1. It’s the Baldrige “F” Word Season

    September 25, 2014 by ahmed

    Originally Posted by Harry Hertz, on Blogrige, the official Baldrige blog

    feedbackI am of course talking about feedback; you needn’t admit that you were thinking a different word.

    Soon the first set of feedback reports will be sent to 2014 Baldrige Award applicants. So, I thought this might be a good time to reflect on Baldrige feedback and feedback in general.

    I have always viewed feedback, properly delivered and properly received, as a gift. Nevertheless, we must recognize that feedback, even to a group or organization, is taken personally. Properly delivered therefore means with care, recognizing that no matter how accurate or well-documented, we see constructive feedback first as failures on our part. The key is to see it as opportunity. That means being prepared to receive the feedback and knowing that no person or organization is perfect, including you and me. So, the attitude of the recipient should be, I will try to understand the opportunity that is being presented to me.

    As deliverers of feedback we should use constructive (positive), not destructive language, recognize that human emotions will be involved, and not forget to mention strengths as well as opportunities. Furthermore, we should put ourselves in the position of the receiver in reviewing the feedback that will be given. How would I like it worded if I were the recipient?

    For some insights on personal feedback, see a recent “F” word column in Government Executive. Let me share some thoughts on organizational feedback, like a Baldrige feedback report.

    As with personal feedback, prepare yourself for a constructive summary of strengths and opportunities for improvement (OFIs).

    • Don’t ignore the strengths and jump right to the OFIs. The strengths are worth enjoying, celebrating, and building on.
    • Recognize that an outside group of people with limited knowledge of your organization prepared the feedback report. They don’t know the organization as well as you. The feedback will not be 100% accurate, because there is information they probably did not have that you have.
    • Don’t use the inaccurate information as an excuse to ignore valuable insights that either confirm what you knew or have identified a blind spot.
    • Lay down the feedback report after the initial read to allow for the emotional reaction to subside.

    Pick it up again in 24 hours and do a systematic review of the suggestions:

    • Which strengths give us a competitive advantage that we should further build and use to our benefit?
    • Which opportunities for improvement will give us the greatest benefit, if addressed?
    • Choose a handful of the recommendations and establish action teams. Look for short- and longer-term opportunities. As the senior leader give these teams your personal attention and the resources they need.
    • Be open and transparent in sharing information.

    Learn to love the “F” word. It is a gift!

  2. Engage for success – 4 steps to engage your people to deliver a great customer experience

    September 10, 2014 by nick.halley

    Posted by Paul Beesley from Beyond Theory .

    Have you ever received poor customer service? Have you been disappointed or not had your expectations met? I imagine that the answers to each of these questions are all too often, ‘Yes’.

    A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to visit Sicily. Fine wine, beautiful scenery and gorgeous weather. Not to mention wonderful food. My holiday inspired me to re-create a Sicilian dish called Pasta alla norma to add to my dinner party repertoire. A key ingredient is aubergine. In preparation I set off to my local supermarket to buy everything I needed. Fresh pasta, ingredients for the sauce, bacon lardons, onions…. and aubergine. The green crate in the food and veg section just had one poor little aubergine left. I tracked down an assistant to ask if they had any more. ‘If it ain’t on the shelf mate, we ain’t got it’, was the response. I left and shopped elsewhere.

    So how engaged was the supermarket assistant? How well had he been trained to show more interest and empathise with customers and maybe go and check the stock? How long had he been on shift? What were his levels of motivation? How well had his manager and work colleagues been communicating with him that day? Did he really want to be there?

    These are all very good questions. In my view, the answers were all probably negative. However the effect on me was negative too. Here I am, well over a year later still talking and writing about it.

    However, when I think back to the excellent customer experiences that I have had, the employees were highly engaged in what they were doing. They gave a sense of wanting to be where they were. They appeared to be enjoying their work, be thinking about what they were doing, why they were doing it and the impact they were having.

    For me, the relationship between delivering a great customer experience and employee engagement is clear. How can we expect employees to deliver great service if they are poorly trained, ill equipped and under resourced to do the job we are expecting them to do – and with any sense of passion? If employees are poorly led, have inflexible processes, are not communicated with and are not asked for their ideas, then we’re relying on their own energy and enthusiasm. This eventually dwindles as disillusionment takes hold.

    Everyone knows that your customers are the lifeblood of your business. However I am consistently amazed by how often I receive poor service. In a world where customers are choice rich yet time poor, my plea to employers is simply to engage your people for success by following this simple, yet effective framework:

    • Make sure all your employees are clear about where your company has come from, where it is heading and how their role fits in.
    • Equip and encourage your managers to have and use engaging behaviours to direct and support your employees to do the job they’ve been hired to do.
    • Give your employees at all levels the permission and opportunity to have a voice, asking them for ideas and contributions to deliver what is needed.
    • Act with integrity by sharing your company values and embed these into your performance review processes. Customers and employees will judge you and your company on your values and behaviours, so make sure they’re making the right judgments.

    Having engaged employees is essential to delivering a great customer experience. It’s not just about face-to-face employees. Everyone throughout the company needs to appreciate that it they are not serving a customer then they are serving someone who is.

    My belief is that most employees want to do a great job. As well as an employment contract they have a psychological contract. Very often the latter is broken before the employee decides to leave or is asked to leave.

    I also believe that customers aren’t stupid either and they vote with their feet (and wallets) too. Our job as leaders is to bring these two beliefs together to safeguard our futures in today’s competitive world.

    Paul Beesley

    Paul Beesley
    Senior consultant at Beyond Theory
    www.beyondtheory.co.ukPaul manages Beyond Theory, an independent training consultancy that specialises in employee engagement. As a member of the guru group within the Engage for Success movement, he has a real appreciation of what motivates people at work and how this impacts customer service and business performance. He is a regular blogger who is convinced that it’s not businesses that succeed, it’s people that succeed. He is passionate that the way to make this happen is through sustainable employee engagement.

  3. 3rd and Final Call to the International Best Practice Competition – Submit your entry by 24 Oct

    September 9, 2014 by ahmed


    The 3rd and Final Call for entries into the International Best practice Competition has just been announced. The 3rd International Best Practice Competition will be held on the 24th and 25th of November 2014 at the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce.

    Entries from (India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, UAE) have qualified to the finals and we are hoping representatives from more countries will enter. The winner in 2013 was the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (Singapore) and 2012, Curtin University (Australia).

    The 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.

    Have a think about what your organization does well, and submit your entry by 24 October If successful you will be asked to share your best practice in an 8 minute presentation. Winners will receive widespread media coverage.

    From the feedback of previous years we are expecting much more participation this year, which makes this event a great learning experience. For more information about the competition visit the competition website BestPracticeCompetition.com

  4. Global Benchmarking Network 20th Anniversary newsletter

    September 7, 2014 by ahmed


    The Global Benchmarking Network 20th Anniversary newsletter is out download it from here. The newsletter includes the latest news from the GBN about members, events, projects and other activities, topics highlighted in this issue:

    • Greetings from GBN members
    • New members
    • 9th International Benchmarking Conference (IBCON) and 23rd Annual General Meeting (AGM)
    • Call to action for our 2014 International Benchmarking
    • 3rd Global Benchmarking Award – Entries are now open
    • GBN Innovation enterprises study mission
    • Public sector performance study mission
    • The history of Benchmarking
    • A piece of history – 20 years GBN
    • Research into Informal Benchmarking
    • Series – Megatrends of the future (Megatrend 2: Environment)
    About GBN: The Global Benchmarking Network (GBN) is an alliance of leading benchmarking centres worldwide who share a common vision and mission. Current Membership comprises 29 benchmarking centres which represent more than 30,000 businesses and government agencies.

    The GBN was founded in November 1994 by representatives from benchmarking centres in Germany, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. The GBN is a non-profit organization. It has a Chairman, a Vice Chairman and a Secretary General. The GBN comprises benchmarking centres in the following countries: Australia, Bahrain, Canada, China, Germany, Hungary, India, Iran, Ireland, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan, Philipines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE (Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai), UK and USA.

  5. Report: The Rising – and Falling – Stars of Global Manufacturing

    September 2, 2014 by nick.halley
    Originally posted on blogs.wsj.com by Timothy Aeppel

    It is no secret rising labor and other costs have hampered what was once China’s unstoppable drive to make every widget the world could ever use.

    But that is only one part of a larger reshuffling taking place in global manufacturing.According to a new report from the Boston Consulting Group—which for several years has tracked the competitiveness of global producers—the old assumptions of low cost versus high-cost regions is outdated. That view held large swaths of the globe, mainly in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe, held an unbeatable cost advantage over richer, established economies. But no more, says BCG.

    “The new map increasingly resembles a quilt-work pattern of low-cost economies, high-cost economies, and many that fall in between, spanning all regions,” the report said.

    BCG analyzed the cost structure of 25 leading exporters, focusing on wages, productivity, the price of energy and exchange rates. The consulting group estimates these countries account for nearly 90% of global exports of manufactured goods.

    It found some economies long thought of as low-cost hubs are under pressure. For instance, Poland, the Czech Republic and Russia, all have seen erosion in their cost competitiveness over the past decade.

    The changes are creating new winners—and new losers—as well as a batch of countries simply holding their own.

    Mexico is now cheaper than China and the U.K. has emerged as a low-cost manufacturer relative to most of its European neighbors, according to the BCG calculations. Brazil, meanwhile, has become one of the world’s priciest places to make things; its cost structure is tied with those of Italy and Belgium in the BCG rankings.

    The study used the U.S. as a baseline and found Brazil’s average costs went from 3% lower than in the U.S. in 2004 to 23% higher today. BCG notes Brazilian factory wages more than doubled over the decade, while productivity growth faltered. The cost of buying electricity for factories in that South American country have doubled, while natural gas prices have leapt nearly 60%.

    The clear winners in this global scramble, according to BCG, are Mexico and the U.S. The two neighbors saw their competitiveness improve more than in any other country studied. “Because of low wage growth, sustained productivity gains, stable exchange rates, and a big energy-cost advantage, these two nations are the current rising stars of global manufacturing,” the report said.