Announcing the IBLGC 2019 Finalists

Congratulations to all games that have made the finals of the 2019 International Business Learning Games Competition. The standard of this year’s entries (as measured by the average score for all entries in the year) was the highest to date. This made the first round of judging exciting and there were a large number of entries which kept the judges busy. In the end, 15 entries have made it to the finals including – for the first time – games from Asia and South America.

Condolences are offered to those entrants ranging from universities to small companies whose games did not make the finals – each of you will receive a judges’ report which we hope provides you with some ideas on how your games could be improved. We thank you for your participation and hope to see you at the International Conference On Business Learning Games.


Announcing the Excellence Manifesto

We are delighted to announce the publication of the Excellence Manifesto. It took us quite a while to craft it but we feel it’s been worth the effort.

The Excellence Manifesto is a a declaration of war on mediocrity. It calls on all organizations, regardless of size or sector, to publicly commit to the pursuit of excellence. This means striving to achieve optimal results for all stakeholders, continuous improvement, and pursuing a strategy that does not sell out future generations. Check it out and feel free to sign it. By adding your name to the Manifesto you commit to strive for excellence and do so in public, both answering the call for action and helping to make it louder.

Aircold Panel Solutions earns Excellence Baseline certification

Congratulations to Aircold Panel Solutions (Dublin, Ireland) for the successful implementation of an Integrated Management System that meets the requirements of the Excellence Baseline.

Aircold worked diligently to reach this milestone on its journey to excellence and the work shows. Achieving Excellence Baseline certification required the company to carefully balance the needs of running the business and changing it, while undergoing an intensive organisational development programme.

Pictured on the right is Aircold Chief Executive, Andy Coyne, this morning having come in from the shop-floor to be presented with the company’s Excellence Baseline certificate.

Andy Coyne, Aircold Panel Solutions

Excellence Workshop – Toronto

This one-day interactive workshop for public and private sector leaders on business excellence, facilitated by the BEX core team, is being held in downtown Toronto in the Royal Canadian Military Institute, 426 University Avenue.

The day will involve a lot of learning about excellence and includes an active learning session using APEX, the Institute’s learning game which has lessons on leadership, strategy, decision making in the face of uncertainty, communication, and teamwork. There will also be presentation by Bill Smalley, author of Intelligent Selling. Lunch is included.

Date Venue Start End
20 June 2019 Royal Canadian Military Institute, 426 University Avenue 9:00 17:00

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Clara Shih, Feargal Quinn, & Henry Mintzberg are inducted into the Excellence Hall of Fame

The 2019 Excellence Hall of Fame induction ceremony was held in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, Ireland, on March 28 and, during the gala dinner, a fourth cohort of outstanding people were inducted. This year’s inductees were:

    • Clara Shih, Founder & CEO, Hearsay Systems & Board Member of Starbucks
    • Feargal Quinn, Founder, Superquinn & former Senator, Seanad Éireann
    • Henry Mintzberg, Professor of Management Studies, McGill University

Clara Shih FEBI
Feargal Quinn FEBI
Henry Mintzberg FEBI

You can learn more about them on the Excellence Hall of Fame website .

The Pragmatic Manager

For the best part of two decades I worked in an organization as a manager, first of a department of one just managing processes, then in a department with staff; culminating in a role as Operations Manager. Outside of a BA in Psychology I had no formal management training. My training was of the ‘learn-as-you-go’ variety. I believe that this is a very common experience that is all too familiar.

The organization was not a pro-active one with regard to best practice and had no idea about business excellence. For example, my direct boss for a number of years was of the mind that all the motivation staff needed was ‘a pay cheque’; governance was thin on the ground; there was no formal strategy in place, and staff development was unheard of. I was, however, advised that in order to advance within the organization to board level I would need to obtain an MBA.

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This was a path I did not wish to take and, given the writings of Henry Mintzberg, and the current research indicating that those who have Arts (or Engineering) degrees, and do not also have an MBA, often out-perform typical MBAs and accountants as CEOs and managers, I am quite glad I did not pursue one. What I did do, however, is to learn about best practice. When I became Operations Manager, I brought in a consultant to help with the introduction of performance reviews, one-to-one meetings and to give some general guidance on how to improve our processes and operations (suffice to say, my old boss was no longer on the scene).

Short story: everything improved, including profits. Unfortunately, the effects of 15 years of sub-optimal management and the Financial Crisis hit the business badly and it shut down in 2011. I often look back and think of all that could have been done to keep that business active and to keep the company’s 85 or so people in their jobs. By exploring the principles of business excellence, I have learnt about many simple and practical lessons that leading organizations have used and that academics have known and made available for decades.

These lessons are not simply the remit of multi-national corporations or of MBAs. They are lessons that any manager can benefit from learning about. It might be the case that you have found yourself in a management position, in a small to medium sized organization, possibly a family business (a significantly underserved segment of the business community); with no formal training. That was the position I found myself in. Although I did my best my job would have been significantly easier if I had known what I know now. That is why I suggested we develop The Pragmatic Manager Development Program. I often wish it had been available back then for me; as a valid alternative to an MBA. It may just have helped save a business.

JP Donnelly elected a Fellow of the Institute


JP Donnelly

JP Donnelly FBEI

We are delighted to announce that JP Donnelly has been elected a Fellow of the Institute.

JP is Head of Country for WPP Ireland and CEO of the Ogilvy & Mather Group Ireland. A seasoned marketing and advertising professional, he has a wealth of experience in general and marketing management, digital strategy, media relations, and customer relationship management.

He has served on the Advisory Board and Emeritus Advisory Board of the UCD Smurfit Graduate School of Business since 2001, as Chair of the Marketing Institute of Ireland (2002-2003), on the Board of the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children since 2014, and on the Commercial & Marketing Committee of Leinster Rugby since 2012. He holds Bachelor of Commerce (University College Dublin) and an MBA (UCD Smurift Graduate School of Business) and is also a Fellow of the Marketing Institute of Ireland.