IN TOUCH : Cards lift business game

Improving business capability could be as easy as – card game? Well, not quite – but new self-assessment system that enables large or small businesses to pit themselves against the world’s best offers an engaging way to focus on improving performance.
It’s called Assessor and it’s the brainchild of business excellence consultant and PYXIS director Michael Voss, who’s spent the past eight years developing what he describes as tool “designed to allow busy leaders to reach for and attain performance that is world class”.
Based on the internationally accepted Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, it consists of set of cards that provide point of focus for team discussion of organisational capabilities, strengths and weaknesses. These are grouped into blocks that align with seven Baldrige Criteria Categories: leadership; strategic planning; customer/market focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce focus; process management; and results.
They can be used in variety of ways, says Voss, but basically they help break down what can seem complex task into bite-sized chunks that give all those participating voice in the process. Because they also generate more interactivity, people find them stimulating and fun way to assess their company’s performance.
That is particularly relevant in the light of call from the newly formed Business Capability Partnership for New Zealand businesses to lift their performance to better compete internationally, says Voss.
“The message is clear – if our business leaders don’t pick up the pace by working on the business instead of in it, we will be taken over and left behind. Businesses don’t grow by being static; success evolves through excellence and leadership whose goal is continual improvement.”
The pack of cards costs just over $1000 and comes with set of mind maps that provide an effective visual means of recording the results of sessions. The process requires facilitation, says Voss, but this doesn’t have to be provided by someone who’s an expert in the excellence criteria – as long as they are comfortable with facilitation role. Neither do companies have to be on the path to ‘business excellence’ accreditation in order to benefit from the Assessor tool.
“I think there is large number of companies worldwide who don’t necessarily want to go for the awards but do want to use the criteria. This is tool that has been defined with nice well-oiled process that allows us to carry out quite quick assessment of our organisational strengths and more importantly our opportunities for improvement.”

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