Performance Excellence Process
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Global Insights Archive
Stealth Performance Excellence:
Bringing Baldrige into Recalcitrant Organizations


Yes, it is hard to get the performance excellence journey started, especially if you
are not sitting in the corner office. But hard does not mean impossible. If you are
reading this you have already expressed some interest in Baldrige Performance
Excellence. Our objective in the rest of this short newsletter is to give you some
tips and tools for taking your organization to the next level of performance
excellence.

Tip 1:
Bone up on your Criteria knowledge
There is no substitute for knowledge. Study the Baldrige Criteria. Find case
studies. Baldrige is an open source management system, which means that you
can tap into relevant knowledge and experience across the globe. Make sure you
have the mastery of understanding necessary to guide others.

Tip 2:
Begin asking the right questions
Baldrige practitioners teach by asking questions. Heck, the whole process is
designed around intelligent self-inquiry. Begin asking questions. Be
non-threatening but persistent. What is our strategy? Why do we capture that
data? Who are our future customers? How do we know? How efficient are our key
work processes? Are we measuring the right results? Be patient: it will take time,
but the questions will lead to new thinking in your organization.

Tip 3:
Advocate for the customers
The more you emphasize the customer impact, the easier it will be to integrate
Baldrige concepts into your organization. While everyone claims to be "customer
focused", our experience is that most organizations do not reflect this goal in the
way they operate. Baldrige, on the other hand, virtually "forces" you to become
customer focused by asking you specific questions about customer identification,
requirements, satisfaction, etc. Be a smart advocate for the customer and you will
enhance your own effectiveness as a change agent.

Tip 4:
Advocate for the employees
Who can forget the employees? Simply put, Baldrige guides the organization to a
deeper understanding of all key elements of the human condition: culture,
engagement, learning, development, skills, safety, satisfaction, etc. As part of your
"stealth" approach to performance excellence, advocate for a more effective
workforce through the smart application of the relevant Baldrige Criteria. As
always, the broader and more strategic your vision, the more effective you can be
in guiding your peers to a higher level of performance.

Tip 5:
Lead and involve others
Performance excellence is a team sport. As you get your footing with your change
initiative, find opportunities to bring trusted colleagues into the process. Build out
an informal "kitchen cabinet" of colleagues (inside and outside your organization)
who can provide support and guidance along the path. And always remember that
leadership is compelling by itself: stay true to your core values and you will find
over time that the entire organization is moving along with you.