Home > The Monday Musings Column > on the EFQM model

on the EFQM model

Back in the early nineteen nineties I was introduced to the EFQM (European Foundation for Quality Management) model and, like many of my peers, I struggled with the company-wide desire to implement it, but one aspect of being taught to use it stuck with me and made an important addition to my management tool box.

The company never really got to grips with the EFQM model, and whilst various balanced scorecards were played with I do not remember one that really made any contribution to progress; the only positive efforts that I saw were where certain managers made them work to demonstrate that bonus worthy objectives had been met. Such was the company culture, not untypical in my wider experience, that anything that came out of such a model process had to be right and so bonuses were paid where other evidence could have shown that firing people would have been more in order.

The thing that clicked with me was the need, as it was explained, that the Enablers side of the EFQM model was what drove the Results side of the model. The way it was put across was that the Enablers were the levers that you pulled to change the results. That resonated with me and thereafter I always strove to find out what I needed to do make the numbers change in the way that I wanted them to.

It is not always easy to do, but if you make an effort to understand how the part of the business works, and how that fits into the bigger picture you can start toes how you can make a difference. Some experimentation is necessary as you fathom it all out and sometimes you will get it wrong, wither by having no effect or even the wrong effect, but as long as you take last week’s Monday Musing topic into account and always know where you are starting from, then you can start to work out with lever to pull, or push, and by how much, to make happen that which you desire.

Once you have your first success others will come. You don’t have to start with the most important areas of performance; it is often better to start with something around the edges of what you manage to experiment with first and then move on the the bigger things when you have the hand of what you are doing. 

The obvious driver for results is to through resource at it, but whilst that works some of the time it can fail and, in any case, there is a longer term problem of balancing your budget, so every trick that you can learn about is worth knowing. All of these things enable you to manage the job better so hat you, in turn, have more time to study, evaluate and plan other things that you want to try.

I have not, so far, seen the EFQM model well implemented, but I have seen organisations using the same principles well. Have a look at their website for EFQM is still going strong and they have have revised their model over time. It is well worth looking at if for no other reason that there is some basic common sense at the heart of it. Like me you might just latch onto a principle that you can make work for you.

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