Previously I talked about the use of the EFQM Model in the context of an EFQM-assessment. But the EFQM Model can also be used as a model for management to run their business. Through a process called Self-Assessment (SA) an organisation can get a comprehensive view on their overall fitness at a certain point in time. It is actually not much more than taking ‘a good look in the mirror’ called EFQM Model. What you see provides you with feedback on the effectiveness and efficiency of all the approaches the organisation. This feedback is invaluable when determining or refining the future strategic direction of the organisation and consequently identifying the necessary improvements to make it happen.
Depending on the method used for executing the SA the investment in resources will vary. Regardless of the method used the result of the process is a list of the organisation’s Strengths (Ss) and Areas For Improvement (AFIs). It is not uncommon for an organisation to identify more than 200 items, nor is it uncommon that several and/or the big ‘challenges’ on the list were already on the radar of the senior management team.
There are managers (and consultants) who are disappointed with this process, because they feel there is an imbalance between the input and the output of the process. The (sometimes big) investment in resources does not make up for creating this very long list of Ss and AFIs, many ‘they knew about anyway’… One can look upon this point in various ways, but let me bring up a few things I find important to mention on this point.
Firstly I sincerely hope the identified Ss and AFIs do not come as a surprise to management, at least not the majority of them, otherwise they would have been quite out of touch with their own business. However I do agree that listing all these detailed Ss and AFIs, as this is a part of the process, is not the most exiting activity. EFQM has various support tools available, but a good help here is the solution Ricoh has offered to the EFQM Community recently. To support their SA-process Ricoh developed and implemented a SA-method and tool called the Business Excellence Matrix (BEM). Apart from identifying and creating the list of Ss and AFIs, the output of BEM-approach is also an Enabler Map.
Secondly, but maybe I should have mentioned this first, the creation of this comprehensive list of Ss and AFIs is not an aim in itself. This list is the basis from which the organisation selects the priority topics that will help to define or refine their strategy and make sure the organisation is progressing towards reaching its vision.
And thirdly when the SA-process is set up and executed the right way it creates an enormous buzz in the organisation. Involving people from various levels in the organisation creates a feeling of empowerment among employees. In my personal experience people that have been involved in a Self-Assessment do not need much encouragement to take ownership of any action or project agreed as a result of that process. This makes deployment quite a bit easier!
I can put more points forward, but I leave it up to you now to maybe surprise me with one or two interesting things about your own the Self-Assessment experiences. What surprised you when you took a good look in the EFQM Model mirror?