1. Workplace wellness “How to avoid overwork”

    September 10, 2010 by admin

    Thea O'Connor [1] of Intheblack magazine offers the following tips for helping employees avoid overwork:

    •    Highlight and discuss any workplace “cultural norms” that would encourage employees to work excessive hours
    •    Make overwork an Occupational Health and Safety issue
    •    Regularly review staff workloads, deadlines required, and available resources to determine if the organisation has the balance right
    •    Train employees in delegation and time management skills
    •    Encourage personnel to focus on the rate and quality of their work rather than number of hours worked
    •    Provide uninterrupted focus-time for employees
    •    Limit “out of hours” accessibility to employees
    •    Celebrate milestones and successes regularly
    •    Invest in work-life balance initiatives that promote healthy self-care
    •    Model desired behaviour so that staff will understand that they are permitted to stop for lunch and to leave on time
    •    Become familiar with following signs of work addiction:

    o    Spending more time at work than anything else
    o    Promising to reduce work hours and failing to follow through
    o    Denying working too hard
    o    Having difficulty releasing and delegating work
    o    Deteriorating health due to an excessive work schedule
    o    Impatience, irritability, weight changes, high blood pressure, stress, or depression
    o    Work eroding your intimate friendships, hobbies and social life
    o    Not being able to relax when not working
    o    Having unrealistic expectations for yourself and others

     [1] R10954 O'Connor, T., (2006), When work becomes your fix, Intheblack, Vol 76, Iss 4, pp 74-76, CPA Australia, Melbourne

    Neil Crawford

    Members may read the full article here

  2. Occupational Safety – Take a Break!


    Jessica Jeppsson [1] from the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at North Carolina State University writes that the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health reported that 50% of all employees in office settings are often so engaged in computer work that they forget to take breaks.

    This can lead to headaches, wrist pain, back discomfort and eye strain. To eliminate this, and to prevent repetitive stress injuries, ergonomic software can be installed on workplace computers to prompt users to take regular breaks. The frequency of the breaks can be based on mouse clicks, keyboard strokes, the duration of breaks taken, and the frequency of the prompts given.

    When a break is triggered a software window pops up on the screen, the user can then choose to activate the break or to ignore it. When activated, animations display hand, neck and shoulder stretches which are designed to interrupt the repetitive nature of computer work, increase circulation, relieve tension and give the user an energy boost.

    [1] R10853 Jeppsson, J., (2009), Workspace comfort, Industrial Engineer, Vol 41, Iss 3, pp 58-59, Institute of Industrial Engineers-Publisher, Norcross

    Neil Crawford

    Members may read the full article here

  3. Eighty six countries with National Quality / Business Excellence Awards

    August 20, 2010 by
    Research conducted by the Centre for Organisational Excellence Research has revealed that 86 countries have a National Quality / Business Excellence Award.
    • 8 countries follow an exact copy of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence
    • 31 follow an exact copy of the EFQM Excellence Model
    • 9 follow a tailored version of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence
    • 9 follow a tailored version of the EFQM Excellence Model
    • 18 have unique models
    • 12 have a model based on a combination of other models
    • 10 are unknown
    • 9 countries have more than one model that is promoted.
    This research was conducted on behalf of National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) who administer the Baldrige National Quality Program.

    Judging from this research, business excellence is alive and well! In the BPIR.com member’s area we show which organizations have won business excellence awards – over 10,000 worldwide.

    Incidentally, COER recently completed research on the impact and value of business excellence in Asia. This research focused on India, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.

    The key findings from the research were:

    • Companies reported that business excellence had a major impact on their competitiveness and performance.
    • Companies indicated that the frameworks were relevant for long-term competitiveness and sustainability, and only minor changes to the design of the frameworks (if any) were needed.
    • Time and effort should be put into making the frameworks simpler to understand; the value of the frameworks needs to be more clearly communicated.
    • Innovation—and how it relates to business excellence—needs to be more clearly explained to companies.
    • Companies want increased assistance with benchmarking and learning from best practices.
    • While awards are important, they are for recognition and not the prime motivator for the majority of companies. The prime motivator is to “become world-class”.

    I will report, in more detail, on the findings from this study in the near future.

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

  4. Goal 1: Teeny Weenie Summertime Bikini (or appropriate swimwear)


    Hello all,

    Here is another great article from our friend Adam Stoehr of the National Quality Institute in Canada. The National Quality Institute, http://www.nqi.ca, are BPIR.com’s partner for Canada.  Adam’s article describes his yearly struggle to fit into his Teeny Weenie Summertime Bikini!

    Goal 1: Teeny Weenie Summertime Bikini (or appropriate swimwear)   
    By: Adam Stoehr, Vice President, Educational Services, National Quality Institute

    Adam Stoehr       Example Data

    Many of us spend the months of May and June staring in the mirror, looking at rolls and bulges and wishing them away.  Feeling comfortable in a summertime bathing suit (referred to in this article as a bikini/appropriate swimwear) is a common goal.  Some of my family and friends will have more success achieving this goal than others.  Let’s explore how we can maximize our success in achieving important goals.  To do this, we need to answer two questions: “What is a goal?” and “What is a measure?”

    If you want to suck the life out of a meeting, start with a discussion on measuring process outputs and achieving desired goals.  I dare you to try it.  Here is your script: “Let’s identify process outputs, and determine appropriate measures, and collect the data, and analyze the results, and base our ongoing decisions on these facts, and set goals to improve.”   By the end of this long sentence everyone in the room will be hearing “blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.”  The unfortunate thing is that the intent of this sentence is a critical piece in measurement, goal setting, and continuous improvement.

    What is a goal?

    Let’s start with setting a goal.  A smart goal in my bikini/appropriate swimwear example would be: I want to reduce my weight from 210 pounds to 200 pounds by July 28, 2010. Why is it smart? It’s smart because it’s Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relative, and Time-bound.

    SMART Test:  Reduce my weight from 210 pounds to 200 pounds by July 28, 2010.

    • Specific: I’m talking about my weight, not the size of my swim suit, not the amount of exercise required, not the opinions of others, only my weight.
    • Measurable:  I have numbers built into my goal.  With this goal there is no doubt what success looks like and how I’m going to measure it.
    • Attainable: a 10 pound gap in the next two months is within my reach.  If I set this goal too far out of my reach, like 180 pounds for example, I would be more likely to run from it than achieve it (which would ironically be relative to my overall goal anyway).
    • Relative: This test reminds me that this goal should be relevant to overall goals and objectives.  I have an overall goal of improving my health and reaching a “normal” BMI.  This goal is consistent with (relative to) the overall goal.
    • Time Bound: “by July 28th” reminds me that I’m on the clock.  This also happens to be the date of the Process Mapping course I’ll be teaching in Cottage Country where I’ll have plenty of time to wear my bikini/appropriate swimwear.  If I left off the deadline, other priorities with more imminent deadlines might get in the way of my achieving this goal.

    What is a measure?

    Lots of definitions are available but here is how I look at measures.  A measure is something that helps us make decisions.  I wish all numbers were measures but numbers actually have to grow up to be measures.  How do numbers grow up?  They start off as data, then they grow into information, then they become metrics, and then they end up as measures.  Just as your baby brain wasn’t as good at decision making as your adult brain, so your data isn’t as useful as your measures in decision making.

    What is a measure?

    Bikini/Appropriate Swimwear – Example Data

    The data are the numbers in their rawest form.  For my example, the fact that I weigh 210 pounds is the data.  Data is interesting but it’s not very useful on its own.  Unfortunately we often mistake data for measures.

    Information is the data in context. For my example, it would be like me telling you:

    • According to BMI levels men my age and height should weigh 185 pounds (best practice)
    • A recent study showed that on average Canadian men my age and height weighed 198 pounds (researched practice)
    • Two years ago I weighed 260 pounds and last year I weighed 225 pounds (historical comparison)

    Information is interesting but it’s not very useful on its own.  Refer to chart below for more details about my bikini/appropriate swimwear readiness historical data.



    I define metrics as your analysis of the information.  Now that you have the data and the information you can make an analysis.  For my example you can:
    • Assess progress: Good progress has been made since 2008.
    • Compare and contrast: He’s doing well compared to the past and not so well compared to best practice and researched practice
    • Form opinions: He is doing well.  If he could drop another 15 pounds he would be bikini/appropriate swimwear ready.

    We are now in a much richer place with our numbers and we can start to call them measures.

    I save the word measure for something that helps me with decisions.  A really strong measure is one that is helping me with a goal related decision.  A measure is therefore a culmination of all of the above.  It’s data in context, that has been analyzed, that can make me a better decision maker.  In my example it would be one of the following:

    • Because Adam has lowered his weight by 50 pounds over the last 2 years we are going to continue our healthy eating regime at the same pace as early 2010.
    • Because Adam has not met the average weight for men his age (i.e. he’s not bikini/appropriate swimwear ready) we are going to increase the exercise regime compared with 2009.
    The goal is clear! The measures are clear! All that remains is achieving the goal.  If you want to see whether I achieve this particular goal, join me on July 28th where I will be teaching an “Introduction to Process Mapping” course in Cottage Country.  Don’t worry, for the actual course I’ll be wearing pants and a golf shirt but I can’t promise that I won’t be wearing my teeny weenie summer time bikini/appropriate swimwear the rest of the time.  Have a great summer and I wish you the best on your own bikini/appropriate swimwear goals.

    As you can see we have refrained from including any photos of Adam in his swimwear for this year. If you would like a photo please contact him directly!

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

  5. Is Your CEO Worth His Pay?

    August 16, 2010 by
    Due to public pressure on Wall Street CEOs to lower top management compensation and following Obama’s administration plans to order large cuts in executive compensation at companies that have received federal bailout funds many executives received a $500,000 pay cap and others received a very large pay cut, for example in 2008 Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan, made over $35 million but in 2009 he made “only” $1.3 million.

    Does this mean that the CEOs were over-valued or in other words they were not worth it? This    would indeed be the opinion of most people.  However, this may not be correct according to a new research done by Dr. Candie Chang, a senior finance lecturer in the School of Economics and Finance at Massey University

    Chief executives are worth their pay

    Dr Chang Candie

    New research suggests the whopping pay packets of many chief executives may not only be justified but vital to ensure business success.

    An analysis of share market responses to chief executives leaving their jobs shows if the company has been performing better than competitors the market reacts more negatively to the news of the chief's departure in anticipation of shareholder wealth loss.

    Dr Candie Chang, a senior finance lecturer in the School of Economics and Finance, says her research indicates that a good chief executive officer is worth his or her high salary, bonuses and stock options, despite the somewhat jaundiced public view of high profile excesses revealed during the company collapses of recent years.

    Dr Chang's research paper, called CEO Ability, Pay, and Firm Performance, is due to be published in the United States journal Management Science this year. She studied 298 chief executive departures in the United States in the decade from 1992. She says her findings suggest that the stock market associates better prior performance and higher pay with a more capable chief executive. Not only that, but the higher the pay of the departing chief executive compared to other executives in the company, the more negative the stock price reaction.

    “The recent financial crisis and the storm over the pay of executives in financial firms have brought the questions of whether chief executives meaningfully add value to the companies they manage, and whether their pay reflects ability or power, into sharp focus,” Dr Chang says.

    “Collectively, our results provide strong support for the notion that firm value and performance are not simply outcomes of the firm’s core competency, product markets, or luck. Chief executive talent matters and is rewarded internally and recognised by external markets.”

    She also studied where chief executives end up when they leave their companies and found two extremes. The first was that many do not have management positions within three years but at the other end, several move up to bigger firms or better paying jobs.

    “We find that chief executive officers are more likely to 'move up' when the market reacts more negatively to their departure,” Dr Chang says. “The results suggest that the managerial labour market associates higher pay and better prior performance with higher chief executive ability and rewards them accordingly.”

    Firms that lost a highly paid chief executive suffered a slump in performance after the departure if the prior performance had been good and the stock market reacted negatively to the departure.