1. JIC Wins European Award for best Practices – 2016

    June 26, 2016 by ahmed

    JIC 2016

    Al Jazeera International Catering was awarded the most prestigious European Award for best Practices – 2016. This award was presented as recognition for JIC’s best practices, adherence to the excellence program and the commitment towards sustainability and stakeholder engagement.

    The European Society for Quality Research (ESQR) recognizes and highlights outstanding business results, best practices, quality awareness and achievements by companies in regional and global markets. Through its recognition programs and awards, ESQR makes quality a top priority for the recognized organizations, regardless of their sector, size and location.

    The award was presented at a splendid Ceremony held at Le Plaza Hotel, Brussels (Belgium) on Saturday, June 4, 2016. Around 75 companies from 63 countries participated in this grand event.

    Receiving the award, Mr. Robby Thommy, Managing Director, Al Jazeera International Catering, thanked the organizers for evaluating and recognizing its commitment towards sustainability and stakeholder’s engagement. He also thanked the employees of JIC for their passion and dedication towards excellence and sustainability and said this award is a clear recognition for the commitment and attitude they possess towards the journey of excellence.

    JIC won the International Best Practice Competition 2015 and 2014, and Runner-up of GBN’s Global Benchmarking Award 2015

  2. Ten policies you’ll find in every toxic workplace

    by ahmed


    Originally posted on Forbes by Liz Ryan

    There are lots of clues that a company or institution you’re interviewing with is a bad place to work. You can tell by the way the recruiter communicates with you. You can tell from the feeling you get when you walk into the building for your job interview.

    You can tell in a second how friendly or unfriendly the people in the company are. You can watch them banter and joke with one another, or hand you off stiffly from one interviewer to the next. The cultural clues are everywhere — all you have to do is notice them!

    I don’t want you to accept a job offer with any organization until you’ve read its Employee Handbook cover to cover. If they won’t give you the Employee Handbook when they’re trying to get you into the company, that’s a good reason to run away, right there!

    If you were about to sign a contract, wouldn’t you expect to get a look at the contract before someone stuck a pen in your hand and asked you to sign it? Of course you would! Anyone would.

    If you take the job, one of the first things they’ll do at your new employee orientation meeting is to make you sign a piece of paper that says you’ve read the handbook and intend to comply with all its policies.

    That’s why you have to have a chance to read the handbook before you accept the offer. This would go without saying except that job-seekers are so used to being beaten down and treated like dirt that it doesn’t occur to most of them to ask for something as reasonable as an advance copy of their possible new employer’s handbook.

    You have to get it, because if these policies are in it, you don’t want the job!

    No Moonlighting Policy

    When you have a full-time job, you are responsible for giving the job a good day’s work every working day. After that, it’s your life. You should be able to spend it doing whatever you want to do, from fishing off a pier to making baked ziti or anything else that suits your fancy.

    No employer should be able to make you sign a policy that says you won’t work anywhere else after hours. How heavy-handed can you get? No-moonlighting policies are the epitome of fear-based bullying. They have no place in the Knowledge Economy we all operate in now.

    Stack Ranking

    Stack ranking or forced ranking is a medieval management system that became popular in the nineteen-eighties and in some out-of-touch employers is still going strong.

    In this system each manager has to “rank” his or her employees from best to worst, in case the employees are one-dimensional, stackable and rankable objects instead of vibrant, unique and amazing people. Run away from any employer who still uses a stack ranking system or otherwise pits employees against one another!

    Stitch-Level Dress Code

    Assuming that a company hires only adults, they can trust their employees to dress themselves. If your prospective new employer’s handbook includes a painfully-detailed dress code policy, it’s not a place that can grow your flame. Trust-based cultures don’t treat their employees like children, and children with poor judgment, at that!

    We Own Your Ideas

    It is reasonable for an employer to make it clear to employees that ideas that you have and bring out on the job belong to the employer rather than to you personally. It is not reasonable for an employer’s policy to say that any idea you have while you are working for the company, even at home and off hours, also belongs to them, but that is what some company policies say.
    Check this part of the handbook carefully before you take the job!

    Attendance Weenietude

    In the U.S. it is important for non-exempt employees to track their hours because the law requires them to be paid overtime once they pass a certain number of hours in the day or the week. Salaried employees are not covered by those laws and it is ridiculous for employers to make a big deal out of arrival and departure times for people who are paid a salary. If your possible next employer has a strict attendance policy, they don’t deserve your talents!

    Bell-Curve Performance Reviews

    Bell-curve performance reviews are testaments to managerial fear, because they forbid a department head from giving more than just a few people “excellent” marks on a performance review. A good rule of thumb when it comes to performance reviews systems is that the more formal the performance appraisal process is, the lousier an employer you are dealing with.

    Performance reviews will disappear altogether in all but the most hidebound and out-of-it employers before long. Don’t go to work for people who are behind the curve!

    Infractions Policy

    Some old-school employers count and will ding you for tiny “infractions,” sometimes called “incidents,” and they’ll do it by creating an Infraction Record or Incident Report that will require you to go talk to someone about why you goofed up when you did, for instance by transferring a customer call to the wrong person or forgetting a step in a process. You are not in prison – you are at work. The more a company runs its workplace like a prison, the longer and more detailed its Employee Handbook will be!

    Stealing Miles

    If you travel for work, you should be able to keep your frequent flyer miles, period. Business travel is hard on the brain and the body. Even more importantly, any company that chooses such a skeevy way to save money is not a company where you’ll be happy working.

    Funeral Leave

    Some terrible employers require their employees to bring in a funeral notice when a family member dies. Maybe at some point in history an employee invented a family death and now all the rest of you have to pay for that mistake. This policy is an abomination and a loud statement about the organization’s concern for its employees in their lives outside of work.

    Managers Decide Who Transfers

    It is downright stupid for employers to limit their employees’ movements from one department to another, because their competitors for talent won’t put up any barriers to smart people who want to advance in their careers. If your possible next employer has a policy that requires managers to sign off on employee transfers, don’t take the job! You can’t afford to put your career in the hands of unintelligent people.

  3. 2016 World’s most ethical includes Baldrige recipients

    June 19, 2016 by ahmed


    Originally posted on Blogrige by Dawn Marie Bailey

    Among honorees from 21 countries, 5 continents, and 45 industries, several Baldrige Award-winning organizations (as well as other organizations on Baldrige journeys) made the Ethisphere Institute’s 2016 “The World’s Most Ethical Companies” list of just over 100 organizations.

    Ethisphere Institute is identified as “a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices, recognizing companies that go beyond making statements about doing business ‘ethically’ and translate words into actions by promoting ethical business standards internally and exceeding legal compliance minimums through best practices.”

    Among the honorees are:

    • 2007 Baldrige Award recipient Sharp Healthcare (San Diego, CA)
    • 2006 Baldrige Award recipient Premier (Charlotte, NC)
    • 2000 Baldrige Award recipient CH2M (formerly Operations Management International, Inc.) (Greenwood Village, CO)
    • 1993 Baldrige Award recipient Eastman Chemical Company (Kingsport, TN)
    • 1992 Baldrige Award recipient Texas Instruments (Dallas, TX)
    • 1989 Baldrige Award recipient Milliken & Company (Spartanburg, SC)
    • 1989 Baldrige Award recipient Xerox Corporation (Stamford, CT)

    Others on the list with a connection to a Baldrige Award recipient include 3M Company (3M Dental Products Division was a Baldrige Award recipient in 1997) and Hospital Corporation of America (2014 Baldrige Award recipient St. David’s HealthCare (SDH)—one of the largest hospital systems in Texas—is a unique partnership between St. David’s Foundation, Hospital Corporation of America, and Georgetown Health Foundation).

    According to its website, Ethisphere uses a proprietary rating system called the corporate Ethics Quotient, which is comprised of multiple-choice questions that represent a company’s ethical performance. Organizations are invited to apply, with the majority being corporate and large in size.

    Within the Baldrige Excellence Framework (versions of which all of the organizations noted above had fully implemented at the time of their Baldrige Award wins), ethics is part of a Core Value and Concept present in all high-performing organizations. In addition, within Category 1 Leadership, considerations are given for how an organization fulfills its ethical responsibilities and promotes ethical behavior, and in Category 5 Workforce, considerations are offered for how workforce and leader development supports ethics and ethical business practices. Further, in item 7.4 Leadership and Governance Results, results for ethical behavior, including stakeholder trust in senior leaders and governance, and breaches of ethical behavior, are considered.

    How would your organization rate among the world’s most ethical?

  4. Powerful habits of considerate people

    June 16, 2016 by ahmed


    Originally posted on Linkedin by Dr. Travis Bradberry

    Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer once said, “Politeness is to human nature what warmth is to wax.” It’s true. Being kind and considerate softens people and makes them malleable to your way of thinking.

    But I see another meaning there, too. I think he’s also saying that being considerate of others is an integral part of what it means to be human. Charles Darwin would have agreed. He argued that our instinct to be considerate is even stronger than our instinct to be self-serving.

    As obvious as that may seem, it’s only recently that neuroscience has been able to explain why. Research conducted by Dacher Keltner at Berkeley showed that our brains react exactly the same when we see other people in pain as when we experience pain ourselves. Watching someone else experience pain also activates the structure deep inside the brain that’s responsible for nurturing behavior, called the periaqueductal gray.

    Being considerate of others is certainly a good career move, but it’s also good for your health. When you show consideration for others, the brain’s reward center is triggered, which elevates the feel-good chemicals dopamine, oxytocin, and endogenous opioids. This gives you a great feeling, which is similar to what’s known as “runner’s high,” and all that oxytocin is good for your heart.

    “Being considerate of others will take you further in life than any college or professional degree.” – Marian Wright Edelman

    That’s all well and good, but how practical is it? How do you become more considerate when you have so many other things competing for your finite mental energy? It’s not that hard—all you have to do is emulate the habits of highly considerate people.

    Show up on time. Sure, sometimes things happen, but always showing up late sends a very clear message that you think your time is more important than everyone else’s, and that’s just rude. Even if you really do think that your time is more important, you don’t have to broadcast that belief to the world. Instead, be considerate and show up when you said you would.

    Be deliberately empathic. It’s one thing to feel empathy for other people, but putting that feeling into action is another matter entirely. It’s great to be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes—in fact, it’s essential—but that doesn’t necessarily translate into being considerate. To be deliberately empathic, you have to let your ability to walk in their shoes change what you do, whether that’s changing your behavior to accommodate their feelings or providing tangible help in a tough situation.

    Apologize when you need to (and don’t when you don’t). We all know people who are so insecure or so afraid of offending someone that they practically apologize for breathing. In such situations, apologizing loses its meaning. But it’s a different matter entirely when a sincere apology is really necessary. When you’ve made a mistake, or even think you’ve made a mistake, apologizing is a crucial part of being considerate.

    Smile a lot. Physically, it’s easier to frown than to smile—smiling involves 42 different muscles; however, it pays to make the extra effort, as smiling has a huge effect on other people. People naturally (and unconsciously) mirror the body language of the person they’re talking to. When you smile at people, they will unconsciously return the favor and feel good as a result.

    Mind your manners. A lot of people have come to believe that not only are manners unnecessary, they’re undesirable because they’re fake. These people think that being polite means you’re acting in a way that doesn’t reflect how you actually feel, but they’ve got it backwards. “Minding your manners” is all about focusing on how the other person feels, not on how you feel. It’s consciously acting in a way that puts other people at ease and makes them feel comfortable.

    Be emotionally intelligent. One of the huge fallacies our culture has embraced is that feeling something is the same as acting on that feeling, and that’s just wrong, because there’s this little thing called self-control. Whether it’s helping out a co-worker when you’re in a crunch to meet your own deadline or continuing to be pleasant with someone who is failing to return the favor, being considerate often means not acting on what you feel.

    Try to find a way for everybody to win. Many people approach life as a zero-sum game. They think that somebody has to win and somebody else has to lose. Considerate people, on the other hand, try to find a way for everybody to win. That’s not always possible, but it’s their goal. If you want to be more considerate, stop thinking of every interaction with others as a win/lose scenario.

    Act on your intuition when it comes to other people’s needs. Sometimes you can just tell when someone is upset or having a bad day. In such cases, being considerate means checking in with them to see if your intuition is correct. If your intuition is telling you to reach out—do it; they’ll appreciate your concern.

    Bringing It All Together

    Being considerate is good for your mental and physical health, your career, and everyone around you. On top of that, it just feels good.

    What are some other ways to show consideration for others? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

  5. The “Great Value” of the Baldrige framework to a university

    by ahmed


    Originally posted on Blogrige by Christine Schaefer

    The University of Wisconsin–Stout earned the first Baldrige Award in higher education in 2001. Dr. Meridith Drzakowski worked at the state university that year as an institutional planner. Today she is the assistant chancellor for planning, assessment, research and quality. Beyond UW–Stout, she is a senior Baldrige examiner, now serving for her sixth consecutive year on the federal program’s Board of Examiners (which may be the hardest-working volunteer corps of cross-sector professionals in America!).

    To share how UW–Stout continues to improve and innovate to sustain its success, she agreed to provide an update through a group interview of senior leaders. Following are highlights of the recent interview, which included Dr. Bob Meyer, chancellor; Dr. Patrick Guilfoile, provost; and Drzakowski.

    1- What are some key ways in recent years that UW–Stout has used concepts from the Baldrige Excellence Framework (education version) to achieve improvements, innovation, and excellence?

    Bob Meyer:

    I believe that the Baldrige process and Criteria really helped shape the university in terms of its strategic planning process. I think that’s probably one of the most critical tools that we’ve adopted and perfected over time. Pursuing the Baldrige Award encouraged us to refine our strategic planning process and create a process that’s inclusive, responsive, and transparent. By inclusive I mean that it’s designed to engage a broad group of stakeholders to gather ideas on how to look at a future vision for the institution and what continuous-improvement items we need to tackle next. It’s responsive in that if it’s done right, then you should have a plan that is responsive to or reflective of the input you’ve collected and responsive to the needs that were suggested. And it’s transparent from the point of view that we have constant communications. We’ve developed our communication systems that support the planning process, so everyone knows what’s going on and everyone’s aware of it.

    Because of that, we have a common road map or a common vision of where we want to go. And when you have that, you have alignment of resources and people so that you can attain outcomes more effectively and quickly even though you invest more time up front doing the planning and gathering the input. … Because you have a buy-in and it’s not solely a top-down process—it’s top-down, bottom-up and you’ve come to a consensus on where you want to go—I think there’s much faster implementation, and the plan is much more embraced or supported. So I think that’s probably one of the most impactful things that the Baldrige process has brought to the university.

    I also believe that our decision making and our processes are information- or data-informed. If they work, then we celebrate that they work; if they don’t work, we learn from the fact that they didn’t and we try something else. You don’t have a failure if you’re measuring what’s going on and you learn from it.

    UW–Stout’s strategic planning process attracted me to become chancellor because it’s very mature here. If you don’t have a strategic plan process where your action items are actually being worked on and appropriately resourced and you’re seeing movement on them, then you lose momentum.

    Meridith Drzakowski:

    Particularly in the area of strategic planning, I think the Baldrige framework has helped us take some risks in the area of innovation. A specific example would be that at the time that we applied [for the Baldrige Award] in 2001 we had something called Listening Sessions, which we thought were innovative [then]. And that was a series of eight or nine separate sessions, an hour in length each, where we would share with the campus some of the major initiatives that we were hoping to implement and ask for feedback.

    We got some good information from that process, but there were also a number of concerns, in particular, a lot of the same people would be showing up at the events, a limited number of people would be comfortable speaking up, and there was a perception by some people that they were there to be listeners rather than contributors.

    So we … completely restructured the format. So now as part of the “Welcome Back” events, we have what’s called an Engagement Session, where we first all get together in one central location, … we present these major ideas to the campus, and then we split into 35 separate rooms. So all faculty and staff are randomly assigned to these rooms where they have a facilitated discussion about the proposed initiatives, and there’s a facilitator and note taker in every room. We get hundreds of pages of comments back, which are reviewed by our Strategic Planning Group and then used to make changes and improvements to those initiatives.

    Students are invited as well, but it’s primarily our faculty and staff who participate. … Over half of our faculty and staff show up for the event, which starts at 8 a.m. and ends with lunch. …

    A second innovative example (again tied to our planning process) would be something called the “You Said, We Did,” [which is] really tied to the learning aspect of the Baldrige process. We have, since forever, been listening to feedback from the campus and taking action based on that. But we came to learn that a lot of people were not making the connection between the feedback that they provided and the actions that we were taking, and we learned that we needed to be very intentional about that. So we started with these “You Said, We Did” sessions, which happen during the “Welcome Back” for the beginning of the second semester and where we have people who had a role in these initiatives present. And what they present are examples of specific feedback provided during the Engagement Sessions, … specific actions taken based on that feedback, and … the people who made it possible. We started out having it be a report-out like that, but over time we wanted to make it fun and engaging and more of a celebratory atmosphere.

    Drzakowski then described how the university has made the annual event more celebratory in recent years through adjustments such as ordering party hats and noise makers for the presenters and audience at the January 2015 session, as well as encouraging sunglasses to be worn widely and arranging to have guitar music played on stage at the January 2016 event.

    It’s really turned into a celebratory event where we really thank the campus for what they’ve provided and demonstrate that we’re using their feedback.

    Patrick Guilfoile:

    I’m still [relatively new here] … so I’m seeing things through different eyes. … but as I’ve been on campus, I’ve asked a lot of questions about why we do things; I almost never remember hearing “because that’s the way we’ve always done them.” So I’ve really seen an openness on campus—maybe it would fall under the [Baldrige core value] of managing for innovation—to explore different ways of doing things. And that’s really impressed me during my time on campus here.

    2- What differences have you observed between how your institution focuses on continuous improvement (or performance excellence), in comparison to practices at other educational institutions?


    Celebration is important. A comment about continuous improvement is that you’re always looking at what little foible is wrong that we need to improve. So you can come away from that thinking that we’re always criticizing the institution. But that’s really not true.

    Our university culture embraces the idea of change and how we can do something better, but we want to keep it positive. Celebrating success is really important because otherwise people think, “This whole continuous improvement process seems negative because you’re being critical of how we do things.”


    As an example of a unique process at UW–Stout, Guilfoile first described a rigorous and innovative data-collection, measurement, and review process, overseen by Drzakowski’s office, that aims to verify and ensure that tuition dollars allocated for student services such as tutoring centers are having the intended effect.

    In my own experience elsewhere, I hadn’t seen that kind of attention to collecting the right kind of information to validate whether or not the money is being spent in a way that really is being helpful.

    [As another example,] the program review process on campus is very detailed and very in-depth and that’s been helpful to provide administrators with information on resources needed… in the current more resource-constrained environment. … There’s been a real openness on campus to have discussions and develop processes … to incorporate elements that can be controversial [such as looking at costs and revenue generated by programs] in our longstanding program review process. … From the perspective of being a new person on campus, I’ve been very impressed with how quickly people here move forward with that even though there are controversial aspects and really try to work through and come up with the best solution. So that’s another example related to differences with other institutions.

    3- Would you please share details about your recent initiative to develop and implement a cascading scorecard for the organization?


    Category 4 [the Baldrige Criteria section that assesses measurement, analysis, and knowledge management] was our lowest-scoring category in the Baldrige Award process [when UW–Stout applied for and received the award]. … So we’ve really spent a lot of time working on trying to improve there. And I think our most significant issues … were in the areas of deployment and integration.

    We have metrics that we use as part of our strategic planning process that we’re regularly monitoring, but there was room for improvement in terms of how many people were looking at them, what processes they were integrated into, and at what levels of the organization they were being used.

    Our strategic plans are five-year plans, and at the beginning of each plan, we develop what we call performance indicators, which are a small set of metrics that we use to assess the overall success of our strategic plan. So it’s about 25 metrics that we develop every five years, and they’re reviewed regularly by our Strategic Planning Group. And we do have many examples of how we used those results to develop initiatives at the university level, but fewer initiatives at lower levels of the organization. And primarily we felt that was because we weren’t systematically presenting data segmented down to the major units, departments, and program levels.

    So the first step we took was to create what we called Program Facts, which were static dashboards [showing for a point in time] how the college was performing on metrics that could be drilled down to the program level. From that we’ve migrated to what we have now with the cascading scorecards, an interactive dashboard that has our performance indicators on it at the university level, and you can drill down to the college, unit, department, and academic program levels. And there’s additional segmentation by gender, student level, minority status, and such.

    photo c

    That has helped us in the conversations with the Strategic Planning Group to see where it is that we’re doing well and where it is that we can improve, and I think that it has led to more targeted initiatives. But where we still see room for improvement is better integrating these into existing processes on campus. So what we’re working on now is integrating these into processes for academic program review [etc.]. So we’re intentionally integrating these into those processes so that there will be more outcomes … both in the area of opportunities for improvement as well as better sharing of best practices.


    Meridith has done a really good job of making sure that we’re not tracking so many different things that it’s impossible to manage all of those. In conversations I’ve had with her, she’s been reluctant, for very good reason, to add something without taking something away. That kind of discipline has been very helpful to ensure that we’re not overwhelming people with an enormous number of things to track.

    4- Could you please give key reasons that you believe other organizations in the education sector, particularly in higher education today, could benefit from using the Baldrige Excellence Framework (including the Education Criteria for Performance Excellence)?


    I think the great value of the Baldrige framework is that it gives you a structure under which to plan and implement a vision forward, or a future state, and you can do it in a way that engages both external and internal stakeholders.

    Meyer then explained that external stakeholders are included in UW–Stout’s visioning sessions that initiate the five-year cycle for creating new strategic plans.

    The significant engagement that we have starts, first of all, with the Strategic Planning Group that helps facilitate it. This group deliberately has many employee types as members, and the Engagement Process literally involves everyone across the institution. One of the reasons I think that’s a helpful model is that engagement creates a common road map that everybody can rally around and understand. If you have that level of engagement up front creating the vision and the road map, you’re going to have much better alignment when you go to deploy and implement it. The process allows for all of our employees to be working in the same direction.

    With the level of engagement that results, there’s ownership on the part of the employees. … Consequently, they are stewards of the road map, and you can feel that in the culture. In fact, it really feels good when you work here and you don’t have to push the staff at all; in many ways, they’re pulling the leadership along with them.


    Prior to our adopting the Baldrige framework, we were tracking too many metrics—well over one hundred. … the Baldrige framework has helped us—and can help other organizations—to identify what is most important for the organization.

    Drzakowski added that she considers this critically important in higher education given the trend toward an increasing number of accountability processes, for example, with state and national scorecards.


    Meyer next described how UW–Stout has used its strong strategic planning process to help it effectively manage recent state funding cuts that resulted in a 10.4 percent reduction in the university’s discretionary operating budget.

    At the previous institution where I worked and also previously when I was a dean at UW–Stout, we implemented funding reductions across the board as a percentage. … This time around, we really wanted to be strategic about how we navigated our reductions.

    In the same way that we do strategic planning, we had the same levels of engagement in terms of how we looked at creating our reductions. It’s not as much fun as thinking big about what your future looks like. But I think it’s really important because what we tried to do was protect our strategic plan and associated action plans. We came up with a set of principles for how to do that. So we did not do across-the-board cuts. We did our cuts strategically. We actually downsized a lot of our administration and tried to keep the instructional area held harmless as much as we could. So I’m proud of that. In addition to using strategic planning to grow, we’ve now used it as way to shrink a little bit, too.


    I think in terms of the Baldrige framework that the Organizational Profile really can help organizations with what Bob is talking about, to identify what’s most important and be able to handle those kinds of reductions in strategic ways.

    5- Would you please suggest a few tips for using the Baldrige framework to support high performance across your organization?


      • Follow the Baldrige Core Values, particularly valuing people and managing for innovation. In the area of valuing people, establishing trust is so critical for us, and I think it’s the Baldrige framework that helps us do that. We just finished an accreditation visit; we had a team here, and they [said] it was evident that the campus had trust in the leaders, and they asked what our magic formula is for accomplishing that. And I think it’s about having the difficult conversations regularly and whenever issues come up.


      • Communicate! If you think you’ve gotten to the point of communicating enough, you’re in trouble. I think one of the best things that Meridith did was set up these “You Said, We Did” sessions. It’s really important to show your stakeholders the evidence that you’ve used their feedback.


      • Thank people for their role in your engagement and improvement processes. This reinforces employees’ engagement and ownership in continuous improvement. Even those who filled out a survey are asked to stand and be recognized at the “You Said, We Did” sessions for contributing their input.


      • Build trust [through the above actions]. When people trust one other, things can happen more expeditiously. I want to reiterate the importance of that principle.