Jordan Academy for Quality Management
"National Day for Quality Measurement and Performance Appraisal"
"Quality in Times of Crisis"
Chairman ofTalal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization
7 May 2012
Ladies and gentlemen
Allow me to welcome you on this day of intellectual and scientific dialogue in the presence of elite thinkers, scholars and academics who characterize the persistent and perseverant development. It is a pleasure for me to be here today in a conference whose aspects, objectives and works focus on quality.
I extend my gratitude and appreciation to Jordan Academy for Quality Management for its efforts exerted in organizing this event.
Thirty years ago, in 1984 to be precise, I delivered a lecture titled the "Bless of Economic recession" in the Qatari Business Club in Doha. The title shocked the audience. Is the economic recession really a bless? "It is illogical to say that everything related to recession is "a bless."What I'm saying that even adversity is a bless and that is the wisdom of the Creator" my answer was. During the lecture, I explained that recession has various positive aspects as it restricts the inflation to acceptable ratesand puts us at the threshold of prosperity. During recession, productivity level rises, management awareness deepens and our attention to elements of cost enhances. Moreover, management tends to be more responsive to the various methods to reducefixed expenses and increase production as well as the other benefits of such as low interest rates where a person can own a house, a car, and other durable commodities. It noticed that during time of recession many organizations increase their profits and seize the opportunities available in such times.
Allow me to quote from my 1984 lecture the following paragraphs about the benefits of crisis in general and recession in particular:
"Recession has various psychological advantages. It is good for an exhausted businessman and it relieves his tension and worry and means regular working hours as well. It is not strange that the family relations of businessmen become better during recession. Even though studies do not conclusively connect recession to birth reproduction, what happened during the aftermath of the economic recession following the war makes you think! It is reasonable that the availability of free time allows executive directors to return home in reasonable times. Unfortunately, in times other than recession your wife will not accept your excuses for being late because of the tons of work you have. Some wives claim that an adverse aspect of prosperity is that it facilitates second marriages.
Your doctor advises you to enjoy recession because that reduces the chances of having a heart attack and suffering high blood pressure due to exhaustion and being buried under tons of works and stress. Recession gives the time needed to practice sport or enjoy your hoppy.
Philosophically, recession reminds us that everything has an end and that the rotation of universe embeds a divine wisdom. We are lucky to live a recession because we realize that prosperity is so close. Conversely, if we are living a time of prosperity, we would be worried about the inevitable recession. Thank God for the bless of recession because prosperity is coming".
With this introduction, I wanted to indicate that in times of crisis, especially those beyond the organization's control, the organization's management should not waste its time in exploring the reasons of the crisis, what could have been done to avoid it, and who is responsible for it. Instead, it should think of how it can correct its path because the crisis became a reality with defined reasons. To hold those responsible for the crisis is another issue that should not confused with persistency during and after the crisis.
The perfect solution is utilize the available resources optimally through sharing and cooperation and even integration for some departments to utilize the excess resources of some departments into other departments not affected by the crisis. At the same time, organizations should review their operations and policies to increase productivity and reduce expenses where available resources (which are already limited) are re-utilized as a result of productivity enhancement to produce more without compromising quality standards and levels.
Focus should be on eliminating non value adding operations which are useless to providing a better quality. Crisis should not lead organizations to abandon their commitment to deliver the required quality levels and implement operations that add value to the product and service as well as applying accredited programs for quality and service improvement.
When talking about exploitation of the worst conditions to improve the quality and thus raise the morale within the organization, this is done through paying attention to quality and training and the preparation of the organization for excellence once the crisis ends, where opportunities for growth are usually at its peak shortly after the end of a crisis. An example of that iswhat Ritz-Carlton Hotel chain did in 1992 being severely affected during the hotels crisis in the United States of America. Mosthotels decided to cancel the positions related to training and improvement and terminate the services of many of its employees.The CEO of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel chain at that time, Horst Schulze, decided to immediately appoint a director for quality and training in every hotel of the chain. Thatwas the turning point for the hotel by becoming distinguished with its services compared to all competitors around the world.
Organizations should also take advantage of recessions and crisis to conduct studies on improving the quality and involving all employees in this process to take their views on the methods available to it and to implement the best.Furthermore, when the volume of work declines, it is wise to take advantage of non-exploited items as a result in research and development, which will open broad horizons for growth and development to the organization once the crisis is over and therefore will help organizations get to their feet and make it up.
The attention to quality and improvement is anessential requirement andcommitment thereto is required in all cases and should not be abandoned during the crisis. Onthe contrary, crisis must constitute a catalyst for the development and improvement at all levels rather than a motive to undermine what the organization has achievedover the years.
The theme of our dialogue today is characterized by focusing on the principles of quality measurement and performance assessment.In order for theorganizations to be wise enough to attain organizational excellence, theymust link to the concept of quality, as a major means of success, and the tools of its measurement and recognition. Thisis cannot be seriousimperative balance and the establishment of asupervisory environment and an executive one that can eliminate bias and individuality and focus on performance and the quality of outputs.This should be translated by linking the organizational performance indicators directly and practicallyto a framework of clear and transparent criteria to enhance quality of the various kinds of outputs.That cannot be achieved without an integrated system for measuring the strategic and operational indicators that reflect the business's reality and performance against the strategic outputs.
The phase that World Economy is undergoing nowadays, and for the purposes of enabling institutions and companies to remain within the scope of the heated competition and changes occurring in both regional and international fields especially in our region, is in need of directing more attention to the process of establishing strategic plans and setting scenarios and alternative plans In order to stand against the changes and developments, which guarantees the continuity and achievement of suitable strategic requirements. Therefore, it has become beneficial for institutions to determine suitable performance measuring indicators and determinants that are reasonably challenging and connected on all levels, as well as to ensure that these indicators are divaricated in accordance with the managerial and human resources levels in order to achieve the institution's strategic goals.
And so, I would like to present certain recommendations that could enhance the quality of strategic plans that may support the process of quality measurement and performance valuation:
First: We would not be able to measure quality and hold those responsible for achieving the strategies accountable, unless these strategies are detailed enough for doing so. Unfortunately, most strategic plans set by experts in the business market within the region, are in general and in lack of details that field teams need for preparing business plans, and quality measurement later on.
Second: For ensuring the concerned and responsible parties' commitment to the execution of these plans and the achievement of goals, they must be included in the process of setting goals, strategies, business plans and quality systems, to enable us from demanding them to execute these plans to achieve the specific goals.
Third: There must be a clear mechanism that could be adopted when handling the results and outputs of the measurement process in case of a match or none. In other words, what are the consequences of the official's lack of interest in achieving the goals (accountability), and what does achieving these goals mean to him (motive).
Forth: When setting goals, strategies, plans and acceptance standards – which will be used later on in the process of measurement, we must work on assessing risks related to laid plans, and we must be prepared to avoid the negative outcomes of these risks in case it occurs, all of which could increase the opportunity of success and matching during the measurement process.
Fifth: In order to complete the measurement process and performance valuation properly, we must pay attention to the quality of information provided for the success of the measurement process. Whereas, a communication plan is set to ensure delivering the correct information in the right time, to the right person, which ensures the effectiveness of the measurement process.
Sixth: We must not overlook a substantial point that the measurement process aims at ensuring the achievement of goals and the success of institutions, in contrary to what many of those in charge of the measurement process believe, that this process aims at tracking down flaws. Therefore, this culture must be instilled in our institutions through spreading continuous institutional awareness.
Finally: It is essential for institutions – especially governmental institutions- to determine competitive indicators for all sectors, make use of it in making decisions and update policies and strategies, as well as focus on specifying common strategic goals between governmental institutions, in order to find creative initiations that support the achievement of competitive indicators in which reinforces the vision and status of Jordan both locally and globally.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
In references to our conversation about quality measurement and its diverse subjects, I would like to refer to Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization and the different professional services it offers, since decades TAG-Org has given this field the valuable attention it deserves by offering professional services such as consultations, which has set a role model ever since its beginning thorough focusing on quality system services in all its different aspects. By having TAG-Org spread in 71 different offices, it has worked on providing its consultation services to all sectors of its 71 offices, and its most prominent service was in the field of quality systems and performance valuation. TAG-Org has been and will always remain a role model; this indicates the success, growth and valuation achieved by all former parties with experience and experiment the organization. In light of this commitment, TAG-Org has proceeded towards the path of growth and effective contribution in all different aspects of development by enhancing its professional status and working continuously to improve the level of professional services, for an example that was assimilated in the participation of TAG-Org in the international convention which has grossed a valuable attention considering TAG-Org is one of the first Arab professional institutions that gained the privilege of being a member of the convention. On the other hand, Abu Ghazaleh for consultations has become a main member since the year of 1998 by joining the ISO, in which we regularly participate in setting the new standard for the international organization. AS for the United Nations, I have taken the initiation of inviting the public association of the UN on behalf of the international convention for the purpose of encouraging the development and spread of social indicators and economic indicators.
On this kind occasion, while talking about the importance of having professional services that are of the most important quality pillars and elements, please allow me to quickly point out to some of our contributions in the field of social responsibility to show how our group deals with the regional challenges related to this issue and provide the best services to our Arab communities, which we belong to and proud of. I would like to start with the higher education system which embodied through our determination to establish a university college for higher studies, and the result of our determination was the establishment of Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Graduate School of Business(TAGSB), one of the main colleges at German Jordanian University, which is the first college of its kind that represents and embodies the real partnership between the public and private sectors in the Arab World. It provides education opportunities in accordance with the highest international standards in topics necessary for our Arab region. It aims to provide the Arab markets with qualified adults capable to take the initiative and responsibility, and work in various business sectors by applying academic and professional new and distinguished programs where they are provided by the tools necessary for their development and progress and enable them to be leaders shaping the features of the future. The logo of the college is “Where the skilled become leaders”.
Regarding the direct social responsibility, it practically embodied by the establishment of “TAG- Knowledge Society” and setting up instituting principles constituting a commitment consistent with the corporate values of Talal Abu Ghazaleh Organization. The sublime goal is to support the Arab youth community in building their professional capacities, reshaping their skills, and upgrading their qualifications with the help of a state of the art information technology in the filed of science and knowledge to ensure providing them with opportunities for bright future.
TAG – Knowledge Society mission is to qualify around thirty thousand graduates who are TAG – Knowledge Society members till now, enrich them with the deep experience delivered by Talal Abu Ghazaleh Organization to face the work market challenges. The initiative is completely financed by the Organization as part of its social responsibility towards the companies.
At the international development level, a cooperation agreement was concluded by Talal Abu Ghazaleh Professional Training and the UNRWA in the Middle East to donate, equip, and operate e-training center at the LocalCommunityDevelopmentCenter at Gaza Camp, Jerash, Jordan. The Center currently works to qualify the participating youths from the Camp to obtain Abu-Ghazaleh Cambridge IT Skills Awards in addition to the English Language skills and other training topics. Talal Abu Ghazaleh Organization secured the necessary PCs, equipment, tools, and furniture, and apply low prices for the training and exams conducted by the Center.
The march continues to provide the best and the smooth provision of our different professional experiences. Such active participations include the direct cooperation with the European Union-financed scientific research support project which provides technical support and consultation to the start-up micro companies which were incubated by the incubators project at the Royal Scientific Society, where our consultancy role was to help those companies in their pioneering projects to take their right position on stable business steps and achieve their goals and success requirements. Our specialized consultants worked in many fields to provide strategic, financial, marketing, and regulatory studies for such segment of small and medium enterprises who are more deserving for care to form a circle in the desired growth circles of the Jordanian economy.
Finally, I sincerely thank you for your interest and ambition which comes from your keenness and determination toward the work and productivity requirements to achieve goals that we all agree to achieve. I wish you a Godspeed hoping you will achieve viable results and upgrade the desired development constituents.