It is difficult to define the organizational excellence and even more difficult to achieve it. For achieving organizational excellence there has to be a paradigm shift in the thinking of the organizational leadership and its stakeholders.
Organizational excellence helps an organization to excel in all its sphere of activities. It makes the organization to achieve and sustain outstanding levels of performance which meets or exceeds the expectations of all the stakeholders.
An organization to achieve sustainable organizational excellence needs support of the eight key organizational pillars as shown in Fig 1.
Fig 1 Eight key organizational pillars
These pillars provide the foundation for achieving the excellence as well as a common language for the top management. The organization is to bring permanent change in its values and operations by focusing on managing of these eight pillars. These pillars describe the attributes of the culture needed in the organization for excellence. Each of these organizational pillars is not new by itself. Each has its own importance. But the key to organizational excellence is combining and managing them together. They have to integrate into the organizational culture for providing excellence to the organization. These eight pillars are as follows.
Customer centric approach
By following customer centric approach, the organization adds value for its customers on a consistent basis. This is done through understanding customers, anticipating and fulfilling their needs, meeting their expectations and utilization of the available opportunities.
Development of capabilities
The organizational capabilities are developed by bringing effective and permanent change in its operations through successful change management. The changes are to encompass all the organizational activities within and beyond the boundaries of the organization.
Focus on creativity and innovation
The organization can achieve excellence through continual improvement by harnessing creativity and innovation. Through systematic innovation and by harnessing the creativity of the stakeholders, the organization can generate increased values and can improve levels of its performance.
Organizational leadership is to be visionary with integrity providing inspiration to the people. Visionary leaders shape the future of the organization. They act as role models for its values and ethics. They set the direction, promotes clear and visible values. Leaders of excellent organizations develop strategies, systems and methods for achieving excellence. They stimulate innovation in the organization and build knowledge and capabilities. They inspire and motivate the people by encouraging their creativity, involvement, development and learning.
Agility provides excellence, Organizational excellence is achieved by enhancing the organizational capabilities to identify and respond quickly in an effective and efficient manner to the opportunities and threats. Agility makes the organization flexible and its response time to the critical issues reduces to a great extent. Excellent organizations are quickly able to take advantage of the opportunities and protect itself against the threat.
Sustainable future is key to excellence. Organization striving for excellence creates a sustainable future for itself. The organization strives for a positive impact on the environment surrounding it. It enhances its performance whilst simultaneously improving the economic, environmental and social conditions of its neighborhood and of the communities it is in contact. The organization is responsible to the society, communities and the environment surrounding it.
Harnessing the people talent
Excellent organization harnesses the people talent for success. Organizational excellence is achieved through people and hence the excellent organization values its people and creates a culture for their empowerment as well as motivation. The organization continuously strives for enhancing the talent of the people through education, training, and knowledge enhancement for their sustained and continuous growth. It works for people participation for the achievement of both the organizational and personal goals.
Sustenance of outstanding achievements
Organizational excellence helps the organization to focus on results which are guided and balanced by the interest of all the stakeholders and meet both the short and long term of their needs within the context of the organizational operating environment. This helps the excellent organization in sustaining its outstanding achievements.
These eight pillars provide the organization positive values but to translate these values into transformational strategies organization needs enablers. The enablers enable the organization to infuse the values into the fabric of the organizational culture. Four important transformational strategies are i) attention through vision, (ii) meaning through communication, (iii) trust through positioning, and (iv) confidence through respect. Excellent organization utilizes these strategies to create a high performance environment which is characterized by committed people, constant innovation and customer care. The enablers needed by the organization to develop and implement the transformational strategies are described below.
For achieving organizational excellence, organization needs leaders who have clear vision for the future and who can mould the organization to achieve the vision. For achieving this, the leaders are to be good in communication. These leaders are agents for change. They inspire and motivate. The organizational leadership sets examples for the organizational ethics, integrity, values and social responsibility so that the organization inspires all the times trust amongst its stakeholders. The leadership is to be flexible, enabling the organization to anticipate and reach in a timely manner the success and to ensure that the same is sustained.
Strategy is the action plan determining its future direction. The action plan is developed by the organization for deployment in order to achieve the organizational excellence. Strategy takes the organization forward in the future towards the achievement of the desired goals. Excellent organization develops policies, plans, objectives and processes and deploys them to deliver the strategy. Strategies which are based on the understanding the needs and expectations of both the stakeholders and the external environment as well as understanding the internal performance and capabilities helps the organization to sustain its success.
An organization needs people for its operations since they provide manpower needed for the production of goods and services supplied by the organization. Further skills and competencies needed for making the organization function are provided by the people. People are also essential for the organization since it is people who provide vision, creativity, inspiration and motivation for keeping the organization alive and healthy. In fact people are the most important resource which is owned by the organization. Intelligent use of their knowledge and capabilities is one of the major determinants of the organizational success. Organizational excellence calls for creating a culture in the organization that values and empowers its people and allows for achievement of both the organizational and personal goals which are mutually beneficial. The organizational culture is to promote fairness and equality. For achieving the organizational excellence, the organization is to enhance capabilities, knowledge, and skills of its people through continuous training, education, and knowledge sharing. The organization is also to care for, recognize, and rewards it people so that they are committed to the goals and values of the organization. In this regards proper communication between leaders and the people plays a very important role for achievements of organizational objectives and in creating an environment of excellence in the organization.
Other than people resource, the organization has fixed assets to support its manufacturing activities and financial resources to meet its financial requirements for supporting its daily operations and funding for improvement activities. Organizational excellence requires planning and effective management of these resources for supporting strategy, policies and the processes. The organization should have systems in place for effective and efficient utilization of these resources. It should use various available tools to maximize the utilization of the assets. This in turn helps the organization in managing effectively the social and environmental impacts. For achieving excellence, the organization is to get more out of the resources employed while recognizing its responsibility as a good corporate citizen towards minimizing the harm to the environment and managing its adverse impacts.
Organizational excellence requires the organization to have partnership with external stakeholders such as customers, key suppliers, society, educational bodies and even non- governmental organizations (NGOs). The purpose of entering a working relationship is to provide the organization some added value which can be in terms of time, money or material. An excellent organization segments and differentiates partners and suppliers in line with the strategy of the organization. It adopts appropriate processes and policies to effectively manage them and build a sustainable relationship with them based on mutual trust, respect and openness.
Processes , products and services
Organizational excellence requires the organization to design, manage and improve processes for generating enhanced values to customers and other stakeholders. Processes are sequences of activities by which transformation takes place in the inputs. Processes add value to the inputs by consuming resources to produce outputs. The output of one process can be input to the other process. The excellent organization defines the process ownership along with roles and responsibilities while developing, maintaining and improving the processes. The processes are always to be in the mode of continual development and changes are made in the processes whenever there is a need. Processes are used to produce products and services that give the customers optimum values. Innovations are to be the part of the processes to convert ideas into reality. Excellent organization designs and manages processes to optimize stakeholder value.
Organizational excellence framework
The adoption of the organizational excellence framework encourages good management practices and allows the organization to progressively attain higher standards of excellence. Good management practices can be cultivated by ensuring that key pillars are in place in the organization. Good management engenders a culture that supports high performance. The organization achieves excellent results in four areas of operation namely (i) people, (ii) customer, (iii) operational, and (iv) financial and marketing related results.
The organizational excellence framework is a simple, structured and proven framework that helps the organization to excel by providing the organization a clear view of what needs to be done to continuously improve, an approach to rally and energize all in the organization to move in the same direction to create stakeholder value, and a roadmap for sustainable development.