The single most important factor to make an organization effective

People in many organizations are well-intentioned wanting to do their best. They come to work to give value for the money they get by achieving what they think are their goals.

The problem is that those goals, in many cases, are enclosed in silos, are not aligned and even, sometimes, define contrary directions thus reducing the company’s work effectiveness.

To correct for that, there are many things we should do, but it is because of this multiplicity of measures that we lose sight of those most critical. The challenge is to focus on the most important.

If called to choose only one measure for the company to work upon to improve, what should it be? Indeed, I would have great difficulty in making a choice among (a) leadership, (b) culture, and (c) strategy given, of course, that there is a strong interrelation between them.

Leadership is of the utmost importance, but in more mature organizations, it tends to become more laisses-faire.

Strategy, even when excellently crafted, may rest its success in the hands of the people who implement it.

Culture is responsible for cooperation, for the right behaviour, for bringing responsibility as well as enjoyment at the workplace, for teamwork, for providing missing connections, for motivating for the common good, that is, the company good.

Faced with a choice, the management guru Peter Drucker said it with felicity “Culture eats Strategy for breakfast”.

So, if I had to choose only one factor to focus on for changing a company for the better, what should it be?
Answer: Culture!

By |March 23rd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

The answer to the employee relations problems and to a more effective customer service: Cultural Links

1.        The Need

Many businesses and organizations are having problems of employee relations that harm the organizational climate and cause:

Delays in production, and sometimes defective products or services
Complaints from customers which in some cases lead to the loss of some of the most profitable customers
A climate of distrust and doubt that makes the employees be on guard from their neighbours and to feel dissatisfied with the organization
Negativism prevails and soon spreads to the younger employees who, seeing what the environment is, gradually adopt similar toxic behaviours

As a consequence of the above undesirable happenings, the organization loses a good deal of its efficiency, and its customer service suffers.

2.       How the problems of employee relations manifest: What Businesses and Organizations said

The problem we are having is that our people don’t talk to each other, don’t communicate with one another. They don’t have good relations and revert to sending emails and memos to each other instead of talking the issues over the phone. They would even sometimes ignore each other’s memos.

I have called them in my office, but my efforts were of little avail. I cannot and don’t want to fire them for each one of them has valuable skills and competencies.

The need for a solution to such problems for many organizations is more than urgent.

3.       What causes the problem

The problems in employee relations and organizational climate are caused and maintained to a great degree by (a) the kind of structure (org. Design), (b) the kind of leadership, and (c) the employees’ attitudes and inclinations.

(a) Vertical Structures

How the problems are caused:

With the passage of time, the company’s functions start to develop self-importance and place own interests above that of the organization; silos [...]

By |March 9th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Η απάντηση στα προβλήματα σχέσεων προσωπικού αλλά και της απόδοσης-εξυπηρέτησης πελάτη: Cultural Links

1. Ανάγκη 

Πολλοί οργανισμοί αντιμετωπίζουν προβλήματα σχέσεων προσωπικού που δυσχεραίνουν το εργασιακό κλίμα προκαλώντας:

Καθυστερήσεις στην παραγωγή έργου και κάποιες φορές ελαττωματικά προϊόντα ή ελλειμματικές υπηρεσίες
Παράπονα από πελάτες που ενίοτε οδηγούν και σε απώλεια μέρους των καλών μας πελατών
Κλίμα δυσπιστίας και αμφισβήτησης που κάνουν το προσωπικό να φυλάσσεται από τον διπλανό του και να νοιώθει δυσάρεστα στο χώρο εργασίας
Διαιώνιση αρνητικής διάθεσης που μεταδίδεται και στο νέο προσωπικό που βλέποντας όσα συμβαίνουν υιοθετεί σταδιακά παρόμοιες συμπεριφορές.

Αποτέλεσμα να επηρεάζεται τόσο η απόδοση όσο και η εξυπηρέτηση πελάτη.

2.       Πώς εκδηλώνονται τα προβλήματα σχέσεων προσωπικού: Τι μας είπαν σε διάφορους οργανισμούς και επιχειρήσεις:

Το πρόβλημα που έχουμε είναι ότι το προσωπικό μας δεν μιλά μεταξύ τους, δεν επικοινωνούν ο ένας με τον άλλο, δεν έχουν καλές σχέσεις, αποστέλλουν μόνο εμαιλς ή γραπτά μέμος ή και αγνοούν τα σημειώματα ο ένας του άλλου. Τους έχω καλέσει αλλά δεν διορθώνονται. Δεν μπορώ ούτε και θέλω να τους απολύσω γιατί ένας έκαστος έχει ικανότητες και δεξιότητες.

Η ανάγκη για λύση σε πολλούς οργανισμούς καθίσταται επιτακτική.

3.       Τι προκαλεί τα προβλήματα

Τα προβλήματα σχέσεων και οργανικού κλίματος προκαλούνται και συντηρούνται σε μεγάλο βαθμό από (α) τη μορφή της δομής του οργανισμού (β) τον τρόπο εξάσκησης ηγεσίας και (γ) τις κλίσεις και ροπές του προσωπικού.

(α) Καθετοποιημένοι οργανισμοί

Πώς δημιουργούν προβλήματα:

Με την πάροδο του χρόνου, τα διάφορα τμήματά τους αναπτύσσουν αυτοκυριότητα και θέτουν το δικό τους συμφέρον υπεράνω αυτού του οργανισμού. Σιλος και φέουδα ακολουθούν. Τα προβλήματα πρωτοεμφανίζονται στα χαμηλότερα επίπεδα όπου δημιουργείται η αξία προς τον πελάτη μέσω διατμηματικών διεργασιών. Όταν ψηλά τείχη διαχωρίζουν τα τμήματα, οι διεργασίες παρεμποδίζονται με αρνητικές επιπτώσεις στην απόδοση και εξυπηρέτηση πελάτη.

(β) Ηγεσία

Πώς προκαλεί προβλήματα:

Το στυλ και ιδιαίτερα της αυταρχικής οδηγεί σε κακές σχέσεις που ενίοτε εξελίσσονται σε καταπιεστικές. Η κεντροποιημένη προσέγγιση [...]

By |March 8th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

A “horizontally operated vertical structure” design

Which kind of organizational design can serve you better will very much depend on your company’s Purpose, Leadership and People. But even if you have chosen the right one, when your organization is growing you must rethink your organizational design

a)      For a Horizontal organization with teams – Think how to make it efficient besides customer-centric and innovative.

a)      For a Hierarchical Vertical organization – Think how to make it transdisciplinary and customer-centric besides efficient.

b)      For a Matrix organization – Think how to solve the problems that plague its real-life application.

Not easy questions but failed to face the problem of bridging what your growth demands with the organizational design you have, may prove for many companies detrimental.

For vertical organizations which is the organizational design most prevalent before major growth, the company problems become apparent when its functions start to develop self-importance and place own interests above that of the organization; silos and feuds follow. The problems are first seen in the lower level operations where value-to-customer is developed and delivered through cross-functional processes. If high walls separate departments, the process is inhibited, service to customer deteriorates and ultimately customers are lost.

What can we do to remedy these drawbacks? To solve the problems that arise from an existing organizational design, it is only logical to look at the other known alternative designs and choose from them a different one to adopt; that is for the case of an existing vertical design:

a)      Go from a vertical to a horizontal structure or some kind of hybrid or

b)      Go from a vertical to a matrix structure that incorporates both the vertical and horizontal structures

The problem:

a)      The Horizontal design is not for everyone, and even its hybrid version puts the organization [...]

By |February 21st, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

EBRD Business Diagnostics Certificate-Award to Sardos Solutions

Sardos Solutions, besides offering consulting and training, does not miss opportunities to upgrade its knowledge and expertise.

For those in pursuit of Excellence, Knowledge is always one step ahead!

The photo is from the Certificate-award ceremony of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for Business Diagnostics for Consultants.

Wishing you a Happy New Year!

Τελετή της EBRD για Εμπειρογνώμονες – Διαγνωστικά Επιχειρήσεων

Sardos Solutions, πρόσθετα από την παροχή συμβουλευτικών και εκπαιδευτικών υπηρεσιών, εκμεταλλεύεται ευκαιρίες για αναβάθμιση της γνώσης και εμπειρογνωμοσύνης της.

Για όσους επιδιώκουν Αριστεία, η γνώση βρίσκεται πάντα ένα σκαλί πιο μπροστά!

Η φωτογραφία είναι από την τελετή της Ευρωπαϊκής Τράπεζας Ανασυγκρότησης και Ανάπτυξης (EBRD) για τα Διαγνωστικά Επιχειρήσεων για Εμπειρογνώμονες.

Σας ευχόμαστε Καλή Νέα Χρονιά!

By |December 28th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

The Excellence Model for improving public organizations through Self-Assessment

In our days, public organizations come under severe criticism for offering poor value for the taxpayer’s money and less bureaucracy is on the tongue of almost every citizen making eloquent the need for these organizations to get out of their status quo and become more efficient and responsive.

It is further understood that excellence is not the sole province of businesses and that no more can it be considered a strange issue for public organizations. Excellence is also equally important for the public organizations.

It is for this reason that EIPA (European Institute of Public Administration) has launched its own instrument of Excellence, the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) specifically developed for the public sector. Here, following, are a few words about CAF with the intent to introduce it to those that have not come across it before:

CAF translates to the public sector the concepts of excellence as defined by EFQM aiming at orienting the public organizations toward Total Quality.
Like the EFQM model, it has 9 Criteria very similar in name with those of EFQM, presented in a diagram as Enablers and Results, but their explanatory content is adjusted to reflect the concerns of public organizations. Each criterion is analyzed into sub-criteria (28 in total) which are explained and each is illustrated by examples.
The model includes a scoring and self-assessment stage aiming at discovering strengths and areas of improvement and the linked improvement actions. While for self-assessment EFQM adopts the philosophy of RADAR, CAF adopts Deming’s cycle of PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) against which the sub-criteria and criteria are assessed. Further, the user organization is allowed, according to its degree of maturity, to choose between two PDCA assessment panels: (a) the simpler classical scoring [...]

By |December 21st, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

In search of what makes a great Leader and how to make one

If we are to develop better leaders, we must first analyze great leadership to find out its constituent characteristics and then devise some methods to fill the prospect’s gaps between what he has and what he should have in terms of higher leadership traits.

In the search of what makes a great leader and how to make one, we examine the effects of (a) circumstances, (b) luck, (c) good characteristics, (d) bad characteristics, and (e) how to develop leaders through training.

1.       Circumstances

Circumstances may determine the characteristics that a leader should have to succeed in those particular conditions. The 2nd world war exhibited Churchill’s characteristics of great courage and eloquent communication as important traits that subsequently proved him as a great leader. The Falkland war made Thatcher’s resoluteness, decision making and courage into winning traits for her leadership. Both Churchill and Thatcher were performing poorly before those particular circumstances arose.

Circumstances or the type of environment may demand a certain kind of character for leadership; For instance, ponder over the questions: could Bill Gates be an army leader? Nelson Mandela a business leader? Or Thatcher an NGO leader?

2.       The element of luck

Fairly often, next to planning lies also some element of luck that influences the odds. This influence of luck is graphically described in Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament attributed to the biblical King Solomon most famous for his wisdom; quote “the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor the bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to the men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all”.

3.       Characteristics of great leadership

Essential characteristics
Resulting to
Other important characteristics
Resulting to

Have a purpose bigger [...]

By |December 11th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

In Search of Excellence: The EFQM Excellence Model

In search of excellence, many organizations are discovering that there is no single Holy Grail to seize and that excellence comes from work on a set of organizational critical issues that, furthermore, must be appropriately combined in scope and depth if they are to yield the desired results.

This holistic approach to organizational issues is addressed by a number of Management Models or Programs. Each model envelops what it considers as critical organizational issues and then, to a greater or lesser extent, goes on to describe and explain them. Examples of these are the Viable System Model, Mckinsey 7S, ISO 9004, the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, TQM and of course EFQM Excellence Model and CAF (The EFQM model adjusted for Public Organizations).

The EFQM Excellence Model, like a true TQM tool, has two important features: it is customer-centric, and it is a self-assessing tool. The latter builds into the organization the continuous improvement while the latter puts to the front not what the organization offers but what its internal and external customers/stakeholders receive i.e. the emphasis is not on the service but on the perception and experience.

The EFQM Model is basically a business management model to help organizations achieve excellence by offering them guidance and assessment toward that goal and has 3 components:

(a)    The Fundamental Concepts which serve as the underlying principles of the model

(b)   The Criteria that constitute the organizational issues and serve as focal areas to collect the necessary guidance points and actions which the model expands and explains. They are divided into two groups: Enablers and Results. Every criterion is broken down into a number of, usually 4 or 5, parts that consist of typical behaviors from excellent companies.

(c)    The RADAR that offers [...]

By |December 1st, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

A New Excellence Business Model to correct for EFQM Excellence Model shortcomings

1. Does the EFQM Excellence Model have some shortcomings?

Yes, it has, at least in my opinion.

If the reader is not familiar with the model, he is advised to go to the Appendix to read about what is the EFQM Excellence Model as well as about its Positives and Strengths.

The EFQM Excellence Model Framework is shown in the above picture of the heading.

2. Possible Weaknesses

a)      Duplication: In the model, we observe some duplication of content that adds more to complexity rather than to enhancement. As we show by the table below the two components of the model, “The Fundamental Concepts” and “The Criteria” are referring to almost the same or identical things.
On this point of repeated content, the EFQM documentation states that “the text from the Fundamental Concepts is repeated in its entirety in the relevant criterion parts and that in some cases, the text from the Fundamental Concepts has been adapted to fit the specific context of the criterion part.”


The Fundamental Concepts

The Criteria

New (N) or Existing (E)

Adding Value for Customers


Creating a Sustainable Future


Developing Organizational Capacity


Managing with Agility

Harnessing Creativity & Innovation
Learning, Creativity and Innovation


Leading with Vision, Inspiration & Integrity


Succeeding through the Talent of People


Sustaining Outstanding Results
People Results, Customer Results, Society Results and Business Results


Consequently, we think that it will serve simplification and clarity in practice if the two were made into one by having the 1st one, the Concepts, incorporated in the 2nd, and omit the section on Concepts altogether.

Furthermore, the well-defined meaning of the Criteria makes superfluous any of their verbal expressions that now serve as Fundamental Concepts. Besides, the latter’s existence as a separate component may [...]

By |November 19th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Excellent companies care how to handle a difficult customer

An outrageously behaving customer at the teller counter was vociferously complaining about his bill being not right refusing to pay it and creating a lot of commotion all around the office.

What should we do to handle such a clamorous customer?

Here, following, are six brief steps that may serve to remind us the way to a satisfactory structured response.

First, however, take urgently the noisy complainer away from the front line to a back office supervisor who has a private office of his own, and with the complainer’s permission close the door.

Step 1: Before going into the meeting, you as the supervisor in the case, make sure that you have

Three very important prerequisites:

Have the necessary training to deal with difficult customers
Have the willingness to act on behalf of the customer trying your true best to find possible solutions for the complaining customer within the context of the company rules
Have the eagerness to make the necessary time for handling the complaint

Other things you should have:

The necessary resources and knowledge to deal with the case
The appropriate authority for making necessary decisions
Access to higher level support that might be needed

Step 2: At the beginning of the meeting: the preparatory stage

Calm the complainer down by expressing and showing explicitly and convincingly to him your willingness to listen to understand his situation
Devote time to put yourself in the customer shoes and try to see things from the complainer’s side
Show respect for the complainer but firmly state that you expect him likewise to respect the company and its office environment
Remember that niceties can never substitute for the need to address the real problem

Step 3: During the meeting: the actual process

Engage constructively – Listen actively to [...]

By |November 12th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments|