Co-author: Nicole Bachmann
Introduction to Business Excellence
Why does any business strive to become better or, indeed, excellent?
The owners/leaders of such businesses believe that a focus on and investment in achieving excellence will enable them to be more competitive – making them more attractive to customers and prospective customers – and to deliver better overall financial performance for the benefit of their shareholders and staff.
There are lots of books describing what highly successful businesses have done and the benefits they derive from their excellence. There is also no shortage of coaches and consultants ready to offer their assistance to businesses that want to raise their performance.
So why aren’t there more excellent businesses and more businesses striving to be excellent?
There are several reasons:
- They don’t believe it will make a difference
- They are too pre-occupied with survival to give any time to new initiatives
- They think it will be too costly &/or will not be a good return on the investment required
- They don’t think the experience of highly successful businesses is relevant to their business
- They don’t know how to start
- They don’t know what to do
- They don’t know what excellence in their business would look like
Our proposition is simple – business excellence is a competitive advantage that is reflected in the financial performance of a business – to the benefit of shareholders, customers and employees. It should therefore be at the top of the agenda for all business owners, executives and leaders.
What if Business Excellence is absent?
If excellence is missing from your business, you will undoubtedly experience some or all of the following:
- Difficulties in winning and retaining clients
- An inability to recruit and/or retain high calibre staff
- Disruptive and/or inconsistent behaviours between personnel across the business
- A pervasive sense that the company is struggling for business
- Habitual discounting in order to get invoices paid
- Profitability under increasing pressure
- Owner earnings declining
- Banking conditions becoming less favourable, which may have a negative impact on cash flow
- Policies and procedures being set but not followed
- A general sense the organisation lacks leadership and direction
- Seemingly simple decisions deferred indefinitely
All of these are serious danger signs that ultimately lead to shrinking of the business, a take-over or – in the worst case – liquidation.
How do you recognise a lack of business excellence? The key characteristics are illustrated this diagram >>.
In part 2 of this blog we will illustrate the attributes of an organisation in which excellence is absent from its People, Operations and Finance disciplines…