Ireland Urged to Focus on Business Competitiveness and Excellence

An Taoiseach welcomes establishment of Centre for Competitiveness (Ireland)

A globally-renowned competitiveness organisation is setting up shop in the Republic of Ireland to replicate its success north of the border in key sectors of the Irish economy, it is announced today.

Launch of Centre for Competitiveness Ireland

Having helped hundreds of Northern Ireland organisations to achieve world-class standards of business excellence for over 20 years, the Centre for Competitiveness is now establishing an office in the Republic of Ireland.

A founding member of the Global Federation of Competitive Councils and a partner of the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM), the new Centre for Competitiveness (Ireland) will be located at the CityWest Business Centre, in Dublin, and will promote and implement EFQM’s highly regarded Business Excellence Framework in key sectors and organisations.

The CCI will also provide a range of management development programmes, workshops and consultancy services, designed to improve management and leadership competences; as well as a suite of strategic innovation and organisational performance solutions.

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D welcomed the establishment of the CCI.  He said: “I would like to wish all those involved in the new Centre for Competitiveness (Ireland) the best of luck as they establish their Dublin office.  I have no doubt you can achieve the same success as you have in other jurisdictions in promoting competitiveness and excellence in business.”

To this end, the CCI will work closely with industry associations, hotel groups, tourism enterprises, SMEs, retailers, government agencies, local government, and trade bodies. A series of workshops on the EFQM Business Excellence framework and its application to these organisations and their management teams will be held nationwide during October 2014. They begin tomorrow (16 October, 2014) at the Clarion Hotel, Liffey Valley.

Chief Executive Officer of EFQM, Marc Amblard, said: “The EFQM Excellence Framework is used by over 30,000 organisations across Europe, and we are delighted to work with the Centre for Competitiveness (Ireland) to enable many more businesses and their leaders on the island of Ireland to benefit from its potential to significantly boost their performance.   The Centre’s success and expertise are recognised across Europe and beyond, and I have no doubt that their presence in the Republic of Ireland will bring considerable benefits to many Irish organisations. Regardless of sector, size, structure or maturity, organisations need to establish appropriate management systems in order to be successful. The EFQM Excellence Framework is a practical tool to help organizations do this by measuring where they are on the path to excellence; helping them understands the gaps; and then stimulating solutions”.

Bob Barbour, CforC Chief Executive, says: “Our focus will be to promote and implement the EFQM Framework in a range of businesses and sectors in Ireland, with a particular emphasis on improving management practices, organisational systems and processes and business excellence. Organisations who meet the criteria for business excellence are assessed against international criteria and are accredited and recognised by the EFQM at an annual awards ceremony. The benefits of accreditation are substantial as it provides an international symbol and benchmark, especially for tourism organisations, seeking to source international leisure and business markets.”

The Brussels-based Chief Executive Officer of EFQM, Marc Amblard, and the Chief Executive of CforC, Bob Barbour, officiated at the launch of CCI, by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny Government Buildings.

St Mary’s College wins EFQM Excellence Award for 3rd Time!

In the near 20 years history of EFQM European Excellence Award recognising excellence in the private, public and voluntary sectors, never before has any organisation been recognised with the coveted EFQM European Excellence Prize Winner Award in Sustainable Excellence for three marys college derry logo

St Mary’s won the overall Excellence Award in 2001 and again in 2006. This year, 2013, they are recognised as an EFQM Prizewinner. This remarkable achievement is over an extended period of nearly 14 years, through successful and difficult economic times and challenges, with changing student populations, new school build and a successful succession leadership and management programme.

The Centre for Competitiveness congratulates their Principal Marie Lindsay, her staff, the students and parents and all those connected with the college. Well Done Indeed!

New Approach to Consultancy

Skills transfer as part of any consultancy project is very important to me. My style is very much facilitative with an emphasis on ‘do it with you’ and not ‘do it to you’. The transfer of new skills so that clients can take on the new working routines and further build upon them is a key strategy in my consultancy projects. I design and deliver many training workshops, both as stand-alone sessions and as part of in-house projects, and the design and delivery of these workshops is of critical importance to me. I wrote this white paper on my thoughts and reasonings that underpin all my training.

I am a Chartered Marketer and a fully accredited Associate Higher Education Lecturer, I holds a Doctorate in Divinity, am a licensed EFQM Excellence Model European Assessor and Benchmark Index Adviser. I am registered with Invest NI as an Innovation and Business Direction (Marketing) solutions consultant. I have developed a portfolio of training and personal development workshops from a blend of bought-in syllabi, licensed materials and original work. They are all characterised by my 4-step learning approach and engaging delivery style as explained below.
Training workshops
I have over fifteen years experience in the design and delivery of training, technical skills and personal development training workshops and programmes. I currently have over ten (10) training workshops in my portfolio covering all aspects of management and leadership development at all levels from Director/Senior Manager to Team Leader to Entrepreneur. This extensive portfolio is fully modular in design and delivery, enabling full tailoring and customisation for personal development programmes to be bundled to meet specific needs of clients.

Learning Methods

Each training and development workshop designed by me is delivered against my specific model of learning: –

Educate – Formal teaching of principles, techniques, tools and methods. The focus is on the concepts and rationale behind the learning, the high level context.

Demonstrate – Worked examples are used to illustrate and demonstrate how the technique, tool and method works in practice, how it is deployed and executed.

Imitate – Trainees are asked to mimic the learning by working through an actual problem or scenario, using the learning to reach a conclusion. This active problem solving type approach challenges trainees to think about the technique, tool or method in its application.

Consolidate – Trainees are asked to present back to the wider groups their feelings on how it went, their learning and insights. This is an important part of learning as the challenge of presenting back to the wider group makes them think differently about their learning experience.

Buddy and Group – Looking for a different perspectives and viewpoints, discussing issues and sharing ideas.

Presentation – Listening to how others see it, their views, what they learned and how it was for them. People learn in different ways and see different things. Learning from other trainees experience is a powerful addition to the formal training of the trainer.

Participation – Learning by doing, proven to increase to over 80% the learning effectiveness.

Sharing the learning – Identifying key learning points and valuable insights.

Learning by playing games – The majority of sessions include games in the first module, to act as an icebreaker and build team spirit, an emotional commitment to learning. It is much more powerful than this, research has shown that learning effectiveness can be increased by over 100% with good, well researched and designed games that fit the training objectives. I have a supply chain of USA based training and research companies and purchases its games from proven reputable companies.

Learning by discovery – A powerful technique that build an emotional understanding and connection between the trainee and the learning point, they feel that they have worked it out for themselves, and dramatically increases learning effectiveness.

Learning Style

These new and effective learning methods are integrated into a linked and compatible combined or bundled approach, and are delivered with new training workshops styles and protocols, including: –

De Bono 6 Thinking Hats – Harnessing individual and team learning behaviours, White; Red; Yellow; Black; Green; Blue.

There are no stupid or silly questions; care and time is taken to create a safe environment to learn.

Personal Risk Assessing & Taking is encouraged, encouraging challenge and using the power to change personally as trainees develop, to make change back in the work place less of a barrier to growth.

Establishing Creativity and Lateral Thinking as the normal practice and way of working, working smarter not just harder.

Engaging a commitment that all trainees will want to learn something new.

Taking time to the building of a “We are a Team” approach to learning and development.

Typical Workshop Design

It is practice for me to tailor and customise all offerings to clients to ensure they meet the specific needs expressed and to maximise learning effectiveness, behaviour change and value for money. This is an example to illustrate:

Half-Day Training Workshop – Building the Team

This training module is built upon research carried out into the characteristics of successful and high performing teams. The learning is presented in the form of a game, The Seven Seas Company. A participants guide is included in the appendices. The Seven C’s of effective and high performing teams are:

  1. Clarity
  2. Capability
  3. Collaboration
  4. Commitment
  5. Communication
  6. Continuous Improvement
  7. Creativity

The game involves delegate getting into teams and constructing a ship’s mast from a bag of plastic materials, performing against a set of criteria. Each team then reviews their performance against the Seven C’s and captures learning and insights. The game is repeated two more times with changing criteria. The overall session outcome is a strategy and action plan to commit to improve personal team performance and effectiveness back in the workplace.

This game is typical of the games used by me in learning and training workshops. It is based upon academic research with proven learning outputs and outcomes. The materials are professional and attractive, there is a full participants guide and information pack to take away. The focus is on learning in the style described above, with a focus on action and encouraging changes in behaviours. Training with consequently behaviour changes is quite meaningless.




10 Welcome and Overview – participants discuss challenges that affect their work team’s effectiveness
25 Game Round #1 – Introduction of the Seven C’s of successful team building. In teams, participants build the tallest ship mast possible using the materials provided. Facilitator monitors team performance.
20 Round #1 – Debrief and discussion. Participants complete and assessment. Both participants and observers (if used) share thoughts and reactions to the experience. Facilitator leads a large group discussion on the team’s effectiveness at working together.
25 Round #2 – In teams, participants build a ship mast faster, better and cheaper than in round #1. Facilitator observes team performance.
20 Round #2 – Debrief and discussion. Participants complete an assessment and share thoughts, reactions and insights regarding their Round #2 performance.
25 Seven C’s to Effective Team Performance. Facilitator presents information about the Seven C’s. Participants explore strategies and actions for improving in each of the Seven C’s.
20 Round #3 – In teams, participants creatively design and build a ship model using specific criteria. Facilitator (with observers if used) observes team performance.
15 Round #3 – Debrief and discussion. Participants share thoughts, reactions and insights.
25 Action Planning – Participants think about their work teams and identify strategies and actions for improving at least one of the Seven C’s on the job.

Summary of Training Workshops

This workshop example for a half-day demonstrate the typical design type, learning outcome focus and delivery style of my training workshops. Full details of the materials for all my workshops are available on request. My approach to learning and personal development is clearly set out, with the focus on both learning outputs and, more importantly, learning outcomes, and is built into every consultancy project so that the project is not just executed, but the client’s staff “learn to fish!”.

Dr Adrian Gundy. Innovation & Leadership. e-mail