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Baldrige Performance Excellence:
A Powerful Tool for Managing Change
by Craig A. Anderson
December 2005

Today, more than ever, good ideas alone are not enough when it comes to
implementing change in your organization. You need a proven system to turn ideas
into sustainable improvements.

Good ideas are everywhere. A universe of information is available at the click of a
mouse. For example, an MIT education is available online, free of charge,
anywhere in the world, with class notes, reading lists, lecture videos, and exams
( GooglePrint will soon make accessible the text of any
book in the world’s great libraries. Global communication networks make it easier
than ever to collaborate across boundaries. Skype lets you speak with anyone in
the world for free ( International best practices are freely
accessible. We are awash in a sea of ideas. And yet, in so many organizations
there is a yawning gap between the “what is” and the “what could be”.

Why the gap? Our experience is that organizations sharply underestimate the work
that is involved in actually implementing change. Too often "change" is addressed
piecemeal--a new plan, training program, computer system, etc. The hard reality is
that change is a wrenching process that must address an integrated set of factors,
each of which alone is not enough to lead to results, yet, all of which together result
in lasting improvement.

It sounds like a lot to keep track of. Fortunately, there is a powerful tool to help you
plan and implement change: Baldrige Performance Excellence. Many readers
already know the power of Baldrige to help organizations align and integrate
resources to achieve breakthrough customer-focused performance. What is often
overlooked is that Baldrige is also a world-class tool for planning, implementing,
driving, and managing change across complex organizations.

Using Baldrige as your change management platform gives you the following
unbeatable advantages:

Baldrige Advantage 1: Sets the baseline
Any change effort must begin where you are now. The Baldrige Performance
Excellence Criteria, based on self-assessment, can give any organization a clear
and objective awareness of the current level of performance in all key areas. You
now have the baseline for measuring change.

Baldrige Advantage 2: Sets the target
A change effort must have an end state in mind. The comprehensive Baldrige
approach to defining and measuring results in all critical areas--product/service,
customer impact, financial impact, human resource impact, societal impact--lets
you determine just the right targets to guide your effort.

Baldrige Advantage 3: Defines the gap
The Baldrige system provides a standard performance measurement framework
that will enable your organization to measure current and desired performance,
assess the gap, and use this knowledge to fine tune your change management

Baldrige Advantage 4: Manages the change process
Once you know what to change, you need a management tool. Here is where the
full power of the Baldrige system is applied to your change effort. Baldrige forces
you to address all the factors that will determine the success of your change effort.
Any gaps--in leadership, planning, customer data, information technology, human
resources, or process management--will be smoked out as you manage the
change process.  

Baldrige Advantage 5: Measures results
Change that leads to measurable results is the best way to get real “buy in” across
your organization. Baldrige provides a standard methodology for measuring
results against all of your important targets.

The bottom line for your organization: good ideas alone will not make you better.
Baldrige Performance Excellence can help you get “over the hump” with your
change effort to achieve the results that will make it all worthwhile.