Eight Excellence Key Success Factors

The eight excellence key success factors in combination creates a holistic system that promotet excellence in process output.

Several authors, many of them gurus of business, have written articles and books on the key attributes of business excellence. In this article I offer you the eight excellence key success factors that has been distilled from these authors and blended with my own experience gained through many years of as consultant, entrepreneur and corporate leader.

The eight excellence key success factors are:

  1. Productive Processes
  2. Integrated Information System
  3. Innovation
  4. Execution
  5. Connectedness
  6. Strategy
  7. Governance
  8. Confidence

Eight Excellence Key Success Factors #1: Optimized Process

Productive processes are processes that are both effective and efficient. That implies, they sustain output of products and services that maintain a required quality level while keeping costs in check.

I would venture one step further and add that a perfectly productive process is one that is flexible and agile to change on demand, not only quality of, and also the actual product or service being delivered. Plus, it achieves this through continuous efficiency improvement, i.e. cost per widget output reduction.

Generally, companies have a myriad of opportunities to improve their output performance and need to turn to the science of process improvement for guidance.

Eight Excellence Key Success Factors #2: Integrated Information Systems

While aligned and optimized processes are the first step towards improved efficiencies and effectiveness, information systems are key enablers to further enhanced process performance. As such, systems need to suite the means (the processes) and fully integrated into to create a holistic “system”.

Eight Excellence Key Success Factors #3: Innovation

During the past decade innovation as a strategy has enjoyed much verbal attention yet not always successfully leveraged by many companies. Possessing the correct organizational culture and supporting processes has differentiated those that won through innovation.

Innovation is not just product related, but can of of many different types. Here is some example:

  • Business Model Innovation—Linux, Quicken, Priceline.com
  • Network Innovation—Amazon.com, Coke Cola, Blockbuster
  • Support-Process Innovation—Starbucks, Motorola, Idealab
  • Core Process Innovation—Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Boeing
  • Product Performance Innovation—Intel, Chrysler
  • Product Systems Innovation—Apple, VW
  • Service Innovation—McDonalds, Sears, GE
  • Channel Innovation—Dell, eBay, Nike
  • Brand Innovation—Disney, Marriott
  • Customer Experience Innovation—Lexus, Virgin, Schwab

Eight Excellence Key Success Factors #4: Execution

A company may posses the best vision, strategic plans or offering concepts, but without the ability to practically execute on these, it is doomed to mediocrity or, at worst, failure.

Organizational alignment, sound project management capabilities, control systems, measurement and tracking systems are some of the keys to enhance execution success.

Eight Excellence Key Success Factors #5: Connectedness

A famous saying goes that no man is an island, and so too are processes. None work in isolation. A process has several stakeholders within and outside that support to to create value. On the one hand are suppliers (including employees, supply chain etc.), on the other are customers, clients and consumers.

As at the individual level, success is vastly enhanced when a value adding network is established. The purpose of a network is to bring expertise, and the right inputs at the right time, to ensure productivity is sustained.

Powerful networks are characterized by its ability to connect the right people to a situation for speedy problem or opportunity resolution.

Eight Excellence Key Success Factors #6: Governance

Whether a small, medium of large business, watertight governance rules must be in place and adhered to by all. Governance includes knowing the current performance of the business and its processes through tracking dashboards of appropriate metrics.

The health of the organization and its current trajectory is vital input for appropriate decision making, both on the shop-floor and in the boardroom. Key decisions and activities across the processes (business, services, operational etc.), must be associated with appropriate levels of accountability and controls. 

Eight Excellence Key Success Factors #7: Strategy

There exists no doubt that carefully compiled and shared strategies increases a company’s chances of success, primarily as it aligns the organization and aligns resources. In the world of business process excellence, it provides a roadmap to success. The “best we can be” to strive towards, with a given way to get there.

Compiling a few weakly stung together analysis tools and charts, with questionable data, is of no value and quickly forgotten in the daily activities to meet targets. A strategy steps in to provide focus, decision guidelines and assist in prioritizing activities. Simple and practical strategy (e.g. Hoshin) development methods can be engaged to set and enable execution of meaningful strategies.

Eight Excellence Key Success Factors #8: Confidence

The mind, body and soul of both human and business must exude confidence to exploit the company’s potential for success. When the first seven excellence key success factors are in place, confidence in the organizations ability to execute and deliver what the customers wants, when and where they want it, is significantly increased.

Human capital management plays a fundamental role at developing and enhancing the personal esteem of employees and a corporate climate that promotes confidence. It is the leadership however that have the greatest impact at instilling trust and confidence in the company’s future. It all starts with the leaders displaying true confidence themselves.

The eight excellence key success factors discussed above should come come as a surprise. They each have inherent the potential to significantly influence to alter the path to success. Each one alone may provide limited benefits, however as a complete system, when all eight are collectively employed, a powerful mechanism for excellence is created.

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