The Management Blog
Tips & advice to help you improve your performance
The process of measuring best practice involves looking at other companies to uncover basic principles that you can model within your own business.
When GE developed their Best Practice Project, their main ethos revolved around asking the question, “What’s the secret of your success?” The answers they got were surprisingly similar.
Most companies reported that they managed processes, not functions, and concentrated on how teams worked together rather than on the performances of individual departments. GE realised after their research that they had been measuring and managing the wrong things. They had put their emphasis on setting goals and keeping score; instead, they should have been focusing on how things got done rather than on what got done.
Following ‘best practices‘ – co-operative, integrated and comprehensive approaches to continuous improvement – helps you achieve higher standards of performance and keeps you aware of the competitive advantage you can achieve.
Here’s how you can start looking at best practice management:
Develop a shared vision and strategic plan. This gives you a vision of world-class performance and helps everyone in the business see exactly what best practice looks like.
Ensure commitment from top management. This will encourage all team members to put their efforts into the changes and improvements needed to achieve great results.
Create a learning environment. This allows everyone to advance in the skills, knowledge and attitude that is required to achieve best practice.
Create innovative workplace initiatives. Everything you put into place should reflect the company’s commitment to improvement.
Focus on customers. Be responsive to the current and future needs of your clients, because they are the ones who will reap the benefits of any new initiatives you put in place.
Develop closer ties with your suppliers. These companies need to know what you are doing so they can support your change initiatives.
Look at technological, process and product innovation. Look at what market-leaders have done to create higher market share and adopt a similar policy, using the faster, leaner methodology that will help you keep costs and investment down.
Use performance-measurement systems along with benchmarking. Remember that if you try to match a competitor’s performance now, you will take time to catch up, because they set their standards in motion some time ago to be where they are now. See benchmarking as a finger-in-the-air process; identify where you need to be in one, two or three years’ time, then plan for that eventuality.
Network external relationships. By sharing information, accessing new services, developing new products and services, reviewing use of staff skill-sets, minimising costs in entering new markets, etc, you build a firm foundation for creating best practice for your company’s future.
Remember…unless everyone in the business is committed to best practice and understands the meaning of the term to them personally, you run the risk of any changes being seen as just another management fad. You must ensure that you communicate the reasons why you are pursuing this process. That way, you stand a better chance of any new initiatives succeeding.
Have you been affected by downsizing in your organisation during the economic downturn?
The after-effects of downsizing in a company can last for years, as you try to encourage the people who stay to commit their loyalty to the future benefit of the business.
But we’ve found in our research that many companies spend a disproportionate time on helping the people laid off and less real-time on the people who will be left, and that may store up difficulties for the future.
When you manage downsizing ineffectively, there’s a danger that a downward spiral will be set up, which can be damaging to the morale and performance of the whole company. Learn More
Outsourcing has become very important to many companies due to its strategic implications and cost saving benefits, but many companies have not derived the most effective benefits from it. How can you ensure that if you outsource work, you stand the best chance of success?
Firstly, identify your company’s core and non-core activities. Your core activities are those items central to your successfully serving the needs of existing and potential customers in your markets. These are seen as adding value and giving you a distinct competitive advantage, and the process of identifying these activities should be carried out at a top management level. You should therefore build your capabilities around these core areas that are critical to your business success. All non-core business can then be outsourced. Learn More
To quote Peter Drucker, “The stepladder has gone, and there’s not even an implied structure of an industry rope ladder; it’s more like vines, and you bring your own machete!”
Today work environment has changed beyond all recognition, and the journey towards promotion is changing inexorably within business circles. How can you improve your chances of being seen and heard in the promotion stakes?
It’s not enough these days to just be excellent at your job. All that does is make yourself stand out in your current position. You need to discuss with the right personnel exactly what skills and talents are required for the promotable position. Try to become more visible by mixing with those decision-makers who you need to impress. But do it to support the business, not to show off your skills. Learn More
Daniel Simons, author of the book ‘The Invisible Gorilla‘, wrote something interesting recently.
Simons looked at the evidence that demonstrates multitasking is not all it’s cracked up to be. He quotes that every productivity study in every industry published in the last 100 years has come to the same conclusion: after about 40 hours of work in a week, the quality of your work starts to go down. You start making mistakes. Learn More
Email has completely changed the way we work. Most managers we talk to consider themselves to be enslaved by the keyboard, unable to accomplish their daily tasks because of the amount of electronic, as well as paper, mail they receive.
What’s the best way of dealing with this? How can you proactively manage your in-box so it serves you, rather than the other way round? Learn More
Having prepared your presentation, how can you deliver in a way that will make the maximum impact?
No doubt you can recall presentations from others that had you constantly checking your watch, wondering when this was all going to end, and concentrating more on what you had to do afterwards than in listening to what was being said.
And no doubt you can recall presentations from others that had you riveted to every word, enthused and inspired by the message and determined to take action as a result of what was being said. Learn More