Five frogs were sitting on a log. Four decided to jump off. How many were left?
Five, as they only “decided” to jump!
Moving to “do” rather than “accept that we need to do something different” can be a huge step; which brings me on to “doing BS11000”.
Our journey to support businesses to incorporate or “do” BS11000 has provided interesting experiences. We always ask two questions at the start of our journey:
- What is driving the need to incorporate the Standard?
- What is it you expect to see as a result of implementing BS11000 or incorporating it as part of your business processes?
Often the answer to the first question is “the customer says we need to have it” or “because our competitors have it”; and, to the follow up question “Having it will give us a competitive edge or it will keep us in the race”. We will call these companies “Group B companies”.
Occasionally, we get an answer “because it will really improve our business because we believe that collaboration is the way forward for us – it is a core value” or something similar. We will call these companies “Group A companies”.
So for the Group B companies, BS11000 certification is a badge to be won and worn normally with the minimal level of effort. It is seen as a burden and overhead or “oh it’s a BD thing for them to put in bids”, which doesn’t really drive a commitment to change through the enterprise – underneath the badge the clothes are the same style – the culture has not shifted.
For Group A companies, BS11000 certification is seen as the natural outcome of applying the framework to their strategic long term partnering contracts or the formation of joint ventures or alliances. These relationships are typically characterised by
Joint governance or management, joint risk management, incentivisation schemes, joint processes, cultural alignment, a real commitment to continuous improvement supported by joint improvement teams, and the expected value to be created by the collaboration monitored and the benefits measured.
For Group A companies, the BS11000 Certification process provides a welcoming intervention of an independent review of their collaborative management system and implementation for the few nominated relationships – it is part of the continuous improvement ethos. Group A companies also take the most useful and applicable elements of the Standard and incorporate those in other relationships, which would not qualify or fall into the Certification bucket, because applying all 74 elements is not right for the level of relationship. Group A companies take a systemic approach that starts at the individual level, progresses to the interpersonal level, and transitions to the organisational level and seeks alignment across the business.
Are you a type A or type B company? Applying the principles of BS11000 can bring a real change to the business – it drives hard questions that test the depth of the collaborative business relationships and commitment, and provides a good methodology for sustaining relationships. A smart business uses the BS11000 elements most relevant for the level of collaborative working needed.
Customer’s asking in ITTs or RFQs that companies “show their Certificates or detail their plans to achieve Certification” are really asking the wrong question and may only get Group B companies. Customers asking the question “please describe how adopting a collaborative relationship would support the project and the expected benefits to be achieved, and propose a joint approach for implementing the proposed level of collaboration” will get the right partner that is really committed to collaborative working and the ethos to make it work and maximise the benefits.
So, back on the log:
Five company CEOs were sitting on a log and were thinking about collaborative working and change. Four decided to “do BS11000” and get a certificate. One decided to commit to adopting a systemic collaborative working strategy and approach incorporating the principles of BS11000 where appropriate. How many changed and really grew their business?