A Joined Up Journey to Business Excellence

When senior executives and business leaders are trying to get their minds around how to raise the bar in business performance where do they look?  The latest Guru Superhero's book? Inspiring articles or TED videos? The trouble is the focus is more usually on the achievement and less about the journey itself. For most people trying to transform their organisation its messy, its hard work and the day to day urgent things get in the way. "Surviving" is the usual word, not "Thriving".

Share with others trying to achieve sustainable excellence

One of the best ways is to acknowledge that you are on a journey. Sharing the experiences and the real challenges with others while studying inspiring examples is a way to envision what excellence will look like for your organisation. At the same time, it is allowing you to acknowledge you are in pursuit of perfection, but you sure as hell haven't achieved it yet!

One model that aims to help organisations achieve excellence is the Shingo Model. The Shingo Model is not an additional program or another initiative to implement; rather, it introduces Shingo Guiding Principles on which to anchor current initiatives and to fill the gaps in efforts towards ideal results and enterprise excellence. The flip side of this is if you don't apply these Principles you are in danger of losing momentum or start going backwards. "

The ten Principles are shared below

Its all about behaviours

As Peter Drucker once was supposed to have said "Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast". By "culture" what we are really referring to is the way we behave in and organisation. The Shingo Institute also has identified Three Insights of Enterprise Excellence™ around behaviours. 

  1. Ideal Results Require Ideal Behaviors
  2. Beliefs and Systems Drive Behaviors
  3. Principles Inform Ideal Behaviors

Way too often business performance improvement is focused on Tools, Structure and Processes only. Many training courses are academic exercises leading to tick box qualifications. A focus on behaviours requires reflection, sharing and, for a leader, an honest assessment of their own behaviours.

A structured approach to Managing by Walking Around

What leaders need is a structured approach to identifying behaviours against a set of principles. For most this is uncomfortable, new and hard to put into practice. It isn't a "Regal Tour" talking about the football but a purposeful conversation aimed at uncovering ongoing issues and opportunities. In short it needs practice and a willingness to go though an unfamiliar and potentially uncomfortable learning process.

Don't try this on your own

Just like any habit forming find some peers with whom to share the experience. Manufacturers usually can find some kindred spirits but for service businesses this is still in its infancy.

The Shingo Institute, through their affiliates (SA Partners in Australia) run experiential workshops hosted by a local organisation already embarked on their journey. Details are linked below.