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Selecting the Management System That Fits Your Organization

Management system standards and excellence models help you take your organization closer to greatness. Daily we hear about great companies and great leaders who later fail. What makes a company, an organization, a country, or a generation great? Volumes have been written about it. Experts have argued over centuries.

I suggest that what makes a company or organization great is no different than what makes an individual person great. An organization is a collective of all individuals to make one. A great company just like a great person is one that makes the world a better place because of its existence.

An excellent management system can help make a company great. So what makes a great management system?

A system takes inputs through a process and converts them into outputs.
An efficient management system maximizes the output from the inputs.
An effective management system meets the requirements.
An excellent management system satisfies a need and creates value for its customers,
employees, investors, suppliers, community, environment, etc. over time.

Leaders come and go. Employees constantly change. Environment, markets, the map of the world constantly evolve. Management systems stay. The integrity, strength and adaptability of the management system determines how long and how successful a management system is over time.

The management system models, like ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 define requirements that an organization needs to meet and continually improve. Two companies certified to the same standard may have achieved totally different levels of excellence to date. It is like two athletes that started training for a marathon. They are both in training but only one will win the marathon. One may never finish.

Excellence models like Malcolm Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence include criteria that compares the performance of different management systems. Yet again, like the athletes competing for the marathon, can win the marathon that day but not necessarily be a great athlete over time. Achievement of Malcolm Baldrige Award does not automatically make a company great. Like for an athlete the difference lies in the desire: Do you want to win a race? Or Do you want to be a great athlete?

The chart below can help you decide which standard can help you get closer to the Baldrige Criteria. Future will determine wether your creation will withstand the test of time.


Danuta Highet

Foqus, Inc. Mar. 28, 2006

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