Beginning in 2008, The Shingo Prize began a systematic process of “raising the bar” for what qualifies as a Shingo Prize recipient. We began to shift the emphasis of the assessment away from a tool and programmatic orientation toward a complete assessment of the organization’s culture. Our examiners now focus on determining the degree to which the principles of operational excellence are evident in the behavior of every employee. We observe behavior and determine the frequency, duration, intensity and scope of the desired, principle-based behavior. We observe the degree to which leaders are focused on principles and culture and managers are focused on aligning systems to drive ideal behaviors at all levels.
This focus is unique in the world and is the best, and by far the most rigorous, way to determine if an organization is fundamentally improving for the long term or just going through the motions of another flavor. Recipients of our recognition fall into three categories; the Shingo Bronze Medallion (primarily a tool focus), the Shingo Silver Medallion (primarily a tool and systems focus) and The Shingo Prize (a focus on tools, systems and principles as well as a strong principle-based culture).
Most organizations do not wait until they might qualify for the Shingo Prize to challenge; but rather, use this progression as a way to guide their journey of continuous improvement. Many organizations do not intend to ever challenge for the prize but use the model as the highest standard of excellence in the world to which they aspire and hold themselves accountable.