1. For Three-Timer, Exponential Growth Starts with People, Safety

    May 12, 2021 by BPIR.com Limited

    Originally posted on Blogrige by Dawn Bailey

    In 2020, MESA, a small business in Oklahoma, became the first and only (to date) three-time Baldrige Award recipient.

    From a one-person consulting firm founded in 1979, MESA has grown to support a workforce of over 250 people. The largest privately owned company in its market, it is a manufacturing and field services firm headquartered in Tulsa, with 10 U.S. locations. According to Terry May, MESA president and founder, MESA’s national footprint positions it as the third largest company in the underground petroleum pipeline industry. MESA’s specialty is cathodic protection, an electro-chemical process that prevents corrosion on underground or submerged pipelines and storage tanks.

    A Culture that Values People
    Speaking at the first virtual Baldrige Quest for Excellence® conference, May said, “We’ve accomplished some extraordinary things and created an incredible team of people that we call ONE MESA. . . . If you ask us what makes us unique, I have an easy answer. It’s our people.”

    CEO Kelsey May echoed the sentiment of a culture that values people in her Quest conference one-key-takeaway presentation:

    By putting people first, we know we will empower our workforce to take care of our customers, execute our projects well, and ensure financial success. Employees are at the core of everything we do, and we won’t see success in any of our VFOs [vital few objectives] unless we prioritize our team.

    During its 2019 strategic planning cycle, Kelsey May said feedback loops—including a strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats (SWOT) analysis, employee engagement survey, and Baldrige feedback reports—helped MESA identify a need to work on communication with field teams, along with engagement for all groups. In addition, the small business had two planned operational challenges: the integration (and significant reorganization) of field construction teams and a strategic acquisition. Kelsey May said both initiatives had to be carefully coordinated with the strategic plan to improve employee engagement.

    As a result of a 2020 engagement initiative that included care packages sent to each member on every construction crew; each employee on every services crew receiving a hand-written, thank-you note from the director; employee focus groups; surveys; and other communication methods, as well as a focus on accountability, MESA’s employee engagement score rose by 16%.

    MESA’s Strategic Challenges & Opportunities slide from its Quest for Excellence senior leadership plenary presentation.

    As the first and most important VFO for MESA, SAFETY is intentionally capitalized, always.

    MESA’s business involves excavating and working on high-pressure pipelines carrying hydrocarbon liquids and gas, and employees driving millions of miles every year to work sites. Construction crews work in remote locations, sometimes 10 hours per day, 6 days a week. Weather, driving, and the local environment, including wildlife, add additional safety challenges.

    Terry May said, “The consequences of a single mistake can cause catastrophic damage to people, property, and the planet. We start every meeting at MESA with a safety moment to make sure it’s foremost on our minds.”

    He added, “It’s important for both commerce and insurance reasons to keep our safety metrics low, but what’s most important for us is that our people go home every day without getting hurt. That’s a goal that all of us at MESA share.”

    To emphasize this goal, SAFETY is the first component of the strategic plan, said Kelsey May. She added,

    SAFETY shows up first, it gets talked about first, and it gets measured first. . . . Without a strong SAFETY culture, we couldn’t do what we do.

    An Essential Business During a Pandemic
    As an essential business during the COVID-19 pandemic, MESA’s operations were not shut down, but that meant that sustainability could not jeopardize SAFETY, said Terry May. A safety team developed a pandemic preparedness plan and worked to source appropriate personal protective equipment. The marketing team coordinated weekly video messages from senior leaders, and the accounting team developed a family-first leave process. In addition, a taskforce created additional SAFETY plans for remote workers, including temperature screening and mask requirements.

    “We all know how difficult last year was,” said Kelsey May. “The situation was ever-changing, which meant we needed to be talking to our people on an almost-constant basis.” Communication included weekly messages from leadership, Wednesday weekly chats, a texting process for field teams, meeting software that allowed anonymous questions, and immediate collection and action on feedback. Learning from these communication methods even led to a 2021 internal communications calendar, said Kelsey May.

    “While we didn’t hit our financial targets,” added Terry May, “we kept our people safe and engaged.”

    MESA’s Most Impactful Results slide from its Quest for Excellence senior leadership plenary presentation.

    Business Growth
    Terry May said he submitted MESA’s first Baldrige application in 2002, but the small business began its formal quality journey in 1993. “Our small business was growing almost despite our recurrent mistakes and failures. We went through a 10-year period of sporadic improvement initiatives, including TQM, ISO 9000, and Lean,” he said. “They weren’t all successful, and we weren’t particularly good at sustaining improvements. But that experience prepared us for . . . when I became aware of the Baldrige Criteria.”

    He added, “Our business has grown exponentially over the last 20 years and that growth coincides almost perfectly with our Baldrige journey. . . .

    We’ve maintained an average growth rate of almost 10%. So, for anyone, who is wondering whether the Baldrige process is worth the time or money, I’d offer this. . . . We were on a path of growth before we started practicing Baldrige, but that growth line shifted exponentially after we started.

  2. Why are we so good at Sport and so bad at Business?

    April 15, 2021 by BPIR.com Limited
    Come to the NZBEF Conference 10/11 May 2021, in Wellington to find out why and what you can do about it.
    In Sport we are winners. We can win the oldest sporting trophy in the World or become champions at any sport we take seriously. But when it comes to business productivity the story is very different.

    A working paper published by the NZ Productivity Commission in 2021/01 “Benchmarking New Zealand’s frontier firms” reports:

    “New Zealand’s frontier firms, which are the most productive firms (the top 10%) are falling further behind their counterparts in other Small Advanced Economies (SAE’s). Their relative labour productivity ratio has dropped from 52% in 2003 to 44% in 2016. This indicates that New Zealand’s frontier firms generate less than half of the value (per labour input) their counterparts generate in other SAEs.” https://www.productivity.govt.nz/research/benchmarking-new-zealands-frontier-firms/

    The NZBEF conference theme “Improve” seeks your participation to do something about this. It is kicked off by “Sir Ian Taylor” who will tell the story of “continuous Improvement” in the America’s Cup and refer to his own world leading company Animated Research ltd that seeks excellence with the same passion.

    The Naval theme is maintained by holding the event at the Navy HQ and our Defence Force talk about their commitment to continuous improvement. A commitment that NZBEF are hoping will inspire Business to follow. Leaders will also share their ideas, demonstrate support and look for ways forward.

    We then celebrate Excellence by sharing the best practices of 10 New Zealand organisations competing for the New Zealand Best Practice Competition Award. The conference then lifts its head to look at Global Best Practice. 12 Finalists from the International Best Practice Competition will share best practices in diverse areas such as Covid recovery, leadership, digital, customer focus and productivity.

    This is a one-off opportunity to learn from the very best in NZ and worldwide and ramp up NZ’s productivity!

    So book now at https://nzbef.org.nz/event/nzbef-2021-conference/ and make a difference for future generations.

    To view over 70 best practices to be shared in lead-up webinars from 26 April to 6 May and at the NZBEF Conference, 10-11 May, view https://www.bestpracticecompetition.com/programme/

  3. Calling all Business Excellence Award Winners and Applicants – An Opportunity to Participate in Leading-Edge Research on Achieving & Sustaining Performance Excellence – SURVEY NOW LIVE

    April 14, 2021 by BPIR.com Limited

    Our research project is now live. We appreciate the assistance of all Business Excellence Award Winners and Applicants to complete the survey by 25th May 2021.

    Survey Link – Business Excellence (BE) Survey Investigation on how BE is supported within your organisation (qualtrics.com)

    Key benefits of your participation:

    1. Answering the survey questions will help you to reflect on your existing BE approach and assess the effectiveness of your BE structure.
    2. As a participating organisation, you will receive a report of the findings enabling you to learn from best practices on how to introduce and accelerate your BE journey.

    It is important that the person who completes this survey can accurately reflect the views of your organisation. The survey will take approximately 30 minutes to complete and all data collected from this survey will remain confidential and anonymous. Published work will only show aggregated data across all organisations surveyed and not identify the names of the people or organisations completing the survey.

    For further information refer to our previous article on the project Calling all Business Excellence Award Winners and Applicants – An Opportunity to Participate in Leading-Edge Research on Achieving & Sustaining Performance Excellence (bpir.com).

  4. Book Release: Students Quality Circles: An innovative concept and practice for schools and colleges to develop Quality mindset in students for the corporate world and the society

    April 9, 2021 by BPIR.com Limited
    Students Quality Circles or SQCs in short, are basically miniature level activities of what the Japanese Quality Control Circles (QCCs) are in the corporate world. These activities prepare students for the Quality mindset from the very early age, thus engraving their per-sonalities with Quality.

    SQC is an innovative concept and practice used as a part of schools’ or colleges’ co-curricular activities since mid-nineties in many countries of Asian sub-continent. The objective of SQCs program is to develop and prepare students for the corporate world as well as for a quality living in the society. A research study was carried out by the authors in schools in 2020 where SQCs were practiced to find out the effectiveness of this program. The objective of this book is to explain the SQC concept, benefits and its application in schools with the help of findings of a national survey.
    The book explains the origin of this concept and the differences in the practices of QCCs in the corporate world versus SQCs in the schools. It discusses how effectively students are practicing SQCs and how effectively they are implemented and managed by schools and colleges. Critical success and failure factors of this program are identified and highlighted.

    The book provides practical guidelines to educationists and management of schools, colleges and universities who want to initiate or improve their existing program. The book identifies the strength of this unique and innovative program in building a society towards world-class quality. The authors strongly recommend this non-traditional but powerful program to be implemented in schools, colleges and universities in all countries. It is hoped that this book will benefit educational institutions in different countries to further improve Quality mindset in their societies through this program.

    You can order the paperback or kindle versions from Amazon here

    About the authers:

    Dr. Kamran Moosa is the Chief Executive of PIQC Institute of Quality, Pakistan. He is a member of International Academy for Quality and Quality in Education Think Tank (QiETT). He is the recipient of Ishikawa-Kano Silver Medal of 2020 by Asian Network for Quality (ANQ). He was the founding Chairman of Quality & Productivity Society of Pakistan and a senior member of American Society for Quality (ASQ). He is an author of four books on Quality Management.

    Abdul Wahid Mir is the Principal of Modernage Public School and College – Abbottabad and Director General of EQUIP – Pakistan, which is a non-profit organization for promoting Students Quality Circles in the country. He is an educationist and also involved in teachers training and development programs.

  5. BPIR.com Newsletter: Mar 2021

    March 16, 2021 by BPIR.com Limited






    7th International Best Practice Competition – 2nd Call for Entries

    The 7th International Best Practice Competition (incorporating the 2nd New Zealand Best Practice Competition & 3rd Organisation-Wide Innovation Award) will be held at the NZBEF’s Business Excellence Conference, Wellington, New Zealand.

    This is an opportunity to participate in a global virtual event to share and learn best practices.

    To submit your Best Practice visit http://www.bestpracticecompetition.com/entry-forms where you can download an entry form. The Second Call for entries closes on 26th of March 2021. Qualifier round presentations will be held in webinar format between 27 April to 5 May 2021.

    Add the event to your calendar

    Featured Events

    Latest News

    • Excellence Canada Announces New Organizational Excellence Standard….read more
    • Calling all Business Excellence Award Winners and Applicants….    read more
    • South African Quality Institutes Quality Education News….    read more
    • Podcast: Total Quality Management: Is it still relevant in a digital economy?….    read more
    • Why Baldrige? Reflections of a retired New England business leader….    read more


    Helping employees find their dream jobs

    Stellar Solutions, a US provider of Aerospace engineering services, believed in helping employees find their dream jobs. This article provides insight on methods employed by the firm to make the dream-job concept a reality. Stellar Solutions was a 2017 Baldrige National Quality Award Recipient.


    Organisational Vision inspires success

    In a five-part blog series on the 2018 Baldrige Award recipients’ leadership presentations at the 31st Annual Quest for Excellence® Conference (2019), senior leaders of the five latest US national role models shared best practices and stories of how they achieved excellence. The Chief Executive Officer of Tri County Tech (TCT), a US public technology centre and 2018 Baldrige Award recipient, conveyed that the TCT mantra “When you try to be everything to everybody, you can’t be anything to anybody” was a guiding principle for organisational improvements. TCT’s vision of “inspiring Success Through Life Changing Learning Experiences” was supported by four core values: being a “great place to work,” “investing in our community,” leadership by all, and being student-focused. Several results given demonstrated how the vision and values have guided the institution’s actions were detailed.

    Do you know that in BPIR.com users can search BPIR databases through keywords search?

    BPIR Tip of the Month – How to use keyword search feature in BPIR.com

    Business Excellence Models

    This page offers a simple and alternative method of searching any of the main BPIR databases via key word(s) without having to go to the specific database pages.