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Last week, I wrote about understanding your business environment and developing a strategy that takes advantage of the levers you can use to succeed. I hope you were able to take a few minutes and reflect on the questions that I posed, and I hope that some of you found comfort in having some positive answers to those questions!

Following our framework for organizational excellence, today’s post is all about planning. Good planning practices create a bridge between high level strategies and operational realities, here are some key questions to reflect on when you think about how you might take this transitional opportunity to strengthen your planning practices:

Strategic Plans can provide the long-term direction required to succeed, including a vision, mission, values, objectives and approaches for achieving those objectives.

  • Does your team have a rich understanding of your business environment, your vision and your mission?
  • Have you described the key goals that will lead to “Mission Accomplished”?
  • Have you identified specific objectives that will help you achieve your goals?
  • Have you described the approaches and resources that are required to achieve your strategic objectives?

Operational Plans provide a medium-term road-map for work groups to operationalize a strategy and achieve specific objectives.

  • Does your team have a clear understanding of your strategic objectives?
  • Have you described the short and medium term operational milestones that will lead to the successful achievement of strategic objectives?
  • Has your team worked together to identify a sequence of activities, dependencies and timelines?
  • Do team members know their roles and responsibilities to complete work and deliver on milestones?

Project Management provides ongoing support to project teams involved in specific initiatives that aren’t part of your organization’s typical business process. This could include marketing and communications campaigns, organization improvement projects, “tiger teams” addressing specific issues or risks, or research projects.

  • Are projects proposed and approved in a consistent manner?
  • Are approved projects planned and initiated using a common and accepted approach?
  • Do project managers use a common suite of tools and supports to execute projects?
  • Are projects reviewed to identify opportunities for improvement?

Communication and Coordination of your plans is critical for the successful achievement of your mission, strategic objectives and individual projects. Effectively engaging with the right people, regularly communicating expectations and signal checking on your plan can maintain focus and increase morale and performance.

  • Do you engage with the right people to develop your plans, programs and projects?
  • Is input from stakeholders, management and colleagues incorporated into your plans?
  • Are approved plans effectively communicated to appropriate players internally and externally?
  • Do you regularly signal check with your team and other stakeholders on progress?

Hopefully these few thoughts help you to reflect on opportunities that can help you along your journey to excellence. Please get in touch or leave a comment if you have any further thoughts that you’d like to share on these ideas around planning.


maple-leaf-wide-hd-wallpaper-download-maple-leaf-images-freeA friend of mine recently retweeted Justin Trudeau’s Open Letter to Canada’s Public Servants that was released back in September.

Given the number of retweets and shares that I saw on my Facebook and LinkedIn feeds, it appears that public servants have engaged with this letter and are anticipating some big changes now that Mr. Trudeau will be assuming the post of Prime Minister.
At Delsys we’ve been trusted partners and advisors to Canada’s public service for many years. We focus on helping governmental organizations deliver world-class public service.

As Mr. Trudeau notes, the business of public service has been changing rapidly and citizens are expecting better service from their government. His letter declared that a Liberal government’s approach to providing high quality service to citizens would include new performance standards for services offered by the federal government.

We’ve worked for many years on sharing our knowledge, tools and methods with Canada’s federal public service. We’ve collaborated with public servants across many portfolios to innovate and improve performance in their organizations and to foster a culture of continuous improvement.

As the public service turns a fresh page and begins thinking about how to raise the bar of performance, here are some initial questions to think about:

It all starts with your Environment:

  • Do you regularly and proactively engage with appropriate senior executives?
  • Do you know who the key players are in your business environment and do you regularly engage with them?
  • Do you have a current understanding of the key drivers and dynamics at work in your public service environment?

A Strong Strategy: So what are you going to do about it?

  • Is your strategic direction, including the mission, vision, values and goals periodically reviewed and revised according to your understanding of the evolving public service environment?
  • Are political and other stakeholders involved in the development of your organization’s strategy and management system?
  • Do executives and senior managers in your organization demonstrate leadership by committing to continuous improvement and public service excellence?

What are some of the key questions you’ll be thinking about as we transition to a new government in the coming months?

At Delsys we continue to research and develop leading models for Public Service Excellence and to help our clients continuously improve service delivery in their portfolios. This week we started things off by considering how to respond to your environment with an effective strategy. Stay tuned for more key questions to help you on your journey to public service excellence!

The Canadian Public Sector Excellence Fair takes place November 17th, 2015 at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum. Craig will be hosting a talk show at the event with senior executives from the Privy Council Office, the Treasury Board Secretariat and the Canada School of Public Service.
Find out more about the talk show, the other exciting speakers and registration at


The Road to Excellence is Always Under Construction.

The road to excellence is a continuous reach for innovation and performance.
In today’s rapidly evolving business environment, organizations must stay ahead of client needs and expectations.

Average isn’t enough.

So how does an organization excel? You need to stay one step ahead of your clients. You should deliver better service than they’re expecting, and do it faster.

What will striving for organizational excellence really do to help?

Ultimately, excellence is about constantly improving how your organization works, not just focusing on what you do from day to day. It’s about empowering your people and pushing them to innovate ways of working smarter.

At Delsys, we set down a path to excellence using a common sense model that we call the QMPAS™ – Quality Management and Program Administration System. Everyone wants to work better. QMPAS shows you a path to deliver on that innovation and improvement.
We work together with our clients to create powerful tools that support each of the following ten QMPAS elements of organizational excellence. By working through the QMPAS approach, organizations can find better ways of working together. QMPAS works by having your team collaborate in developing and maintaining these ten elements:

1. Environment
Regularly study, review, understand and communicate the dynamics at work in your business environment.

2. Strategy
Based on a shared understanding of the business environment, develop and communicate your vision, mission and strategy to provide clear and measurable direction for your team.

3. Planning
Work together to carefully plan the implementation of your strategy. Communicate action plans through an integrated suite of planning materials.

4. Operations
Clearly outline roles and responsibilities, functions, and decision-making frameworks to maintain consistency and quality in product development and service delivery.

5. Process
Business process documentation is the root of operational performance. A common understanding of work-flow among team members enables review and improvement ‘where the rubber meets the road’.

6. Performance
Be obsessed with performance. Identify, monitor, report and take action on key metrics based on your QMPAS framework.

7. Innovation
Cultivate innovation through systematic experimentation supported by knowledge management, collaboration, best practices and bench-marking.

8. Change
Change is the single most challenging aspect of business administration. Be prepared to work together to implement changes on a cyclical basis.

9. Culture
Documents and software tools don’t improve organizations, people improve organizations. Be bold through communications, capacity building and recognition to cultivate a commitment to continuous improvement.

10. Strategic Resources
Building and sustaining strategic resources is the fuel that powers your competitive advantage. Align the right people, materials, equipment, knowledge and financial support at the right time to take performance to the next level.

Taken together, these ten elements of excellence form an integrated platform for assessing and improving your organization. It is a system. In a system, success in one area will often depend on strength in other areas. When all of these elements are strong, your organization is empowered to respond to risks and opportunities that emerge in your business environment. When they are weak or out of date, organizations run the risk of reeling from crisis to crisis.

Take a moment to think about these ten elements.

Does your team have all the tools they need? What are they missing? Most importantly, can you prove it?

Our team has helped dozens of organizations achieve their excellence goals and overcome challenges in each of these ten areas. We thrive in complex and fast paced business environments, and we are experts at strengthening communications and coordination. We are always happy to sit down to chat about your excellence goals, the challenges your team faces, and how Delsys might help.