On the Road Again…with a Mission

Posted by Harry Hertz, the Baldrige Cheermudgeon

This past week I had the pleasure of attending two national conferences: the Congress on Healthcare Leadership, sponsored by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and the SEPG conference, sponsored On the road by the Software Engineering Institute. The ACHE brings together 4500 health care leaders from around the U.S. and globally. The SEPG conference brings together leaders and practitioners in software and systems process management from across the U.S.

Why do I and others from the Baldrige staff go to conferences? First, to listen to the voice of our customers, as recommended in the Baldrige Criteria. But, let me use these two conferences to illustrate some of the other reasons. The ACHE conference gives us the opportunity to meet informally with many of the senior leaders of hospitals and health care systems who might have questions or not know about Baldrige (Banish the thought!). It is especially beneficial when we exhibit at meetings where our Award winners are also presenting talks on their “Baldrige benefits.” At this meeting, Heartland Health and AtlantiCare talked about the role of senior leaders and the survival of organizations with a capacity to change. Having just accepted members onto our 2011 Baldrige Board of Examiners, several of them stopped by our ACHE exhibit to say hello and ask questions about our upcoming examiner training.

The SEPG conference obviously afforded another opportunity to meet people and answer questions. In addition, it gave me the opportunity to explain how CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration) is compatible with the Baldrige organizational improvement and management framework. CMMI, like other process tools (e.g. lean, six sigma, ISO 9000 registration) helps organizations improve key processes. Baldrige helps them decide which processes to improve and puts it in a strategic concept for managing the entire enterprise.

But there is another reason for us to get outside our established Baldrige community. We claim that the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence reflect the “leading edge of validated management practice.” Meetings like these two are part of our ongoing information gathering that is translated into the biennial evolution and updates of the Baldrige Criteria. It was at meetings over the last two years (among other indicators) that the power of social media for customer information exchange became so evident that social media became a theme in the 2011 Criteria revisions.

And finally, why do I personally go to meetings? Because it is frequently while travelling that I gather the “rich” experiences that lead to stories I tell to illustrate the benefits of using the Baldrige Criteria. Stories that frequently violate every tenet of our Customer Focus category. Stories that allow me to entertain examiners on Wednesday evening of examiner training each year. And this trip did not disappoint! On this trip, I had very positive customer experiences with merchants and some whoppers of experiences with customers behaving badly. Want to know more? See you at examiner training!


About Barbara Fischer

NIST Baldrige
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6 Responses to On the Road Again…with a Mission

  1. Bryan Zak says:

    Thank you for sharing why you personally go to meetings. It has taken a lifetime for me to fully appreciate the fact that “People do business with People”. Without personally meeting people and networking with them we loose the connectivity that motivates and inspires. Technology today assists with the ability to connect but like you so clearly state in your post, “the rich experiences” are lost without the actual face to face connections.

  2. Dave Fountaine says:

    Thanks Harry for spending the time travelling to attend these meetings. I appreciate the committment you make to the program and by being out front for all of us to educate more and more people every day about the benefits of Baldrige. We are lucky to have you! I take every opportunity I find to advertise the benefits myself. I am a keynote speaker tomorrow night at a local college award ceremony for business person of the year and I’ve sprinkled in some “Baldrigespeak” (How do you know..etc) into my speech.

  3. George Sukumar says:

    You are doing a great job Harry. I appreciate your interest in going to the meetings: to find opportunities to update the Baldrige Criteria and to tell stories to entertain Baldrige Examiners. Well, I love to hear your stories every year. I suggest that you create videos or audios of your story-telling sessions and post them at the Baldrige website to entertain the examiners who are not present at the banquets.

  4. Paul (Jingwei) Tian says:

    Dear Harry, I really appreciate your great passion to promote Baldrige Performance Excellence Criteria to organization leaders, Baldrige Examiners in these meetings. You are the pioneer of the world performance excellence.
    I first studied the Baldrige Criteria in 2006 from Janet Johnsen – the Baldrige Examiner tutor organized by CAQ in Beijing, China, and since then have been very interested in this great system.
    I was very impressed and honored in my past employers Duracell and Gillette, their superior management mode in quality, lean production,workforce learning and development.I personally grown quickly there. I think the criteria just says about what the excellent organizations do.
    I have joined the Shenzhen (China) Mayor Quality Award program as examiner since 2007 and lead examiner in 2010, and China National Quality Award as examiner since 2009, met and benefited from many professionals, practioners in different fields. These enable me to widen my systematic thinging, contribute lots of improvement ideas to my organization and other ones. I’m also a lean, six sigma improvement fans.
    Kindest Regards,
    Paul (Jingwei) Tian

  5. David W. says:

    It was good to happenstance your blog. In the 90s was involved in the President’s Quality award designed for government but was tightly patterned after the Baldrige. I believe it is the best leadership model there is. Wish there was more press around its merits.

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