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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Business Excellence Assessment

In a dynamic and hyper-competitive environment, businesses are required to adapt and align themselves quickly. While organizations like to believe that they can improve in all areas, the reality is often that choices need to be made. Selecting one area often involves sacrificing improvements efforts in another. Choices made can be done proactively or forced onto the organization as a result of circumstance.

The organization's future should be decided by its leadership. The five dimensions framework presented in this article may be used as tool to conduct a holistic review of the business, identifying broad areas for improvement. The five dimensions are:

   1. Leadership excellence
   2. Strategy and structure
   3. Human capital optimization
   4. Process and innovation management
   5. Marketing and Business excellence


A broad outline of some of the issues to be considered under each of the dimension is described in the paragraphs below.

Leadership excellence - This dimension looks into issues such as: Teamwork across the leadership group, level of trust and respect for leaders, ability to manage ambiguity and adapt to changing business needs, personal learning and capability development of direct reports, the leader's ability to build effective relationships with internal and external stakeholders critical for business success and managing operations with a market focus.

Strategy and Structure - This dimension looks into issues such as: Clarity of vision, strategy and the establishment of SMART business objectives, the existence of a closed loop planning system, cascading of objectives to lower levels, market aligned operations and sales footprint, simple and effective organization and work structures, growth plans that address both short and medium term horizons.

Human Capital Optimization - This dimension looks into issues such as: Investments in total workforce development, definition of core values and competencies, linking employee rewards to performance, systems to identify, develop and retain talent, structured processes to review, manage and develop employee performance, assignment of people to positions and roles based on capability and fit, creating a work environment that facilitates teamwork and continuous learning.

Process and Innovation Management - This dimension looks into issues such as: The identification and management of core business processes, problem solving and continuous improvement efforts focus on customer and market needs, effective use of process management tools such as SPC, FMEA, Value Stream Mapping and DOE, process measurements and management, commitment to new product and process development and the creation of an innovation culture.

Marketing & Business Excellence - This dimension looks into issues such as: The mapping of a marketing and sales strategy to support high level business objectives, collection and utilization of market intelligence information, sales force development to effectively market the organization's value proposition, regular reviews of business performance versus objectives, collection of customer satisfaction and market positioning information, the development of strategic partners and suppliers for improved value chain performance, involvement in socially responsible activities that protect the interest of key stakeholders, the ability to deliver consistently strong financial performance in areas such as sales and EBITDA growth and effective working capital management.

These five components provide a simple yet comprehensive framework that may be used to evaluate the relative strength of the organization. The same evaluation dimensions may be used to assess the competition to identify organizational performance gaps that need improvement. The findings from the evaluation should motivate leaders to conduct further analysis, improvement planning and deployment enabling the organization to improved its level of competitiveness in the market.