Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Business performance self-assessment and criteria “3in1”

Self-assessment is a business performance improvement approach deployed in accordance with business requirements and preconditions. It covers an organization’s or a unit’s business scope as a whole.

Top management of the organization or unit being assessed should personally participate in the assessing. In fact, all business leaders certainly appraise the condition and features of their business at least sometimes. By participating in a systematic self-assessment he or she can free his or her capacities from handling avoidable problem situations to real improvement of business performance.

Self-assessment does not provide benefits unless it is aligned with leadership and is a part of leadership practices.

Seven main phases of systematic self-assessment are:
l. Relevant facts pertaining to the assessment criteria are identified in accordance with the business requirements.2. A consensus concerning facts is brought about. Facts may be strengths or weaknesses and they may have different importance from organization’s performance excellence point of view.
3. The situation is scored on the basis of the facts, and consensus concerning the scores is reached.
4. Conclusions concerning strategic directions, emphases, and improvement measures are drawn.
5. Conclusions are translated into business strategy and action plans.
6. Recognition is granted based on improvement.
7. Communications are seen to and is integrated fully into the business.

Items 4-7 can also be viewed as belonging to planning, communicating, or some other area of leadership than self-assessment. The main issue is to integrate everything into the business management effectively and in a natural way. Because self-assessment is a process-like activity, it is recommended that it is implemented in accordance with a defined process. The self-assessment process indicates alignment with business in accordance with the organization’s management model. The assessment is implemented effectively when executed in a process-like manner.

A self-assessment should not be a laborious or separate task. It is more akin to adhering to age-old basic practices, such as “think first before acting”, “recognizing facts is the source of wisdom”, “pass judgment only after you know what you are judging and on what basis", and “learn your lessons”.

The assessment criteria address important business performance areas and items to be assessed. The criteria are the basis for conducting organizational self-assessments in order to strengthen an organization’s competitiveness by:
- helping improve organizational performance practices, capabilities, and results
- facilitating communication and sharing of information on best practices among other organizations
- serving as a working tool for understanding and managing performance and for guiding organizational planning and opportunities for learning

The criteria are designed to help provide organizations with an integrated approach to organizational performance management that results in
- delivery of ever-improving value to customers and stakeholders, contributing to organizational sustainability
- improvement of overall organizational effectiveness and capabilities
organizational and personal learning

All assessment categories of the criteria are related to one another. The assessment model provides a tool with which to assess the entire business in relation to weights of its different areas. The maximum score of each examination itern illustrates its relative significance as a competitive business performance driver. In order to achieve excellent performance a company cannot optimize a single area of activities and neglect the entirety.

An organization's 3in1 performance self-assessment bring together the following viewpoints:
  1. Quality management standards such as ISO 9000,
  2. Excellence performance models, e.g. Malcolm Baldrige and the EFQM models, and
  3. The organization's business system.

The evaluation model is easily customizable solution for organizations.

For organizations’ the initial assessment there is a simple evaluation model 3in1 Start, from which the organization can continue its assessment to more comprehensive and detailed assessments.

The interactive ZEF evaluation tool is used in practical self-assessments. It makes self-assessment easy and fast to perform and is also very easily adaptable to the organization's own business assessments and measurements.


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