In my last blog I tried to arrive at a definition of Organisational Excellence that is both acceptable and applicable. The definition I arrived at, which is very similar to that used by OE focused organisations such as EFQM, has “performance” at its root and contains three key aspects of performance that I believe characterise excellent organisations. They are:
- Meeting/exceeding Stakeholder expectations.
It seems to me that organisations that focus on these three aspects of performance have a greater chance of becoming truly excellent. So all we need to do is create that focus within the organisation and success will follow! Is it truly as simple as that? Well in concept yes, but in practice it’s much harder as we all know. In future blogs I’ll be looking in turn at each of the three aspects of performance listed above and suggesting some practical things that organisations can do to help them on their way.
Well what is clear is that if you get 10 people together in a room and ask them that question you’ll get (at least!) 10 different answers! Many will probably say words like “goodness”, “better” and so on. But unless we can clearly define Organisational Excellence such that the definition is both acceptable and applicable, then we will remain in the areas of theory and diversity of views.
Dictionaries help a little but not much. For example Websters Online Dictionary (what else!) defines Excellence as “state of possessing good qualities in an eminent degree”. Fine in so far as it goes but difficult to apply in any tangible and meaningful way.
Some words that must feature in any workable definition do appear in one form or another in many definitions, and undoubtedly would be regarded as applicable by most knowledgeable commentators. They are “superior” and “sustainable”, and both in the context of what the organisation is doing or achieving. But doing or achieving for whom? Sometimes this is overlooked or just ignored. Every organisation has groups of people who have an interest in it because of the effect on them, either directly or indirectly, of what the organisation does. The most obvious are customers, those who benefit directly from the organisations’ products and services. Others that readily spring to mind are those with a financial interest – shareholders for example in a private sector organisation, or funding providers in a public sector one. The list grows as we consider all those with an interest, and before long suppliers, partners, employees and even society as a whole start to feature. Clearly it is these groups of ‘stakeholders’ who ultimately decide whether an organisation is excellent or not, based on their expectations of what the organisation delivers for them.
Putting all this together and a definition that is both acceptable and applicable starts to emerge. My favourite is:
“Organisation Excellence is delivering sustained superior performance that meets and where possible exceeds the expectations of stakeholders”.
In my next blog I will try to explore how such a definition can be used by organisations to help them develop a culture focused on excellence.
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This Blog is dedicated to sharing my insights on Organisational Excellence – what it is, how it is achieved and sustained, as well as providing ‘real life’ role model examples and links to interesting articles.