Mind the Gap

Mind The Gap

Had a great conversation this week with a good friend of mine, Andy Bagley from TEAL Consulting. Andy is quite a rare bird in that although his ‘bag’ is quality and excellence, balanced scorecard, lean thinking and all that stuff – HE REALLY GETS THE PEOPLE ISSUES! So many of those ‘quality’ people are just into the ‘system’ and miss the people and process issues entirely. That might be one reason why so many organisations with quality badges struggle to get much beyond mediocre!

Andy and I were talking about the danger of the gap between the rhetoric and the reality. We both consult in the social housing sector and were looking at how many housing organisations claim to be ‘customer focused’ but are actually focussed on getting 2/3 stars from the audit commission – quickly.

Now often times this can lead to them doing all sorts of the right things – but for the wrong reasons. They ‘do’ tenant involvement because that is what the audit commission want to see. And that is just not a good enough reason.

They take short-cuts to quality – making sure that systems and processes are in place before the next inspection.

But they avoid the real work of management and leadership which is about winning the hearts and minds of employees and customers.

About managing stakeholder expectations.

About tackling under performing staff, recruiting and retaining talent and letting go of those that still do not get the new world of social housing and communities.

There is no short cut to excellence. It will not come along conveniently to fit in with audit commission inspections.

It is a long but wonderful journey that takes passion, courage, commitment and above all believe that you are doing something that is worthwhile with your life. Doing the right things for the wrong reasons creates an integrity gap that just kills an organisation. Or at least turns it into ‘The Living Dead’.

2 Responses

  1. Fair comment Andy -although from my point of view excellence is certainly ‘people and passion’ led. When you get the right people together – focussed on something that they feel passionate about then remarkable things can happen.

  2. Thanks Mike. I hadn’t really thought of myself as a ‘quality’ person, although ‘systems’ maybe. But I do believe it’s about bringing it all together. Organisations don’t achieve excellence simply through leadership & strategy, or through people, or through processes, but through the right blend of all three.

    Seems obvious, but unfortunately not everyone gets it. It saddens me, in some organisations we’ve come across, to see turf wars between HR/OD people and their processes/systems counterparts. A full appreciation of the ‘big picture’ should lead to improvement strategies that are integrated, and are understood and owned by everyone.

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