By Christine Schaefer
I recently wrote a post listing three powerful learning experiences to help your organization benefit from using the Baldrige Excellence Framework. To complement that information, below is a list of key steps forward toward assessing your organization’s performance based on the Criteria for Performance Excellence (part of the Baldrige framework). Criteria-based assessment resources referenced below can be downloaded for free from the Baldrige Program’s website through links provided in this text.
1. Write an Organizational Profile. This means answering the questions about your organization in the preface to the Baldrige Criteria. The information you provide in responding to this set of questions provides a context for a complete assessment of your organization’s performance against the full Criteria (which encompass 17 items within the 7 categories of Leadership; Strategy; Customers; Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management; Workforce; Operations; and Results).
2. Respond to the questions of the intermediate-level, Criteria-based Baldrige Excellence Builder. Once your organization has completed such a self-assessment and acted on gaps or findings of opportunities for improvement, you may be ready to answer all the questions about your performance contained in the full Criteria. At this point, you are likely to find it beneficial to gain the objective insights of a team of people trained to assess organizations using the scoring system of the Baldrige Criteria and to write feedback describing strengths and opportunities for improvement: Baldrige examiners! Proceed to number 3.
3. Submit an award application for a performance assessment from your state or regional Baldrige-based program. More than 30 such programs across the country are part of the network known as the Alliance for Performance Excellence. See the Alliance website to find out how to contact your local Baldrige-based program so you can benefit from a Criteria-based assessment of your organization by a team of locally trained examiners. Organizations that receive top-tier award recognition from Alliance programs become eligible for five years to apply for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. And some organizations may find they are already eligible to apply for the prestigious national award based on other conditions.
If you are hesitating to take one of these big steps forward, read what U.S. and other leaders have said about the benefits of using the Baldrige framework to raise the performance of organizations in every sector of the economy.