One of the comments we often hear about applying the EFQM Model is "It takes too much time to do an assessment." The first assessment is a big step for an organisation.
Many spend months planning the assessment, training participants and preparing for "the big push". Often, little thought is given to what the outcome will be, nor how this will be used to drive improvement... The goal is to achieve the magic number... The score.
If you were planning to run a marathon, would you just turn up on the day and go for it? Alright, there are some exceptions but I think most of us would consider some sort of schedule to help work ourselves up to the 42 km mark (that's 26 miles in old money).
The key question to ask is "Why are we doing this?" The most common answer we get is "Because we want to improve our organisation." If this is true, surely the focus needs to be on the improvement actions following the assessment, not the assessment itself? In which case, the assessment process needs to be fit for purpose.
You don't start with a full blown "EFQM Award Simulation". In most cases, a simple assessment tool will help highlight the key issues. Whilst you're working on these issues, you can build your internal knowledge so the next assessment digs a little deeper...
The secret to successfully implementing the Model is to view it as a cycle, as part of your planning process, not a one off exercise.
That's why we call it the journey towards excellence.