Why Is the “Good Guy” Always Victimized?

Posted by Harry Hertz, the Baldrige Cheermudgeon

Have you ever pondered this question? I didn’t in a global sense until recently. I’ve had the same experiences you have with having my car hit and then feeling like I did wrong victim dollwith all the hoops the responsible person’s insurance company made me go through. But I never generalized that situation…until now.

A few recent incidents brought this to light for me. A colleague bought something on-line and the seller shipped the wrong item. When the seller was contacted they required the wrong item be returned before the correct item would be shipped and the return postage refunded. The seller made the mistake. Why didn’t they offer to send a replacement immediately with a return shipping label for the incorrect item?

My car was recently subject to a manufacturer’s recall. I had experienced the problem that triggered the recall. Even though the recall was on the national news, it took another two months until I got the recall notice to bring the car to a dealer. The recall notice described exactly what had happened to me (four times). I made an appointment and brought the car in. The service representative required me to sign a $150 diagnostic fee to be refunded if the problem was triggered by only the recall notice. I told them if the problem was greater it was triggered by the multiple times I experienced the failure. They should have been apologizing to me for the defect, not trying to get money for additional repairs. When I submitted a negative review in the on-line survey that followed the recall repair, I was immediately called by the service manager. He insisted that the approval for a diagnostic charge was necessary to protect them from a liability suit if the problem was something other than the recall item. I explained that if liability were a concern the recall letter should have been issued immediately and not months after the recall was announced. He continued to argue. I politely hung up! Who should have been protected in this situation, the dealer or me?

We are in the process of buying some real estate. After having a signed contract by us and the seller, the seller decided they weren’t interested in selling and were not honoring the terms of the contract. The real estate agents started action to protect their commission if the seller reneged. I was told I could get a lawyer to fight for my interests. I am the customer, but the agents are focused only on their financial interests!

In all these incidents, the “good guy” is made to suffer. For making a purchase that benefits the seller, you are turned into an innocent victim with inappropriate consequences.

In the Leadership Category, the  Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence ask about creating and balancing value for customers and other stakeholders. In the Customers Category, the Criteria ask about building customer relationships to acquire customers, build market share, and enhance brand image. Do we need to add notes about victims’ rights or how not to victimize your customers and stakeholders?

Think about your own experiences. How often are each of us turned into innocent victims? What about your organization? Do you unintentionally make victims out of some of your customers or stakeholders?

Posted in Baldrige Criteria, Business, Customer Focus, Leadership, Manufacturing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 20 Comments

Envisioning the Future for Long-Term Sustainability—How Baldrige Examiners Can Help

Posted by Dawn Marie Bailey

Why didn’t Sotheby’s envision e-bay? Why didn’t IBM create the PC operating system? Why did CBS fail to see the value of CNN? Why did GM miss the minivan? Why didn’t AT&T invent AOL? And why didn’t Kodak come to market with digital photos when it had the technology?

pattersonAccording to Robert “Rusty” Patterson, chairman and CEO of the National Council for Advanced Manufacturing (NACFAM) and an international speaker on topics such as emerging competitive concepts, the shape of industry in the future, and how to position your organization to be a next generation enterprise, many companies that were once household names have been destroyed because they didn’t have a common culture that was innovative, creative, forward thinking, and conducive to collaboration that could position them for the future.

“If you want to have long-term sustainability, you’ve got to have a culture that looks to the future, envisions what it could be,” said Patterson. Then “bring in outsiders, bring in other people who can help you see what that vision needs to be. Have a common culture throughout your organization so that everyone knows what their roles are, what roles they can play. This fits right in with the Baldrige Core Values and the whole [Baldrige] process. . . . You’re either going to [create this culture] calling it Baldrige, or you’re going to do it calling it something else. . . . [The Baldrige Program] has got the framework; all [organizations have] got to do . . . is use it, and it will work.”

The Baldrige Excellence Framework uses a “systems approach,” teaching that organizations can achieve that kind of pervasive culture in part through a systems approach to managing and improving their organizations.

NACFAM is a manufacturing policy think tank that focuses on policy issues related to sustainable manufacturing, workforce development, technology and innovation, and supply chain optimization. Patterson said that NACFAM’s mission is to strengthen and support  U.S. manufacturing, with value creation and job growth in the sector absolutely essential to a healthy economy.

He said the biggest challenge for small and medium manufacturing enterprises today is being able to innovate quick enough. “It used to be that the drivers [for sustainability] were value delivery and reduction of variation at all costs. We had to have efficiency, productivity, process discipline. Back in the ’80s and ’90s, we got fairly good at that, but we missed out on the part, I think, that the Baldrige Criteria help with, which is creating a culture that is not just a set a tools to make changes—it’s actually a culture of how you do business and how you work and what you value.” He noted that Baldrige has a set of Core2015_2016_Bus_NP_Role_of_Core_Value Values, other companies may have principles that they follow. One important lesson from decades past, he said, is that you can have a toolbox and fix everything, but you need to establish a culture with common, shared values to make those changes last.

“You’ve got to have innovative, creative thinking because [the market] is moving at such a pace. . . . You’ve got to think outside of the box, but at the same time, you’ve got to have a culture and core values. If you’ve got that, you can introduce new things. And people know how to approach them. They don’t go out and just blindly follow a process. They know how to approach [a process/new idea], analyze it. They know how to put scientific data around it; make sure it’s doing what they want it to do.”

Collaboration is also critical for businesses today, he said; “your delivery [of products to the market] is just the admission ticket to the competitive environment. Collaboration and innovation are now the discriminators in that environment. Being able to act like you’re a bigger company because you’ve got partners, you’ve got a network. . . . [Through collaboration with universities, other companies, etc., you can] produce things that separately might take years to do; together they can do it in less [time, with less resources].”

Patterson learned the hard way about the difficulties of not having a common culture and core values through his experience with a large merger in the defense industry. Multiple companies were brought together, but the new workforce had different vantage points. “We were in a situation where we realized we couldn’t even figure out how to go and improve something because we each did [it differently. Eventually] we created a common culture, but it was out of necessity, and it was forced on us.”

He added, “I believe most people want to do a good job . . . but if you don’t have that common culture then it’s hard to ever pull that off. I’ve done a lot of improvement activities in my career in different facilities where the CEO was detached from what was going on. He would say . . . just go fix that, but those fixes don’t last. . . . You can get some results immediately, but two–three years later, they’re starting to fall off and go away because there’s no supporting mechanism.”

Regarding the Baldrige Excellence Framework and its Criteria, Patterson said he has been surprised and pleased at how the Baldrige Criteria “morphed” the way they did, with an increased focus on core values rather than just on process discipline. “It’s not just about how well you execute what you’re doing. It’s about how you create the culture that continues to execute no matter the process. And it’s everything from the CEO to the janitor who understands how to approach issues and problems, understands how to approach their work, and has appreciation for each other’s roles. . . . I was really pleased when I saw that [the Baldrige Criteria have] changed over time and have matured that process and product focus to [an updated framework] that I think has sustainable and long-term, lasting value and can continue to.”

Patterson, who worked at Texas Instruments, Inc., in 1992 when it received the Baldrige Award, said he was once part of a focus group for medical professionals who were trying to develop technology for the future. “The medical field was interested in the future of dentistry, but they used a bunch of us who were not dentists to tell them what the future was,” to provide an outside perspective.

“What I tell people is you ought to use the Baldrige Criteria to turn a mirror on yourself. You don’t have to win a Baldrige Award. . . . The real key is that you can put that mirror on yourself and get some examiners to come in and evaluate what you’re doing because sometimes it’s hard for you to do this. It’s an excellent criteria [framework that helps you say] you’re doing a lot of the right things, but here are some areas where you can improve.”

Patterson’s advice today to manufacturers and other organizations: Stick with early successes, focus on the future, and get a sustainable culture with core values in place.

“Our culture here in the United States is to see a problem and go fix it and make [the product/process] better and better and better,” Patterson added. “But we never look up to see if the problem is even still out there. . . . Strategic thinking is key in there. Every year, you have to think what does the future look like. And if that’s what the future looks like, what are the attributes we have to have to succeed in that future. . . . You don’t want to be focused on your market. You want to be focused on the future and what markets are out there and see what parts you can play in them.”

Posted in Baldrige Award Process, Baldrige Award Recipients, Baldrige Criteria, Business, Manufacturing, Performance Results, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A Baldrige Award-Winning Restaurant Chain That Makes Education Its Business

By Christine Schaefer

Pal’s Sudden Service received the Baldrige Award in 2001. Since then, the quick-service restaurant chain’s founder, Pal Barger, has repeatedly shared why he considers his company’s heavy investment in employee training to be cost-effective—despite high turnover in the industry. Other business leaders reportedly ask Pal, “What if you spend all this time and money training someone and then they leave?’” His response to them: “Suppose we don’t, and then they stay?”

Over the past 15 years, an extraordinary commitment to customer-focused excellence and workforce development has continued to benefit Pal’s Sudden Service. The 27-restaurant chain based in Kingsport, Tennessee, has received wide attention and recognition for both its strong customer focus and uncommon practices in educating employees.

A profile of the company published last November in The Washington Post described the “secret sauce” for Pal’s success: Noting that Pal’s inventory turned over 143 times a year, compared to an industry average of 27, the authors of the article attributed Pal’s high productivity to streamlined work processes designed around “laser-like intensity on one thing: the customer.”

In April 2014, when Inc. Magazine named Pal’s to its list of “25 Most Audacious Companies,” it reported that Pal’s senior leaders and managers each spend 10 percent of their time daily training employees.

David McClaskey in Pal's BEI training room

David McClaskey (far left) in Pal’s BEI training room

The training Pal’s Sudden Service provides its workers goes beyond standard practices to cultivate behavioral traits for them to become future leaders—in the same or other businesses. And the company offers training to leaders and employees of other organizations too: the Kingsport-based training center of Pal’s Business Excellence Institute (BEI) regularly provides classes to help organizations in its community and globally improve their performance.

Pal’s BEI was created as a systematic mechanism for Pal’s Sudden Service to carry out its responsibility as a Baldrige Award-winning company to share its role-model practices with other companies of all types. “It has been supporting the Malcom Baldrige National Quality Award’s mission by systematically inspiring and enabling other organizations to learn and immediately apply simple and effective performance-excellence practices since 2000,” noted David McClaskey, Pal’s co-founder (along with Thom Crosby) and president.

“Since 2012, 100 percent of the organizations that have attended have applied one or more practices they learned within four weeks of taking a class,” said McClaskey. For example, in August, school-nutrition employees of the Kingsport City (TN) Schools received customer-service training from Pal’s instructors at the facility. “They are now busy applying what they have learned,” he added.

Pal's BEI training center (outside)

Pal’s BEI training center

Pal’s BEI is “a full-time operation providing training and consulting based on Pal’s role-model performance-excellence principles and practices,” said David Jones, the institute’s vice president. “We train over 700 per year from around the world in our Kingsport training center,” said Jones. “Our reach extends to thousands more [in our role] as speakers at conferences and workshop leaders. About 50 percent of our clients are restaurants; the other 50 percent are from all types and sizes of for-profit and not-for-profit organizations.”

David Jones (right) in Pal's BEI training room

David Jones (speaking from the right) in Pal’s BEI training room

Training at Pal’s BEI covers principles and practices related to the Baldrige Excellence Framework, including the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence. “We make it a point to teach that adopting the Baldrige Criteria as a basis for the company’s management and work systems is what took Pal’s from good to great,” said Jones.

He added, “Pal’s still uses the [Baldrige] Criteria to do internal assessments. So even though you haven’t heard from us on the applicant scene, we are still very much involved and generating even better results today than we did in 2001.”

Posted in Baldrige Award Recipients, Business, Customer Focus | Tagged | 2 Comments

Park Place Lexus—How Workforce Plays a Role in the Evolution of Excellence

Posted by Dawn Marie Bailey


Park Place Lexus Plano, TX

In 2005, when Park Place Lexus (PPL) became the first automotive dealership to be named a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient, it ranked among the country’s top Lexus dealers. And in the four years of applying the Baldrige Criteria, of receiving feedback reports, and leading up to the award, the company’s gross profit had increased by 51.3 percent.

At its two locations in Plano and Grapevine, TX, PPL continues to sell and service new and pre-owned Lexus vehicles, as well as sell Lexus parts to the wholesale and retail markets. But the highly competitive automotive market has seen some direct market hits since 2005, so how does PPL ensure its continued performance excellence? According to Jamie Capehart, Performance Improvement Specialist at Park Place Lexus, success, in part, comes from a focus on the workforce.

At both upcoming regional Baldrige conferences in Nashville, TN, and Denver, CO, Capehart will be sharing the importance of a workforce focus, especially in a competitive industry. In a virtual interview, Capehart previewed her upcoming presentation:

Why has a focus on the workforce been important to your success?  
Our employees (which we call “Members”) are central to our success. We attribute our growth and ability to retain our Members in a highly competitive market to our hiring philosophy–putting the right people in the right jobs–and our commitment to the development of our Members.

What are your top tips (e.g., three to five suggested practices) for using Baldrige to support  a workforce focus across an organization?

  1. Hire for your culture
  2. Apply a systematic, meaningful approach for onboarding and training new Members
  3. Utilize a learning management system to manage and track learning
  4. Plan for growth through a systematic succession planning process

What are a few key reasons that organizations in your sector can benefit from using the Baldrige Excellence Framework?

  • To maintain a balanced focus on all contributing success factors
  • To remain innovative and stay ahead of the competition
  • To ensure that you have the most skilled workforce in the industry

What else might participants learn about at your conference session? 

  • Our team structure
  • Performance improvement methodology
  • Member engagement methodologies
  • Development methodologies
  • Strategic planning process
  • Growth since 2005
  • How our workforce supports innovation

Join us at the 2015 Baldrige Regional Conferences to attend this session and many more from current and former Baldrige Award recipients.

Posted in Baldrige Award Recipients, Baldrige Criteria, Business, Customer Focus, Workforce Focus | 1 Comment

Focus on the 2015 Judges’ Panel: Judge John C. Timmerman

By Christine Schaefer

Who are the folks who judge applications for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award? In an ongoing blog series, we have been interviewing members of the 2015 Judges’ Panel of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. In the interviews, they share their insights and perspectives on the award process, on their experiences, and on the Baldrige framework and approach to organizational improvement.

Following is the interview of Dr. John C. Timmerman, a first-year judge. Dr. Timmerman is Chief Scientist in Customer Experience and Innovation at Gallup. He previously was Corporate Vice President of Quality and Operations at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, a two-time recipient of the Baldrige Award.

What experiences led you to the role of Baldrige judge?

I first became involved with the Baldrige program as an applicant [The Ritz-Carlton]. And it was the single-most impactful developmental experience in my career because it gave me a broader framework for evaluating and facilitating performance improvement. Then I became an examiner to further deepen my understanding of the [Baldrige Excellence] Framework and also to make a contribution back to the United States, to help other organizations in the United States improve performance. I’m privileged to be a judge to help other U.S. businesses become competitive. It’s a great service both to the [Baldrige] program as well as to my country.

You have a great deal of experience in the business sector, particularly in service businesses. How do you see the Baldrige Excellence Framework as valuable to organizations in that sector?

Baldrige is incredibly important for organizations that have a high degree of variation in their performance, and they have additional yields to drive performance results. There’s no other sector, in my opinion, that has a higher variation than … service industries that deal not just with technology but also with human technology—workforces and direct customers. [This variation] would be similar for service industries [such as] retail, health care, technology services, and so forth.

And [in regard to] the changing appetite of consumers for higher and faster cycle times of innovation, the [Baldrige] performance excellence framework is the best way to identify those potential gaps or breakthroughs [in a business’s performance].

How do you apply Baldrige principles/concepts to your current work experience with Gallup?

I use the framework in evaluating an organization with the most holistic set of criteria. And in particular, it complements the advisory work I do for clients as a scientist at Gallup. [The Baldrige framework] allows me to frame up the business opportunity in the broadest terms. Any time the systemic problem is well defined, the solutions readily make themselves evident.

It’s holistic. It’s not just looking at human resources or marketing activities; it’s looking first at the context of the organization and its competitive environment, and then systematically evaluating all the critical components of the business model, to include leadership, customer, strategy, workforce, operations, organizational knowledge, and how these criteria drive bottom-line results. Specifically, I have used the Baldrige framework to help Gallup clients understand the mechanics of operationalizing their brand promise.  The nonprescriptive approach of the Baldrige framework is perfectly complemented by Gallup’s more defined benchmark data and repository of validated best practices.

As a judge, what are your hopes for the judging process?

First and foremost, I hope to qualify the high-performing organizations and recognize their performance excellence, to validate those applicants so they can provide best practices to help other U.S. businesses become more competitive.

Second, while doing that, I hope to help develop, mentor, and support a team of world-class U.S. citizens [Baldrige examiners].

If you think about it, the program selects just 300–500 examiners [each year]. These individuals are the very best of the best—out of a U.S. population of over 300 million, they’re less than one in a million. So my other aspiration is that they receive the same excellent development experience that I did when I started with the program [as an examiner] over a decade ago.

What encouragement or advice would you give Baldrige examiners who are reviewing award applications now?

Three things:

1. First, plan your time to maintain timelines so you can provide a high-quality evaluation of the applicant you have been entrusted to review.

2. Gain a deep understanding of the applicants Organizational Profile before stepping into the Baldrige Criteria because this context is the lens for the evaluation of the applicant in relation to the Criteria.

3. Feel proud that you’re representing one out of a million U.S. citizens to help make the U.S. economy stronger through your time and contribution.

See other blogs on the 2015 Judges’ Panel: Laura Huston, Dr. Ken Davis, Michael Dockery, Miriam N. Kmetzo, Dr. Sharon L. Muret-Wagstaff, Dr. Mike R. Sather, Ken Schiller, Dr. Sunil K. Sinha, Roger M. Triplett, and Fonda Vera. Greg Gibson, a candidate for the 2015 panel, pending appointment, will also be interviewed for this series.




Posted in Baldrige Award Process, Baldrige Award Recipients, Business | Tagged | 1 Comment