By Christine Schaefer
Seasoned Baldrige examiners often act as vocal advocates—sometimes giving formal presentations as “Baldrige ambassadors”—for the Baldrige Program.
Whether they work as management consultants or in wide-ranging professions within business, health care, education, or nonprofit organizations, Baldrige examiners find many opportunities to share the value of the Baldrige Excellence Framework (which includes the Criteria for Performance Excellence) to help organizations improve their leadership, planning, customer and employee engagement, knowledge and data management, operations, and more for long-term success.
As one example of a Baldrige volunteer’s formal engagement as an ambassador for the program, alumni examiner Marlene Yanovsky (who is employed as a consultant) earlier this year visited a graduate class at John Jay College in New York City at the request of the professor, Dr. Jeanne-Marie Col.
According to Yanovsky, students in Col’s class were pursuing a master’s degree in public administration. Most already held full-time jobs and planned to pursue employment in city administration. Essentially, their coursework was preparing them to be the next generation of public officials.
Col wanted her students to learn about the Baldrige Excellence Framework since she had recently read about it and found it relevant to both business and government administration in the United States as well as to her international work for the United Nations. “Even before knowing about the Baldrige framework,” said Yanovsky, “Dr. Col had been introducing the same ideas in her work for the United Nations of helping governments of emerging countries achieve sustainable-development goals.”
Reflecting on what she learned from visiting Col’s graduate class at John Jay College, Yanovsky said, “First of all, I found it interesting to learn that graduates of the school include the chief of police for New York City. There are a lot of very senior people who have attended the school.”
Yanovsky was pleased to help the students understand the value of using the Baldrige framework in their future public-sector work. She summed up her presentation this way: “I went over the history of the Baldrige Program, discussed the Baldrige Criteria format and the process that an organization goes through to submit an application for a Baldrige Award evaluation, and I went over the Baldrige framework and made it come to life using examples from Baldrige Award recipients.”
“We discussed organizational process extensively in relation to the Baldrige Criteria,” she continued. “And we talked about how organizations that use the Baldrige Criteria understand their customers’ requirements and, in addressing those requirements, achieve better results.”
Yanovsky made clear that she was also pleased by the engagement of the class in the presentation: “The students were very attentive and asked questions,” she recalled. “Some of their questions related to their current work lives and showed that they were trying to apply the Baldrige Criteria, for example, in regard to leadership.”
“I think this was their final year—many of them are scheduled to graduate this year and move into the public sector,” she added. “I hope the Baldrige framework is something they will continue to think about and, as they mature in their public-sector careers, that each of them will use the framework to support the performance of their organization.”
Beyond her John Jay College visit, Yanovsky said she often speaks informally to people she meets about the value of the Baldrige framework: “I just do it as part of my everyday life; I don’t realize that I’m serving as a Baldrige ambassador.”
“You don’t want to sit next to me on an airplane if you don’t want to hear about Baldrige,” she added, with a laugh, “especially when I get upgraded to business class and the person sitting next to me asks what I do for a living!”