1. COER News – Benchmarking and Business Excellence, February 2017

    March 5, 2017 by ahmed


    This February, the Centre for Organisational Excellence Research (COER) has issued its latest newsletter.

    The first section includes important news about the upcoming 5th International Best Practice Competition and – closing date for entries 27 March.

    Whether you are looking to know the latest COER publications in the field or you would like to know what are the latest must attend events you will find it in COER’s newsletter.

    The contents for the newsletter are listed below:

    • 5th International Best Practice Competition
    • Podcast: Benchmarking – An interview with Dr Robin Mann
    • COER’s workshops
    • Benchmarking Certification (New 7-Star Recognition System)
    • PhD Research Opportunities
    • COER’s research projects
    • Winners of the 5th Global Benchmarking Award Dec 2016
    • Which is most popular – Benchmarking, Best Practices, Business Excellence, Innovation, Lean, Six Sigma, Balanced Scorecard, Knowledge Management, ISO 9001 or IS0 14001?
    • Which is most popular – Baldrige, EFQM or Deming?
    • Book: Deep in Crisis, The Uncertain Future of the Quality Profession
    • The QMOD (Quality Management and Organisational Development)/ICQSS Conference 2017
    • Baldridge Excellence Framework – 2017 Criteria emphasises 2 areas that no business can ignore
    • Interim Results – First Global Assessment on the Current State of Organizational Excellence

    You can download the newsletter from the COER website here

  2. It started out about an award, it ended up about operational improvement

    March 1, 2017 by ahmed


    Originally posted on Blogrige by Dawn Marie Bailey

    Throughout the almost 30-year history of the Baldrige Award, high-achieving organizations that might already be tops in their industries have been attracted to the idea of winning this highest, national, Presidential award for organizational performance excellence-another feather in their caps and highlight for customers and investors. But often, the journey to the award becomes something more. The journey becomes less about the award and more about what was learned along the way.


    At the upcoming 29th Annual Quest for Excellence® Conference, Allison Carter, director at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Public Sector LLP, will be sharing what the Baldrige journey meant to this consulting practice that was already considered at the top of its game among peer organizations.

    “We started our [Baldrige] process focused on the award. After a few years of developing Baldrige applications, we realized that if we really embraced the Criteria across our business, we would start to see some major improvements in the business. That makes sense whether you want to win an award or not, right?” asked Carter. “It started out about the award, and it ended up becoming about improving the business.”

    Carter said her Quest presentation will focus on the importance of and how to identify gaps in business operations using the Baldrige Excellence Framework.

    The process that PwC Public Sector used was to first look at the questions within the Criteria and flag those for further investigation that staff were not able to answer or were answering in different ways, she said. She added that the step of identifying gaps first was important to save a lot of time and headaches, especially if your organization moves to the Site Visit Review of the Baldrige Award process. It was also important to consider what you’re currently doing and how that might stack up with other organizations, Carter said.

    “A pitfall that many organizations may run into is something we found. . . . They pick up the Criteria to start writing an application, and they think we’ll just submit and we’ll win an award. And then they quickly realize after one or two times of doing that, a smarter approach is to first figure out where your gaps are and implement initiatives to address those gaps before ever submitting an application. So you’re not wasting your time, and you are focused instead on improving your operations using Baldrige standards.”

    An example of a success that PwC Public Sector has had using gap assessment methodology and looking at its Baldrige feedback was an integrated dashboard. Carter said the organization collects a lot of data on different things and uses that data to measure performance, but these data were housed in several different systems owned by several different people.

    “There wasn’t one place to go for all that information in one view to use it for effective decision making,” she said. “You could look at system A and system B and patch all of that together and start using it to make decisions, but it would have been much easier if that data was consolidated in one place–not only to look at everything all at once but to compare your performance over time.”

    She said PwC Public Sector Practice created a dashboard that pulled all of the information from these areas and systems into one dashboard that staff members could then use to get a holistic view of the metrics that were important to the business and to enhance the ability to make good decisions based on that data.

    Other top tips from using Baldrige that the organization has implemented follow:

    • Don’t look at Baldrige as an awards program. Look at it as an opportunity to improve your business. “It ultimately is an award, and everybody likes to win awards, but you should be focusing on Baldrige as an opportunity for improving and enhancing business,” said Carter.
    • When writing an application, it can’t be aspirational; it has to reflect reality. “It’s easy to write a Baldrige application about what you think you should be doing or what you want to do, but that doesn’t necessarily reflect how you’re operating, which is why identification of gaps is so important,” she added.

    At the upcoming Quest for Excellence Conference, in addition to learning about a structured methodology that participants can use for gap identification, Carter said she’ll also be sharing some leading practices that PwC Public Sector Practice uncovered through its own gap identification process.

    She added that using the Baldrige Excellence Framework and its Criteria “helps you to achieve a higher level of integration and coordination across your business that you wouldn’t necessarily get from using another framework like Lean/Six Sigma. Integration is really a key beneficial factor of using Baldrige.”

  3. The ups and downs in an evolution of excellence

    February 8, 2017 by ahmed


    Originally posted on Blogrige by Dawn Marie Bailey

    According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, an evolution is a process of continuous change from a lower, simpler, or worse to a higher, more complex, or better state. Here’s a story of an organizational evolution that includes a recession, natural disasters, and growth-and the excellence that came out of it.

    At the upcoming, 29th Annual Quest for Excellence conference, Jamie Capehart, Performance Improvement Specialist at Baldrige Award recipient Park Place Lexus, will be sharing a story of how the car dealership used the Baldrige Excellence Framework to propel itself through a recession, the loss of product due to a natural disaster, complacency, and massive growth. The session will outline the ups and downs of the service organization’s evolution of excellence.

    Park Place Lexus, which sells and services new and pre-owned Lexus vehicles, and sells Lexus parts to the wholesale and retail markets at its two locations in Plano and Grapevine, Texas, began its journey to excellence in 1994, benchmarking business practices outside of the automobile industry, with the intent of emulating the best business practices staff could find and bringing innovation to the industry. Four years later, the company conducted its first internal assessment using the Baldrige Criteria (now part of the Baldrige framework) to identify areas for improvement. But a lot has happened since 1994.


    Capehart said using Baldrige resources guided the organization to solidify its internal teams “to propel us into the future with sustainable processes and plans,” adding that the process has created a “Baldrige bond.” Park Place Lexus is even being honored this year with a best practice recognition for its focus on customers.

    “Since going through the Baldrige process, we have been able to break down walls and look at our business from a whole perspective versus a siloed perspective,” she said. “Our performance improvement teams have realized more success in one year than they had in the previous three years utilizing the knowledge gained through the framework, as well as through other [Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award] MBNQA recipients.”

    As a Baldrige Award recipient, Park Place Lexus, through Capehart, will be sharing other tips to help U.S. organizations improve and evolve. For example, Capehart suggests

    • Do a very honest gap analysis using the Baldrige framework and other available Baldrige assessments.
    • Thoroughly understand the Baldrige Criteria, attend state/national Baldrige conferences, network with recipients, and invest in a coach.
    • No matter how far from being “recipient worthy” you may feel along the way, follow the Baldrige process as far as it can take you. Then, do it again!

    Capehart said Park Place Lexus has continued to use Baldrige resources since its win in 2005. “Our industry/sector is highly competitive, and the [Baldrige] framework helped us think strategically through each category and facet of our business to uncover blind spots, including segmentation of our Clients/Members, the effective use of data, and understanding what true innovation and risk taking can do.”

    And such thinking has certainly contributed to its evolution of excellence.

    What could such an evolution look like for your organization?

  4. The Impact of the Baldrige Award . . . 15+ Years Later

    February 1, 2017 by ahmed


    Originally posted on Blogrige by Christine Schaefer

    Earlier this month, 2001 Baldrige Award-winning University of Wisconsin–Stout hosted a lively campus engagement session. (See for yourself via this video of the livestreamed event, which kicked off with dancing.) The university holds the so-called “You Said… We Did” sessions each January to demonstrate its responsiveness to the input of its employees and students.The same week, UW–Stout released news highlighting the ongoing impact of the Baldrige Award and excellence framework on its values and practices.

    Following is a recent conversation on that impact with Meridith Drzakowski, a senior Baldrige examiner and the assistant chancellor at UW–Stout who oversees the university’s office of Planning, Assessment, Research and Quality.

    1- Tell us about your university’s ongoing use of the Baldrige Excellence Framework (which includes the Education Criteria for Performance Excellence)?

    Since the 2001 Baldrige Award, nearly all of the people who were part of the team that led us through that process have left UW–Stout. However, within the past several years, we’ve started an informal Baldrige team. Membership is open to the entire campus, and we meet several times throughout the year to discuss ways in which we are following the Baldrige Criteria and addressing our opportunities for improvement. The focus isn’t about writing a new Baldrige Award application; instead, it’s about how we can continue to grow and learn using the Baldrige Criteria.

    We also send teams to various Baldrige professional development offerings through the state-level Baldrige programs in Wisconsin and Minnesota, as well as to the Baldrige regional conferences and occasionally to the Quest for Excellence® Conference. And we encourage them to become examiners through the state-level Baldrige programs.

    In addition, we use a Baldrige-based approach to meet our regional accreditation requirements through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). At the HLC’s 2017 conference, I’ll be co-presenting with Jan Garfield, another Baldrige examiner and HLC peer reviewer, about how to integrate HLC requirements into daily operations. We’ll be talking about how understanding and using ADLI (i.e., Approach/Deployment/
    Learning/Integration, which are process evaluation factors in the Baldrige Criteria) can reduce the burden associated with preparing for comprehensive visits, quality initiatives, and required reports associated with meeting HLC requirements.

    Incidentally, UW–Stout had its comprehensive review in March 2016. The review team leader said it was the best portfolio he had ever seen.

    2- Would you please describe a few examples of how Baldrige-based practices have contributed to your organization’s success?

    One of the most significant processes that has been impacted by the Baldrige Criteria is our planning process. The planning process aligns feedback we receive from the campus with data we collect on key performance indicators and with our budget. Our student jobs program and “You Said…We Did” events are great examples of initiatives/actions implemented through this process.



    To encourage innovation, one principle that is important to us in planning is starting with the idea first, and identifying resource needs second. It’s easy to start by saying, “We only have $X dollars,” and then let that limit your thinking. However, starting by thinking big has helped us to implement new initiatives in innovative ways.

    One example is our e-Stout (laptop) program. Students pay a per-credit fee to receive a laptop that is refreshed every two years and that they keep after graduation. The fee also provides for a number of support services, software programs, etc. This idea would never have come forward if we started by looking at the amount of money we had available.

    Other examples of innovative ways we have funded initiatives include partnerships with our foundation office, forming grant-writing teams to apply for external funding, and increasing efforts for fundraising. (We have a university priority on fundraising and are starting the process of implementing a comprehensive campaign.)

    Baldrige has also helped us to focus on a smaller number of metrics that are most important to us. Every five years, we update the list of our key performance indicators that we use to assess the success of our strategic plan. Although we collect data on hundreds of metrics campus-wide, the Baldrige framework helps us prioritize to focus on those metrics that are most important to our success and that align with our strategic plan—which keeps them to a small number.

    3- What are your top tips for using the Baldrige framework to support improvement and innovation?

    -Trust the process. When new faculty and staff members are hired at UW–Stout, it’s common for them to look at our planning process and say that it’s too time-intensive or complex or impossible to reach consensus with so many stakeholders. We tell them to trust the process, to give it a year and then decide whether they think it works or not. After the year is over, most people understand and buy in to the importance of the process.
    -You can start small. You don’t have to begin by deciding to write an entire Baldrige Award application or implementing all of the Baldrige Criteria. Start with the Organizational Profile, and then pick a specific item or core value to start with. The way we engage people in the process is by involving them in aspects of the Criteria that impact them directly or that they are interested in learning more about, or about which they have ideas or concerns. It’s not about receiving the award; it’s about learning and growing as an organization.

    4- Would you please outline what participants may learn at your university’s session, “From Crisis to Confidence,” at the Baldrige Program’s Quest for Excellence® Conference in Baltimore in early April?

    During difficult budget times, the easy thing to do is to stop or cut back on new, innovative ideas that emerge through the strategic planning process or to administer across-the-board cuts.

    However, despite the significant and ongoing budget cuts that UW–Stout has experienced over many years—including the most significant cuts we’ve ever received within the last biennium—we have always continued to focus on what’s important and never stopped planning, listening, and making decisions based on the data. We’ve had to cut back and be more selective about what is funded, but we’ve never stopped putting our time and resources into these processes.

    Our presenters, Maria Alm and David Ding, will also discuss how visionary leadership at UW–Stout has helped support our focus on what’s important. And we will discuss the critical role that the leadership has in building and maintaining trust, as well as some of the processes we use to build trust.

    [Added Alm, “Participants will learn how UW-Stout’s commitment to the Baldrige Criteria helped us navigate the most recent round of state budget cuts. While the cuts were significant, we never lost sight of the importance of (and our values related to) planning, innovation, and people. For that reason, after what was a very difficult year, we were still able to celebrate our accomplishments and to dance!”]

    5- What are a few key reasons that organizations in your sector can benefit from using the Baldrige framework?

    The framework can help [universities] meet regional accreditation requirements. We have one process for planning, one process for accountability, one process for assessment, etc., and requirements for the HLC are integrated within those processes.

    At the same time, Baldrige helps us put our primary focus on taking action because it will benefit the organization. In other words, the framework can help organizations focus on taking action not because an external organization told them they had to do something but because it’s important to them. When an organization is trying to encourage buy-in on processes related to planning and assessment, the last thing that people want to hear is, “We are doing this because it’s required by our accrediting body.”

    Also, the Baldrige framework provides guidance in making resource decisions—in good times and in bad.

  5. Interim results on the first global assessment on the current state of organizational excellence

    January 29, 2017 by ahmed

    The aim of the research is to identify the extent to which organizations are characterized by the principles and have deployed the best management practices.In the Teaser Assessment, There have been 129 organizations that have completed the teaser assessment representing 21 industry sectors and 29 countries. In the Full Assessment, there have been 51 organizations that have completed the full assessment representing 13 industry sectors and 15 countries. Mostly leaders and management have responded from the business sector followed by the government and non-profit sectors.The Research

    The assessment was launched in 2015 by the Organizational Excellence Technical Committee (QMD, ASQ) and conducted voluntarily by Organizational Excellence Specialists. Following the preliminary update on March 22, 2016, this is the second report on the interim results.
    Using the Organizational Excellence Framework automated assessment and reporting tool that integrates global leading excellence models, the aim of the research is to identify the extent to which organizations are characterized by the principles and have deployed the best management practices.
    Two rating scales are used in the assessment to provide a subjective rating on the principles (e.g. observation, experience) and an objective rating on the best management practices (i.e. approach, deployment, results):


    Principle Low
    61%- 80%


    Practice Just Beginning
    Good Start
    Doing Well
    High Performance

    While individual results will be confidential, aggregate results will be shared by organization size, industry sector and country to provide a snap shot of strengths and opportunities for improvement.

    OE1 OE2

    Figure 1. Organizational Excellence Framework and Automated Assessment & Reporting Tool

    To participate in the research, respondents can choose to complete either the teaser assessment or the full assessment:

    1. Teaser assessment – self-assessment against the principles, takes about 5 minutes, delivers a confidential feedback report to the respondent’s inbox http://www.qlbs.com/QimonoVBA/assessment/OrgExFrameworkTeaser
    2. Full assessment – self-assessment against the principles and best management practices, takes between 15 and 30 minutes depending on organization size, aggregate results shared on the open LinkedIn site for the OETC http://www.qlbs.com/QimonoVBA/Assessment/OrgExFramework

    Sharing the aggregate findings of this research is anticipated to provide benefits for all stakeholders including:

    • Contribute to the Organizational Excellence Technical Committee mandate “to support and promote the use of international excellence models and to help all organizations attain higher levels of performance”
    • Contribute to the GBN vision to be recognized as a global hub for benchmarking and the mission ‘focused on promoting and facilitating the use of benchmarking and sharing of best practices’
    • Create awareness with leaders and managers about the principles and best management practices that are common to high performing organizations and encourage them to use such
    • Encourage organizations to benchmark their performance with others
    • Encourage eligible organizations to apply for a national excellence award or an international best practice or benchmarking award
    • Share aggregate results on the open OETC LinkedIn site and the Global Benchmarking Network website

    Interim Results

    This is the second report on the interim results. To date, there has been an encouraging response to the global assessment. However, there has been a tendency for some respondents to access the assessment and not complete it (i.e. teaser 25%, full 70%). This tendency is likely related to the time required to complete the assessment.

    Teaser Assessment
    There have been 129 organizations that have completed the teaser assessment representing 21 industry sectors and 29 countries. Mostly leaders and management have responded from the business sector followed by the government and non-profit sectors. Most of these organizations are small size (26 to 100 employees) followed by medium size (100-999), micro size (1-25) and large size (1000+).

    OE3 OE4 OE5

    Overall the aggregate results would suggest these organizations have a culture committed to excellence with positive ratings (6.0 to 10.0) across most principles with the exception of three principles that received lower ratings (people involvement, data-based decision making, societal commitment).


    Full Assessment
    There have been 51 organizations that have completed the full assessment representing 13 industry sectors and 15 countries. Mostly leaders and management have responded from the business sector followed by the government and non-profit sectors. Most of these organizations are micro size followed by small, large and medium size.

    OE7 OE8 OE9

    Overall the aggregate results would suggest these organizations have a culture committed to excellence with positive ratings (6.0 to 10.0) for all principles and greatest opportunity for improvement in two areas (prevention-based process management, data-based decision making).


    The aggregate results on the Key Management Areas that represent related best management practices showed relatively positive ratings for governance and leadership and opportunities for improvement across the remaining areas particularly work processes, planning and suppliers & partners.


    Next Steps
    Those organizations that have not participated in the global assessment are encouraged to do so. The global assessment research will provide a baseline for organizations to self-assess the degree to which they are characterized by the principles and have deployed the best management practices that are defined in excellence models and have been validated by 25 years of research.

    Such research has revealed that organizations earning national recognition for implementing an excellence model (e.g. EFQM, Baldrige, Canadian Framework for Excellence, Australian Business Excellence Framework) have experienced exceptional results – good governance, trust in leadership, customer delight, employee engagement, continually improving work processes, strong supplier and partner relationships, better utilization of resources, balanced system of measurement, and financial results.

    While the foregoing research has been valuable, this is the first study that has used an integrated excellence model to provide a baseline for all organizations to benchmark their performance with others regardless of the excellence approach used. Thus, the results will inform different sizes and types of organizations and countries around the globe where they fall along the continuum of organizational excellence and how they can use benchmarking to track their performance and learn from others.

    About the author:

    Dawn Ringrose MBA, FCMC is Principal of Organizational Excellence Specialists and Author of the Organizational Excellence Framework and related toolkit. Her qualifications include: Certified Organizational Excellence Specialist (OES, 2011), Certified Excellence Professional (NQI, 2004), Registered ISO 9000 Specialist (ICMCC, 1996), Assessor of Quality Systems (IQA IRCA, 1996). She has worked in the area of organizational excellence since 1990 and is currently the representative for Canada on the Organizational Excellence Technical Committee (QMD, ASQ) and Global Benchmarking Network.