Dear readers and friends,
You often read or hear the expression “journey towards Excellence” in our communication. What does this mean practically?
When using the EFQM Excellence Model in your organisation, you know that performance improvement will come, but that it will build over time rather than come overnight. You deploy step by step, function by function, division by division, refining more and more. You first create a base-line by performing an assessment. This shows few rocks clearly sticking out the water; you tackle these “areas for improvement” via structured improvement projects. You may then perform an internal assessment to see how well your first projects have been deployed and how they have impacted your performance. As the water level goes down, more rocks emerge and you tackle them. You look for role models in the EFQM Community and learn from them (Good Practice Visits, on-line knowledge base, webinars). You may train people to develop them or to further accelerate and embed the deployment of your initiative. Progressively, you refine all approaches that are critical to your strategy and your performance improves across the board. This is however a never ending journey as you keep assessing and refining, in your relentless quest for Excellence.
Three organisations share their experience in this EFQM Newsletter. They are at different stages of their journey but are all engaged for the long run as their past efforts have paid off. The European Ombudsman (France & Belgium) achieved EFQM Committed to Excellence. The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (UAE) obtained EFQM Recognised for Excellence 5*. Alpenresort Schwarz (Austria), winners of the 2013 EFQM Excellence Award. And finally, St Mary's College whose journey spans almost 20 years, was recognised with multiple Awards. All know that their journey is not over.
As organisations progress on their journey towards Excellence, they are eager to learn from others in order to progress faster. The EFQM Forum offers the ideal environment to do just that, plus many additional networking opportunities within the EFQM Community. The 2014 event, which will take place in Brussels on October 20-21, features a unique array of speakers and participants. I invite you to look for more information in this Newsletter and our site, and look forward to seeing you then.
St Mary’s College has come a long way from the Sisters of Mercy first opened its doors to young girls in Derry/Londonderry in 1959. The original site was located in the Creggan area of the city, a large housing estate with very high levels of social deprivation and an area that for over 30 years, suffered some of the worst effects of ‘the Troubles’.
Northern Ireland has a selective system of education. In the Derry City Council area over 40% of pupils are selected (using a transfer test) at age 11 for a place in one of the local Grammar schools. St Mary’s intake consists mainly of those who are not selected for a Grammar School place while some pupils choose the school even though they could get a place in any Grammar School. When it first opened most of the girls left at 14 or 15 to work in one of the many local shirt factories and few aspired to further or higher education. Today almost all pupils go on to Further or Higher education or enter a training programme when they leave St Mary’s and many follow non traditional pathways in STEM areas (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).
The European Ombudsman's office first got acquainted with the EFQM Model in 2010 when several of the Ombudsman's staff participated in the "Start the Journey towards Sustainable Excellence" training session. Those of us who were there came out of the training feeling a little overwhelmed and perhaps even confused. Understanding the various components of the model and envisioning how all this could apply to our institution was not immediately obvious at the time!
On September 15th 1988, 14 European Business Leaders met with Jacques Delors and signed a “Letter of Intent” to form a European foundation dedicated to increasing the competitiveness of the European industry. In order to achieve this mission, EFQM launched a partners network throughout Europe.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said that “In the race for excellence, there is no finish line”. This ethos has been adopted by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, a Dubai-based regulatory body responsible for the growth, development and quality of private education in the emirate. The organisation’s excellence department was originally launched in 2007, when KHDA was first established. With a background in leadership training and performance management, Dr Wafi Dawood was responsible for its implementation...
In UNOPS, we continually refer to our ‘Excellence journey’. For that really is what it is – a journey – one born out of crisis, presenting hurdles and divergent paths, but one along which we now tread with increased confidence towards the opportunities and challenges of our future.
We at Alpenresort Schwarz (Mieming/Tyrol, Austria) have been using the EFQM model since 2003, which makes us pioneers in the tourism industry. Having reached the finals the first time we entered the European Excellence Award in 2010, in October 2013 we won 2 of the 8 individual prizes in the “Succeeding Through the Talent of People” and “Adding Value for Customers” categories, in addition to the overall award. In doing so, we joined an elite group of renowned top European companies, and are the first Austrian company to win this coveted award since the quality competition was launched in 1992.