2008 Baldrige Criteria Changes:
A New Emphasis on Sustainable Results
Craig A. Anderson
As expected, the newly released 2008 Criteria for Performance Excellence are
largely unchanged from 2007 (not surprising given the major revisions last year),
but there are some subtle changes to the scoring guidelines that could pay major
dividends to organizations that make the effort to understand the WHY behind the
The changes relate to the scoring guidelines for results. The process guidelines
are unchanged, as the Approach-Deployment-Learning-Integration (ADLI)
framework has solidly taken hold as the best model for assessing process maturity
and capability. (See "Approach, Deployment, Learning, and Integration: Unlocking
the Power of Baldrige Excellence," February 2005.)
Here is a summary of the key changes.
Systematic Scoring Guidelines
First, and most importantly, "let's see" what we can learn about "LeTCI", the
newest and most important acronym in the Baldrige universe. LeTCI represents
the four scoring dimensions for Results Items: "Le" refers to performance level, "T"
refers to trends, "C" refers to comparisons, and "I" refers to integration with key
organizational requirements. All four dimensions must be addressed to score well
on any Results Item.
Higher Bar for Trends
The bar has been raised for Trends. The critical 30-45 scoring band (which is the
minimum point that reflects an operational performance excellence system) now
requires that a majority of the trends presented (in the results) are beneficial; this is
quite different from the 2007 Criteria that only required "early stages of developing
trends" to hit this scoring band. For high achievers, the 70-85 scoring band now
requires that beneficial trends "have been sustained over time in most areas of
importance to the accomplishment of your organization's MISSION." The word
MISSION is new here; the implications for you and your organization are clear.
Integration of Mission and Results
The biggest opportunity for achieving competitive advantage lies in the newest
Results scoring dimension, Integration. Up to now, it has generally been only the
high performing organizations that have explicitly developed and documented the
critical linkage of results to key organizational requirements. As an Examiner, it is
a (rare) joy to find key strategic goals, objectives, and action plans linked directly
to the corresponding results data in Category 7. Now, in a major "bar-raising"
action, the Baldrige Criteria specifically ask you to integrate your results with the
accomplishment of your organization's mission even in the lower scoring bands.
There is no place to hide any more, which will lead to some valuable new thinking
about the larger issues underlying the results we are trying to achieve.
Finally, the new scoring guidelines task high performers (70-85 and 90-100
bands) with including projections of future performance as part of their integrated
organizational performance results. It was the late Dr. W. Edwards Deming who
taught that "the system must include the future"; the Baldrige Criteria have now
operationalized that concept. This is a prime example of why Baldrige is rapidly
becoming the global standard for business excellence--the annual review cycle
ensures that the Criteria are fresh, relevant, and constantly pushing the leading
edge of validated management practice.