Performance Excellence Process
Baldrige Workshops
Global Insights Archive
Awareness. Vision. Courage:
Performance Excellence Begins in the Mind

Our message to clients worldwide, based on twenty years of hands-on
engagement, is simple and direct: World class performance excellence is
available to you NOW. Not in ten years. Not in ten months. NOW.

Oh, come on, that is absurd! Our organization is too.... too old, too new, too
bureaucratic, too free wheeling, too insular, too corrupt, too limited, too, too, too....

Wrong. The most important step towards excellence is not what happens in the
organization, but what happens in the minds of its leaders. Once grasped, a new
vision of systematic excellence can evolve quickly. The details matter less than
what is grasped in the mind.

We see three essential elements that must be present in the mind of the leader
who is ready for performance excellence: awareness, vision, and courage.  

Awareness occurs when we grasp that organizations are complex systems,
and it is only by changing the aim, structure, and process of these systems that we
can change the organization. It does not work the other way around: changing the
organization, box by box, initiative by initiative, does not change the underlying

Vision evolves when we can articulate a different future before it arrives, and we
can see how our contributions and efforts can make that vision happen. The
details may be blurry, but we need enough of the outline in our mind to set the aim
for the systematic changes that must be made.

Courage is essential if we are to be able to challenge our own long-held beliefs
that may strike to the core of our self-perception; it is no small matter to be able to
admit to gaps in our own understanding and knowledge of the world. We are all
capable of extraordinary self-delusion, and it is this limitation that can, absent
courage, effectively cripple our ability to achieve any forward progress, much less
performance excellence.

Awareness. Vision. Courage. A daunting challenge? Perhaps. But on the
other hand, how many leaders spend even one hour thinking deeply about these
things. Our view is unambiguous: transformational thinking, and hence,
transformational action, is within our grasp at all times. Performance excellence is
floating in front of you at all times: grasp it, embrace it, make it real in your

And when you are holding the vision clearly in your mind, fully aware and braced
with courage to lead, we hope that you will agree with us that the most sensible
way to proceed is with the Baldrige Total Performance Excellence System. There
is no need to waste time reinventing the wheel when you can instead proceed
immediately to the leading edge of validated management practice and bring your
vision to life.

You have sturdy shoulders to stand on; get your mind right and you are ready to
soar. This can take a lifetime. Or a moment. You decide.