Allow Me to Reminisce (and Look Forward) Dear Examiners

Posted by Harry Hertz, the Baldrige Cheermudgeon

We just completed the first leg of our 25th anniversary year, with our 25th annual Baldrige examiner training. This year 445 examiners, 12 judges, and 33 visitors (11 international) completed training. In 1988, our first year, we trained 91 examiners and 9 judges. We have come a long way since 1988! Since 1988, we have had almost 10,000 (9943 to be exact) attendees at Baldrige examiner training.

So what are some of my more memorable experiences in examiner training? I remember my early days when we did not know a lot about adult learning and there were endless lectures during training. And then we did exercises: item by item, always the same routine. Almost all score books were hand-written, so sharing comments was an exercise in interpreting handwriting as much as interpreting content. We did our training during March, so I can remember several snow storms which closed the NIST site and caused us to move training to the hotel, with significant disruption and added expense. Not to mention delayed and cancelled flights to and home from training. I remember some of the memorable skits at the end of training, the most painfully memorable was when I was “cajoled” into doing the Macarena on stage. I also remember my colleagues slipping unexpected slides into my presentations to examiners — all in good fun.

I recall some of our great strides…. the advent of our first electronic scorebooks and e-learning modules. The graduation to adult learning with the initiation of our current “all teach, all learn” approach to training.

And, of course, there is the pressure of waiting each year for a bad, personal customer experience so that I am prepared for our Wednesday evening get-together. (As an aside, for those who attended weeks 1-3 of training this year, I have received my new utility bill, the late charge was removed and I got a credit of 10% of the late charge. Why I don’t know: pennies for my troubles?)

So what might examiner training look like in the next 25 years? Will it all be e-learning, web-based modules? What will happen to the networking from meeting face-to-face? Is that important? In 25 years, will learning and consensus occur through mind melds? Will examiners be teleported from location to location? I would love to hear your ideas, both for the predictable and unpredictable time frames! How would you envision the future of examiner training? Let me know…

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4 Responses to Allow Me to Reminisce (and Look Forward) Dear Examiners

  1. Bryan Zak says:

    Twenty-five years from now but most likely much sooner examiner’s will have hand held devices that ask for KPI’s, results from surveys, customer and stakeholder data, the application and will then provide a report which the examiner then reviews and validates. Similar to the power of todays balanced scorecards but much more simplified.

  2. Nancy Timmons says:

    I like Bryan Zak’s futuristic view. For the immediate future, however, I think you guys do an excellent job of making the training relevant. Personally, I find the face-to-face meetings productive and great means of learning from peers. The mind melds and teleporting are far into the future in my opinion! But I do think that new “cloud” technology will greatly impact our e-learning applications.

  3. Harry Hertz says:

    Thanks for the comments! Obviously the mind melds and teleportation were done tongue-in-cheek, but who knows!

  4. Asad Joheb says:

    I think processes will be digitized enough to monitor itself and generate maturity reports on its own.

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