Five fears to overcome on our journey to the EFQM 2020 model

Date 2/08/2021
Category Strategy

When Roosevelt became the president of the United States, he pronounced the following words that defined his way of dealing with the Great Depression: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.

Nowadays, organizations face VUCA environments full of uncertainty and complexity, so the people who run them must make riskier and braver decisions. These decisions may bring great changes and deep transformations with them. The EFQM 2020 model of excellence and transformation has experimented its own metamorphosis to give an answer and guide us through this process. However, while its implementation is ongoing, many barriers and fears may arise for us to face. Once we have overcome those small challenges we will come face to face with our final goal.

Fear of leading alone

To implement the EFQM 2020 model correctly, a shared and inspiring leadership is necessary, in order to achieve the implication of the maximum amount of people through working competences and behaviours related to:

  • Collaborative vision and planning: The decision-making and objective setting processes should be based on actively listening to the greatest number of collaborators.
  • Efficient execution of team activities: Defining and improving the communication and teamwork processes, looking after the commitment and abilities of people.
  • Management control from trust: Honest delegation to teams of responsibilities about achieving results, with a vision of talent management more focused on results and bringing value.
  • Collaborative learning and innovation: Analysis of causes and problem solving as a team from the synergy of creativity and experiences as well as knowledge management so that it may be shared.

Fear of commitment

No project can move on without the participation and implication from the team. Getting people committed and attached to a project, as well as excited, is a barrier we will have to overcome to achieve the objectives of the organization. Creating a culture model that lets us to work on our beliefs, values and rules will allow us to achieve the desired results, developing different well-balanced perspectives:

  • A culture associated to the involvement of all our interest groups is the definition, deployment and follow-up of the strategy.
  • A culture related to the definition and launch of clear values that govern the decision-making process and the coherent and coordinated performance of different parts of the organization.
  • A culture that drives people’s commitment from the promotion of autonomy and responsibility of individuals and teams, the development of their capabilities and the promotion actively participating in the decision-making process.
  • A culture of innovation and learning, focusing on achieving the client’s loyalty, promoting risk assumption and a non-blaming environment, encouraging active listening and empathy.

Fear of failure

The possibility of not being capable of defining stable and trustworthy strategies for the future is another barrier we must learn to overcome.

According to the EFQM 2020 model, the definition of a single strategy framework, simple and trustworthy, connected with the operational layer and with which we can make decisions faster, is essential to achieving our goals successfully. This framework must be composed by:

  • A small list of priorities or challenges as strategic lines that will allow a balance between fixing the axis of our preferential work and will allow us to react to changes in the environment quicker.
  • A dashboard of key results, with its corresponding goals fixed periodically, which will allow understanding the goals and facilitate its deployment in all the areas of the organization.
  • A project portfolio that integrates existing strategic and transformation projects in the organization. This portfolio will allow all participants with responsibilities in those projects to the reason of those initiatives associated with achieving the strategy.
  • A clear deployment of some of these goals through their connection with the proper performance and the improvement of organizational processes, connecting the strategy with the practical implementation through the tracking and control of the daily operational activities

Fear of the unknown

Being forced to come out of our comfort zone to react to the changes in the environment brings a feeling of fear of the unknown that can freeze us completely. The EFQM 2020 model guides us to develop a plan associated to the management of transformation, taking into account the main factors of this kind of change:

  • The connection of the strategy with the transformation projects.
  • The use of tools to continuously improve, innovate and learn.
  • The analysis and thoughts about information with sources and systematic methods as part of the knowledge management.
  • The normalization of changes in management processes because of a proper change management.
  • The promotion and management of innovation projects as well as the effective extension and exploitation of the results.

Fear of flying

Applying the EFQM 2020 model could mean leaving behind a management model that is stable, but too strict for our need to adapt and give an answer to the changes of the environment with a different, quicker process management and definition that makes use of any possibility of the technology to have access to, add value and analyse quicker the key information of the process

  • Contribution to the strategy.
  • Connection to the client’s experience.
  • Needs and expectations of the clients within the process.
  • Interrelations with other processes.

All of this is measured in the process monitors of the EFQM 2020 model: Performance, risk and change.

I would like to conclude this with some words one of my colleages, Mónica Nájera, said during a speech on Sustainable Growth: “In these turbulent times, the EFQM 2020 model says we need leaders that can inspire from the example of a culture of integrity and social responsibility, leaders that define and communicate strategies that guide us through this uncertain path, taking trust as a starting point, saving the difficulties thanks to our commitment and having an inspiring purpose as a goal with an impact on improving society.”

If you are interested in implementing the EFQM 2020 model in your organization, we have prepared a training program along with Cámara de Comercio de Zaragoza and Fundación Ibercaja to train executives, technicians, and in general professionals in the management systems and criteria of this model. Contact us if you have any question.



José Antonio Calvo