1. Does New Zealand have a ‘short man’ syndrome?

    October 25, 2012 by admin
    Best practice benchmarking is defined as “the comparison of performance data that has been obtained from studying similar processes or activities and identifying, adapting, and implementing the practices that produced the best performance results.”One of the requirements of best practice benchmarking projects is to compare the performance with the best performer regardless of the sector, industry or geographical location.Dr. Robin Mann Co-founder of BPIR.com and the Organising Committee Chairman of the upcoming World Business Capability Congress was interviewed by Idealog the New Zealand’s business magazine of the year 2012.

    In the interview Dr Robin said that the congress will be an excellent opportunity for New Zealanders to share experience with other successful nations such as Singapore instead of solely comparing with neighbouring countries such as Australia.

    In addition to the 150+ presentations the congress includes two important events, the 1st International Best Practice Competition and 2012 New Zealand Business Excellence Awards.


    The default is to look over our shoulder to Australia and David Shearer keeps admiring Finland from afar, but Dr Robin Mann says we should have our sights firmly set on Singapore.

    Mann says the Asian city-state has developed a culture of constant betterment that has improved its business performance immensely.

    “Although a different environment it’s really about the leadership in Singapore.

    “They have put in place a culture which is about trying to become better continually, year on year,” he says.

    “It’s embedded from the school system to business.”

    The Massey University academic is part of a team organising the inaugural World Business Capability Congress this December and says we should look to other nations for best practices.
    ”I think there is less openness to learn from other nations – Kiwis think we can solve everything ourselves,” he says.

    “Our congress is an opportunity to get businesses to talk more, share experiences and, with our international guests, we can facilitate a sharing of ideas.”

    The congress aims to encourage international analysis, benchmarking and networking, which Mann says will be key to future Kiwi exporting success.
    “Our export focus doesn’t always analyse internal processes of our international competitors.

    “New Zealand firms often compare products, but never the processes that create them, which are the building blocks of excellence,” says Mann.

    Speakers at the Auckland congress include international heavyweights from the private, public and academic sectors covering everything from innovation to HRM to performance benchmarking.

  2. The Ex-Men – Origins

    September 12, 2012 by admin
    In every workplace there are heroes who get things done, help their colleagues become successful, but generally they are unknown.

    Successful teams absolutely depend upon these heroes, and the sustainable success of the business depends largely upon identifying them and building a high performance workplace culture.

    Here is another great article from our friend Adam’s Stoehr (Excellence Canada Vice President), Adam’s article describes the workplace superheroes of quality or as he name them “Ex-Men”


    Everywhere I turn this summer there are superheroes! The Avengers movie has almost made a billion dollars at the box office. Spiderman is chasing Lizards and Batman is back protecting Gotham City.  I’ve always loved superhero stories.  The struggle between good and evil is so simple yet so compelling. Especially when you throw in the special effects of a $200 million dollar production budget!
    I went to see the Avengers movie the other week and it got me thinking that there are similar heroes in our workplaces. I call them the “Ex-Men” or Excellence Men (and Women). Not to be confused with the X-men who are a bunch of superheroes in the Marvel Comics universe including Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Professor X, and Emma Frost.
    The Ex-Men are a group of heroes that use their powers for the benefit of organizational excellence.
    Some of the most popular Ex-men are:
    •    Ex-Ray Vision
    •    Plan Man
    •    Map Lady
    •    Stake-Holder
    •    Well Woman
    Let me tell you about their super powers.

    Ex-Ray Vision is a leadership expert and acts as the leader of the current group of Ex-Men.  He possesses the ability to absorb the psyche and abilities of other people and use them for the greater good.  He can see through the toughest challenges and around corners.  His specialty is setting direction for the Ex-Men team.  He has the ability to set the aim and articulate it to the entire organization.

    Plan Man is a strategy master.  He cascades the vision into action.  His powers allow him to connect the dots from aim to tasks.  He has the ability to draft strategic plans with input from staff and customers.  He emits a powerful energy beam from his eyes described as an “optic blast.” The beams are tremendously powerful and can be used to monitor and change plans as new requirements arise.

    Map Lady is one of the most powerful Ex-Men.  She has demonstrated a plethora of abilities, most of which are facets of her power to control processes. In the blink of an eye she can create as-is process maps and transform them into desired state ones.  She is also a master at data display to highlight gaps that need to be closed with the input from process experts.

    Stake-Holder possesses vast telepathic powers.  His specialty is reading the minds of all stakeholders to find out their specific requirements.   These customer/employee/supplier requirements are then shared with the other Ex-men and plans are designed to meet or exceed them. He is capable of extraordinary psionic feats, including broadcasting and receiving thoughts, survey design, complaint analysis, focus group facilitation, and assessment.

    Well Woman is the most caring member of the Ex-Men.  When super villains attack, she has the uncanny ability to accelerate the healing process for the entire organization.  She can regenerate damaged or destroyed morale far beyond the capabilities of an ordinary human. She monitors the organization’s satisfaction and morale and adjusts the levels according to 3 healthy workplace elements including physical environment, health & lifestyle practices, and workplace culture.
    It would be far too risky for me to reveal the secret identities of these Ex-Men.  Each of them work at companies and public sector organizations that we all know like Sun Life Financial, the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Department of National Defence, Ceridian, MPAC, and Transport Canada.  The only piece of information that I feel comfortable sharing is that they are all certified under the Excellence Canada “Certified Excellence Professional” designation or CEP for short.  I’ve already said too much but you can check out the new format of the Excellence Canada CEP program here: http://www.excellence.ca/en/knowledge-centre/news/master-the-skills-required-to-improve
    Maybe next time I’ll tell you about all of the Super villains that fight the Ex-Men at every turn.  These include: Nay-Say, Mag-not-now, Cross-Arm, Too-Busy, and Reluctoid to name a few.  These villains have developed a De-CEP innoculation to suppress the Ex-gene that gives the Ex-Men their powers and makes them different from other humans.  Since the discovery of their existence, Ex-Men have been regarded with fear, suspicion, and often hatred.  Are they the next link in the evolutionary chain or simply a new species of humanity, fighting to continuously improve their share of the world?
    But I’ll save that story for another day. I think if Hollywood was willing to give me a $200 million dollar budget I could take these characters and make a pretty cool movie.

    Adam Stoehr (AKA Professor-Ex)

  3. Small Business Breakthrough Survey – Benchmark Your Business

    August 21, 2012 by admin
    The Breakthrough Survey is the cornerstone of the Small Business Breakthrough Project. It has been designed to identify the specific steps that you can take to accelerate your company’s growth and make its success more predictable.The initial set of goals are to:

    • Identify the ROI (return on investment) associated with improving key aspects of a business as defined by the Baldrige Performance Excellence Framework:
    1. 1.    Leadership
    2. 2.    Strategic Planning
    3. 3.    Customer/Market Focus
    4. 4.    Measurement, Analysis and Knowledge Management
    5. 5.    Workforce Focus
    6. 6.    Operations Focus
    • Identify ways that best management practices (as defined by the Baldrige Performance Excellence Framework) can make business success more predictable. Specifically, we want to dramatically improve the success rate of smaller companies. Currently about 70% of businesses fail in their first seven years.
    • Identify an optimal path for an organization to adopt best-practices at four distinctive growth stages (inflection points) of development:
    1. 1.    Phase Zero: planning/startup
    2. 2.    Phase One: initial growth
    3. 3.    Phase Two: ebbing growth
    4. 4.    Phase Three: growth plateau

    As a survey participant you will receive updates of the results of the research every time you return to re-benchmark your business.

     This survey was developed by Small Business Breakthrough Project

  4. Foundation Approves Baldrige Funding Through 2015

    May 8, 2012 by admin
    The Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, Inc., has committed funds to sustain the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program (BPEP) through fiscal year 2015. The funding is further evidence of the foundation’s commitment to the long-term viability of Baldrige.

    The Baldrige Award was established to promote the awareness of performance excellence as an important element in competitiveness. Therefore, development and continuity of Baldrige Performance Excellence Program (BPEP) will help to enhance competitiveness of U.S. businesses.

    A recent study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) indicated that for every $1 spent to implement the programme the economy will get $820 in form of social value. Which means that the benefit of Baldrige Performance Excellence Program is not limited to award applicants. The society gets benefit from Baldrige in other forms such as better customer satisfaction with higher-quality products, and economy resources saved by using the Baldrige Criteria.

    For additional information about funding approval, read the complete announcement.


  5. How to get $820 for each $1 spent using a Business Excellence Programme

    February 8, 2012 by admin
    One of the repeated questions in quality management is, what is the cost of quality? is quality free?
    Well, my personal opinion is, it is and it is not. According to quality guru Philip Crosby “Quality is free. But it is not a gift”

    In other words, the organisation needs to “pay” for establishing a quality system in order to get the rewards, it’s like paying for someone to fix the leaks in a system.

    Therefore, with any  improvement initiative there will be some cost associated with the programme but at the end the organisation should gain much more than what they have paid.

    In Dec 2011, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published the results of a research study aimed to evaluate the net social benefits of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Programme.

    The researchers compared the benefits received by the 273 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award applicants from 2007 to 2010 with the cost of operating the Baldrige Program.

    According to the research, the benefit-to-cost ratio of Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award is 820-to-1, which means for every $1 spent to implement the programme the economy will get $820 in form of social value, which is categorized into 3 categories:

    • The applicants’ cost savings from using the freely available Baldrige Criteria instead of a higher-priced alternative
    • Gains to U.S. consumers, who had greater satisfaction with higher-quality products
    • Gains to U.S. economy resources saved by using the Baldrige Criteria
    The researchers noted  that the benefit-to-cost ratio would be much higher  for the US economy but the research only focussed on the benefits stemming from the award applicants (in respect to the social costs of running the whole Baldrige programme). In reality, 1000’s more organisations will have benefited from the programme.

    You can read the full research from here.