A focus on efficiently using resources and operating to a clear strategy – (improving performance) – can be a powerful differentiator for not-for-profit organisations. If not done properly, however, it can be a time consuming and cumbersome task.
To help make the path to performance improvement success clearer, below are some simple tips that can be easily applied to ensure your not-for-profit organisation gets the most out of its performance:
Start with a reliable baselineMake sure you are measuring performance within a stable environment. If random events are occurring the baseline will not be stable and actual performance will be hard to measure, making performance improvement difficult to quantify.
Think in cyclesPlan, Do, Study (Check), Act1. (PDSA) is a well known business improvement cycle that sets out a logical approach to achieving incremental progress towards large scale business change. Be prepared to undergo multiple cycles in order to identify issues and develop solutions.
Determine value add as a percentage of total workTo ensure performance improvement initiatives are focused, categorise the type of work done. As a rule of thumb, about 30 per cent of time will be spent on value adding work, 25 per cent not working, 30 per cent on rework, 10 per cent on unnecessary work, and just 5 per cent on necessary work (e.g. administration and compliance).
Look for the 'less obvious' costs of qualityPerformance improvement initiatives should focus on how to increase quality, decrease costs and increase speed. Obvious costs of quality are things such as mistakes, rework, overtime, inspection, and defects. Every business is unique, so it is important to dig deep and unravel the patterns within your business to identify the less obvious costs of quality (e.g. rush delivery costs, absenteeism, low morale and customer dissatisfaction). The PDSA approach can help achieve this.
1.Made popular by Dr. W. Edwards Deming