Using the EFQM Excellence Model
Overall, using the EFQM Excellence Model is about thinking about - and improving - your organisation
One of the most common ways to use the Model is self-assessment - of a whole organisation or of a discrete part. This is usually an annual activity which is carried out in a systematic way and allows an organisation to compare itself honestly and realistically against a world class framework (the Model) - using the RADAR logic.
The Model is very adaptable and its comprehensiveness allows it to be used at different levels within organisations to different degrees of detail. But whatever approach is used, an assessment usually produces three main outputs:
|List of Strengths||Confirms areas of relative strength, which may be useful for focus and/or to help further improvements|
|List of Areas for Improvement||Reveals/confirms where improvements are needed, sometimes on issues which are not always reviewed within the organisation|
|A score||We believe this is the least useful output, but it can nevertheless be helpful to measure progress over a series of annual assessments, and to 'benchmark' against current world class performers (accepting that likely differences in assessment methods mean the comparison is only rough).|
Knowing strengths and areas for improvement - and in the light of the organisation's strategy - you should be better placed to improve the important things ... rather than just decide to improve things in as ad hoc way.
A self-assessment does not improve the organisation by itself - subsequent improvement activity is needed to do that. So there must be a follow up to get benefit.
The RADAR® logic is both an integral part of the Model's use and a useful management approach in its own right. RADAR says that an organisation should:
- define the Results it is aiming for
- plan and develop the Approaches it will use to get there
- Deploy those approaches, and
- Assess and Refine (if appropriate) the approaches and their deployment, based on analysis of the results achieved and learning and creativity activities.
This is, in effect, an adaptation of the Shewhart & Deming Plan - Do - Check (or Study) - Act cycle. Just embedding high-level RADAR thinking into your organisation's activities should give added discipline and benefits.
However, 'pure' self-assessment is not the end of it by any means. Using the Model we have, amongst other things, helped different organisations to:
- test the alignment of their activities to their strategy/objectives
- prepare and refine Excellence Award submissions, including 'friendly' preparatory site visits
- identify some key improvement opportunities, for input to strategic/operational plans
- identify and spread good practices between different units
- better understand their culture
- assess the effectiveness of project design and implementation
- assess potential supplier/partner suitability
- run internal award schemes based on the Model
- increase their people's general management education about the business
Some form of self-assessment is usually a component, but it is a really useful management tool and our advice is to 'take it, shape it, use it'.
And a reminder ...
The Excellence Model - along with RADAR - is about THINKING about your organisation. Don't see it or use it just as a nine box tick list, use it as a prompt to help you.