Get Personal with Baldrige Excellence:
Make the Criteria Work for You
by Craig A. Anderson
This week we had a chance to attend the annual Quest for Excellence conference in
Washington, DC, which celebrates the latest crop of Baldrige National Quality Award
winners. As always, we enjoyed hearing the first-hand testimonials from leaders of
organizations that had transformed themselves through the use of the world-class
Baldrige performance management framework. It is no secret that here at Global
Performance Systems, Inc., we are huge fans of the Baldrige process, and have
made it a foundation for much of our organizational transformation work with clients.
As we listened to the speakers, however, we again realized that there are exciting
possibilities for using the powerful Baldrige technology that were being overlooked;
namely that the Criteria for Performance Excellence are ideally suited to
systematically improving our personal performance and results. Let's take a
look at how this would apply in each Baldrige performance category. As always, we
work from the perspective of rigorous self assessment, using the Criteria as the
benchmark against which we measure ourselves. The Criteria may not be a perfect
proxy for excellence, but they represent the consensus view of thousands of
successful leaders about what excellence looks like in practice. Our view is that by
asking the right questions, we will come to the place we need to be at the end.
Category 1: Leadership
How do we establish our values and goals? What are these values and goals? How
do we project these to others? How do we conduct our leadership roles? How do we
assess and measure our performance as leaders?
Category 2: Strategic Planning
How do we turn our values and goals into strategies? How do we align our daily
actions with our longer term strategies? How do we make sure we stay on track?
How do we respond when the results are different from what we expected?
Category 3: Customer Focus
Who are the "customers" we serve every day? How much do we know about their
requirements and expectations? How well are we meeting their needs? How do we
know? How are we adding value to our customers? How do we measure the
satisfaction of our customers?
Category 4: Information and Knowledge Management
What is our approach to collecting and using information? How do we gain and
share knowledge? Do we communicate effectively? How do we know? How do we
protect our important information? How effectively do we use information technology?
Category 5: Human Resource Focus
We see our personal "human resources" every time we look in the mirror. Are we
equipped with the skills, structure, and capacity to achieve our personal goals? Do
we embrace innovation and creativity? Who are the other people we need to work
with to succeed? Is this the right team? How well do we work together? What is our
process for improving the capacity of all team members?
Category 6: Process Management
What are the major value-creating processes we perform every day? How are these
processes designed and implemented? How effective are these processes? How
do we know? What are the opportunities to improve these processes? Are these
processes aligned with our values and goals? Are we involved with the "right"
processes? What processes are we overlooking that will contribute to the
achievement of our vision for success?