Good in parts, but bring on the champions

Roger Trapp reports on the British Quality of Management Awards

EVERYBODY agrees that good management is essential to an organisation's success. But what do they mean?

It was in an attempt to answer that question that opinion pollsters Mori and PA Consulting Group's Sundridge Park management centre devised the British Quality of Management Awards, and the 18 criteria that, in their view, are components in successful management.

But though the two organisations have been able to come up with these factors, there is little agreement among the three groups they asked to rank them on which are the most important and at which of them British organisations excel.

However, representatives of the three audiences - institutional investors, business journalists and captains of industry - are generally agreed that British companies are good at the things they put towards the bottom of the list and poor at those that matter. For instance, British managers attract some of their best scores for brand development, which is ranked 15th out of the 18 criteria selected. And while they do well in the third- placed general management skills and reasonably - at least in the view of the City and journalists - at first- and second-placed strategic thinking and leadership, their scores are negative in just about every other category.

Disappointingly perhaps for those who - like the Deputy Prime Minister, Michael Heseltine - want to see the arrival of "national champions" to battle on the world stage, it appears that only a handful of companies are rising above the mediocre.

This year's award - the third - was won by last year's winner, Marks and Spencer. The second prize went to Glaxo Wellcome, which was fourth last time and third in the inaugural year, when M&S was second. Third prize went - as last year - to British Airways. All of these companies were contenders for the Quality of Governance Award, which was won by M&S from last year's winner, ICI. Cadbury Schweppes retained third place in this award.

John Buckley, head of the global technology group at PA Consulting, and Roger Stubbs, chairman of Mori Financial, pointed out in the analysis of the first three years of results that the continual presence of the same names may not be exciting but is reassuring and "demonstrates that such success is not easily come by".

They added: "As in any other endeavour, reaching the top in business is a long haul. Reputation and sticking power have to be built on strong foundations."

The organisers certainly claim that having 18 criteria - ranging from brand development, through innovation and research and development, to strategy and leadership - gives the awards a breadth that some others lack. But Sir Denys Henderson, chairman of the Rank Organisation and a non-executive director of Mori, said when presenting the awards last week that he would have liked to see a category that recognised the importance of the customer.

Sir Denys, who as chairman of ICI received last year's governance award, also suggested that most FT-SE 100 companies were well managed but that there was "a comet's tail of companies outside the FT-SE that need to improve".

As president and chairman of the British Quality Foundation, which aims to promote total quality in business and the public sector, he is especially concerned that this problem be addressed. "I've always believed that there is no such thing as poor employees, just rank bad managers," he said, pointing out that the awards set good, clear examples of best practice that all could aspire to emulate.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Market Risk & Control Manager

Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam