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›› Introduction to Good Practices©giz2012 terms of size, functions, challenge, etc. Nevertheless, looking at how other organisions perform and how they do it can be a source of good ideas for improvement. 5. International Organision for Standardization (ISO) Many organisions are using the resources of the Inter- national Organision for Standardization (ISO) that promotes standardization and certification of best practices. “ISO 9000 is primarily concerned with “quality man- agement of ... all those features of a product (or service) which are required by the customer. ISO 14000 is primarily concerned with what the organ- ision does to minimize harmful effects on the environ- ment caused by its activities.”[7] “ISO 9001:2008 provides a set of standardized require- ments for a quality management system, regardless of what the user organision does, its size, or whether it is in the private, or public sector. It is the only standard in the family against which organisions can be certified – although certification is not a compulsory requirement of the standard.”[8] These standards as well as the ISO for Utilities Series (24510, 24511 and 24512) are discussed more fully in the Quality Management chapter. B. Continuous Improvement Benefits Continuous improvement enlivens an organization and puts it on the path to excellence. It can have many ben- efits: • Lower cost and higher productivity • Improvement projects build and reinforce team- work. • Better service = happier customers = better revenue collection • Happier employees are more productive employees. They are less likely to leave for another job. This sta- bilizes the workforce C. Resources Be inquisitive. If you face a challenge, go to the Internet and find examples of how other organisions have faced this challenge. You will surely find a lot of very good in- formation that you can customize to your own situa- tion. But like anything in print: use your best judgment when you review information – not everything on the internet is accurate. The Good Practices section of this guidebook includes many ideas and approaches to apply for improved per- formance in any organision. Two of the approaches that you can investigate on the Internet are Balanced Scorecard and Six Sigma. These fairly new techniques are both designed to help organi- sions find ways to improve. Organisions use the Balanced Scorecard approach “to align business activities to the vision and strategy of the organision, improve internal and external communica- tions, and monitor organision performance against stra- tegic goals.”[9] It balances 4 major business areas: finan- cial performance, customer needs, employee growth and internal business processes. “Six Sigma” is a disciplined, data-driven approach and methodology for eliminating defects … in any process - from manufacturing to transactional and from product to service.”[10] D. Lessons Learned “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”[11] Excellence is doing a thousand small things well. When you see the benefits of improvement, you may be ready to charge ahead. That’s a great attitude! But please remember to balance workload: if you try too many things at one time, you may never do any of them well. In planning, you can allocate time and resources to the projects that will do the most good.