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

    May 24, 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 31st July 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).

  2. 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.

  3. 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/

  4. Excellence Canada Announces New Organizational Excellence Standard

    March 6, 2021 by BPIR.com Limited

    Watch launch webinar: The Why, What, and the Why Now of the new Organizational Excellence Standard (OES)

    Excellence Canada, an independent not-for-profit corporation, announced its newest standard: the Organizational Excellence Standard (OES). Through the OES, Excellence Canada sets the bar for performance excellence and wellness in today’s dynamic work environment.

    The OES is a robust yet flexible framework that uses a data-driven assessment to find gaps and opportunities for continual improvement in all private and public sector organizations, businesses, and institutions. Through OES implementation and certification, organizations will adopt best practices for sustained excellence and peak performance.

    Excellence Canada’s OES is the exciting product of 36 years of experience, setting standards and working with thousands of organizations to successfully implement them, combined with months of research into the Future of Work and how organizations can successfully address today’s unique challenges while preparing for the future.

    Organizations have anticipated the impacts of globalization and technology on workflow and performance for over a decade. However, nothing prepared businesses for the sudden change that COVID-19 forced overnight.

    “The Covid-19 pandemic has severely affected individuals, families and organizations. As a result, Excellence Canada recognized that we needed to develop a revised and more robust framework that will help organizations deal with the new realities of the ‘Future of Work’ such as how, where and when people will work.” said Allan N. Ebedes, President & CEO of Excellence Canada. “The Organizational Excellence Standard does this. We have also increased the focus on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. We are grateful for the input and expertise of numerous partners from coast-to-coast across Canada who helped us develop the OES.”

    Excellence Canada helps organizations identify solutions customized for each workplace’s unique challenges, by adopting the Organizational Excellence Standard.

    Organizations can implement and complete the OES and certification with outcome-based recommendations for programs, measurements, consulting, training, and initiatives to improve their overall excellence. OES solutions are purposely flexible, giving organizations the tools to innovate and adapt as new challenges arise.

    The overarching goal of the OES is not only to address the challenges of 2021 but also future-proof workplaces by building a workforce culture of excellence that embraces continual improvement.

    “The biggest value in pursuing this Standard is that it takes the guesswork out of what a leading organization should be and should do, and instead, orients all staff to thinking and speaking about excellence in one common language for one common goal.” said Martin Stefanczyk, Program Manager, Corporate and Strategic Initiatives, Town of Aurora

    At a high-level, Excellence Canada focuses on the six drivers of organizational excellence: Leadership, Planning, Customers, Our People, Processes, and Partners.

    Excellence Canada’s Organizational Excellence Standard includes desired outcomes for:

    • Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
    • Agility and adaptability
    • Enterprise risk management
    • Crisis management
    • Pandemic planning
    • Digital transformation
    • Financial wellness
    • Mental and Physical wellness

    The OES aligns with other Excellence Canada awards and programs, providing organizations with an opportunity for greater competitive advantage. Organizations that meet the OES criteria can apply for national recognition under the prestigious Canada Awards for Excellence Program.

  5. Why Baldrige? Reflections of a Retired New England Business Leader

    February 10, 2021 by BPIR.com Limited
    Originally posted on Blogrige by Christine Schaefer

    Larry Smith

    Laurence (“Larry”) Smith is a long-time advocate of quality and systems-thinking-based management of U.S. businesses. In the early 1980s, while he was leading a chamber of commerce in northeastern Massachusetts, Smith recognized “the need for a transformation of American management,” he told me recently. A learning experience that inspired him to appreciate a holistic, systems view of business leadership and management was a four-day workshop his chamber sponsored in his community by the late Dr. W. Edwards Deming. “I learned to think of quality as a 360-degree process that includes quality of life,” Smith recalled recently.

    “Managers from one of my chamber’s members, the 10,000-employee Western Electric & Bell Labs plant, attended that Deming course and decided to adopt his teaching. In 1992, 11 years later, that plant won a Baldrige Award,” Smith said.

    What happened next convinced Smith of the value of the Baldrige framework through difficult consequences for his entire community: “Unfortunately, with the AT&T break-up, the plant was taken over by another company. I met a manager from Western Electric five years later who told me that, after getting the Baldrige Award, the new management stopped using the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, and unresolved failures increased,” Smith recounted. “The manager said life was much happier and more productive when they were using Baldrige. Not long after, the plant closed. The community lost what had been a 10,000 employee factory in 1980—one that had an annual $1 billion economic impact in the area.”

    Following are additional reflections from my recent exchange with Smith.

    Would you please share more about how you came to believe the Baldrige Excellence Framework (which includes the Criteria for Performance Excellence) provides a superior approach to business leadership and management?

    It started with Deming’s teaching about the need for a transformation of American management, and Total Quality Management (TQM), and then, with the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards program,

    it became abundantly clear to me that the Baldrige Criteria, as a systemic approach to leading and managing organizations, is what is needed and what is right for America at this time, as in past decades.

    Let me share a few background experiences that led me to this conviction: In the 1980s, after getting an MBA (majoring in executive management), I thought I knew something significant about organization management. Actually, I’d pursued the MBA because my BS in industrial technology education didn’t prepare me for management or managing organizations in a globalized economy.

    However, as executive director of a chamber of commerce in an old industrial city in Massachusetts that lost most of its job-producing industry after World War II, I saw that nothing anyone in my city or state had done during the 25 years after the industrial evacuation was able to grow jobs and improve the economy of the city.

    Then, in 1980, we learned about how Dr. W. Edwards Deming helped Japan recover economically from the war, and we wondered if he could help our communities recover, too. Our community leaders invited him to our community, and he told us that the major problem was that the American style of management was ineffective in the new environment of a globalized economy and that we needed a transformation of American management. We invited him to teach us how to transform American management so that it could be competitive and profitable in the new, globalized economy. I applied Deming’s thinking in my chamber of commerce work, which enabled us to be one of the 10 percent of chambers of commerce in the nation to be accredited, and to win a top award in the President’s Citation Program for Private Sector Initiatives in 1985. The award was for finding innovative private solutions to public problems.

    In the 1960s and 1970s, chambers of commerce were networked, in a free and democratic fashion, to work in and on the public systems in which our businesses resided throughout the nation, facilitated by the U.S. Chamber’s state and local chamber department. There was a strong, 10-year-plus professional development program for chamber staff. The mission of chambers of commerce back then was to advance systems-thinking-based total community development. The understanding was that if the whole community did not function well and keep improving, then business and the economic climate would not be sustainable. Virtually all of this was quietly dismantled in the mid-1980s.

    From 1995 to 2008, while editor of the Journal of Innovative Management, I attended the annual Baldrige Quest for Excellence® conference in Washington, DC. I heard the presentations and talked with Baldrige Award winners as well as other attendees, and we developed journal articles. Then I retired, but worked for a year in 2010 to help the Massachusetts Council for Quality recover from its deficit and try to grow its Baldrige programming.

    Why do you think more organization leaders are not using the Baldrige Criteria (or any similar systems-based management process) to lead and manage their organizations?

    In our society, I think people are often rewarded for outstanding individual behavior. Winning—being number-one in individual competitive exploits—reaps the top reward. That’s true both for individual people and individual organizations. But human organizations are complex communities of relationships. To be successful and sustainable, everyone has to work smartly, cooperatively, and—as I learned in the Coast Guard—to be always ready, relevant, and responsive to the environment, nature, people, and communities in which they live and serve. That requires participative, systems-based management processes, which Baldrige teaches and rewards. But our schools have not been teaching that to people in the past, so they don’t understand it. I hope that’s changing now.

    There’s another reason, too: systems-based customer- and quality-focused management is also a movement away from traditional command-and-control styles of management to a participative style of management. The Baldrige approach does it all, creating a clear and measured process system, from leadership to results, one that links and documents an organization’s results all the way back up to leadership decisions; and that can stimulate some fear from top management, depending on how organizations deal with and learn from mistakes.

    You have observed that not many U.S. business schools are teaching about systems thinking and other core concepts of the Baldrige framework; why?

    I asked that question of a business graduate­ school professor who was on my Massachusetts Council for Quality board. His answer was that business school systems are organized in individual “stove-pipes,” where each professor attends to his or her specialty. That’s understandable because individual students take individual courses to get individual degrees to get individual jobs in individual companies. Few, if any, are dedicated to an integrated whole. The result is that there’s little interest in a holistic, systems-based, comprehensive approach to organization/community/national/world leadership and management for the common good.

    The outcome of that is that there is little recognition of the need for leaders of all organizations to be interested and informed about working on the larger systems they’re living in, as well as working in the systems that produce the money they need and want. Those big-picture affairs tend to be left to interested individuals who see a need and work it out for themselves.

    What do you see as a key challenge for increasing use of the Baldrige framework by leaders of U.S. businesses and other organizations?

    Our social, economic, and political culture today is a tough one for Baldrige because our culture is so divided and ruggedly individualistic in vision, mission, and practice. There’s a pervasive zero-sum, winner-take-all mentality and short-term profitability imperative. A leader considering using a Baldrige system would quickly see that his/her major leadership and management decisions would become participative, shared, measured, visible, and transparent. While that’s expected and allowed in sports and military organizations, it is not required (or embraced) in a political or stock-market-driven economic system that simplistically demands continuously winning popular votes or quarterly monetary increases.

    Also, it can take a long time to change a management culture, even in a single organization, and you need a leader at the top of each organization who’s persistent, patient, and has the time in office to build the culture and demonstrate the good results. I had an experience where I worked with a mayor and his department heads to learn TQM, but due to the city’s mayoral term limit, a new mayor came in and didn’t want to use TQM methods.

    Nonetheless, the Baldrige framework’s approach is the right thing, at the right time. And it is essential to quality of life for the organization, the community in which it gets its people and operates, and the environment in which we all need to be able to live well.

    How do you think interest in the Baldrige framework could grow in the contemporary environment?

    I think the Baldrige Program and its Criteria for Performance Excellence is and has been doing the right things for running an organization. The Criteria is continuously improved and expanded to keep it ready, relevant, and responsive to the needs of organizations and communities.

    It would be beneficial for Baldrige adherents to also work on the larger legal, economic, community, and political systems that enable everyone in a society to survive and thrive. I think we will know that we’re on the right track when our leaders in all sectors create systems that serve to finance and facilitate a high quality of life for all, with a triple bottom-line of people, planet, and profit.

    How do you view the relatively new Baldrige-based initiatives of Communities of Excellence 2026—including the proposed addition of a Baldrige Award eligibility category for communities?

    Adding an award category and criteria for communities would be a great capstone for the Baldrige Program, one that could have the potential to bring people and the nation together and form a real sense of community, a real united states of America. As far as I can see, there isn’t another leadership and management system that can do that today, and Baldrige would create a path for enabling that to happen by including communities in its criteria and program. I hope that, with the help of the Baldrige Program, Communities of Excellence 2026 will gather enough power and speed to take off and fly.

    In recent decades, business and industry leaders have tended not to think of the community as being a living part of their organizations that they need to care for. I believe that such inattention to the community by business leaders is a cultural error in judgment, perhaps created and made worse by the design of the monetary and economic systems in which we live and work that demand ever-increasing consumption and short-term monetary (paper) profits, which leads to problems in communities, nations, and the world. The matter is holistic and complex—something we tend not to be taught about in school or think about, and it is controversial when we do.

    There are times when a local chamber of commerce can help, but it’s not the sort of integrated systems approach that Communities of Excellence would enable. An example I can cite is what my chamber of commerce did in the 1980s. Two of our largest industries, which employed some 16,000 people, asked us to become involved with the local schools, encouraging higher graduation rates, higher grades, and a good work ethic. They said they needed that if they were to be able to hire from a local labor pool because it would be too expensive to move entry-level people into our local communities. That led us to create an extensive business-education collaborative that these two industries, along with many other businesses, actively supported and participated in. We actually created an adopt-a-school program where every school in the inner city was adopted by one or more businesses.

    If our local communities were engaged in a Baldrige Communities of Excellence program, this sort of need would easily be brought to the table and made to happen, improving both community development and economic development.

    As a cautionary tale, I want to share one more relevant experience: While working to create a community quality council in our region in the mid-1990s, I recall that a member of our board of directors who was the Baldrige leader for a manufacturing organization came to me and said he was leaving the board because he couldn’t see how the Baldrige framework could apply to a community. It seems to me that many leaders just don’t understand how a management system focused on quality; total community development; a triple bottom-line of people, planet, and profit; and the pursuit of excellence could prevent some breakdowns and improve quality of life. I hope this is changing. Communities of Excellence may be just what the nation, its individual organizations, and their communities need to enable a good quality of life for all.