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November 12, 2010

Culture is Important

Initiating change or improvement, be it using Six sigma, EFQm, or any other approach usually faces resistance. Changing somebody's habit might be one of the most difficult things to be done. It was really interesting today, during the presentations session, to have this discussion when Graeme metioned how tough it might be to tell somebody that their performance is bad.

For any approach to an organisation, I think, a culture change is very necessary. It might have to be done as a first step in the development process. This culture is the fertilizer in the soil that the change seed will be planted in. Without such culture, any approach will be very expensive and hard to implement  if not impossible in some cases.



November 11, 2010

Statistical and Psychological EFQM

Through the statistical focus of Six Sigma and Psychology of Deming's Profound Knowledge comes EFQM to gather both of them. It gives the wide frame work that any concept that can be applied to meet all the measurements of EFQM.

Through people and society results, can be achieved when you take Dr. Deming's Psychology into consideration. moreover, customer and process results can be done statistically using Six sigma.

EFQM so far covers the majority of the 'necessary' elements for developing an organisation towards excellence. 


November 09, 2010

Natural Fluctuation

Although it is mentioned in six sigma module, it is interesting from an excellence point of view to know how appreciation for employees work can be dangerous sometimes.

Sometimes appraisal for employees when they function within the natural limits, even if it shows it is high, shows shortness in the management knowledge and experience in the organisation. Similarly to any production process, performance of employees cannot be looked at in the short terms. Doing so, the management system will be creating confusion and frustration among the workforce. Confusion is because of the fact that while a reasonable amount of  fluctuation in performance is natural, it is judged as it is caused by the employees.



November 08, 2010

Interrelated Models

It is interesting how all dimensions of excellence in business are interrelated. All excellence models aim at improvement and continuous learning. 

Six Sigma comes to provide the same essence and to serve the same aim. Its process includes a continuous learning while improving a process. On the other hand, applying Deming’s Plan-do-check-act cycle, a part of continuous learning is actually undertaken even though it is aimed at a particular process or project within an organisation. 

I think that it is important for better understanding to search for which of the models contains the other. Moreover, it is useful to identify what is a tool and what is a concept, Learning organisation and Six Sigma for example.


November 05, 2010

What Comes First?

It was interesting today issuing the question: Will leadership's commitment to continuous improvement bring change to the organisation's culture or the change in the organisational culture will bring about continuous improvement?

Actually it is a bit tricky. Commitment to improvement will for sure lead to change in the culture at least in what is related to CI aspects. But how can that improvement happen without a culture that supports it? Can any leader start an improvement process without having a culture that encourages this improvement?

I think how to approach idea might be a key to know how to be affective in bringing about change in different environments.


November 04, 2010

Building Trust

Losing trust and belief in leadership is one of the causes of change resistance. However, it is different from not having the trust in the results and aim of the change process.

It is possible to teach people about how feasible the change process is and its positive impact on the organisation and the employees themselves. On the other hand, if people lost their trust in their leadership it would be very difficult to get it back. It has to do with human feelings and expectation rather than logical understanding.

It is crucial to build the leadership-staff trust before starting any change process.




November 03, 2010

Continuous Improvement

Engaging staff in building the organisation’s strategy is one of the key issues to sustain improvement towards being a learning organisation.

Creating a culture of innovation through getting feedback from workers and sharing ideas is very important. However, this cannot be applied without arranging the ideas and categorise them. For example, some ideas can be applied directly and some need to be developed by specialists to make it applicable.

Having an information gathering system is a key issue in building a learning organisation.


November 01, 2010

Keeping momentum

Losing employees’ momentum is one of the difficulties that face managers in any organisation going through the change process. This might be clear in the early stages of the process where there are learning and changing in the work habits without getting tangible results.

Themanagers’ responsibilityat this stage is to give the support for the staff on a regular basis. Otherwise, the people who are losing enthusiasm can cause problems for the change process.


October 31, 2010

Rewarding Systems

Rewarding methods vary form organisation to another. Some depend on the financial rewarding and others depend on the recognition for the innovative employees.

In literature, the theories vary between rejection for the  financial reward to who sees many benefits in it. 

Who are with the financial reward would argue that it will attract high quality people, deliver a message about high performance, influence behaviour, and it support the cultural change. 

On the other hand, the people who are against argue that the amount of the financial reward is limited and might not be a big incentive, money does not motivate people equally, some times it becomes frustrating if they would think it is not fair, and can be a key factor against the team work.

As always, no one right way. Any rewarding system must be designed to serve the needs of the organisational strategy and mission.


October 29, 2010

Maturity and Learning Organisation

The journey towards excellence is a long one. it starts with training and ends of self-assessment. trying to build a system to measure against is very important. this system has components that are gathered from internal experience, external expertise and more importantly from being a learning organisation.

Anybody can argue that being a learning organisation is a matter of maturity. However, what does maturity mean? is it measured by age, by size, or by other measurements?

what does build maturity? is it time, leadership or the surrounding environment? or just a mix?



October 28, 2010

Who should start the Leadership Change?

Today, while I was spending lots of time searching for an idea, I suddenly discovered that it is crazy. It was difficult to find an answer to the question: how can we develop leadership? Yes, the answer is by training. Simple! but how?

Assuming that the leadership is the high power of the organisation, it will be the one who makes the decision towards development. However, leadership will start development, as I can imagine, when development is in its interest. But with whom they will start? And with what?

I can argue that to train people to be leaders can be easy, but how difficult is developing current leaders?


October 27, 2010

Should We Change the Software or the Hardware?

Any approach to make a change in an organisation must begin at a starting point or points. Some would argue that the current situation must be analyzed and defined to know what change is required. Bringing change usually start within the organisation by leadership and management.

Neil Kinnock is a leader in the Labour party in England and a president of Cardiff University from 1998 until 2009. He says that to make a change in any organisation’s culture you have to change the system that created this culture. And for sure he means the leadership and management.

Is this point of view still valid until these days? Or it can be considered as an old fashioned way of thinking? 


October 26, 2010

Excellent ME, Again!

It was interesting reading today about improvement within organisations and how important is being a learning organisation to be able to improve and compete. However, something caught my attention, which is some enterprises believe that they are learning enterprises where it is not true in reality.

Some managers believe that they can teach and enforce improvement by giving orders to the staff. In all theories, this has proven failure. Organisations grow from down up, as everything in life does.

This can only lead us to a truth that excellence (regardless which model it represents), self-assessment and transparency are few but very effective factors of organisational success.


October 25, 2010

Learning or Changing?

An important element of excellence is continuous improvement. It was argued that it is necessary because the world is changing and there is a need for adapting to these changes. Others, like Cameron & Quinn, approached its necessity from a competition point of view; you have to change on a regular basis to be able to compete.

The question is: Is there a difference between a learning organisation and a changing/ developing organisation?

I think they are the same in some places, and can be different in others.


October 20, 2010

How many Models do we need?

Today’s presentation on the EFQM model by Dayvon Goodsell was full of information. It opened doors for many questions.

Responding to a question, he explained awarding the EFQM only for companies that have headquarters in Europe by saying that it is due to geographic reasons and has nothing to do with cultural differences. He also supported the idea of having an international model.

One of the questions that comes to my mind is: Why are the countries competing to design models and not just cooperate to create one and then compete to apply it? Isn’t it better and in the interest of the companies and the customers?

Are these companies, and whoever putting these standards for Excellence, thinking strategically and based on Excellence? I.e. do they use excellence while designing the models?


What model to use?

After a week searching in the excellence model, I think the image is clearer now, although not perfect, about the models and what should we use.

In my opinion, choosing the model is something that is situation-dependent. Arguably, there is no specific model that can be taken in granted as a package suitable for all businesses and organisations. Nonetheless, it depends on the aim of applying it. However, I would prefer a model that is flexible so I can adapt it to suit the situation I am in, EFQM for instance.

The preceding can sufficiently answer the part related to if choosing the model depends on the sector or not.


October 17, 2010

How would you handle employees who are dormant and passive or active and negative?

.  Distinguish professional from personal relationships. Separate the person’s role in the company from what their personality is like. Learn how to use this person’s professional abilities for the benefit of the company.

. When problems arise, try  to actively listen. Use the rephrasing method for active listening. Ask them for suggestions. By doing this you will increase the employee’s willingness to listen to you.

. Make your comments short and do not repeat your ideas. Ask for their feedback about what you have said.

. Try to be approachable especially for difficult employees. This will keep a running communication with them and might decrease the possibility for problems to reach high levels.


October 16, 2010

Excellent ME!

Since excellence is the dominant this week. How do we create excellence in ourselves? Should we follow one of the models? So I might follow EFQM and others might follow Balanced scorecard and Deming's Prize! I hope nobody would choose the ISO 9000!

I think it deserves a bit of thinking.


October 13, 2010

Human Development –Moral or Need?

A comment on my previous post about human development took me back to old discussions about the morality of a business and the relationship between the manager/ business owner and the human forces they hires.

After the new theories about human development and its positive impact on the organisation, lots of people have thought of it as a moral thing and a part of the human rights and become enthusiastic about the subject, even some businesspeople themselves.

However, did thinking about workers development come as a result of the desire of giving the rights of the workers or it is the other way around? In other words, is it only because it serves the interest of the business/businessperson?

Lucky workers/ businesspeople, if we think about it, at the end, the interests of the worker and businessperson integrate here. 

Does this integration hold true anywhere and anytime? What happens when this integration disappears?

Is it in the hands of a manager or even a giant business owner to enforce a system over the globe that maintains this integration?

It seems that this post is done by human rights. But I do not think that business/ management as a social science and the people (customers) interests are two different things.

There is a concept in philosophy says: the highest interest is the personal/self-interest. If we assumed it is true, how can this be used in management?


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