BS11000 (the new standard for collaborative business relationships) – What is your motive?

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?

Is Delivery the end point?

Continuing my challenge with Hotel service levels!

The situation: We employ a good logistics organisation to deliver our (Very clearly labelled) training and workshop materials around various hotels in UK and Europe. We insist on a tracking note or call to confirm they have been delivered to the hotel, not because we do not trust our logistics supplier (they are very good) but so we know where to start the challenging forensic search at the hotels for the delivered materials who usually deny all knowledge of having received them!

  1. The effect of the missing materials?: This adds to stress levels arriving late the night before  major conferences we are running i.e.  (“has the hotel lost them, are they really here, have they been re-cycled?”) and then  debating whether we print 60 copies of all materials again or we search for someone who may just re-call having signed for them, .and, who’s signature is that anyway?
  2. The actual examples: One particular hotel (Hotel A)(who we have convinced our client not to use again) who we used 6 times put the materials on different visits in varying places. These locations are as follows: the catering managers office, (he was on annual leave and office was locked), with the bags for a Japanese tourist group (“that package is not for the Versailles trip!”), in a secret cupboard that no-one knows about (for when the other duty manager comes on shift!) and in the hotel cupboard behind reception (the materials were only located when I said “have you looked in there yet?”) All discovered after a 1 to 1.5 hour CSI style forensic search of the premises!!!
  3. The solution: A different hotel (Hotel B) we used received the workshop  materials, put them in the conference room along with a pair of scissors to undo the extensive parcel tape used to make them secure in transit. Showed me this upon arrival and then checked if this was OK!

The result?:  Hotel A has lost business based on a further set of 8  x 2 days of 15 people all staying overnight and Hotel B continues to do materials logistics management (i.e. looking after the workshop materials including providing scissors) very well!!

Oh yes, and we all sleep better the night before the conference!!