlation of 0.679. It happens to be the weakest out of the factors I’m exploring but similar to the other two charts as the organizations quality score increases so does the employee satisfaction score.

    As I build this story further I’ll keep you posted.  To make the connections even stronger I need more organizations to participate in this research. To participate all you need to do is commit to sending the survey to a statistically valid sample of employees at your organization (we can figure out this number together).

    Let me know if you want to participate.  Email me at adam@excellence.ca

    Benefit of participating.  Each participating organization will receive:

    • A report with full results of the survey which measures both the organizations strategic commitment to quality and the impact on employees (satisfaction, engagement, morale)
    • Comparison with database of other organizations for benchmarking purposes

    Details of the Research

    • Using a 65 question survey, targeted to various Canadian organizations, this research explores the specific relationship between a strategic approach to quality and three elements of employee measures including employee satisfaction, employee morale and employee engagement.
    • The survey is structured into 3 sections.
      • Section 1 includes a 37 question multidimensional construct that measures an organizations strategic commitment to quality. This construct is based on the criteria and principles of the Canadian, American, Australian, and European national excellence models.
      • Section 2 includes a 24 question multidimensional construct that measures employee satisfaction, engagement, and morale. This construct is based on nine different models from leading edge research on these topics.
      • Section 3 includes 4 personal attribute questions that are used as statistical variables in the analysis.
      • Understanding the relationships between a strategic approach to quality and employee measures will help organizations, leadership teams, unions, and employees make decisions about the benefits and risks associated with adopting a strategic approach to quality management as it relates to employees.

    Email me and I’ll get you set up to participate in this important research! adam@excellence.ca