1. Leading the generations in today’s workforce

    February 25, 2010 by
    In an article in the Quality Journal "How to Lead When the Generation Gap Becomes Your Everyday Reality", the author, Issy Gesell, identifies the four generations in today’s workplace as:
     
    "The Silent Generation: The oldest generational group, born between 1925 and 1945, is the Silent Generation. Also called Traditionalists, Seniors, and Veterans, this group values hard work, conformity, dedication, sacrifice, and patience. Members of this generation are comfortable with delayed recognition and reward.

    The Baby Boomers: The largest group in the work force is the Baby Boomers. Born between 1946 and 1964, Boomers are characteristically optimistic and team oriented. They place a high value on their work ethic while also seeking personal gratification and growth.

     
    Generation X: The smallest group in size is Generation X, which also is known as the Sandwich Generation because of its position between the two largest groups. These folks were born between 1965 and 1980 and were the first "latchkey" kids. They are self-reliant, global thinkers who value balance, fun, and informality.
     
    The Millennial Generation: Millennial were born between 1981 and 2000, and ultimately will become the largest group. Even though less than half of them are presently in the work force, they already are having a significant impact on organizational leadership. Members of this generation exhibit confidence, optimism, civic duty, sociability, street smarts, inclusivity, collaboration, and open-mindedness. They tend to be goal oriented.
    Most of today's organisational leaders represent the Silent Generation or Baby Boomers. Over the past 40 years, these two generations have learned to work together. You can begin to raise awareness about the differences among the generations and their implications to your organization by facilitating a dialogue between and among the generations. Current leaders would be wise to assess their leadership style, knowledge of the different generations, and personal attitudes toward the different members of their work force."
    Izzy suggests the following questions can serve as a basis for evaluating personal perspectives and approaches:

    – What differentiates each generation?
    – Which generations are you responsible for leading?
    – How do generational differences impact your perceptions and leadership style?
    – How do those differences manifest themselves in the organization?
    – How can you lead intra-generational and intergenerational groups?
    – What can you do as a leader to foster mixedgenerational dialogue and problem solving?
    – Which generation has the strongest impact on your organization?
    – Is your organization more like General Motors or Google?
    – How do the major aspects of your organization's culture ("generation-bias") align more with one generation than the others?
    – How does that generation-bias impact inclusion, recruitment, retention, and development of employees?

     
    How will you manage?

    We also found this clip on YouTube:

    "How will you manage in an era of transformative changes in workplace demographics, technology, regulations, and expectations? Kronos and XPLANE present fascinating statistics."

     
     
    Kevin McKenna
    BPIR

  2. Pushing the threshold: BPIR.com advice concerning process safety management.

    February 18, 2010 by

    While researching some BPIR.com related subject matter, I came accross this interesting bit of information which I thought was worth sharing on the Blog:

    Ian Sutton [1] a process risk manager with U.S. AMEC Paragon believes that the root causes of safety and environmental problems are often economic. Managers can be subjected to relentless pressure to cut costs, while at the same time being expected to increase production rates, implement new initiatives, and to install new technology. This can lead to a mindset which crosses acceptable safety thresholds. The following six indicators are flags that thresholds are being challenged:

     

    1. Unrealistic stretch goals.  If an organization is stretched far enough major system failures are certain to occur.
    2. Excessive cost reduction demands. Managers being expected to "do more with less" can, over the long term, lead to the unsafe conditions being created.
    3. Belief that "it cannot happen here".  Catastrophic events are very rare and this contributes to an “I'll chance it" syndrome. Often managers and employees fail to distinguish between occupational safety and process safety.  In fact the actions needed to improve occupational safety, as measured by the number of lost-time accidents, are quite different from those needed to prevent catastrophic, low probability and low frequency events. Organisations that have often reported excellent day-to-day and month-to-month safety figures have been surprised when one of their plants has experienced a major incident.
    4. Overconfidence in regulatory compliance. Well crafted regulations, rules, codes and standards can also induce a false sense of confidence. These rules cannot anticipate the combinations of events that lead to catastrophic incidents most of which are unusual, even bizarre. Standards merely provide a framework for successful operational integrity. Detailed analyses must be also be carried out by facility managers and workers.
    5. Ineffective information flow. A recurrent finding in disaster research is that information concerning potential problems was actually available within an organisation but this was not communicated to the relevant decision-makers. One reason for this is that most people do not want to be the bearer of bad news. This leads to information being more and more diluted as it travels up the management chain.
    6. Ineffective auditing.  Good audits should attempt to identify the root causes behind any findings. Senior management should follow up the audit findings by reviewing the audit, the audit process, and the audit follow-up in detail. This also provides an opportunity to examine improvements required within management systems.

    Economic and business factors commonly exert pressure on an organisation’s leaders; however this must never be allowed to interfere with its proactive safety culture.
    [1] R10830 Sutton, I., (2009), Should Your Organization Fly Warning Flags?, Chemical Engineering Progress, Vol 105, Iss 12, pp 22-26, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, New York

     Members may read the full article which provides further excellent advice concerning process safety management.


  3. What are most valuable – Good or Bad Practices?

    February 4, 2010 by admin

    At the BPIR.com we have been focusing on collecting good or best practices. This is what we believe our customers want. However, perhaps we can learn just as much from bad practices – of what not to do!

    There are many cases of poor service that I could highlight but I will highlight the most recent that happened today. It was to do with Vodafone, a mobile phone service provider. I was thinking of not naming the company but how else will we get these companies to change? Over the last week or so I had gone in and out of their website to make changes to my add-on services. In each instance there were problems with their website – saying that the service was unavailable and various functions not working. This was not untypical, I have had similar experiences in the last few years but I still preferred to use their website than their automated phone service which is equally frustrating (especially when  entering information via their top-up system and if something goes wrong, as it often does, the whole process needs to be gone through again).

    Well today I managed to top-up My Account via the website and then I selected one of their Add-On services – Best Mates.  I managed to add 3 best mate phone numbers but when I clicked on submit I received a message to say the numbers were not recorded and to contact customer service. However, the system still took $18.00 from my account!
    I then rang their customer service. To speak to customer service and complain about their customer service I was informed by the automated message that I will need to pay $1.00 for this privilege. I had to press “1” on my phone to agree to this as there was no alternative. Unfortunately, after pressing “1” the call dropped off and so I was now in a situation where I had paid $18.00 for a service that didn’t work and another $1.  I then went through the whole process again for another $1 and managed to speak to customer service.
    At this point I complained about my experience but I could tell it was on deaf ears and nothing would change in the future. The person said they knew there were problems with the website and apololgised. I recommended that until the website works correctly it should be taken out of service or have warnings not to use the My Account area. Surely, it is not too hard for a large global company which reports huge profits to have a website that works? Surely they must realize that many of their WebPages do not work correctly?

    Well, at least, Vodafone did reimburse the $2 for speaking to their customer service but of course they would not reimburse me for the time I wasted using their website (over an hour over the last week). Unfortunately, Vodafone is not alone. Many companies survive and prosper even though they have many bad practices – particularly to do with service delivery. This is usually because there are few alternatives for the customer or it takes too much time and effort for the customer to make a switch.

    So that is my story. I am not sure how valuable it is as a learning experience for other companies? How important is it for your company to listen to your customers? Do your employees use your company’s products and services so that they can experience these from the perspectives of a customer? What is your opinion on whether the BPIR.com should highlight bad practices? Should we have a section on our website allowing our members to record bad practices to encourage companies to get their act together? Perhaps these could be balanced by allowing members to add good practices too for the same company.

    Your thoughts please?

    Best regards
    Robin

    Dr Robin Mann, Commercial Director and Part-Owner, BPIR.com Limited, r.s.mann@massey.ac.nz

  4. Benchmarking presentations on You Tube

    January 28, 2010 by

    Over the last year, I have been busy running benchmarking workshops in Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE, Singapore and the United Kingdom. The training addresses the misconceptions surrounding benchmarking and aims to increase the professionalism of benchmarking through a certification scheme.

    Through my research and experience it is evident that many organisations have misunderstood benchmarking or applied it incorrectly with poor results. In one of COER’s recent studies on behalf of the Global Benchmarking Network we identified that:
    • 25% of respondents that used benchmarking had not been trained in benchmarking and another 30% of respondents indicated that “only a few of the employees had received training or that training was rarely given”.
    • 30% of respondents that used benchmarking do not follow a particular benchmarking methodology when conducting benchmarking projects.
    • 25% of respondents do not follow (or rarely follow) a benchmarking code of conduct when undertaking a benchmarking project.
    • 30% of respondents “do not, rarely, or sometimes” develop a project brief for their benchmarking project specifying the aim, scope, sponsor, and members of the benchmarking team – thus indicating poor project planning.
    • 35% of respondents do not (or rarely) undertake a cost and benefits analysis of the project once it is completed.
    The methodology that I promote is the TRADE best practice benchmarking methodology. TRADE focuses on the exchange (or” trade”) of information and best practices to improve the performance of processes, goods and services. Use of this methodology, and its prescriptive approach, ensures that benchmarking projects:

    a) are focused on key areas of importance

    b) have the buy-in of key stakeholders at each and every step of the project

    c) are conducted professionally using a sound research approach
    d) deliver results. After each stage of TRADE, the project is reviewed to ensure it is on-track. If it is not on-track, the project can be stopped or the direction of the project changed.

    TRADE significantly increases the likelihood that best practices will be found, often resulting in breakthrough improvements. On average, as identified in COER’s study, successful benchmarking projects produce a return of more than US$250,000 – therefore it is well worth investing the time in learning and adopting a proven methodology.

    To help organisations learn more about benchmarking, COER has just launched a series of You Tube videos on benchmarking showing snippets from a presentation I gave at the Business Excellence Global Conference in Singapore:

    1. A benchmarking example from the health sector

    2. What is benchmarking?

    3. TRADE best practice benchmarking and certification Part 1
     
    4. TRADE best practice benchmarking and certification Part 2

    5. Popularity of benchmarking

    6. Benchmarking is becoming easier due to advances in social media

    7. What is the BPIR.com? – and how it supports benchmarking

    I hope that you find them useful. Good luck with your benchmarking efforts!

    Best regards

    Robin

    Dr Robin Mann, Commercial Director and Part-Owner, BPIR.com Limited, r.s.mann@massey.ac.nz

     


  5. It’s all about commitment

    December 10, 2009 by admin
    In their pursuit to be the best small nation navy in the world, the Royal New Zealand Navy has won the gold award of the New Zealand Business Excellence Award (NZBEA) for 2009.As a result of their commitment to excellence and achieving their vision the navy productivity doubled in ten years through organisational learning and teamwork.

    Well done to the Royal New Zealand Navy!

    Media press release:

    Navy Wins Gold, Productivity Doubles in Ten Years

    The Royal New Zealand Navy has become the first public sector organisation in New Zealand, and only the third New Zealand business in 10 years, to win an internationally recognised Baldridge Gold Award from the New Zealand Business Excellence Foundation.

    The award will be presented by His Excellency the Governor General, Sir Anand Satyanand this Friday at a ceremony in Auckland.

    Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral Tony Parr is delighted at the Navy’s success.
    “This award is both national and international recognition of the Royal New Zealand Navy as a world class organisation,” said Rear Admiral Parr. “It’s a significant milestone on our journey to achieving operational excellence and our vision of being the best small nation Navy in the world.”

    The Baldridge Gold Award has only been won by two other New Zealand companies in the last decade; Vero Insurance and NZ Aluminium Smelters.

    “The award recognises that the support organisation we have for our ships and people is as good as that of any business or enterprise. That organisation is essential for delivering the Navy’s operational capability by way of ships at sea,” said Admiral Parr.

    “We are now twice as productive for every person at sea as we were ten years ago. We’ve taken delivery of new ships since 2007 and will soon be operating a fleet of 12 ships that deliver the full range of maritime military capability from combat and security missions to peacekeeping, border patrol and humanitarian and disaster relief.”

    “To support a high operational tempo in a financial environment that is always constrained we had to focus on continuous improvement in technology, business processes and the training and employment of our people. As a result of this work we have achieved a significant increase in the number of days ships are spending at sea.”

    Rear Admiral Parr praised the work of Navy people over the period of involvement with the New Zealand Business Excellence Foundation.

    “This award demonstrates that the Royal New Zealand Navy is receptive to change and new ways of doing business, and that our people are high achievers.

    “It has been a journey of 10 years duration – a testament to the shared vision of successive Chiefs of Navy over that time, and indicative of an organisation that is responsive to change and achieving value for money for the Government and people of New Zealand.

    “Operational excellence in the delivery of maritime military capability is our ultimate goal but we know that we can only achieve this if we have excellent business processes to keep our ships at sea and our people trained, competent and motivated. The award, and the rigorous evaluation process it involves, demonstrates that the Navy understands its business, understands how its resources are allocated and is disciplined about its strategic direction.”