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In pursuit of best practice

This is a guest blog post from George Vrakas – if you want to contribute to the Procurious blog please drop us a line – here.

“At its simplest, best practice means we are doing our job better than others. …that might translate to closing deals faster, achieving consistently good negotiated results, establishing terms and change processes that support high-performance relationships or realizing results that regularly exceed expectations. So we want to be better, faster, contributing greater value, making fewer mistakes” Notes on “What do we mean by best practice” by IACCM

George Vrakas

As already elaborated here, an essential aspect for becoming successful in the future, is creativity.

The term, creativity, most probably conjures up images of successful entrepreneurs that have a vision and the courage to pursue their dreams.

Outstanding entrepreneurship is a well-defined quality behind every successful organisation.

Entrepreneurs like Richard Branson are followed and their ideas celebrated in the public domain.

However, it would most likely be better for an organisation to not only try and maintain its competitive edge on the ideas of one or even a handful of forward thinking individuals, but also find ways to tamper into the creativity and ideas of every one of its employees.

Hence, organisations should also look into the promotion and support of intrapreneurship.

Read on if you want to find out more about this idea, as well as, get to learn about one way to harvest the concept of intrapreneurship as a means to pursue best practice within your own organisation.

Intrapreneurship

Jeroen de Jong and Sander Wennekers explored the concept here. According to them:

“Intrapreneurship refers to employee initiatives in organizations to undertake something new, without being asked to do so.”

There are a few companies that actively promote intrapreneurial behaviour e.g. Google allows its employees to spend up to 20% of their time to pursue projects of their choice. 3M and Intel appear to have programs towards similar promotions (see here).

However, intrapreneurship is not only about the pursuit of new products and revenue streams.

Intrapreneurship contains an element of innovation. Innovation refers to the production and implementation of useful ideas, including the adaptation of products or processes from outside an organization. As Antoncic and Hisrich highlights (see here)

“Intrapreneurship is about “emergent behavioural intentions and behaviours that are related to departures from the customary ways of doing business in existing organizations”

In other terms intrapreneurship is about the pursuit of best practice.

In parallel, it is also important to note that the support of the practice of intrapreneurship also helps maintain engaged teams that always challenge themselves and evolve the organisational practices, processes and results (read more about team engagement here and here).

Ideas Charter (a simple and practical way to pursue best practice)

As part of an effort to promote employee engagement and intrapreneurial behaviours, I developed the Ideas Charter.

This is a simple process which ensures that all new ideas are captured, evaluated, and then through a process that promotes and supports undertaking innovative projects, implemented.

The Ideas Charter process works like this.

i) A champion is assigned to capture all ideas that can enhance processes or contribute to efficiency and effectiveness in a simple spreadsheet called the Ideas Charter (see template here). This is done on a non-judgmental way to the perceived value of the ideas i.e. following Edward De Bono’s six hat definition – by wearing a green hat.

ii) The ideas are then evaluated and validated by a selected committee and approved or not approved for further development.

iii) If an idea is approved, then that idea is made available as a potential candidate for a future side project to be done by a team member or a team.

iv) Every two months the team is asked to select a side project to work on. Each team member is encouraged to pick one of the ideas in the Ideas Charter and work on it. A due date is allocated.

v) At the end of the allocated period each member presents his/her side project along with a benefits analysis.

vi) The side project outcome is placed into production. This outcome could be a change in process, a development of a business case i.e. it could be anything that promotes efficiency or effectiveness.

vii) After 3 side projects are completed and presented, the team is given the opportunity to vote for the best one. The winner is celebrated.

In pursuit of best practice by George VrakasThis is a simple but effective way to work towards best practice in small teams.

From personal experience this concept has the power to engage the team and also to elevate the level of efficiency and effectiveness as delivered by its outputs.

Finally, it works towards Yves Morieux’s vision elaborated in his presentation about “How to develop a winning organisation”. Yves elaborated that:

“The real battle is not against competitors. The real battle is against ourselves. Against our bureaucracy, against our complicatedness” – Yves Morieux (see here)

What systems do you have in place to promote and support the pursuit of best practice?

Short Biography

George is highly reputed in the fields of Services Procurement and Logistics with over 19 years experience. Based in Melbourne, Australia, George is a member of CIPSA, IACCM and is also serving as a Board Member of CILTA Victoria. George is passionate about Procurement, Team Development and Innovation, themes he has researched extensively. George is the author of the www.george-vrakas.com blog, a contributor to Procurement related publications such as TheSource e-news and has presented on Globalization, Procurement and Continuous Improvement at various venues and Universities in Victoria.