I am typing this post in the beautiful city of Prague where I have had the privilege of addressing Czech business people about my thoughts and experiences of organisational excellence. It was stimulating to experience the interest of many leaders in driving their organisations forward on a path of excellence. During our discussions I was reminded once again of the importance of developing a culture of excellence in our organisations and the key role of senior leaders in enabling, stimulating and sustaining this. We often speak of the models, processes, tools and techniques that can help organisations in their pursuit of excellence, but much less about the behaviours that are vital if we are really to succeed. Maybe we need to focus much more on these more challenging aspects that stimulate and enable success, and rather less on the mechanisms that support the process?
I was recently asked whether the three Stakeholder focused, Superior and Sustained aspects of performance, (see blog of 25/08/11 about the definition of Organisational Excellence), follow one after the other in terms of management attention, or whether management should focus on all three together. My answer was that it depends on the state of your organisational progress to date. Once an organisation is performing well in all three aspects then clearly management need to focus on all three. However when ‘starting out’, the key requirement is to ensure that your organisation is taking the actions needed to identify, anticipate, create, understand, meet and where possible exceed your stakeholders expectations. Having done so, the challenges are then to exceed the performance of others, such as your competitors, and to sustain this superiority over time. Truly excellent organisations aim to deliver sustained world-class performance in those areas critical to their stakeholders and the long-term success of their organisation.
I use a model of performance management with my clients to help focus their attention on this whole area of performance. I call it the 3S Model of Performance Excellence©, and the graphic of it, which might illustrate my answer to my questioner, is shown below. Readers may find it helpful….but please respect the copyright and do not reproduce it.