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Creating government excellence culture

Mar 14,2020 - Last updated at Mar 14,2020

The key driver for adopting excellence concepts by government institutions is basically to improve their performance and service delivery processes, and not just attempt to win awards.

Government excellence awards should encourage "culture of excellence" not "culture of winning", and should promote the integration between government institutions to deal with economic downturn and other challenges.

Excellence models are not developed to be used by public institutions as an excuse to spend resources without getting the intended benefits.

Institutional excellence concepts can help public institutions in managing all aspects; future shaping, stakeholders, resources, processes, services and performance, in an efficient and effective manner. This means that delivering excellent services requires having excellent people, systems, processes, resources and environment. In other words, a culture of excellence exists.

Excellence is not a destination that institutions try to reach, it is a continual journey where they learn more and improve more and more.

Government excellence programmes and awards in general aim at improving the performance of government institutions. Awards are just a means or a tool to encourage and enhance the institutional and employee performance excellence. Government institutions that adopt excellence programmes as an improvement approach and not just as awards only, their performance improves and they win awards even after few assessment cycles. Whereas, government institutions that just focus on the award without real improvement, do not win any award.

A specific example I recalled in this regard, one institution several years ago attempted to benefit from excellence criteria and practices in a proper manner, the result was that institution has achieved a radical improvement in its performance and won the award after three cycles. Whereas, another institution focused only on winning the award through contracting consulting companies every cycle to prepare award submissions without actual improvements, the result was that institution is still in the end of the list. The point is that it depends on how institutions perceive the value of excellence programme. Of course, misunderstanding leads to poor results.

Concerning the economic downturn and other challenges, excellence models are appropriate management approaches to how to achieve objectives and manage resources in all economic conditions (growth, decline, crisis …etc). One of the fundamental concepts of excellence is achieving balanced results through ensuring a balance between each of: needs and expectations of all stakeholders, short term priorities and long term strategies, financial and nonfinancial performance measures, and objectives achievement and best utilisation of the available resources. Excellence means effectively achieving the goals and at the same time efficiently managing resources. Sustained excellence is based on these two pillars together, effectiveness and efficiency.

Excellence is an institutional culture as leaders of excellence evaluate past, manage present and plan future. This means that they measure, learn and accordingly improve. Excellence is a tool for improvement and to build and then sustain future success. Moreover, enabling a culture of excellence ensures cost reduction and efficiency of spending, especially on medium and long terms. Knowing that improving the results is not achievable without reviewing processes. The cost of the absence of excellence is larger than the cost of building excellence hundreds of times.

In conclusion, creating the culture of excellence in government sector is the best sustainable solution to manage performance in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. Leaders of government should lead by example and be role model in this regard. Other than that, no any significant positive change will happen.

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