How well are you aligned to Business Excellence and Business Strategy?

Don't know where to start? Is your Business Strategy not on track? Not sure how to get there?

These 8 pillars of business excellence are extremely useful for any organisation and HR function to understand the enablers of business performance today.

Your HR and Learning initiatives should aim to diagnose, measure and support each pillar depending on how significant they are to your organisation, these take your biggest budget spend or energy and focus. They are Business Critical.

Often HR strategy is altruistic in nature edged with a business perspective as a frame in the pictured (often vague) landscape of the future.

Created by those we safeguard with the hearts and minds of the organisation, if we reversed this..focused instead on VALUE and creating the people ABILITY to deliver that strategy, we might be in a better position on the credibility scale and create what shareholders deem to be a VALUE-ABLE organisation in financial terms.

The 8 pillars of Business Excellence gives us a universal set of principles (prioritised according to organisational context) that directs a balanced scorecard approach consisting these typical 4 headings:

  • Financial - target orientated, development of partnerships
  • Internal Process - org learning and innovation, management decisions based on fact and data
  • Learning/People - leadership and target consequence, people development and participation
  • Customer - customer orientated, socially responsible

Although these have been around for a while, they are still very relevant, perhaps more than ever, for increasingly all types of sector.

What is the HR relevance here? Where's the contribution?

Goal orientation - Focusing people towards great shared goals (empowered to write their own) is a critical factor in the measurement game. Choosing the right goals is key but people want to know what is expected of them, so they have to be understandable, realistic etc etc. So quality of the goal setting is also important. So to summarise, goals have to be set and they must be good ones and 3rdly, better if they are self written.

Partnership approach - working with suppliers and providers in a 'partnership' style approach is key to minimising costs and finding fast solutions to problems. It works too with customers, as it's about long term relationships rather than trying to make short term gain (unless that's your game of course) and it requires that you 'understand' who you work with and all their challenges and include that as part of your approach in all situations. The Partnership mentality is a competency which must be identified, assessed and developed.

Organisational learning and innovation - one of the 'value-able' activities that creates real value is when organisation's innovate and create value for their customers. This can only be done when collaboration and creativity are encouraged, supported and unblocked by slick and sleek processes. Understanding how quickly decisions are made (change occurs) and how to involve and manage diverse opinions are key. The ability to be creative is a competency that should be identified, assessed and developed.

Management decisions should be based on fact and data - ensuring managers have access to information and data is key, but then it's how they USE it. Developing Analytical skills and data led approach is a management competency that should be identified, assessed and developed.

Leadership and target consequence - of course great leadership is a priority for any HR function to develop and acquire the right talented leaders. These set the tone for the culture of the organisation and create it's ability to be ABLE by supporting and developing the right people, this is where HR lives, in the hands of these very mortals who influence more than anyone the day to day operations. SMART leaders hold people to account when things go wrong in a supportive way, that tackles poor performance using a positive mindset that inspires improvement, using great processes and backed up by a supportive HR and L&D team.

People development and participation - It would be a dream if everyone turned up at the door fully skilled on everything they need to do their perfectly. The reality is something different and this is where we need to understand and categorise the difference between COMPLIANCE LEARNING and ENQUIRY LEARNING. Effective management and leadership are compliance learning activities for those already in positions, that need to be identified/bench marked for excellence, assessed, developed and tracked.

The involvement of individuals in the organisation that they 'live in' is as essential as not asking your wife or husband or partner what colour you're going to paint the lounge. It simply isn't done. This is the key principle of engagement - involvement, so stop TOP DOWN change and make things BOTTOM UP.

Customer oriented and socially responsible - Today our purpose has to be aligned to usually 2 things. The people we serve and the wider community because no organisation sits in isolation. People want to be connected to something more than money in their work. Providing creative, workable solutions. Products or services that make people's lives better. Whatever your goals are...they have to work on an emotional level, that's because you really understand who your customers and what they need.

The customer concept is creeping into every sector where they have more power than ever before. This focus should be identified, assessed and developed.

Quite an agenda. All HR processes and activities should be aligned to pillars of excellence in order of priority and gap analysis. These create real VALUE and HR provides the ABLE in VALUE-ABLE for the organisation to achieve it's strategic goals.