1. Where Excellence Went Wrong

    November 30, 2015 by ahmed


    Originally posted on BEX Institute by Matt

    The Total Quality Management (TQM) movement started in Japan and spread as people recognised the tremendous benefits. In the late 80s and early 90s, the Baldrige Model and EFQM Model appeared in the US and Europe – holistic management frameworks that went beyond the product to look at all aspects of the business. Initially, these were championed by many high-profile organisations and TQM was “the hot topic” on the management agenda. Its popularity peaked in the 90s; since then there has been a steady decline. Now excellence models tend to be used in discrete pockets within a large company, like a single manufacturing site, or within the public sector. So what went wrong…?

    Part of the reason lies within HOW these Models where used – another part lies with WHO was using them. Excellence Models are designed as holistic tools – they cover all aspects of the organisation from the Leadership & Strategy through People and Resource Management through to Product Development & Delivery and, finally, Customer Relationship Management.

    However, the “QM” in TQM was usually interpreted as “Quality Management”. This interpretation meant it was often coupled with process management, product quality and ISO 9000 certification. It was the job of the Quality Manager, not line management. Don’t get me wrong – product quality and quality management are very important. But the holistic excellence models went far beyond these traditional boundaries.

    Over the years, I’ve had the privilege to work with some Quality Managers who were capable of applying excellence models at a strategic level – most of them have since moved on to more senior roles. But I’ve also worked with many who tried to use excellence models as a check-list – something it’s not designed for and something that tends to produce generic, meaningless feedback.

    This is nothing new. We all know that the success of any organisational development initiative depends more heavily on the individuals selected to deploy it than the tool itself. If the wrong people are involved, it doesn’t matter how good the tool is… and if you’re looking at a tool that applies to the whole organisation, you can’t only involve people from a single function.

    Fast forward 20+ years to today. We find a number of “excellence evangelists” who are completely convinced that excellence models work and freely eulogise about the benefits to all who will listen. Some are lucky enough to be in organisations where they are supported but many more are not and therefore can’t “practice what they preach”. They’re often met with comments like “we tried that before and it didn’t work”. I’m sure you recognise these people – or maybe you are one yourself. At conferences and events, we see the “same old faces” year after year. Where’s the new blood? The new ideas? The “next generation”…?

    We know that, if applied correctly, excellence models can deliver great benefits. We also know that “management fads” come in cycles. The vast majority of CEOs interviewed place topics like sustainability, competitiveness and innovation high on their priority lists. Topics the excellence models were designed to address. But we must learn the lessons of the past. Excellence is not “quality management”. It’s not just the domain of operations and it is definitely not a staff function. It wasn’t in Japan and it helped them build one of the world’s strongest economies.

    So, where does this leave us? If we’re going to re-energise the excellence movement, we need a new approach. Look at the success of Six Sigma – the vast majority of the tools in the toolkit went back to the 1950s. Someone just added new packaging. Can we do the same with “excellence”?

    To me, it seems simple. It seems we’re missing a single two-letter word. “OF”. Excellence Models are not about Quality Management. They’re about the Quality OF Management. To be able to talk credibly about the Quality OF Management clearly requires a different skill set and different experience. But there are many people who gained some experience in quality management over the past 20 years who are now in “senior management” positions. People who know the potential of this tool and are now in a position to use it at a strategic level.

    It’s time for some new thinking…

  2. The Baldrige Guide to Overcoming Poor Leadership

    November 29, 2015 by ahmed


    Originally posted on Blogrige by Jacqueline Calhoun and Dawn Bailey

    Much has been written recently on the cost of poor quality that leads to recalls, loss of customer confidence, and of course much worse scenarios where customers’ lives and health are at risk. For example, recent recalls in the automotive, food, electronics, and pharmaceutical industries have led to plummeting stocks and even government investigations. And if you search for “corporate greed,” you can find editorials from all industries across the U.S. economy, including in the health care and nonprofit worlds.

    In many of these cases, it’s brand-name businesses behind the scandals/recalls. Are these simply cases of the corporate greed of senior leaders and their questionable ethical decisions? Could leadership itself be at fault?

    Leadership is paramount in the Baldrige Excellence Framework and its Criteria; the leadership category can be summarized as asking how senior leaders’ personal actions and the governance system guide and sustain the organization. The Baldrige core values also have a distinct focus on leadership, especially in the core values of visionary leadership, ethics and transparency, focus on success, societal responsibility, valuing people, management by fact, and managing for innovation. These core values are the beliefs and behaviors embedded in high-performing organizations.

    In the concept of an organization’s ongoing success, taking intelligent risks is also included in the Leadership category. Intelligent risks are opportunities for which the potential gain outweighs the potential harm or loss to an organization’s future success. One might wonder if some of the decisions made by leaders come out of thoughtful and measured intelligent risk, guidance for which can also be found in the Baldrige framework, but others might wonder if some decisions are made purely for the potential profits.

    When it comes to our leaders, Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business, writes in his book, Leadership B.S.: Fixing Workplaces and Careers One Truth at a Time, that although many of us would like our leaders to exhibit attributes such as authenticity, modesty, transparency, truthfulness, and benevolence, the reality is that some of the most successful business leaders actually exhibit other characteristics: narcissism/dominance, self-promotion/energy, self-aggrandizement/confidence, and self-confidence/charisma–traits that have often proven to be instrumental in building and promoting a brand.

    However, these latter traits often lead to decisions that don’t last–or recalls and costly decisions both for the business and the people it impacts. When there are questionable values of visionary leadership, ethics and transparency, societal responsibility, and the valuing of people, among other core values, can leaders really lead their organizations into a sustainable future?

    Of course, no business path is guaranteed, but the Baldrige Excellence Framework does provide a guide. Think about some of the leaders and the alleged examples of corporate greed in the news. Now consider the thoughtful questions in the framework, for example, for the following categories:

    Category 3 asks how you engage customers for long?term marketplace success, including how you listen to the voice of the customer, build customer relationships, and use customer information to improve and to identify opportunities for innovation.

    Do some of the leaders that we read about really listen to their customers and build relationships? How? (These leaders might learn something from reading about the innovative ways that Baldrige Award recipients accomplish these tasks.)

    Category 4, the “brain center” of the Criteria, covers the alignment of operations with strategic objectives. It is the main point within the Criteria for all key information on effectively measuring, analyzing, and improving performance and managing organizational knowledge to drive improvement, innovation, and organizational competitiveness. Knowledge of such data and information would be instrumental in making intelligent risks.

    Category 6 asks how you focus on your organization’s work, product design and delivery, innovation, and operational effectiveness to achieve organizational success now and in the future.

    Could leaders learn from considering the questions in these categories, as well as the other Criteria categories? Of course! The Baldrige Excellence Framework provides a road map. Now leaders, with all of their traits (the traits of narcissism/dominance, self-promotion/energy, self-aggrandizement/confidence, and self-confidence/charisma may be good or bad depending on your perspective) just need to consider the answers to the Criteria questions to ensure that their leadership is appropriate for their industries, their challenges, and their people (the Criteria are not prescriptive).

    With the Criteria as a guide, they can then move their organizations forward toward sustainability–and hopefully regain some of the customer confidence that can so easily be lost.

  3. The Ten Dangers of Sleep Deprivation for Workers

    by ahmed

    Originally posted on EHS Today Sandy Smith

    Sleep deprivation is an issue that is often ignored, yet frequently the root cause of decreased productivity, accidents, incidents and mistakes which cost companies billions of dollars each year, reports Circadian, a global leader in providing 24/7 workforce performance and safety solutions for businesses that operate around the clock.

    Often, the experts at Circadian say, employers are unaware of the impact fatigue or sleep deprivation is having on their operation until a tragic accident occurs. Only then do managers ask the question: “What happened?”

    Sleep deprivation is much more dangerous than you might realize. It’s not just annoying, like when an employee snoozes in a meeting or yawns during a conversation. Here are 10 real dangers associated with a sleep-deprived workforce:

    1. Decreased communication: When workers are tired, they become poor communicators. In one study, researchers noted that sleep deprived individuals drop the intensity of their voices; pause for long intervals without apparent reason; enunciate very poorly or mumble instructions inaudibly; mispronounce, slur or run words together; and repeat themselves or lose their place in a sentence sequence.

    2. Performance deteriorates: Performance declines frequently include increased compensatory efforts on activities, decreased vigilance and slower response time. The average functional level of any sleep-deprived individual is comparable to the 9th percentile of non-sleep deprived individuals.

    Workers must notice these performance declines, right? Not quite. In fact, sleep deprived individuals have poor insight into their performance deficits. Also, the performance deficits worsen as time on task increases.

    3. Increased risk of becoming distracted: Sleep-deprived individuals have been shown to have trouble with maintaining focus on relevant cues, developing and updating strategies, keeping track of events, maintaining interest in outcomes and attending to activities judged to be non-essential. In fact, research suggests that there is a symbiotic relationship between sleep deprivation and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) due to the overlap in symptoms.

    4. Driving impairments: Due to federal regulations, the trucking industry is well aware of the driving impairments associated with sleep deprivation. However, plant managers are unaware of the ways in which sleep-deprived workers may be dangerously operating machinery (e.g. forklifts or dump trucks). In fact, 22 hours of sleep deprivation results in neurobehavioral performance impairments that are comparable to a 0.08 percent blood alcohol level (legally drunk in the United States).

    5. Increased number of errors: The cognitive detriments of sleep deprivation increase concurrently with a worker’s time on a given task, resulting in an increased number of errors. These errors include mistakes of both commission (i.e. performing an act that leads to harm) and omission (i.e. not performing an expected task), which can wreak havoc at any work facility. Errors especially are likely in subject-paced tasks in which cognitive slowing occurs, and with tasks that are time-sensitive, which cause increases in cognitive errors.

    6. Poor cognitive assimilation and memory: Short-term and working memory declines are associated with sleep deprivation and result in a decreased ability to develop and update strategies based on new information, along with the ability to remember the temporal sequence of events.3

    7. Poor mood appropriate behavior: Inappropriate mood-related behavior often occurs in outbursts, as most sleep-deprived individuals are often quiet and socially withdrawn. However, a single one of these outbursts can be enough to destroy the positive culture of a work environment and cause an HR nightmare.

    These behavioral outbursts can include irritability, impatience, childish humor, lack of regard for normal social conventions, inappropriate interpersonal behaviors and unwillingness to engage in forward planning.

    8. Greater risk-taking behavior: Brain imaging studies have shown that sleep deprivation was associated with increased activation of brain regions related for risky decision making, while areas that control rationale and logical thinking show lower levels of activation. In fact, sleep deprivation increases one’s expectation of gains while diminishing the implications of losses.

    What does this mean for your workers? Sleep-deprived workers may be making riskier decisions, ignoring the potential negative implications, and taking gambles in scenarios in which the losses outweigh the benefits.

    9. Inability to make necessary adjustments: Flexible thinking, preservation on thoughts and actions, updating strategies based on new information, ability to think divergently and innovation are all negatively impacted by sleep deprivation. A worker may be unable to fill a leadership role on request when sleep deprived, resulting in a frustrated management team.

    10. Effects of sleep deprivation compound across nights: Four or more nights of partial sleep deprivation containing less than 7 hours of sleep per night can be equivalent to a total night of sleep deprivation. A single night of total sleep deprivation can affect your functioning for up to two weeks. To your brain, sleep is money and the brain is the best accountant.

    According to Circadian, when you have sleep-deprived or fatigued workers, productivity levels and quality of work will be compromised. Furthermore, you create an environment where it becomes not a matter of if your workplace will have an accident or incident but a matter of when, and to what magnitude.

    Sleep deprivation is no laughing matter, no matter how frequently our society treats the issue light-heartedly. Eventually, our biological drive to compensate for sleep deprivation wins, and the loser might be your workers, your employer or even you.

  4. Why More and More Companies Are Ditching Performance Ratings

    November 24, 2015 by ahmed


    Originally posted on HBR by David RockBeth Jones

    A few years ago, I noticed around half a dozen courageous companies beginning experiments to remove ratings from their performance management systems. Companies such as Juniper and Adobe stopped giving people a one-to-five rating or evaluating employees on a “performance curve,” also known as the “forced ranking” approach. They were still differentiating performance in various ways, and still using a pay-for-performance approach, just not through a simple rating system.

    By early 2015, around 30 large companies, representing over 1.5 million employees, were following a similar path. No longer defining performance by a single number, these companies were emphasizing ongoing, quality conversations between managers and their teams.

    At the NeuroLeadership Institute, we’ve been studying this trend closely since 2011. Our interest in the topic was piqued when clients started to tell us how our research on motivation and the brain was explaining why standard performance reviews were failing. In short, we found that social threats and rewards, like one’s sense of status or fairness, activate intense reaction networks in the brain. This explained the intense reactions people had to being assessed on a ratings scale, and it also pointed to ways of designing better systems.

    The idea of removing ratings drives many HR executives a little crazy because companies love to quantify and analyze almost everything. The thought of getting rid of a metric is almost heretical. Executives who contacted us after reading our research often assumed that removing ratings was an anomaly, perhaps driven by smaller companies who don’t realize how important pay-for-performance is.

    Yet in mid-2015, the trend started to accelerate. Consulting firms Deloitte and Accenture, global health services client Cigna, and even GE—the company who popularized the idea of forcing people into a performance curve—all announced changes to their performance management systems. By September 2015, 51 large firms were moving to a no-ratings systems. According to research firm Bersin by Deloitte, around 70% of companies are now reconsidering their performance management strategy.

    This November, coinciding with our annual Summit, we will publish a full set of findings from closely studying 30 companies that have made this change. But we’ve already seen four, clear reasons the trend is gaining momentum:

    The changing nature of work. Numerical performance management systems don’t take into account how work gets done today. Who sets 12-month goals anymore? Some workers need goal cycles of one month, or even one week. Work is also happening in teams more than ever, and many people are involved in multiple teams that often are spread around the world. Few managers accurately know their team members’ performance when that employee is involved in many other teams, often doing work the manager doesn’t see or even understand. In short, standard performance reviews, delivered once a year, are just not relevant to the ways we work anymore.

    The need for better collaboration. Studying companies that have made the change, we are seeing a clear trend: conventional ratings systems inhibit collaboration, making a business less customer-focused and agile. Top ratings lead to high status, promotions, and raises—yet it’s not like at school, where everyone can get an A if they work hard enough. With a forced curve, a manager with a hardworking team of 10 people may only be allowed to give one or two of them the top rating. As a result, people directly compete with each other for rewards, hurting collaboration. As our forthcoming research will show, when Microsoft removed its ratings, employee collaboration skyrocketed.

    The need to attract and keep talent. Companies also remove ratings to get managers to talk to employees about their development more than once or twice a year. Millennials in particular crave learning and career growth. Of the 30 companies we studied, one preliminary finding that jumped out was that after a company removed ratings, managers talked to their teams significantly more often about performance (three or four times a year instead of only once). More frequent communication helps with employee engagement, development, and fairer pay, as managers better understand how their people are doing.

    The need to develop people faster. By removing ratings, early indications of our research are that companies appear to be developing people faster across the board. It’s happening because of more frequent dialogues, which also tend to be more honest and open when neither party has to worry about justifying a rating at the end of the year.

    When Deloitte analyzed their process, they found employees and managers spent around two million hours a year on performance reviews. The problem was that much of this time was spent talking about the ratings themselves. Companies that remove ratings are seeing the conversations shift from justifying past performance to thinking about growth and development. The result is better employee development, which seems to be a win for everyone.

    Companies who have replaced ratings tend to be anxious about it beforehand and enthusiastic about it afterward. Their employees are happier, which encourages more engagement and better performance. It should be no surprise that treating an employee like a human being and not a number is a better approach. Yet it has taken a few bold companies to lead the way and show us that life is better on the other side. Only time will tell how lasting the trend truly is, but I strongly suspect we are at the beginning of something big.

  5. The Baldrige Framework Is … [Choose a Metaphor]

    November 14, 2015 by ahmed


    Originally posted on Blogrige by Christine Schaefer

    As we’ve interviewed organizational leaders in every sector of the U.S. economy for this Baldrige Program blog in recent years, we’ve heard a variety of metaphors testifying to the value of the Baldrige Excellence Framework. I’m listing a sampling below.

    Please share your own creative, catchy addition to this collection. (You’re always invited to comment here on Blogrige.)

    “… a very comprehensive but still simple approach linking together all the important aspects of management and leadership and operations” (Stephanie Webb, Kansas University Medical Center Vice Chancellor for Administration, Baldrige Executive Fellow; see the original blog at http://nistbaldrige.blogs.govdelivery.com/2014/07/08/boosting-workforce-engagement-from-the-bottom-up)

    “… the key to winning results and world-class excellence” (Ken Schiller, President, Co-Owner, and Founder, K&N Management; see the original blog at http://nistbaldrige.blogs.govdelivery.com/2015/01/15/follow-these-leaders-why-wouldnt-you)

    “… a SMAC recipe: a specific, methodical, and consistent leadership approach … a powerful set of mechanisms for disciplined people engaged in disciplined thought and taking disciplined action to create great organizations that produce exceptional results” (Jim Collins, Author or Coauthor, Good to Great, Built to Last, How the Mighty Fall, Great by Choice; see the original blog at http://nistbaldrige.blogs.govdelivery.com/2015/04/28/collins-on-baldrige-as-a-smac-recipe-discipline-creativity-and-paranoia)

    “… the plastic thingy that helps you hold together a six-pack of beer” [in relation to other improvement tools and plans and priorities for work processes] (John Dreyzehner, Tennessee Commissioner of Health; see the original blog at http://nistbaldrige.blogs.govdelivery.com/2014/02/11/whats-boosting-government-performance-in-tennessee)

    “… the blueprint of a building, with ISO used for specific systems within the building such as electrical and air conditioning systems” (Ron Schulingkamp, Loyola University New Orleans Assistant Professor; Fluor Federal Petroleum Operations, LLC, Health Care Consultant; see the original blog at http://nistbaldrige.blogs.govdelivery.com/2014/06/12/baldrige-and-iso-qms-a-complementary-relationship)

    “… a well-organized road map to performance excellence” (Michael Garvey, M-7 Technologies President and CEO; see the original blog at http://nistbaldrige.blogs.govdelivery.com/2015/06/16/for-manufacturers-baldrige-could-be-the-cure-for-focusing-on-the-future)

    “… a cure for many business strategies and critical sustainability decisions. … the cure for the stability of our organization.” (Kris Diemer, Du Fresne Manufacturing Vice President of Human Development; see the original blog at http://nistbaldrige.blogs.govdelivery.com/2015/06/16/for-manufacturers-baldrige-could-be-the-cure-for-focusing-on-the-future)

    “… a map that will show the organization where . . . Six Sigma, Lean, and other tools should be deployed. . . . If an organization deploys [such tools] without an overall map as Baldrige, it would be like taking a trip in a car but not having a map to know the way.” (Gene O’Dell, American Hospital Association Vice President for Strategic Planning and Performance Excellence; see the original blog at http://nistbaldrige.blogs.govdelivery.com/2015/03/24/why-support-use-of-the-baldrige-framework)

    “… the rudder for the education sector in that stormy sea. It empowers organizations to address their reason for being by maintaining focus and discipline to achieve student success.” (Fonda Vera, Richland College Executive Dean of Planning, Research, Effectiveness, and Development; see the original blog at http://nistbaldrige.blogs.govdelivery.com/?s=Fonda+Vera)

    “… the lens by which we inform all of our improvement efforts” (Leslie Bonar, Schertz Elementary School Assistant Principal; see the original blog at http://nistbaldrige.blogs.govdelivery.com/2012/10/16/texas-superintendents-network-for-excellence)

    “… a trim tab, the small rudder-like mechanism at the top of rudders (ships) or leading edges of ailerons or stabilizers (aircraft) that make it easier for the pilot (the senior leaders) to maneuver the vehicle (the organization) against the physical forces that buffet it (the environment)” (Barry Johnson, Knowledge Engineers Principal; see the original blog at http://nistbaldrige.blogs.govdelivery.com/?s=Fonda+Vera)

    What is your favorite metaphor for the Baldrige framework for performance excellence?