Individuals participating in a marathon, do not only review their own running times (internal performance), but also look at how other runners are doing. To compare with others can both educational and motivational. The same applies to organisations, but in this case it is a bit more difficult to compare. Unlike marathon runners, organisations do not all find themselves on the same, well-defined trajectory. But rest assured: EFQM provides the answer.
EFQM embraces the principle 'sharing what works'. The experiences of one can be a rich source of inspiration for others. But anyone who wants to improve first needs to pause and reflect to identify areas for improvement (assessment) and take action (refinement), whether or not influenced by others. The followers of this blog know the drill: RADAR is of course the ideal tool for such a learning cycle.
But someone who has a sharp view on their own performance, does not automatically know something about their performance in comparison to others. How do you handle that? The EFQM Excellence Model 2013 emphasises the importance of benchmarking or: ‘A systematic comparison of approaches with other relevant organisations that gains insights that will help the organisation to take action to improve its performance.’
The starting point of each equation is the current situation: in which sector/industry is your organisation operating? Who are the market leaders and what strategies they pursuing? Then bring the EFQM criteria into the equation: what are the different approaches for people, resources, processes, products, services and partnerships? Not an easy job, but do not worry: it is definitely worth it.
Next, take 'the future' as a starting point: where do you want to go? Move up to the top of your current industry, or perhaps try something new in a different industry? What is the ultimate goal? Look at inspiring examples of those who have made it, but also review less successful examples, from both lessons can be learned. Please note: at this stage it is important to keep your eye on the EFQM criteria leadership and strategy: what methods paid off and where did it go wrong?
These days we often speak about the ‘EFQM family’. It is a typical notion that originated spontaneously some years ago. The open atmosphere of knowledge sharing absolutely contributed. EFQM members want to help each other. As a member of this family benchmarking is therefore simpler than it might seem at first. The door is always open. Be welcome.
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