The importance of excellence

Sellafield’s Excellence Day, which took place yesterday, provided a useful and varied way in which excellence can be interpreted – in philosophical terms, and used – in real terms. But there was a consistency in highlighting the importance of excellence in shaping an organisation for the better.

The first and keynote speaker, Justin Hughes, an ex-RAF and Red Arrows pilot, gave a thought provoking speech on excellence and effective teamwork.

He was very much of the reality school of thought that excellence and quality need to “translate into reality, otherwise they are just words”. Within this, good continuing professional development is key for any organisation. “The biggest two barriers in organisations in terms of staffing are clarity and learning,” he warned.

The issue of continuing professional development was very much at the heart of the speech by Paul Howarth, Managing Director of The National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), the organisation which supports all aspects of the nuclear industry. A detailed CPD process helped to increase and improve productivity at Sellafiled, he noted. To this extent, safety, excellence and quality are innate parts of the business ethics at Sellafield, said Howarth.

Learning and development was very much on the thoughts of some of the delegates I spoke to. One noted: “The younger generation are really engaged and major organisations realise the importance and value of quality, excellence and good CPD.”

But issues like excellence and learning are constantly changing or having to adapt to change, a point made Phil Holland, Managing Director at Mitie, the strategic outsourcing company. The future of excellence is, said Holland, based around these themes: communication, inspire, excel, challenge and change.

Andrew Holt is Technical Content Executive at the Chartered Quality Institute.

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