When rules of a game change the player’s strategies and actions must also change so as to win in that game. The same goes for business. On the eve of the 21st century the nature of doing business has tremendously changed. Global competition, characteriest by networks that bind countries, the phenomenon of an increasingly border less world, and intense pervasive changes have pushed the limits of business excellence to new frontiers never seen before. For organisations good is no more good enough and excellence has lost its meaning to a new phenomenon called “world class organisations”. World class organisational status is a new ideal relentlessly pursued by ambitious and daring organisations worldwide because this status alone is a status which promises maximum rewards and the victor’s stand.
Let us thus demystify this new phenomenon and develop a model, which could be useful for developing world class organisations.
What is A World Class Organisation
A world class organisation can be defined as “An organisation which has acquired the position of Best of the Bests in the world in its given business and continuously strives for beating its oven standards so as to retain that position”
This definition gives us some pointers which can be rightly called some of the characteristics of a world class organisation:
Characteristics of a world class organisation: -
1. Best of the Bests:
A world class organisation is like a world champion having beaten all business champions throughout the world. Additionally such type of organisation possesses such level of strategic and operational excellence, which is not matched by any other organisation in the world. Classic examples of Best of the Best organisations include Motorola, Federal Express, Microsoft etc.
2. Continuous Improvement:-
The second most important trait of a world-class organisation is the importance it attaches to continuous improvement. This type of organisation do not sit on their laurels rather continuously indulge in self-reinvention process. It is rightly said that “success is a journey and not a destination” and for successful companies improvement is a continuous journey. Those organisations, which practice continuous self-improvement, live longer, while those who become complacent and forget about it ultimately end up with closures.
3. Relentless Focus on Customer Satisfaction:
In the game of business umpires are customers and winning thus lies in their satisfaction. In this era customers have become increasingly demanding, asking for the best quality, cheapest possible price and superior service back up. So to win the hearts of their customers globally acclaimed companies satisfy customers and in most of the cases delight them by offering fabulous quality, charging surprisingly lowest possible prices and providing angel like service. It must be mentioned here that excellent organisations develop excellent relation with their clients and treat them with respect and high esteem. I would like to mention here a personal experience of a Malaysian company called “First Training”. First Training is a video training company, which sells and rent out management and educational videos and multi-media programmes. A small company consisting of half a dozen employees and managed by an excellent manager Thomas Teo can be rightly called as a world class company when it comes to customers satisfactions. A couple of days I visited their office and I was indeed treated like a king. After finishing my meeting I had to attend another meeting and when I asked for the direction of the place of my next meeting I was extremely touched when Thomas told that he would guide me there and asked me to follow his Jeep. I can never forget this kindness as a customer and frankly who would if treated like that by any company.
Strategies for Developing World Class Organisations: -
World-class organisation do not happen by chance rather people build them by design that way. They are created by visions, nurtured by ambitions ad perfected by actions. For reaching the zenith of excellence companies need to carefully formulate strategies and deliberately implement them so as to arrive the desired destination.
The following are some of the few strategies, which are instrumental in developing best of the best companies.
1. Knowledge of Global Economy:-
The first requirement to venture into this journey is to acquire knowledge and understanding of global business environment. It is like swimming – it is one thing to swim in a swimming pool, and quite different to swim in a deep sea full of killing sharks. As such, today any business, which wants to be a global player, must know the nature of global market place. A sound knowledge of different countries and their economies, managing cross cultural teams, predicting global market upheavals and getting prepared for forecasting them are some of the things which a business firm must understand, without which it will be impossible to succeed.
2. Obsession with Quality: -
A lot has been said about quality and thousands of volumes have been written about this subject, but no matter how much is said and written quality can never be over emphasized. Quality is a dynamic state associated with products, service, people processes, and environments that meets or exceeds customer’s expectations. In today’s market place quality is one of the greatest weapons, which determines winning. Apex companies, no matter whatever business they do are fanatically obsessed with improving the quality of their products and services. They continuously work on improving the quality of their products and services, which indeed is one of the keys to attain a universal status.
3. Developing the Most Professional Employees: -
The quality of an organisation depends on the quality of its people and their professionalism. One of the best practices of winning organisations is developing the most professional employees through continuous training and development. One of the biggest misconceptions commonly held by mediocre organisations is that training and development of employees is a non-productive cost. However experience proves otherwise. One study by Robert Zemesky of the National centre of Educational Quality and the Workforce found that education produced productivity joins twice as big as did investment in plant or machinery. Although corporate training and education programmes do not come cheap, an ill-trained workforce can prove even more expensive. A very healthy trend pioneered by world-class organisations like Motorola, Solectron, Microsoft etc. is that these companies have started training and development centre, which they call universities. These universities not only train their employees but also award them with formal certificates and degrees, which helps in enhancing employees self esteem as well as their employability.
4. Innovation and Reinvention: -
In his book Ken Blanchard “Mission Possible: Becoming world-class organisations while There’s still Time” defined world class organisation as “an organisation that is working effectively, not just on one curve, or the other but on the both at the same time and learning from them” The two curves described in this definition refers to both the present as well as future improvement initiatives undertaken by a company. Needless to say that a company should strive to continuously improve its present performance. But at the same time should also use deliberate strategies so as to reinvent the organisation in the time to come thus the end of the present declining curve get connected to a new curve of new products, services, systems and structures which propel the organisation to growth. In dynamic business environments like ours reinvention exercise by companies is the only way to avoid demise and obtain eternal organisational life, which is thus practiced by most of the top industries in the world.
5. World Class Leadership: -
The success of every world class organisation without fail can be traced back to a visible or invisible leader who possessed world class leadership qualities. Honda Motors the Japanese automaker is one of the companies, which is gifted with world class leadership. Of all the Japanese automakers, Honda Motors has achieved excellent international presence due to the company’s dynamic leadership. Honda defined products with the intention of gaining success not only in Japan, but across the world Honda was the first Japanese company which started international manufacturing facility in Belgium by manufacturing mopeds in that country. Today Honda Motor has earned itself a formidable placing in the auto-making industry. This success of Honda Motors can be directly traced to the visionary leadership of Mr. Honda the founder of the company.
The often repeated and usually mentioned theme “Globalisation” of today’s business world is not just a fashionable world but a hard reality which businesses through out the world whether small or big must learn to live with. And to successfully live with this reality companies must raise their standards from domestic to international levels, strive for excellence not only in their oven industry but other industries as well. This stature and standard is what is known as world class standard. For any organisation to be truly called a world class organisation it must have the desire, will and above all the strategies for reaching that position. Thorough knowledge of the global economy, fanatic obsession with quality increased focus on employee professionalism, undergoing self reinvention, and above all possession or acquisition of global leaders are some of the strategies which can give birth to thorough bred companies, rightly known as world class organisations.
Dr. Adalat Khan is the president of Mina Management Institute who specializes in Islamic Leadership, Conflict Resolution and Management strategies. His academic qualification includes Doctorate in Business Administration, Master of Business Administration and various post-graduate diplomas. Born in the NWFP province of Pakistan, Dr. Khan is currently permanently residing in Malaysia. Dr Khan is currently involved in pioneering research on Islamic Leadership Principles and its relevance to today’s leaders and their organizations. He had appeared in numerous radio and television programs and was associated with Pakistan Television as a compare and talk show host. A prolific writer who has written several articles publications, which are published in United Nation's publications, international magazines, WORLD EXECUTIVE DIGEST, and Management Times, and News Straits Times etc.