Using Baldrige to Support Our Military, Veterans

Posted by Dawn Marie Bailey

Support of the U.S. military and our Veterans has always been a core value for Americans.

And for the nonpartisan Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, when nonprofit organizations became eligible for the Baldrige Award in 2007, military bases, centers, agencies, and other units could receive feedback from trained Baldrige examiners on considerations to continuously improve their services. (VA and other military health care organizations were already eligible through the health care category.) In addition, Baldrige resources have supported the military and Veterans through Baldrige-based programs that have existed at various times at the five armed services branches, such as the Army Communities of Excellence, and within state Baldrige-based programs (the Alliance for Performance Excellence), as well as by the use of nonprescriptive and customizable Baldrige resources by any person or organization. Following are just some examples of how Baldrige has supported our military and Veterans through such endeavors.

Veteran support demonstrated at the Veterans Affairs Cooperative Studies Program Clinical Research Pharmacy Coordinating Center

Baldrige Award recipient the Veterans Affairs Cooperative Studies Program Clinical Research Pharmacy Coordinating Center is a federal government organization that supports multicenter clinical trials targeting current health issues for America’s veterans. The Center manufactures, packages, stores, labels, distributes, and tracks clinical trial materials (drugs and devices), and monitors patient safety.

According to Dr. Robert Ringer, assistant center director for pharmaceutical management and research, the Center’s work aims to benefit Veterans through clinical research, with the goal of improving health care outcomes that are particularly prevalent in the Veteran population.

“Rigorous clinical trials help us better understand and treat diseases and conditions that disproportionately affect those who served this great nation,” he said. “The culture of our Center is such that we believe we owe it to our Veterans to deliver the highest quality products and services to the research sites we serve. We believe the Baldrige Criteria has the strongest record of measuring and achieving performance excellence. The [Baldrige] model helps us more intensely scrutinize our operations and measure ourselves against organizations that are best in class to keep us focused on performing at the highest level.”

Lab work at the Center

The Center uses the Baldrige Excellence Framework, which includes the Criteria, to help it better understand its own systems and processes, and how to improve linkage and alignment across the organization, said Dr. Ringer; adding, “We observed a significant improvement in customer satisfaction and productivity, as well as higher employee engagement—all of which made the Center more capable of achieving our mission of improving health care outcomes.”

By receiving the Baldrige Award, the Veterans’ program at the Center demonstrated that performance excellence can be achieved in a federal organization. Also, Dr. Ringer said, by measurably improving its systems and processes, the Center was able to demonstrate real value to both Veterans and tax payers. Many improvements were achieved by learning from feedback, which was received after applying at Baldrige-based state, sector, and national levels, as well as participating in Baldrige site visits.

“We carefully reviewed each and every [opportunity for improvement] OFI generated by site visits from examiners from Baldrige, Quality New Mexico, and [The Secretary of Veterans Affairs’ Robert W. Carey Performance Excellence Award]. There are far too many OFIs to list here, but it is safe to say nearly every systematic process was improved in some way by implementing changes based on the OFI report,” he said.

Added Dr. Ringer, “For us, Baldrige principles and performance excellence have become part of our ‘standard procedures.’ We are a leaner, more productive organization—and continually look for ways to improve. [Baldrige] ties directly into our core mission, vision, and values. We believe we have one of the most noble jobs in America—to serve and care for those that served our country.”

Fort Campbell (Kentucky/Tennessee) received a 2016 Gold Award in the Army Communities of Excellence competition for supporting soldiers, families, and surrounding communities.

Brenda Lopez, program manager for the Army Communities of Excellence (ACOE) who works with the Texas Army National Guard, said during her tenure she has led cross-functional teams in developing and implementing key business processes, leading strategic planning sessions, and establishing a culture for continuous process improvements using the Baldrige framework.

“As a military leader and service member for over 16 years, . . . I learned several important key core values such as loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage, and . . . have a special interest in quality and improvement for both personal and professional settings,” said Lopez. Being a lead writer and examiner for the annual Baldrige-based ACOE performance assessment has allowed me to provide feedback for improvement to other National Guard states, she added.

“Throughout this [Baldrige] journey, I have acquired specific knowledge and comprehension in business operations and organizational excellence. My objective is to continue helping improve business operations through effective and systematic processes, and assisting [organizations to] become top-performing and professional models for all,” she said.

Lopez says she hopes to become a national Baldrige examiner to expand her analytical skills and knowledge about the different industries using the Baldrige model. “Additionally, becoming a Baldrige examiner will allow me to share best practices within my organization and improve the overall business operations for the Texas Army National Guard,” she added.

To read more about how Baldrige resources support the U.S. military and Veterans, here’s another story about Baldrige Award recipient U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center. There are also several stories about improved, streamlined performance being demonstrated by ACOE award winners, for example in Ohio and Wisconsin.

Posted in Baldrige Award Process, Baldrige Award Recipients, Baldrige Criteria, Baldrige State & Local Programs, Nonprofit, Performance Results | 2 Comments

Where Improving Results Means Saving More Lives

By Christine Schaefer

Last spring, Mid-America Transplant was honored as the first organ and tissue procurement organization in America to earn the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for excellence. In the days following the national award ceremony in Baltimore, leaders of the St. Louis-based nonprofit told the story of Mid-America Transplant’s journey to excellence and shared their insights and successful practices during the Baldrige Program’s annual Quest for Excellence® Conference.

Early next month, Mid-America Transplant President and CEO Diane Brockmeier will return to Baltimore for the annual Quest conference. This year, her presentation, “Strategies to Implementation: How People Make the Difference,” will share how her organization integrated its strategic planning with other organizational processes to boost its performance—thus saving more lives through organ and tissue transplants.

“Because we’re such a people-centric business, one of our key learnings has been [the need] to have a systematic process to review workforce planning,” Brockmeier told me recently, noting that Mid-America Transplant’s workforce is currently about 165-people strong. “Having that process has really ensured that we have the right people with the right skills at the right time to deliver what our families and [organ and tissue] recipients need.”

Head shot of Diane Brockmeier, President and CEO of Mid-America Transplant

Diane Brockmeier, President and CEO of Mid-America Transplant

Following are more highlights of the recent conversation with Brockmeier.

How has integration of your processes contributed to your organization’s success?

We measure our success as lives saved, and our mission statement is, “We save lives through excellence in organ and tissue donation.” So I think that we have found that the more we can be process- and data-driven, the more we can ensure that we measure the right things, and the more we can ensure that we’re delivering the right experiences, not only to our customers but also to the rest of the stakeholders. Those processes have really made a difference in our trajectory as we’ve increased organ and tissue transplants year after year.

We had a record-breaking 2016 as defined by multiple donation metrics. We have metrics for both organ and tissue donation. In 2016 we reported a record number of tissue donors, and it was the second-highest year ever on the organ donation side [of our operations].

So we’ve continued to hold the gains that we experienced in 2015 and 2016. … On our journey from 2003 to the current time, those trend lines look remarkable for organs transplanted and tissue donors.

For us, a number is not just a dollar or a widget; it actually is about saving lives and improving the lives of those we work with. That’s why the continued improvement [of our results] is so important.”Photo showing hand with organ transplant document

Would you please describe an example of a key process improvement you’ve made?

One of my key learnings over the continuum of our 12+-year journey is to find better ways to do workforce planning. One of the things we implemented and that we’ve continued to refine is quarterly capability and capacity meetings (instead of at the year’s end). [In the beginning] we didn’t have a very robust process to plan for workforce needs.

[Now] managers come to meetings prepared with data to justify staffing decisions (e.g., time worked, staffing needs regarding training, volume). These data become part of our strategic planning … which is a year-long process.

And this [workforce planning] has been so important to us because everything we do is related to people.

What are your top tips for others about using the Baldrige Excellence Framework to support improvements?

  • Don’t try to create [a Baldrige initiative] as a side job; make sure it becomes the way you work. That realization that it’s not a parallel track, that it’s actually embedded and the way we do our work, was a key learning for us.
  • Make innovation part of what you do every day to get better. We’ve made sure innovation is an integrated process, and it’s reflected in our core values. We’ve been able to create innovation teams that are multidisciplinary, and they’ve been able to work on a host of issues across the last several years, from rewards and recognition, to communication, to how we manage part of our day-to-day work. So these innovation teams have become a key piece of our work and our learning.
  • Integrate data into an effective performance management system. A real learning for us was that we had to ensure that we were actually measuring the right things. Early on we would change metrics almost every month after leadership met. … Establishing a series of cascading scorecards that go from top line all the way down to the individual performance tool has really made a difference for us to make sure that we keep the key things, the right things, in front of people all the time while they’re doing their work.
  • Make sure you’re obtaining and using meaningful comparative data. We were always a very data-rich organization. Initially there was very little publicly available comparison information in our industry. So we created a comparative data process and really had to work to obtain comparisons. … We had to create affinity groups to create meaningful comparisons. You have to make sure you’re getting better, and that you’re getting better at the same rate or better than others are. In the absence of [such data], it’s really hard to quantify your improvement.
  • Make sure that your key personnel understand the Baldrige framework. You just get a much richer experience if you understand it and can apply it from all sides. We made a commitment as an organization that we’d train our entire leadership system to be state or national examiners. … We’ve made sure that it’s not just one person who has all the answers or that really understands strategic planning, for example, so one of the things we’ve done is to change team leadership, even from the leaders’ perspective, to try to give them a more well-rounded perspective and understanding of the [Baldrige] Criteria.

What else might participants learn at your Baldrige conference session in April?

One of the things I’m going to talk about is that it all starts with your strategic planning. For us, that’s a continual process. I think it’s key for people to see that there’s integration across the [Baldrige Criteria] categories. They really do all fit together.

Another thing is that people make all the difference for 99% of us, regardless of the sector. So what I hope to share around capability and capacity in category 5 [“Workforce”] has broad applicability.

What are the key reasons that organizations in your sector can benefit from using the Baldrige framework?

For most organizations, if you’re process- and data-driven, your methodology is repeatable, you ensure that you measure the right things, and you have people engagement, then that drives success.

We first heard about Baldrige from folks in the health care sector, from Sr. Mary Jean Ryan of SSM Health Care [the first health care organization to receive a Baldrige Award, in 2002], who’s right here in St. Louis. [The Baldrige framework is] transferable to the nonprofit sector and, in turn, to the education sector; that’s the beauty of it.

It’s been exciting for us to see about ten or so other organ procurement organizations adopt the Baldrige business framework since we started on our journey. We are in continual learning mode, and it’s been nice for us to learn through sharing back and forth with them.


To learn more from Brockmeier and other leaders of Baldrige Award recipient organizations in every sector, register now for the 29th Annual Quest for Excellence Conference.

Posted in Baldrige Award Recipients, Baldrige Criteria, Baldrige Events, Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management, Nonprofit, Strategic Planning, Workforce Focus | Tagged , | Leave a comment

An Exploration of Innovation: An Organization’s Only Insurance Against Irrelevance

By Dawn Marie Bailey

Prepare for an inspiring journey is the message for audience members of the upcoming 29th Annual Quest for Excellence© Conference, as they listen to keynote presenter Polly LaBarre, co-founder and director of Management Lab (MLab) and co-founder of MIX (Management Innovation eXchange).

Addressing some probing questionssuch as “How do you create a DNA-deep, sustaining capacity for innovation?” “What does it mean to be a leader in a creative, connected, disruptive world?” and “How do you create organizations that unleash rather than squash human potential?”LaBarre will reveal practical, high-impact ways to innovate, adapt, and succeed, redefining how leadership, change, innovation, collaboration, employee engagement, organizational culture, accountability, and disruptive strategy are done.

Through a virtual interview, I asked some of my own questions of LaBarre, who is also co-author of Mavericks at Work and founding member of Fast Company.

Your website says you have a passion for “framing the big questions that will rule the future of business.” Can you provide some of those questions?

The first big question is How do you create a DNA-deep, sustaining capacity for innovation?

You’d be hard pressed to meet a CEO or a leader today who doesn’t put innovation at the top of the agenda. And yet, how many organizations have devoted the energy and resources it takes to systematically build innovation into the values, processes, and practices that rule everyday activity and behavior? Not many. According to a recent McKinsey & Co. study, just 6 percent of leaders are satisfied with their company’s innovation performance. What gives?

That disconnect isn’t due to lack of human ingenuity or resources. It’s a product of organizational DNA. Productivity, predictability, and alignment are embedded in the marrow of our management systems. Experimentation, risk-taking, and variety are the enemy of the efficiency machine that is the “modern” corporation. Of course, it’s variety (and the daring to be different) that produces game-changing innovation. If you want to develop a sustaining capacity for innovation, think about how do we make our management systems and practices enablers and catalysts of innovation (rather than impediments to it)? Put another way, how do we plan and prioritize, define roles and structures, allocate resources, measure and evaluate, equip and reward people, and develop new products to support innovation?

For instance, you might ask yourself:

  • How might we create more slack and support for the pursuit of new things?
  • Could we re-think how we design work to cultivate more entrepreneurial energy?
  • What could we change in the way we evaluate leaders to cultivate more experimentation?
  • Could we open up our product development process to involve more stakeholders?
  • What market-based approach could we imagine to evaluate and fund new ideas?

The answer to every one of those questions is what I call a “management hack”—an alternative to conventional management practice designed to uproot bureaucracy and cultivate innovation and adaptability.

A second big question for the future: What does it mean to be a leader in a creative, connected, disruptive world?

We live in a world where leadership, power, and influence are less about “where you sit” and more about “what you can do.” The most compelling leaders understand that authority is not bestowed by a title but is rather a currency you earn (and must keep earning) from your peers. The most effective individuals are constantly striving to maximize their ratio of accomplishment over authority.

In that context, what is the work of leadership today? How do you conduct yourself as a leader day in and day out to keep yourself and your team moving with the times? A short course in 21st century leadership would probe the following:

  • Are you learning as fast as the world is changing? The imperative today is to remain open and hungry when it comes to discovering and experimenting with new ideas and new methods—to cultivate a first-person experience with the future.
  • Do you ask more questions than you give answers? This is a good one for anyone in a position of authority—parents and leaders alike. Questions offer up a powerful advantage in a world of expanding complexity and intense change—they help you attract more possibilities, surface more perspectives, and enlist more support to your cause. It’s not easy to get in the habit of asking questions in a world that values knowledge and mastery. If you’re having trouble, take your lead from a toddler and start asking: Why? Why not? What if?
  • Are you unreasonable enough? Turns out that all change is against the rules. Creativity is fundamentally subversive in nature. It’s the leader’s job to develop a contrarian point of view, invite dissent, and take an activist role in questioning and devising alternatives to the status quo. The most productive rebels aren’t out to make trouble—but to make genuine progress in the world.

A third big question: How do you create organizations that unleash rather than squash human potential?

One of the most important question for any leader today is How do we create a work environment that inspires exceptional contribution and merits an outpouring of passion, imagination, and initiative? It doesn’t matter if you are part of a giant, global company or a local chapter of a nonprofit, the most important leverage you can get when it comes to building a vibrant and sustainable organization is the human edge. What are you doing to unleash each person’s human gifts—creativity, zeal, resourcefulness?

The most effective and inspiring leaders today understand that there is no tradeoff between creativity and discipline, between inventing the future and “turning the crank.” Instead, they are relentlessly clever when it comes to creating mechanisms for individuals to express themselves, to contribute, and to hold each other accountable at the same time.

A final big question to consider: Are you different enough to make a difference?

More than ever, the value you create is a function of the values you assert as an organization. Organizations animated by a deeply felt and widely shared sense of purpose are breeding grounds for passion—the ultimate multiplier of human effort.

At a time when customers are contending with a seemingly limitless universe of urgent and compelling alternatives and demands on their time, how do you stand out? This isn’t an exercise in branding so much as a process of excavating, sharpening, and sharing a powerful sense of purpose. What do you stand for? What are you against? How do you draw that line in the sand? How do you keep sharpening the set of ideas in every interaction with your people and your customers?

Two helpful questions to keep asking yourselves as leaders and as a larger team: What ideas are you fighting for? And, are you really who you say you are?

Why is the focus on innovation so important to a business? Is that importance still true for a nonprofit, a health care organization, a school?

Innovation is the only insurance against irrelevance in a world of unrelenting change. It’s the only antidote to the margin-crushing impact of global competition. It’s the only defense against younger, hungrier industry insurgents. It’s the only guarantee of continued customer loyalty.

And it’s just as crucial for nonprofits, health care organizations, and even schools. Why? Every organization and every leader today is contending with a rapidly changing reality—wave after wave of disruptive technology, increasing interdependence of our institutions, social and environmental challenges, and the escalating demands of a variety of stakeholders. Organizations operate within the toughest constraints, and most need to tap into the full potential of their people to build a sustaining capacity to innovate and adapt. One of the most cost-effective, risk-bound, and fast ways to start to build your innovation muscles is to experiment with experimentation. How many options can you generate, quickly test, and iterate on? How many people can you involve across the organization in creating its future?

Polly LaBarre will be the Quest for Excellence Conference Wednesday keynote speaker and also will facilitate a panel discussion on “The Innovation Advantage.” Conference registration is now open.

Posted in Baldrige Award Recipients, Baldrige Events, Business, Leadership, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Improve and Innovate: Tips from a Baldrige Award-Winning School District   

By Christine Schaefer

When Jenks Public Schools in Oklahoma earned a Baldrige Award in 2005, Lisa Muller could take pride for her significant part in its journey of improvement. Since 2000, Muller had been supervising teachers in two departments at Jenks High School, where she also led continuous improvement efforts.

Two years later, Muller became an administrator within the suburban school system. She still serves there today as assistant superintendent of teaching and learning. In that role, Muller has helped educators and leaders from organizations around the country understand how to use the Baldrige Excellence Framework (which includes the Education Criteria for Performance Excellence) to support improvements and innovation in all key areas of performance.

Lisa Muller head shot

Lisa Muller

Muller will be presenting at the Baldrige Program’s annual Quest for Excellence® Conference in early April. She’ll share how Jenks Public Schools has sustained its continuous improvement journey for over two decades.

Interviewed recently, she explained that behind Jenks’ focus on improvement are “three keys to our commitment: organizational culture, systems-process thinking, and embedded practices.” In her Quest presentation, she plans to discuss components of those keys. “I’ll address our approach to developing a student learning culture, our continuous improvement model, and an overview of our strategic planning and curriculum alignment processes,” she said.

A Culture of Improvement

In describing the focus on continuous improvement in her school system, Muller stressed the organizational culture:

“Continuous improvement is an essential part of the Jenks Public Schools culture. Our district motto is ‘a tradition of excellence with a vision for tomorrow,’ and while we appreciate and honor past accomplishments, we always seek to be a better organization today than we were yesterday. That culture promotes innovation in our approaches to teaching and learning and in service delivery to both our internal and external customers.”

Muller also pointed out that the culture of improvement has helped Jenks respond to growing challenges it has faced in relation to student needs:

“Like most other public schools, the Jenks district has experienced increasing student needs over the last 15 years. Students now are more likely to come to us requiring additional supports for diverse learning needs, facing challenges brought on by living in poverty or having experienced trauma. Viewing these challenges through the lens of continuous improvement encourages us to seek out better ways to meet these needs while maintaining a high standard of academic performance.”

Process Improvement: An Example

As an example of the district’s improvement approach, Muller described how Jenks addressed its challenge of attracting and retaining high-quality teachers. “As part of a review of the Workforce portion of the Baldrige Excellence Framework (category 5), we identified an opportunity for improvement involving our onboarding process for new teachers,” she explained. “Feedback from new teachers, instructional coaches, and principals indicated that both the professional development offered for new teachers and the mentoring process during the entry year had areas which could be improved.”

Next, she said, a team made up of the director of professional development, an instructional coach, and a site principal gathered data through surveys and focus group sessions. They then worked with the district’s professional development committee, instructional coaches, principals, and district-level teaching and learning staff to redesign the district’s approach to professional development and coaching to provide smaller, “just-in-time” training for new teachers rather than front-loading information at the beginning of the year.

“The team also led an effort to reinvigorate the district’s mentoring process for teachers, whether they were in their first year of teaching or were experienced teachers who were new to the Jenks district,” Muller said.

The results? “Follow-up surveys and focus group sessions revealed higher levels of satisfaction among teachers who participated in the professional development sessions and the mentoring program,” said Muller. “In addition, we saw a decrease in teacher turnover in the year following the implementation of the new approach. As we near the end of the second year of implementation, we look forward to determining if this trend continues.”

Jenks administrators participate in a team-building activity at a local bowling alley.

Jenks administrators participate in a team-building activity at a local bowling alley.

Tips to Support Improvement and Innovation

When asked what best practices she’d recommend to others based on her district’s experience with continuous improvement, Muller provided three tips.

  1. Make a long-term commitment. “Using the Baldrige Excellence Framework is a proven approach to organizational improvement,” she affirmed. “Proven, but not fast! Organizations choosing this path to improvement and innovation should recognize the need to start small and commit to pursuing this work over time.”She added that her district’s continuous improvement journey began ten years before it received the Baldrige Award, emphasizing that 11 years later, “We’re still improving! Thanks to updates in the Baldrige Excellence Framework, we’ve had many opportunities to stretch ourselves in our efforts to meet the Criteria since we first began using them as an improvement tool.”


  1. Don’t name it; do it. “Initiatives often fail, but it’s difficult to be opposed to continuous improvement,” said Muller. “Rather than announcing that you are now on a Baldrige journey, focus on weaving continuous improvement in to the day-to-day work or your organization.”


  1. Look for ways to connect with others who are fellow travelers on this continuous improvement journey. “Prior Baldrige Award recipients are great resources, as are the state [Alliance for Performance Excellence] quality organizations,” said Muller. “It’s very helpful to see how other school districts, hospitals, businesses, or communities have approached implementation of the Baldrige Excellence Framework.”


Benefits of the Baldrige Framework for Education

Muller pointed out that while the education sector has not embraced the Baldrige Excellence Framework at the same pace that the health care sector has over the past decade, organizations in both sectors have faced similar challenges in serving customers with more needs in times of declining state and federal revenue.

“Using the Baldrige Criteria to drive our continuous improvement efforts in the district provided a world-class standard of excellence to strive for and encouraged us to systematically examine our organization with the end goal of improving outcomes for students and other customers,” said Muller. “Over the years, this focus on continuous improvement has allowed us to shift cost savings from process improvement to instructional delivery and to maintain high-quality educational services during ongoing state and federal reductions in education spending.”

To learn more from Muller and other leaders from Baldrige Award recipient organizations in every sector, register now for the 29th Annual Quest for Excellence Conference.

Posted in Baldrige Award Recipients, Baldrige Criteria, Baldrige Events, Education | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Quest for “Audacious Excellence”

Posted by Dawn Marie Bailey

At the upcoming 29th Annual Quest for Excellence® Conference, Pete Reicks, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Performance Excellence for Baldrige Award recipient Elevations Credit Union, will be presenting, he says, on something truly “audacious”: the credit union’s continued journey to excellence.

In a virtual interview, Reicks shared with me how the nonprofit organization has continued to innovate since winning the Baldrige Award. He plans to take that learning and share with Quest participants Elevations’ next step in the journey: “audacious excellence.”

What has happened in the two years since receiving the Baldrige Award?

Free ebook and video of “Colorado’s Path to Performance Excellence” available at

Elevations has been busy honoring our commitment to share our story as a Baldrige Award recipient. We have been an invited presenter at over 40 events, ranging from state and regional Baldrige-based conferences to the ASQ annual conference, ultimately presenting the Baldrige story to representatives of hundreds of organizations. We have authored and been sought out for over 30 articles in publications such as ASQ’s Quality Progress magazine and the Denver Business Journal.

In particular, we are proud of having produced and hosted the “Colorado’s Path to Performance Excellence” event at the Ritz-Carlton, a two-time Baldrige Award recipient, in Denver. The panel discussion at the conference included all four previous Colorado Baldrige national and state recipients, was moderated by Harvard Business Review, was attended by 137 C-level executives from companies along the Front Range, and included closing comments from Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. A free eBook, as well as a video of the event, is available at

Can you share an example of your success?

Elevations continues to apply the Baldrige Excellence Framework to assess if we are performing as well as we could and how best to improve or change. Since becoming a recipient in 2014, our key performance comparisons to our peer group continue to improve. At year-end 2016, we broke records with all-time high performances in net worth, assets, outstanding loans, total members, Net Promoter Score, and net income.

What are your top tips for using Baldrige resources?

  • Don’t allow a gap of understanding to exist in your organization between perceived and actual performance. Comparisons to in-market competitors and peers are essential to ensure true understanding of your performance. While rarely a perfect apples-to-apples comparison, benchmarks trended over time reveal powerful insights. Organizations may find it difficult when previously unknown opportunities for improvement are revealed, but strengths will also be uncovered. As the culture begins to embrace the power of comparisons, rather than fear what may be revealed, the organization may find that improvement is accelerated and innovation opportunities revealed.
  • Use the Baldrige Excellence Framework to align and integrate zoom-in, daily, process execution with zoom-out, strategic planning. At Elevations, we call this our Operational Rhythm. The Baldrige journey has helped bring discipline and rigor to our Operational Rhythm through a process-centric systems perspective, managed by fact rather than anecdotes.
  • Organizational excellence is a journey taken together. Organizational excellence is not achieved quickly, nor by a subset of the whole. Ensure the organization fully understands and embraces why “excellence” is important to customers/students/patients, their community, and most importantly themselves. Hold onto the “why?” firmly, as it will be the key to persevering.

What else might participants learn at your conference session?

We have continued to improve and innovate in a number of areas through our use of the Baldrige framework. A few examples include

  • the introduction of a formalized scenario-planning process to supplement our existing strategic planning process;
  • commitment to a new Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) of “Audacious Excellence”–Elevations will become a two-time Baldrige Award recipient, our metric of success;
  • creation of a virtual voice-of-the-customer focus group with our members through an online collaboration tool;
  • increased frequency of our Net Promoter Score analysis of in-market competitors;
  • creation of hyper-local web advertising that aligns with traditional TV brand messaging to drive improved brand awareness outcomes; and
  • enhancement of our Business Process Management (BPM) methodology with member journey mapping tools.

What are a few key reasons that organizations in your sector can benefit from using the Baldrige Excellence Framework?

The credit union philosophy is “People Helping People.” Elevations’ mission is to provide solutions for a better life. Similar to many organizations who find their way to Baldrige, our philosophy and belief in the mission drive us to be better tomorrow than we are today. Excellence matters. The Baldrige Excellence Framework, a systems approach to improving your organization’s performance, is how we seek excellence in fulfilling our mission.

To learn more, register now for the 29th Annual Quest for Excellence Conference, which will feature the 2016 Baldrige Award recipients and many more national role models sharing their best practices.

Posted in Baldrige Award Process, Baldrige Award Recipients, Baldrige Criteria, Baldrige State & Local Programs, Business, Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management, Operations Focus, Performance Results | 1 Comment