By Scott Burgmeyer
Having spent my career dedicated to helping organizations achieve excellence and implement process improvement, many people ask me about the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program and want to learn more. The number one thing about Baldrige is you’re always learning. The goal is to bring Baldrige principles to life as you reflect on where you started and where you’re headed.
This is how we do our process (e.g. strategy, hiring, operations, etc.).
Here is the evidence that the process is being done as we believe it is being done.
Our processes are performing at this level (compared to your competitors or best in class).
We use the data about our process to make our process better.
Understand the criteria. Ask yourself, “What are the requirements?” Whether a request from a customer, the Baldrige criteria, a regulatory mandate, employees, your CEO or other imperative, it’s important to understand what you are aiming for.
Identify 4-6 key factors. Synthesize the criteria or information into what is most critical for you, the leadership team, the workforce, and the strategy to deliver results that are important to the customer.
Analyze the application. Examine what is actually going on vs what you think is going on. This is where you begin to see where there might be misalignment between what is intended to the reality in your strategy, operations and/or the Baldrige criteria.
Determine areas of strength and opportunity. Ideally, you should focus on the top 3-4 items that are going well AND where you can improve. The improvement opportunities are the most valuable and allow you to hold a mirror up and answer honestly – Can we do better? If we do better, will it move us forward toward excellence? This attention to being purposeful in your journey begins to separate the average from the excellent.
Write comments and actions. Based on what you found in #4, summarize the strengths and opportunities and use this in your strategy, operations, etc. to propel you forward. These are the core elements that will really create an excellent organization.
Determine the score. As you look back, if you submit a Baldrige application, you will get a score. If you don’t, you can assign points and determine a score on your own. How are you moving forward on your journey of excellence? How well are your processes performing? Are you comparing them to benchmarks?
At a high level, Baldrige is about applying the following four steps to EVERY process in your organization:
If we dive a little deeper, the following six key items detail how the Baldrige framework supports an organization’s journey to excellence. The beautiful part is, you can do this yourself or submit an application and have a group of trained examiners provide you 3rd-party feedback to support your journey.
Whether you apply formally or are working independently to build a journey of excellence, these six steps can be integrated into your organization. Baldrige is about learning, growth and the pursuit of excellence – join the journey with us.