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 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!