A PIG You Might Prize

Posted by Christine Schaefer

“Data are like garbage—you best know what you’re going to do with it before you start collecting it!” That bit of Baldrige category 4-based advice comes from the Coast Guard Performance Improvement Guide (page 75), known simply as “the PIG.”

The guide, recently made available for wider use (see below for link), comes from the Coast Guard’s (CG) Leadership Development Center, a Baldrige-based performance improvement program currently located at the CG Academy in New London, Connecticut.


Jeff Wright, a Coast Guard organizational performance consultant, describes the guide as “a useful set of tools that can be used by anyone.” The text explains elements of organizational improvement and provides instructions, for example, on how to develop a strategic plan. It also has sections on senior leadership, team leadership, facilitative leadership, meeting management, and organizational performance.

“Because Six Sigma and the DMAIC [Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control] model are prominent in the world of improvement, a chart appears in the PIG’s index correlating the tools with their respective DMAIC step,” says Wright.

According to Wright, the first edition of the PIG, known as the “Process Improvement Guide,” was produced by the CG Quality Center in 1993, drawing on a resource of the U.S. Air Force. Over the past 20 years, Wright adds, the guide evolved as it benefitted from increasing numbers of contributors.

In its introduction, the original text noted that “limited budget resources, increased expectations and demand for services, increasing competition to provide those services, and a changing, diversified workforce are all affecting our ability to remain semper paratus [always ready].” Providing a rationale for its use, it also stated, “rapidly changing world events, mission priorities, and technology are forcing the Coast Guard to re-examine how each of us performs our jobs.”

Sound familiar today? Here’s a link where you can access the full text of the PIG:


May the Baldrige Criteria and complementary tools help your organization be semper paratus to surmount your challenges!



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One Response to A PIG You Might Prize

  1. Dann Prosser says:

    The organizational Performance Consultant Program that Jeff is a member has been around the Coast Guard almost as long as the PIG. They were established in 1996 as Quality Performance Consultants and have used Baldridge as the guide throughout the years to help thousands to understand, apply and improve over the years. Unfortunately, as with many such government programs, has been slated for all but elimination. Sad times. However, as with most timeless truths, the concept will not die and will rise again in the Coast Guard.

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