Why your business needs an ‘excellence model’ now

Team discussion

By Katherine Sharp

Can a core framework really make or break your business? I’d say, yes. I’ve had several conversations recently with business leaders about the challenges they face, and I’m reminded why alignment to goals and good communication practices are vital to an organization’s performance…and ultimately, its survival.

Perhaps you’ve done a team ice-breaker exercise where the group sits in a circle. The first person is given a simple phrase that he/she’s instructed to repeat only once to the person next to them. She leans towards her neighbor and whispers the phrase, and then that person whispers the phrase to the next, and so on. In my experience, by the time the last person receives the message, the phrase has changed significantly. It’s the same in companies. Getting an organization on the same page quickly, having a shared understanding of the strategic direction and being able to maintain this alignment over time gives a firm a sharp competitive advantage.  

What is an excellence model, anyway?

An excellence model is a framework that provides a holistic view of the organization. These models bring together the best management principles and practices to provide a common framework that all stakeholders can operate from—and, in a structured and consistent manner—regardless of a company’s size or industry.  

Why do I need one?

In a nutshell: to stay afloat. For instance, the speed of digital disruption is significantly impacting businesses around the world today. And, although the trend has been fewer failures of small to mid-size firms, the bad news is 50 percent of small businesses in Canada will not survive beyond five years. Those aren’t good odds. Rolling out an excellence model creates a platform the company can use from the start to build the business, benchmark performance and spawn continuous improvement initiatives across key management areas, all while monitoring results over time. It gives your firm common terminology, processes and measurement so your organization is aligned—with a clear vision to the longer-term picture, along with key actions you and your team can take to achieve your strategic goals.

Organizational Excellence Framework used with permission.  Dawn Ringrose & Associates, 2010

Organizational Excellence Framework used with permission.

Dawn Ringrose & Associates, 2010


Isn’t that just for Fortune 500 corps?

Not at all. Organizations worldwide are positively impacted when they consistently operate with best management principles and practices. The Baldrige Performance Excellence Program study, for example, identified a benefit-to-cost ratio of 820:1. Impressive! Taking a systematic approach by using an excellence model offers benefits ranging from:

      Improved customer satisfaction

      Better employee engagement

      Better quality products and services

      Cost savings

      A performance benchmarking program

      Attracting and retaining top talent

      Attracting investors

Going back to the team ice-breaker exercise, what is interesting is that when the process changes—such as being able to repeat the phrase more than once or simplifying the phrase without leaving out pertinent information—the results change; for the better. Take a minute to reflect on your company. Is your communications strategy working? Is your organization performing to its fullest potential? Are you hitting your targets? Do you have alignment across your key management areas?

If you would like a snapshot of your organization highlighting your strengths and areas for improvement, take a quick free assessment here.

If you would like to discuss your organization's need in greater detail, please contact Katherine directly.

This post is part of a series on the Organizational Excellence Framework. Look for upcoming posts highlighting each of the principles and practices of high-performing organizations.