At a recent Global Benchmarking Congress in Abu Dhabi, during the course of a panel discussion, I was asked about the status of Performance Excellence in India. I made the following observations:

  1. In India, Performance Excellence is pursued by aspiring organizations primarily for recognition. The platforms for recognition being the CII Exim Bank Award (based on the EFQM) and the IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Award (IMC RBNQA, based on the Baldridge model)
  2. I have been associated with the IMC RBNQA since inception in 1994
  3. The quantum of applications for the IMC RBNQA grew aggressively in the first decade, primarily in the business segment – manufacturing and service. The second decade saw a steady decline in business applications
  4. On the other hand, the healthcare applications have grown over the past decade. Each with an earnest desire to internalize the IMC RBNQA model for Performance Excellence
  5. In addition, the education segment has been a tortoise in this race
  6. Overall, the annual quantum of IMC RBNQA applications has plateaued
  7. Plateauing of applications for Performance Excellence Awards seems a universal trend in the USA, Europe and Asia.

I continued, given a chance by TIME to roll back and start again, my approach to evangelizing Performance Excellence would have been different. How?

  1. I would have first focused on Housekeeping. This would have helped to sensitize workers in organizations to detect mistakes and failures. After all, the “chalta hai” culture cannot build a climate for Quality and Performance Excellence. The benefits of Good Housekeeping are many. The most important being “dignity to the workers”… We care for your health.
  2. Next, I would have focused on Safety. Accidents occur when something fails. These projects are primarily owned by upper managers. Apart from being an Accident Free organization, this would also flag “dignity to the workers”… We care for your safety.
  3. Once Housekeeping and Safety were in place, I would have ventured to engage workers for Quality Improvement not only for process efficiency, but also for effectiveness with customers.
  4. Making a habit of steps 1,2,3 would probably have taken five to seven years.
  5. Finally, I would have introduced a Performance Excellence model that addresses the needs of four types of customers: External; Internal; Society; Mother Earth.

The acid test for Performance Excellence is complex. It needs to address the following in a balanced way:

  1. Are customers voting for you with their money?
  2. Are employees empowered? Are they is a state of self-control?
  3. Are their more jobs created for society? Are we imparting skills for employability?
  4. Are we respectful in our practices that impact Mother Earth? Do we care for the health of her water/ air/ soil?

It is never too late to start all over again. 


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