Harnek Singh

Becoming a World-Class Organisation and Sustaining Excellence
Harnek Singh President, Asia Pacific Quality Organisation, Singapore

A truly world class excellence must be resilient, sustainable and can by definition stand the test of time. The key characteristics needed for a successful business excellence journey are visionary hand’s on leadership, intimate customer knowledge, enabled and engaged workforce, robust processes offering customised solutions providing a memorable customer experience
World Class organization typically means “Recognition of an organization as a benchmark by its industry sector peers and, for some demonstrated performance in areas by other industry sectors as well.” Becoming a World Class Organisation is demonstrated via leadership steering proven high performance, through commendable high level of commitment through innovation, transformation, continuous learning.

In reality being recognised as a World Class Organization is a tough journey and status to maintain. From experience of organisations embarked on the business excellence journey highlights that it takes absolute commitment, preparedness and ability to go against norms. People more often do not perform at their best possible, the economic conditions are unpredictable and not always favourable, competition is always working on the quiet and taking a bite of your market share by often engaging in less than ethical short-term approaches.

The Business Excellence Model when adopted puts in place a holistic business management system that helps ensures long-term competitiveness through identifying and enabling superior organizational capabilities. It steers and aligns the workforce with organisational goals and objectives, fosters consistent management support and follow up. It addresses and facilitates the equipping and enabling robust processes which ensure business and employee success. This approach is validated approach to attaining a world-class business excellence system that is integrated with all aspects of business management, incorporating organizational and geographical culture, and has continual improvement mechanisms and methodologies built into it.
A world class organisational excellence must be resilient, sustainable and can by definition stand the test of time.

Typical attributes commonly evident in World Class Organizations are:

  1. Visionary and Driven Leadership
  2. Superior performance and set the benchmark
  3. Continuous Improvement and Transformation
  4. Delighted and Engaged Customers
  5. Engaged Workforce & Quality Work-life Balance
  6. Engaged Partners and Suppliers
  7. Innovation Driven and Co Creation with stakeholders
  8. Operational/ Process Excellence
  9. Transparency & Governance

Sustaining Excellence
Sustaining world class excellence is a lot more challenging than achieving it. This is because organisations, after they have achieved leadership or world-class status, more often lose momentum and or their strategic directions and are unable to get or set a foresight to the next phase.
The journey of sustaining excellence beyond world class is a process of innovative learning and creative evolution and in a way a journey into the unchartered water. This calls for active and visionary leadership that can show its stakeholders the future and can communicate the new purpose that is worthy of continual commitment, which will continue to inspire everyone in the organisation including all stakeholders. This journey of sustaining excellence ahead is usually a lot more emotional rather than just a technical one.

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