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Sunday, 13 October 2019 00:00

A Case for Challenging Business Awards

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In the Last article, we examined how a Company can use the Business Awards to further their Business Goals. One should be very clear about what is the End and What is the means. In the heat of the awards, one should not get lost that getting the award is the End. 

 

In this article, I am looking at the process of challenging a Business Award.

 

Run your Business like a series of Sprints

 

A group of people on a court

Description automatically generatedTo ensure the Company pursues its’ Business Goals with full vigor, a Leader needs to create surges of energy from time to time. The energy levels go down by default. This is quite apparent in many companies when you see their failure rate towards their own Targets. 

 

It is ideal if a Company can be run in a manner wherein the Teams pursue the goals with great vigor. I am sure good number of Companies may be running like this across the world. But many other companies need help in this area. 

 

Challenging the Business Awards is one way of maintaining the Mojo within the Company. 

 

 

What Award should you challenge?

 

 Before you decide what Award would you like to challenge, you should decide what Improvement methodology works for you. Some companies go for 6 Sigma, some go for TPM, Some others for TQM and so on. Some Companies may have their own Business Systems within their company. But they may borrow the principles from all Best Practices. I would recommend this route.

 

I would further recommend that you don’t use the Specific Terminology that is used in TQM, TPM and so on. Put your own names for each of the practices. That would give it your own company flavor. For example, you need not use TPM as a term. But you can have a term like ‘Good Maintenance Practices’ (GMP) and formulate your own practices. I say this as it is better not to bring in the baggage of other companies into your Company. You should formulate the Best Practices in Maintenance that work for you! 

 

Once you have an outline of your own Business System, you would of course have to start practicing the Business System. You can use a Business Coach here. Someone who Is experienced in implementing the Business Systems. 

 

After you form your own ideas about what works for you, then you can look at challenging an award. Don’t just look at one award. One award would give you energy for may be 2-3 years. Think about at least next 10-12 years. What next after this award? Is there a next level of this award? Eg. Deming Award, Deming Grad Prize. After you get all awards, what will be your way of generating this extra energy in the Company? Ideally you should learn how to generate this energy in the organization with the experience of challenging couple of awards. 

 

There are several Business Awards. You can Google them, and you would get a long list. Depending on your Business Practices, you can choose which Award and which methodology would fit you. You can go to other practicing companies and listen to them. It is important to listen to their failures as well as their successes. 

 

What happens when you challenge an award?

 

Your company has to adapt the Standards and Processes that this Award / Methodology prescribes. So, be ready to make a major improvement in your Business Processes using these criteria. You are going to practice each of the Criteria, and you are not going to pretend you are practicing it to get the award! 

 

Most of the Awards allow you to adapt the Criteria, to your needs. Do not believe if someone tells you that you have to use them as they are. 

 

Use the Award criteria and the Best Practices from that Methodology genuinely to take your Business Practices to the next level.  This is a must. If you do not do this, you would end up doing something to just get the award and you would lose focus on your Business! 

 

 

Choose your Guru

 

Many of the Awards like TQM / TPM awards require you to take the help of a Japanese Consultant. This is quite fine. They do add a huge amount of value to a Company. But after looking at these Sensei for many decades, my learning is that a Company can get maximum benefit from the association if there is a Local Guru who Is aligned to this Sensei’s thinking. I have seen many companies that are not able to use the help of the Japanese Sensei fully as many of the Sensei struggle to be understandable to Team members beyond the senior level. This is also a reason why the TQM / TPM efforts stay at the ‘top’ in many companies. 

 

I believe that the Local Guru and Japanese Sensei can together give Best output to the Company.

 

Practicing the Principles

 

Once you choose the Guru, work out your next 3 Year Goals and look at how the Best Practices of the chosen methodology (TQM / TPM / 6 sigma) will help your Company to achieve the 3 Year Goals much better. 

 

You should create internal champions for each of the Major Principles. You also will need a full time Business Excellence team. 

 

The Principles should be genuinely put into practice to get a better result in each of the Goals of the Organisation. We will not practice any Principle that does not seem to add value somewhere.   

 

The practices have to be continuously improved as they are practiced. 

 

The chosen Gurus will play a role of auditing these Practices and helping the Company to get the best out of the Principles. 

 

Some of the ‘Must Dos’ in this area are:

 

-       Work out the Major Goals for every Function.

-       For the big three goals, formulate Cross functional Teams that would get the BEST results for the company. Eg. A Company may decide to improve their market share in three years by 5%. This requires Cross functional working. 

-       Create a sense of urgency by working out the Audit schedule by the Gurus till the final audit.  Please note that this is the major purpose for which you got in to the Award route!

-       The Audits by the Gurus should be linked to specific progress that various Teams need to make. 

-       Create a good Progress chart that would motivate the Teams. Create enthusiasm around the Goals. 

-       Improvement Story writing: There is a practice in all major Award journeys to write an improvement Story. This is called as Schedule A and B in Deming Award Criteria. This is a very powerful practice. When you write your Function’s Improvement story over past 2-3 years, you may or may not be happy with the improvement curve. That dissatisfaction actually sets the ball rolling. Through the Story, you would gain an upper level picture of the progress that you are able to achieve. When you are not satisfied or when your Boss is not happy with the progress, the real change will start! 

-       Write this Improvement Story early in the journey and keep repeating it / updating it every 6 months or so.  This helps you to keep having a Bird’s eye view of your progress. 

 

 

Create Learning avenues

 

While your Team is shown the three-year goals and you have also created the extra energy towards those goals, you also need to equip the team with much better skills in their Functional and Leadership areas.

 

A picture containing wall, indoor, toy

Description automatically generatedYou need to make some serious progress in some of the following areas:

 

-       Engineering Problem solving ability in your Company. This is fundamental to a Manufacturing Company. 

-       Your Product Technology. You should be able to push the boundaries of Product efficiency and become much better player in the market. 

-       Your Manufacturing Process should become as Lean as possible. You should formulate your own Manufacturing Systems during this period.

-       All your Processes like Sales Process, Marketing methods, New Product Development process etc should mature during this time.

-       Using I.T and Industry 4.0 elements you should go to a much higher level in Productivity / addressing Customer needs. 

 

There can be more areas. 

 

Create Learning avenues for Employees to learn in these areas and implement their Learnings.

 

Shifting the focus of the team members on their Skills is the progress that a Company should do. Using technology in the form of E-Learning can be a good idea. The Company should re-engineer the learning using Technology. 

 

Inspiring the Teams

 

The Leaders in various functions should be able to inspire the teams towards the goals. The Leaders need to be developed to ensure this. Putting the Leaders on to a Personal Improvement journey through a Leadership Development program can be a good idea.

 

A sunset in the background

Description automatically generatedEach Leader should be helped to inspire their teams. 

 

Some of the Best practices in this area of getting results are as follows:

 

-       Recognize the better performing teams.

-       Communicate much better using the Technology available today. Many Creative possibilities are there in this area. 

-       Bring out the Employee participation in the Goal Achievement. There needs to be many methods of engaging the Employees. Few methods may not fit ALL employees. 

-       Celebrating the progress made by individual teams and Company as a whole. 

-       Diagnosis of Performance every 6 months. Align this with the review by the Gurus. Guru as an outsider can evaluate your analysis of your Progress and help you make corrections. 

 

 

 

Your own Sprint Process

 

A picture containing skiing, outdoor, sport, man

Description automatically generatedThe Leadership should be quite aware that challenging and winning this award is the end in itself. It is a means to learn the process of ‘Motivating the teams to pursue the Business goals in a vigorous manner’. 

 

You should develop your own ‘Sprint process’ towards your Goals using the Award journey! 

 

All the very best ! 

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