Global, regional, national and internal excellence programs seek to achieve one goal: To raise the effectiveness and efficiency of institutions, departments and individuals and encourage them to move forward in the journey towards excellence. This goal must be clear for all concerned and it must be promoted at all stages of the prize, from the beginning of the award process until the results and awards are announced.
Excellence programs are keen to embrace concepts and standards of excellence and take them into account at all stages. These programs also take into account the RADAR logic and focus on developing clear objectives for each phase through clear indicators that measure the effectiveness of methodologies used. This enable participants to learn from their experience and set goals forimprovement.
Clear objectives that drive an excellence programme’s development will enable organizations to empower employees and stakeholders in promoting change. A clearly definedvision that is sharedandembraced by allemployees is also integral when attempting tomeet the expectations ofall stakeholders.
Excellence programs should identify all the relevant stakeholder groups and categories them accurately to learn their expectation sand requirements. This is accomplished by measuring stakeholder perceptions, holding stakeholder meetingsandconducting personal interviews. This process of stakeholder management has long been considered one of themost importantsuccessfactorsof any Excellenceprogram.
When it comes to assessments, Excellence Programs must set the criteria forthe selection of the evaluators and select the most appropriate candidate throughpersonal interviews. Before any field visits, evaluators must be provided withadequate training and ample opportunitiesto become well acquainted withtheteamsthey will be working with. This way,assessments are more likely to be smooth, transparent, and participative. Before commencing the assessment, it is important to engage participants through orientation and awareness sessions to ensure that the assessment goals and the evaluation process are clear from day one.
Organisations participating in an Excellence program should ensure that assessment teams are provided with a professional and comfortable work environment. Efficiency is key to the success of any assessment effort. Therefore, it is important to ensure that 80% of theevaluation team’s energy is focusedon thefield visitsand the final report, and then 20%spent on preliminary visits and tasks. This will result inan effectivefield visitand ahigh-level final reportthat will addvalue and efficiencyto the institution. After all, that is the mainaim of theawardsprocess.An effective evaluation process will also be beneficial by providing a learning and developmentexperience for the assessmentteams, technical committees andthe internal Award team.
Always rememberthat unsatisfied work teams or teams under extreme pressure will only be able to delivermeager results.
With this in mind, it is imperative to have a competent technical and managementstructure in place. One that candevelop aseamless action planfor the evaluation processwith the ability to assign rolesanddelegateauthority to concerned persons.The management structure must be able to respond quickly to changesandstakeholder expectationswith timely interventions for the resolutionof issuesthat may arise.
1. Keep your eyes on the prize
An evaluator should focus on the main goal and the final product at all times. This is the final report that adds value to the organisation and encourages them to continue their journey of excellence.
2. Understand the BusinessDuring the pre-site visit stage, the evaluator focuses on analysingthe organisation and understanding how it functions to achieve its goals. This is the most important element in the assessment of any institution and is linked to all the evaluation criteria.
3. Plan and Prepare
Good preparation for field visits includes proper planning, resource allocation, and making sure assessment questions address informationin the documentthat may seem unclear. Throughout this process, evaluators must ensure to incorporate theRADARelements. After all,how can an evaluator write or remarkwithoutidentifying thelevel of achievement ofthe radarelements?
4. Be Professional
During field visits, the evaluator must maintain the utmost level of professionalism and objectivity. All questions should be clear and focused to produce answers that are relevantto the grading methodology.The evaluation team must adhere to their agreed roles; not interrupt others, and ask enough questions to ensure they get the right answers.
Evaluators must adhere to agreed schedulesand respect others’ time, as failure to do so will only serve to give the evaluator and the Award a bad name. Evaluators should not leave the organisation without completing all questions and inquiries and then cross checking facts before recording them.
Evaluatorsshould not impose and opinions, positive or negative, during interviews. They should also be sure to thank the organisation, from leaders to front line employees, for their cooperation and warm reception during the visit.
5. Have a Team Consensus
Immediately following the field visits, evaluators should meetas a group for consultation and to makefinal agreement on all the points. The next steps are to drafta professional reportthat focuses on value, commentary and improvementsor recommendations that are useful and easy for the organisation to understand and implement.
6. Be Objective
Evaluators must take great precautions to avoidbeing influenced by any previous impressionsor preliminary assessment results. Always remember that the primary role of the evaluator is to evaluate the organisation, not to evaluate the document.
7. Give Clear and Concise Feedback
Evaluators should paygreat attention when drafting theircomments as this is the final product of the evaluation. If an evaluator’s comments are presented in a clear and concise manner, the grades provided are easier to accept. However, if comments are unclear and scattered, chances are the grades maycreate conflict between the evaluators, the team leader, the judges, and the organisation. A key principleof the final report is that the grades received should reflect the comments provided.
8. Stick to the Facts
All too often, evaluators are influenced by their initialperceptions of the organisation. Evaluators have to maintain objectivity by assessing the organisation using proven concepts, standards and RADAR logic in context. If the evaluator fails to understand the organisation properly,the evaluation loses its credibility, resulting in a generic report that could apply to any organisation.
9. Address The Leadership
On the onset of any assessment, evaluators should provide a letter to the senior leadership outlining the eight concepts of excellence,and emphasizing that all concepts are linked to the model criteria. Leaders should also clearly understand that there is no contradiction between any of the criteria and should have a good understanding of the process.
10. Work As a Team
Team preparation and cohesiveness is essential for a successful evaluation.Members of the evaluation team shouldbe able to clearly demonstrate their understanding of the organisation and be able to illustrate the organisation’skey strengths and weaknesses. They should be ready to answer the questions and inquires of the judge’s team, and should be on the same page as their team members during the presentation. Remember-the main role of the judging committee is to assurethat all organisations are graded fairly and objectively.