1. Podcast: Total Quality Management: Is it still relevant in a digital economy?

    February 17, 2021 by BPIR.com Limited

    Originally posted on The Search for Clarity by Richard de Kock

    Total Quality Management has been around for many year’s and has contributed to the transformation of many companies to market leaders. Is it still relevant in a fast-paced digital world? Is it relevant for IT? And should senior leaders be taking it more seriously?

    Let’s get clarity from the quality guru himself John Oakland! Listed amongst the top 10 quality gurus of our time, who has personally met the likes of Edward Deming and Crosby to name a few.

    In this episode we explore

    1. Why Operational Excellence is a key strategic weapon in the digital age, and why Total Quality Management is as applicable to business and IT today as it was since the beginning of the century.
    2. discuss how a common frame of reference between leaders and operational staff as well as IT is key to ensuring organisational performance.
    3. And finally we also discuss a grounded pragmatic approach to starting your journey to Operational Excellence

    Subscribe to The Search for Clarity to receive the latest episodes of the series.

  2. 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.

  3. BPIR.com Newsletter: Feb 2021

    February 9, 2021 by BPIR.com Limited







    7th International Best Practice Competition – 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 First Call for entries closes on 1st 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

    • Performance Excellence and Our Covid-19 Global Leadership Crisis….read more
    • South African Quality Institutes Quality Education News….read more
    • Calling all Business Excellence Award Winners and Applicants – An Opportunity to Participate in Leading-Edge Research on Achieving & Sustaining Performance Excellence – SURVEY NOW LIVE….read more
    • Russia joins the list of 57 countries having an active business excellence awards program….read more
    • Elon Musk’s 6 productivity rules….read more
    • Latest news on benchmarking, business excellence & best practices & an opportunity to participate in an exciting project on business excellence Baldrige Impact in Health Care….read more


    Tata Business Excellence Model based on Baldrige

    The Baldrige Excellence Framework has empowered organisations to accomplish their missions, improve results, and become more competitive. It includes the Criteria for Performance Excellence, core values and concepts, and guidelines for evaluating your processes and results. In the early 1990s, the then-chairman of the Tata Group, Ratan Tata, created the Tata Business Excellence Model (TBEM). TBEM is based on the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, and since 1995, the holding group has conducted internal assessments, like the Baldrige Award process, for its more than 100 companies operating in ten industries: information technology, steel, automotive, consumer and retail, infrastructure, financial services, aerospace and defence, tourism and travel, telecom and media, and trading and investments. What does the continued success of a 150-year-old, multi-sector, multi-national organisation headquartered in India have to do with the Baldrige Excellence Framework? In this article the head of Tata Business Excellence Programme, S. Padmanabhan shares some Insights on using the TBEM.


    Memorial Hermann Health System
    To develop its strategic plan, Memorial Hermann Health System (MHHS), a US health system, gathered input from all business units with a focus on what it called ADVANCE Strategies: Align with Physicians; Deliver Quality Care; Value Employees; Achieve Operational Targets; Nurture Growth and Innovation; Consumer Centric; Enhance. ADVANCE strategies were used to form strategic initiatives, metrics, and targets for each business unit to reliably execute the plan. The strategic initiatives had one- (short-term) and three-year (longer-term) time-frames Each strategic initiative and related action plan was assigned a leadership sponsor and involvement by one of five strategy councils, to foster ownership, accountability, and focus on the initiative. Once the action plans were validated and finalised, they were moved to processes for deployment, execution, and monitoring, which  involved the workforce and key stakeholders.

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

    BPIR Tip of the Month – Business Excellence Models

    Business Excellence Models

    This area of the web-site allows  users to navigate the databases through a choice of business excellence models (Malcolm Baldrige Model, EFQM Excellence Model, Singapore Quality Award Model, Canadian Framework for Business Excellence, and an overview generic model). 

    Navigation via the models can be used to look at specific categories that correspond to areas within their organisation that have been identified as in need of improvement, or to specific areas of personal interest. Using the model categories to navigate will quickly and effectively lead the user to the information we have researched so far in relation to the areas in question.


  4. 7th International Best Practice Competition – Call for entries

    February 6, 2021 by BPIR.com Limited


    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.


    The International Best Practice Competition encourages organizations to share their best operational and managerial practices, processes, systems, and initiatives and learn from the experience of others. It provides an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of individuals and teams that have been responsible for creating and/or managing the introduction and deployment of best practices.

    To submit your Best Practice visit http://www.bestpracticecompetition.com/entry-forms where you can download an entry form. The First Call for entries closes on 1st of March 2021. Qualifier round presentations will be held in webinar format between 27 April to 5 May 2021. Best practices will be assessed against IBPC’s Best Practice Certification Levels:

    • Deficient (Major Deficiencies) (1 to 2 Stars, ★ to ★ ★)
    • Progressing (Minor Deficiencies) (3 Stars, ★ ★ ★)
    • Competence (Professional) (4 Stars, ★ ★ ★ ★)
    • Best Practice (Excellence) (5 Stars, ★ ★ ★ ★ ★)
    • Best Practice (Outstanding) (6 Stars, ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★)
    • Best Practice (Role Model, World-Class, Wow!) (7 Stars, ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

    The winner of the 6th International Best Practice Competition was Jollibee Foods Corporation, Philippines with a best practice titled ‘We Listen and Learn from the VOICES of our CUSTOMERS to SPREAD Joy to the World’. The winner of the 2nd Organisation-wide Innovation Award was Dubai Customs, UAE. The winners of the 1st New Zealand Best Practice Competition were Watson Real Estate Ltd. (SME category) and Spectrum Car (Large category). For the full list of winners and their presentation videos click here.


    Add the event to your calendar

  5. Performance Excellence And Our Covid-19 Global Leadership Crisis

    February 3, 2021 by BPIR.com Limited

    Originally posted on ASQ by Dale F. Weeks


    During the mid-1980’s, I had the distinct privilege, honor, and humbling opportunity to meet several of our most enduring quality or performance excellence “gurus,” as they were called then. Those three (3) well known individuals were: W. Edwards Deming, Joseph M. Juran, and Philip B. Crosby. This was during the “hey days” of 1985 prior to the existence of our United States Baldrige Excellence Program and related global performance excellence award programs that are currently in place 35 years later.

    Now, today, in our tumultuous year of 2020, we continue to face enormous challenges such as global warming and the Covid-19 pandemic. Such challenges face every nation on our planet.

    With respect to the current Covid pandemic, consider these facts and data as of September 25, 2020:

    • There have been 32,029,704 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including? 979,212 deaths, reported to the World Health Organization. And, in the United Sates, the figures are equally startling: From January 3, 2020 to September 25, 2020, there have been 6,868,828 confirmed cases with 200,725 deaths.

    Accordingly, linking these two statements together, my immediate question for all of us to ponder is:

    • If these prominent “gurus” of our 20th Century quality and performance excellence landscape were with us here, in the same room, in the 21st Century or actively participating on-line with us in a Zoom sharing session, what exactly would they say, from a global leadership and management perspective?

    Or, said more explicitly and directly, what would they be directly advising us to do in our leadership roles to alleviate the global suffering? I suspect it would be to use what we know works and is shared in leadership excellence models that have been validated by global research since inception in the late 1980’s. This brief article is my attempt to share some recent research and shed additional light on the matter.

    Statement of our Global Performance Excellence Business Problem

    Based on the results of a recent Covid-19 best practice review that I completed, here are a few of the major findings from that analysis:

    • Citizens globally today deserve a quantum leap in performance excellence management in the coming years across all nations. Our global need to collaborate on a growing scale and leading to our ultimate survival as a human species drives this sense of urgency. Close to 1 Million deaths world-wide in less than one year is drastic, more than many of our wars over the last 50+ years demands greater action from all of us now.
    • Fifty-one (51) years after the United States landed a man on the moon in July 1969, we, as global citizens, are crying out for an equally riveting and compelling vision that addresses all of the challenges we face during and after our Covid-19 era.

    Moreover, to reinforce the validity of these findings, please consider two (2) recent major reviews of the current state of performance excellence. Both studies have shown that organizations across all sectors are not realizing their full potential even though such excellence frameworks have been available for several decades, since 1987 – 33 years ago!

    1. Source: Global Assessment on the Current State of Organizational Excellence: Most organizations have not deployed the best management practices that are characteristic of a good management system or found in excellence models.
    2. Source: Why Do We Undervalue Competent Management, Harvard Business Review, September – October 2017. Only 10% of organizations demonstrated exceptional leadership or management of their enterprises.

    Recommendations – A Global Call for Action

    Build a Global Performance Excellence Sustainability Institute immediately focused on the achievement of global citizen based performance excellence outcomes over the next 25 to 50 years.

    The truly exceptional Covid-19 performance cases in individual countries have been (are) driven by exceptional leadership, in Germany or New Zealand, which is an obvious expectation. However, our solutions cannot, and should not, be simply focused on finding more Chancellor Angela Merkel’s across our world. On a global scale, we need an approach that is more lasting, more permanent, that will sustain that leadership on a true embedded institutional level, well beyond specific vagaries of elected or appointed nation leadership.

    Or, in other words, we need a “United Nations-like” global performance excellence leadership institute to guide our sustainability for 25-50 years or more, focused on all nations, that capitalizes on the strengths from our high performing organizations (EFQM, Baldrige, GEM Council, etc.) and expands to include all organizations globally in a broad and collaborative manner.

    In addition, this global performance excellence institution would be closely linked, via in-depth collaborative partnerships, funding, and focus with such current global organizations such as the World Health Organization, World Economic Forum, The United Nations, The World Bank, The International Monetary Fund, Social Progress Imperative, and other similar global regional economic development entities. Our world deserves nothing less.

    The Vital Imperative for Managing Covid-19 in the Context of a Proven Performance Excellence Framework.

    Our recent Covid-19 Global Benchmarking Initiative (supported by the Global Benchmarking Network) has demonstrated that Covid-19 best practice implementation is most effectively done globally using proven leadership frameworks. Such leadership frameworks are fully understood and practiced at the most senior levels of national governments (elected Presidents, Prime Ministers, etc.) and span all levels of government, business, and non-profit organizations. Anything less is sub-optimal and not sustainable.

    Our world needs to extend and expand that level of performance excellence on a much broader scale. Not just 50 or 70 nations practicing some form of performance excellence but 150 or 200 nations applying best practices, sharing what works and does not work, and continually improving in the broad arena of performance excellence. Such a world-wide transformational performance excellence undertaking will foster a growth mindset strategically devoted to continual improvement as we move forward.

    Let us pause to consider the wise words expressed by Mr. John Gardner in his book Excellence back in 1961:

    • We must foster a conception of excellence which may be applied to every degree of ability and every socially acceptable activity
    • We need excellent physicists and excellent mechanics. We need excellent cabinet members and excellent teachers
    • We need a pervasive and universal sense of exceptional performance applicable to everyone in every walk of life

    These words remain relevant today. But the question remains, are all nations capable of striving for this level of excellence? I say yes, most certainly! In fact, I would submit we have no other choice if we are to work collaboratively toward a common vision and save our planet.

    Dale F. Weeks is President and Chief Executive Officer of Global Leadership and Benchmarking Associates located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. His business is focused on delivering performance excellence and global benchmarking management services to the public and private sectors.

    Prior to establishing this business, Dale has served in a variety of leadership and management roles with several high performing organizations: Florida Department of Revenue; Control Data Corporation; General Mills, Xerox Corporation.

    He has spoken at national and international events on the topics of performance management and measurement, performance-based budgeting, global benchmarking, human asset performance and leadership development. Dales holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and a Master of Business Administration in Finance and today he serves as a Board member with the Global Benchmarking Network.