1. Building employee trust: Tips validated by the Baldrige excellence framework

    January 19, 2017 by ahmed

     

    Originally posted on Blogrige by Christine Schaefer

    In an online Harvard Business Review article this month, Sue Bingham, an expert on creating high-performing workplaces, addresses a growing concern among business leaders today that employees don’t trust their organizations. She then describes four practices to build employee trust. Those who have already read the latest edition (2017–2018) of the Baldrige Excellence Framework will see that Bingham’s four tips align with the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence (part of the framework).

    Following are examples of the connections.

    1. “Hire for Trust.”

    In elaborating on this guidance, Bingham cautions, “Don’t assume that technical skills and knowledge trump character.”

    The workforce-focused section of the Baldrige Criteria (known as category 5) begins with this assessment question as a basic requirement: How do you build an effective and supportive workforce environment? An organization being evaluated against the Baldrige Criteria is expected to describe systematic processes in response to that question and to the more specific question How do you recruit, hire, place, and retain new workforce members?

    Baldrige evaluation factors include whether (and the degree to which) an organization’s process is deployed, improved, and integrated. In regard to hiring practices, organizations scoring high in this area of a Baldrige assessment often describe hiring processes that use behavioral-based and team interview practices, among others (though the Criteria do not prescribe particular approaches), as means to aligning hiring outcomes with the organization’s identified values and related organizational culture.

    In her HBR article, Bingham makes clear that in high-performing organizations, trust is a key part of the culture. Also emphasizing the importance of the values that define the organizational culture, the leadership section (category 1) of the Baldrige Criteria begins with questions that ask leaders how they set and deploy the organization’s vision and values.

    2. “Make Positive Assumptions about People.”

    Bingham points out that negative assumptions by leaders about employees lead to micromanaging, which conveys distrust. She counsels leaders to “give challenging assignments with the clear and confident belief that your expectations will be met” and also recommends that they “promote transparency.”

    In the “Workforce Engagement” section (item 5.2), the Criteria ask about fostering an organizational culture characterized by open communication. The Criteria also ask, How do you empower your workforce?, stressing that leaders should give people the authority and responsibility to make decisions and take actions. When this happens, decisions are made closest to the front line, by people who have knowledge and understanding related to the work to be done.

    At a more fundamental level, the 11 core values and concepts of the Baldrige framework (and Criteria) include visionary leadership, valuing people, and ethics and transparency. In describing the valuing people concept, the Baldrige Excellence Framework booklet states (on page 41 of the 2017–2018 edition), “Valuing the people in your workforce means committing to their engagement, development, and well-being.”

    In addition, in describing visionary leadership, the Baldrige Excellence Framework booklet states (on page 40 in the 2017–2018 edition), “Senior leaders should serve as role models through their ethical behavior and their personal involvement in planning, providing a supportive environment for innovation, communicating, coaching and motivating the workforce, developing future leaders, reviewing organizational performance, and recognizing workforce members.”

    3. “Treat Employees Fairly, Not Equally.”

    According to Bingham, a disciplinary policy that treats everyone the same “strips people of their individuality and unique abilities to contribute.” She advocates that leaders instead have supportive discussions with individual employees when there are concerns about performance, given that being treated with respect and support can make people feel safe enough to accept responsibility and motivate them to determine solutions to effectively address their problems.

    Again, in describing the valuing people concept, the Baldrige Excellence Framework booklet states (on page 41 of the 2017–2018 edition), “Valuing the people in your workforce means committing to their engagement, development, and well-being. Increasingly, this may involve offering flexible work practices that are tailored to varying workplace and life needs. Major challenges in valuing your workforce members include demonstrating your leaders’ commitment to their success, providing motivation and recognition that go beyond the regular compensation system …”

    4. “Create a Zero-Tolerance Policy for Deceitfulness.”

    Bingham states, “High-performance companies value trust so much that they implement and enforce zero-tolerance policies for betraying it.”

    Of course, to build trust leaders must be held accountable to the same values and policies. The Baldrige Criteria requirements in the leadership section (category 1) emphasize leaders’ personal actions reflecting the organization’s values and legal and ethical behavior. In the “Senior Leadership” section (item 1.1), Criteria questions include these: How do senior leaders’ personal actions reflect a commitment to [the organization’s] values? How do senior leaders’ actions demonstrate their commitment to legal and ethical behavior?

    What’s more, the Baldrige framework booklet’s description of visionary leadership states, “As role models, [senior leaders] can reinforce ethics, values, and expectations while building leadership, commitment, and initiative throughout your organization.”

    I’ve drawn out but a few of the ways the Baldrige framework aligns with Bingham’s expert guidance on building trust with employees. But from this sampling of material, I hope it’s clear that using the Baldrige framework to lead and manage an organization will put one on the right track to cultivating employee trust and high performance.


  2. What America still needs, part 2

    January 6, 2017 by ahmed

    2017-framework-cover

    Originally posted on Blogrige by Robert Fangmeyer

    In my last blog, I talked about the role of the Baldrige Excellence Framework and Criteria for Performance Excellence in enabling organizations of all kinds to achieve sustainable high performance. As I stated, a critical factor in this is the ongoing process of keeping the Baldrige Criteria at the leading edge of validated leadership and performance practices. Through significant and intentional evolution over 29 years, today the Baldrige Excellence Framework offers organizations of all kinds a nonprescriptive leadership and management guide that facilitates a systems approach to achieving organization-wide excellence.As the Baldrige framework and the Criteria evolve to remain relevant and effective, they must balance two important considerations. On the one hand, the Criteria need to reflect a national standard for performance excellence. They need to serve as a tool for educating organizations in all aspects of establishing an integrated performance management system that effectively considers and addresses internal and external stakeholder needs and expectations. On the other hand, the Criteria need to be accessible and user-friendly for a variety of organizations at varying levels of maturity.

    To strike this balance, changes reflected in the 2017–2018 Baldrige Excellence Framework focus on strengthening two areas of growing importance to organizations’ long-term success (cybersecurity and enterprise risk management, or ERM) and on making the Criteria more logical from the users’ perspective.

    Cybersecurity

    There were an estimated 300 million cyberattacks in 2015—only 90 million of which were detected—and attacks are increasing at an annual rate of approximately 40 percent. For organizations of all kinds, managing and reducing cyber risks to data, information, and systems have become a necessity.

    The Baldrige Criteria have addressed the security of information systems and the confidentiality of information since 2001. In the 2017–2018 revision, Criteria requirements and notes now reflect the growing importance of protecting against the loss of sensitive information about employees, customers, and organizations; protecting intellectual property; and protecting against the financial, legal, and reputational aspects of breaches. Just consider the immediate and potential long-term impact of the recent disclosure that 1 billion Yahoo email accounts were compromised in 2013, along with another 500 million in 2014.

    Enterprise Risk Management (ERM)

    No organization is risk-free. Intelligent risk management requires your organization to decide when and how to take and manage risks. These decisions can mean the difference between extinction, survival, or role-model performance. The Baldrige framework—through its systems perspective—has long addressed ERM. The future competitive advantage that will flow from good ERM is based on holistically addressing risk and taking actions—including pursuing intelligent risks—as part of an organization’s overall strategic approach to managing its performance.

    In the latest revision, some Criteria requirements and notes now highlight (1) that risk is inherent in everything organizations do, and (2) that the challenge is to balance the level of risk taken with the organization’s sustainability and opportunities for innovation.

    To make the Criteria more accessible and logical from users’ perspective, we have simplified several Criteria items, and some requirements have been moved, removed, or changed in wording to aid readers’ understanding.

    For those who are newer users of the Baldrige Criteria, the Baldrige Program last year published an abridged version of the Baldrige framework for the first time. Called the Baldrige Excellence Builder, this resource consists of the most important questions for organizations seeking to improve their performance. A new Baldrige Excellence Builder based on the 2017–2018 Baldrige Excellence Framework will be available in late January (PDF) and mid- to late February (for printed copies). In addition, for an assessment tool targeted at your organization’s cybersecurity risk management efforts, download the Baldrige Cybersecurity Excellence Builder.

    The 2017–2018 Baldrige Excellence Framework is available now. The sector-specific versions for health care and education organizations will be available in mid-January 2017.


  3. What America still needs, part 1

    by ahmed

    2017-framework-cover

    Originally posted on Blogrige by Robert Fangmeyer

    Last week, the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program released the 2017–2018 Baldrige Excellence Framework (Business/Nonprofit version). This booklet includes the 26th version of the Criteria for Performance Excellence published by the program since 1988. Although a lot has changed in the world (and in the Criteria) since that first version, one thing hasn’t: the Baldrige framework enhances the growth and sustainability of America’s businesses and other organizations by improving their efficiency, effectiveness, and outcomes.A couple of weeks ago I read with great interest the report No Recovery, produced by Gallup for the U.S. Council on Competitiveness. The report makes a strong case that U.S. economic recovery is being hampered by a serious decline in productivity, brought on in large part by systemic quality issues in health care and education. Obviously, the concerns with the quality of health care and education in the United States are not new. They have been a priority for every administration for at least the last 25 years. However, their clear connection to an overall decline in the nation’s productivity, investment, and economic growth is not as widely recognized—and certainly has not been effectively addressed on a large scale.

    Baldrige can help. In its first versions, the Criteria helped address the quality crisis of the 1980s by enabling and encouraging businesses to adopt a robust, leadership-driven, customer-focused quality management system. And it worked! Numerous studies and data analysis confirmed that organizations that adopted the Baldrige framework outperformed competitors and peers. In 1999, the Baldrige Award process (and other Baldrige resources) officially expanded to cover the health care and education sectors. The nonprofit sector (including government organizations) was added in 2007, enabling the Baldrige program to support all sectors of the economy.

    Today, however, merely having high-quality products and services alone is no longer sufficient to create and sustain a competitive advantage; in most industries, it is a prerequisite, and not having it is a barrier to entry. Therefore, in support of the program’s larger purpose of improving the U.S. economy by improving our national competitiveness, as the drivers of long-term success have evolved, so, too, have the Baldrige Excellence Framework and Criteria.

    Recent Studies and data analysis continue to demonstrate that organizations that use the Baldrige framework and Criteria outperform their competitors and peers. Baldrige works, and it works for organizations of all kinds, including health care organizations, education systems and institutions, large service businesses and manufacturers, small businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies.

    A 1995 report of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, Building on Baldrige: American Quality for the 21st Century, stated, “More than any other program, the Baldrige National Quality Award is responsible for making quality a national priority and disseminating best practices.” The Baldrige Program continues to help address national priorities by developing and disseminating the globally recognized and emulated standard of organization-wide excellence, by identifying role-model organizations through the Baldrige Award process, and by sharing role-model best practices. The program is also involved in initiatives to help address our national cybersecurity (or cyber resilience, if you prefer) needs, and to help address the deeply complex issues facing communities across the nation.

    One critical factor in our ability to help build and sustain high performance in organizations of all kinds is our ongoing process to keep the Baldrige Criteria at the leading edge of validated leadership and performance practices. Today the 2017–2018 Baldrige Excellence Framework offers organizations of all kinds the world’s most valuable, nonprescriptive guide for leadership and management that facilitates a systems approach to achieving organization-wide excellence. This publication is available now. The latest versions for health care and education will be available in mid-January 2017.

    In the next blog, I’ll describe the changes in the new version of the framework.


  4. Learning from the Asian focus on excellence

    December 30, 2016 by ahmed

    ThrivePlus

    Originally posted on Thrive+ by Ravi Fernando

    The past year saw an increased focus on Excellence both in Australia and overseas. The pace of economic and social change continues to accelerate. Innovation is now a necessity for all organisations – no one is immune. Staying static is no longer an option.There is an increasing recognition among policy makers and business leaders that to innovate effectively an organisation must first focus on Excellence and this often means the adoption of Excellence Models to guide behaviour. Asia is at the forefront of this focus on Excellence with substantial investment in Excellence Programs.

    The Thai Experience

    I visited Bangkok in February and was honoured to meet some of the leaders in their Excellence Program. In Thailand, the primary focus of the government is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public sector management which is in turn expected to guide the country’s economic development. Excellence Models are at the heart of the Public Sector Development Strategic Plan with the Public Sector Management Quality Awards (PMQA) framework driving the widespread adoption of Excellence concepts throughout public sector agencies. All state enterprises are assessed through the State Enterprise Performance Appraisal (SEPA) program each year.

    SEPA represents a comprehensive process of external evaluation by independent assessors. Independent external evaluation – as provided by the SEPA – is used make discoveries in areas that need improvement. A detailed report is provided with feedback on an agency’s strengths and opportunities for improvement. The feedback is where the process offers the greatest return on investment to organisations. SEPA is seen to be delivering significant performance improvement in Thailand with notable results being particularly evident in the Health sector. The Thai government is strengthening the requirement to adopt Excellence with funding being increasingly tied to achievement through SEPA and similar sector specific programs.

    The Middle East

    In October, I was invited to provide a keynote presentation at the King Abdulaziz Quality Award (KAQA) Forum in Riyadh. The KAQA was established by virtue of the royal decree with a view to motivating the production and service sectors to apply the foundations and techniques of total quality to raise performance, activate continuous improvement of internal processes and achieve stakeholder satisfaction. The KAQA represents focused efforts by the Saudi government to transform the economy, engage the full potential of the population and create a broader economic base to deliver sustainability.

    During the Forum, I met the leaders of similar Excellence Programs from many countries in the Middle East. Arguably, the more mature Excellence Programs in the region can be found in Dubai and Abu Dhabi where a strong emphasis is placed on delivering Excellence in the public sector. The Dubai Government Excellence Program for example invites leading experts from around the world to join local teams in regular evaluations of all public sector agencies. Through dedicated focus and investment in Excellence, Dubai and Abu Dhabi have emerged as significant global economic hubs.

    The Asian Century

    The 21st Century is often referred to as the Asian century. The world’s most dynamic economies are now found in Asia. Arguably, the economic gravitas has already shifted away from the “western” economies to Asian economies. The heavy investment made by Asian countries into Excellence is unlikely to be a coincidence. This year, the Global Excellence Model (GEM) Council admitted two new members into its midst: the China Association for Quality and the Malaysia Productivity Council. This means that 50% of the GEM Council members are now from Asia, providing further evidence of the continental focus on Excellence.

    With a dedicated focus on the adoption of Excellence Models, Asian economies are delivering growth and innovation that are taking the whole world into a brand new phase of accelerated change. Western economies – including Australia – are increasingly being left behind with the focus on Excellence having declined over the last two decades.

    The Opportunity for Australia

    Australia has one of the most mature Excellence programs in the world with a proud history that dates back to 1987. The Program is represented by our own unique national Excellence Model – the Australian Business Excellence Framework (ABEF) – and the Australian Organisational Excellence Awards. The ABEF and the Awards originated from the necessity to develop a common framework for measuring and improving organisational performance, productivity and competitiveness. The Australian Awards criteria were originally developed in the form of principles and operational statements and were then formed into an integrated Excellence Model in 1996.

    We estimate that over 600 organisations – across all sectors – in Australia use the guidance of the ABEF to deliver success. However, there has been minimal government focus on the national Excellence Program since the late 1990s. Perhaps the continual growth and resilience of the Australian economy reduced the imperative to focus on Excellence.

    With many economic challenges now becoming apparent, the time to reinvigorate Excellence in Australia is upon us. This is evident in the increasing interest in Excellence and Innovation by all levels of government. Australia has a wonderful opportunity to leverage its mature and proven Excellence Program to deliver ongoing economic success. The investment of Asian governments in Excellence should be examples Australia should seek to emulate and learn from.

    For further information about Excellence on the global stage, please feel free to contact Ravi by emailing RaviF@thriveplus.com.au


  5. Study reveals business-changing journey for small businesses

    December 9, 2016 by ahmed

    Originally posted on Blogrige by Dawn Marie Bailey

    Many economists have surmised that the health of U.S. small businesses is key to the health of the U.S. economy. In fact, a Forbes article by Ian Shepherdson, “Small Businesses Are The (Missing) Key To A Full Economic Recovery,” cites that small firms account for about half of the nation’s gross domestic product and employ about half the workforce, “so if they are struggling it is very hard for the economy as a whole to grow in line with its long-term trend.”So how can we help give a foundation to U.S. small businesses so that they don’t need to struggle?

    A recent study “Quality management (QM) leads to healthier small businesses,” published in the Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, explores how small businesses in the housing industry that have embraced quality management approaches, such as Baldrige, Six Sigma, and EFQM, are seeing improved performance.

    Study authors William H. Murphy and Denis Leonard interviewed ten owners of small family-owned businesses who have won the National Housing Quality Award (NHQA), which is based on the Baldrige Excellence Framework and its Criteria. Sponsored by Professional Builder magazine and the National Association of Home Builders Research Center, the NHQA provides housing contractors with the opportunity to submit Baldrige-based award applications to receive an assessment by QM experts on development gaps and to possibly receive an award. (See also the recent blog “Adapting Baldrige to the National Housing Industry.”)

    “Once small business owners realize that the QM journey is a sensible, necessary, business-changing journey, change can happen swiftly,” write Murphy and Leonard. “Yet, truly seeing the truth of this claim and following up by changing one’s business toward a QM journey is often a tough step for many small business owners to take. After all, small business owners are often extremely busy, with time-pressing commitments and little wiggle room for figuring out how to engage new platforms such as QM. Yet, as our interviews repeatedly revealed, life gets a lot easier for everyone once QM is part of the business.”

    The Baldrige Excellence Framework, with its eligibility category for small businesses (500 or fewer paid employees), is one quality management tool that the study cites.

    “Baldrige, once believed too complex for small businesses to pursue, let alone attain, has proven to be a platform providing excellent performance results for small businesses,” write Murphy and Leonard. According to another article—“Don’t count TQM out: evidence shows implementation pays off in a big way” (Quality Progress, Vol. 32, No. 4, pp. 35-42)—Baldrige small business category winners outperform benchmark companies by an average of 63 percent, while large organization winners outperform their benchmarks by only 22 percent.

    Indeed, two of the four 2016 Baldrige Award recipients are small businesses: Don Chalmers Ford and Momentum Group. The other two recipients, both in the health care sector, are also small: Kindred Nursing and Rehabilitation Center – Mountain Valley is a 68-bed skilled nursing center and Memorial Hermann Sugar Land is a 149-bed community hospital.

    As a whole, the small business owners interviewed in the study were “certain that positive outcomes follow” once a business implements QM; however, the owners did recognize some barriers to engagement. “A key variable precluding business improvement may be the belief that one’s business is doing fine without QM,” write the study’s authors. “If this is the case, familiarity with QM may be a necessary but not sufficient factor in small businesses adopting QM—until there is an accompanying belief that one’s small business has weaknesses in the absence of QM, embracing QM may not occur.”

    Small business owners recommend customizing tools and staying the course once started on QM. “Interviewees strongly feel the barriers are small relative to gains realized through QM,” write the study’s authors.

    According to Murphy and Leonard, “The first step toward launching QM is generally the hardest, as most businesses have to stumble along for a while before truly catching on to QM’s logic and potential. And yet, by targeting easy projects and using a few tools from QM toolboxes, change for the better is soon realized. Over time, with a conviction gained by success and the developing belief that QM is a game changer for one’s small business, owners may find themselves pushing their QM platforms in unexpected directions.”

    To find the complete article, go to “Quality management (QM) leads to healthier small businesses.”