The latest Service Excellence Network event explored high performance in complex organisations, through a visit to Loughborough University.
In particular we examined how the university has so effectively delivered against its objectives, managing the unique operational challenges of higher education and the delivery of a world-class high performance environment.
Loughborough University has placed first in the Times Higher Education Student Experience survey seven times in the last ten years. Their teaching was rated gold by the Teaching Excellence Framework, in an announcement made on the day of our visit, placing them in the top six universities. Their reputation for sporting performance also remains unrivalled. They have topped the British Universities and Colleges Sports (BUCS) championships every year since 1979, whilst Loughborough athletes competing at Rio would have placed in seventeenth place on the medal table in the Olympics, and tenth in the Paralympics.
The day began with an overview from Loughborough’s Director of Enterprise Development Jon Walker, who warned of the effort needed for high performers to avoid complacency and stay at the top.
Ally McDonald joined us to discuss the Student Union’s approach to preference-driven customer insight, challenging guests to consider how they would group their customers if demographics were completely excluded.
Their previous Performance Director, Andy Borrie, spoke about stakeholder engagement and how you can create apostles and disciples for your work: “If you get the values right, you get the right sustainable outcomes by creating a critical mass of people who think the same way and self-regulate.”
“If you’re always setting your standards from top down you’re not getting the core philosophy right.”
In overview Mark Palmer, Managing Director at OEE Consulting, discussed how a balance between inputs, drivers and outputs will provide good outcomes, warning against an over-reliance on outcomes only.
Olympic and Commonwealth athletes shared their training routines and techniques for embedding a culture of performance, before taking small groups for some activities. These ranged from hockey training and hammer throwing, to swimming instruction and data collection in the physiology lab. Fortunately everyone had been well fuelled by a nutritionally-balanced lunch, using a high-protein menu created for the England Cricket team on match days.
Professor Thorsten Gruber introduced the work Loughborough University’s School of Business and Economics through the Centre for Service Management and OEE Consulting have been producing in partnership. This centres around effective design, implementation and maintenance of operating models, and has resulted in a framework known as Service Operating Model Skills.
We have launched a training course using this framework, which will enable you to consistently deliver your business strategy and service proposition with less effort for your customer and lower cost for your business.
The Network is a group of around thirty service-sector organisations who meet quarterly to network, learn from expert speakers and share best practice. Each meeting is hosted by a different member, providing exposure to different solutions to often common problems.
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