1. Baldrige is the Secret: A Veteran school reformer describes the framework’s value

    May 26, 2016 by ahmed


    Originally posted on Blogrige by Christine Schaefer

    Nancy Timmons has served as a Baldrige examiner for two years. She has served as an educational leader and reformer over three decades (and counting!). An enthusiastic advocate of the Baldrige Excellence Framework for education, Timmons recently shared with me how she’s been using her training and experience as a Baldrige examiner to continue guiding school improvements in recent years.

    From Fort Worth to Philadelphia and Beyond

    Timmons began her career in education as a teacher in a small school district near Austin, Texas. She later worked in the Temple Independent School District in Temple, Texas. She joined the Fort Worth (TX) Independent School District in 1987, ascending through a series of administrative positions. Finally, she served as associate superintendent, which she described as the equivalent of a chief academic officer, a position from which she officially retired in 2001.

    Shortly afterwards, Timmons was approached by the School District of Philadelphia, PA, requesting her assistance with a project to improve student achievement throughout the system. She was recommended for the work by the Council of the Great City Schools, in Washington, D.C., for which she had volunteered for a number of years on instructional reviews.

    Timmons worked with the Philadelphia district for approximately four years, serving as a consultant under an initially “brand-new” superintendent. “We rewrote the curriculum and aligned it to the Pennsylvania [education] standards,” she recalled. The district continued the school improvements for several years, she noted, until the next superintendent discontinued the efforts.

    In the early 2000s, Timmons landed what she considered a dream job: supporting a collaborative effort by the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education and Darden School of Business to support school district improvements in multiple states. Again, she had been recommended by the Council of the Great City Schools for the position. Timmons led a team of school “experts” to conduct instructional reviews in school districts in six states.

    For the past few years, Timmons has been serving the Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD) once again. As an executive consultant, she helps guide improvements based on a comprehensive, district-wide audit that produced a 400-plus-page report in the fall of 2012. “Having been an auditor, I know the boilerplate [of such reports],” said Timmons, “but it took at least 80 hours to review it and wrap my arms around it.”

    The superintendent asked her to “point us in the right direction,” she said. But after perusing the report, she said she wondered, “How will I manage such a huge task?” “Can I be successful?” Yet she felt that “I owed it to her former district to give it my best shot,” so she took the assignment.

    Today Timmons works out of the office of the district’s chief academic officer. She started the improvement work by guiding district staff members through “a series of Plan–Do–Study–Act” cycles. She also set up five teams, composed of central-office administrators, to lead action plans to carry out improvements based on the audit findings. Timmons’ role now is to provide ongoing guidance. “I believe if you don’t monitor and support people through something this big, it doesn’t happen,” she said.

    Baldrige as a Backdrop and Basis for Improvements

    While Timmons’ team members have not been trained as Baldrige examiners, she said they “are learning [the Baldrige Criteria] by using it.”

    “I use the Baldrige Criteria as a backdrop,” she explained. “For example, if we have a leadership issue, I think about the questions [asked in the “Leadership” category of the Criteria] … to help me pose a question [to help the school system improve].”

    Timmons also uses the Baldrige Criteria’s scoring system as a basis for approaches and tools that promote and track district improvements. For example, she created scorecards based on the Baldrige Criteria Scoring System that link the district’s audit findings with strategic goals and action plans (the template is shown in the graphic below). The scorecards thus connect the four major goals of the district’s strategic plan to the improvements related to the audit findings.


    “Throughout the school year,” Timmons said, “we use the Baldrige scoring criteria to help the teams become more mature in their processes.” In addition, she said she uses the Baldrige evaluation factors as she and district staff members review results, looking at levels, trends, comparisons, and integration (known to Baldrige examiners as LeTCI).

    In late spring—which Timmons said is the “evaluative stage” for the school district every year—the focus of her district-level teams and school-based leaders becomes the evaluation of results (through the Baldrige review lens of levels, trends, comparisons, and integration) as well as planning improvements for the next school year. “That’s continuous improvement,” she said, again noting a Baldrige concept.

    The district has had a new superintendent for about six months now, and Timmons said she’s been pleased by his commitment to continuing the improvement work. “We have not yet arrived,” she said, but she also indicated that she’s pleased with the “results that we’ve shown so far.”

    Reflecting on the progress made since 2012, Timmons said, “I don’t think something this large could have been accomplished … had I not had the Baldrige [framework] to guide me through it.”

    “The [Baldrige Criteria] scoring criteria force you to not get stuck at one stage,” she added. “I think [Baldrige] is the secret to whatever success we’ve had in responding to this audit.”

  2. 3 Daily habits of Peak performers

    May 25, 2016 by ahmed


    Originally posted on Forbes by Carmine Gallo

    Spend some time with U.S. Olympic men’s swimming coach Bob Bowman, as I recently did, and you’ll understand why some people go from good to great in a chosen field, while others, like Bowman’s longtime student Michael Phelps, go from good to record-shattering.

    Phelps’ record is extraordinary. His 22 total medals and 18 gold medals is the greatest medal performance in all of Olympic history. I caught up with Bowman to speak about his new book, The Golden Rules, and to learn how his years of coaching superstar Michael Phelps can help everyone-especially business leaders-reach peak performance in their chosen fields.

    In my conversation with Bowman it became clear that raw talent alone is not enough. Champions like Michael Phelps practice three daily habits to achieve excellence.

    Habit No. 1: Vision

    “Not one of my athletes has a problem understanding why we’re in the pool and what we are there to do that day,” says Bowman. The vision, according to Bowman, is to swim a time that will be fast enough to win a medal. Bowman’s strategy is to help his athletes focus on the process, not the outcome. You can’t control or predict who will win a medal in any given race, “but if you’re fast enough, the outcome will take care of itself.” Medals are tangible rewards, but Bowman believes that—as a leader and an individual who wants to achieve peak performance—it’s more important to pursue excellence every day and to remind yourself (or remind your team) of the ultimate vision. This daily habit will result in long-term greatness.

    Habit No. 2: Mental Rehearsal

    Vision and mental rehearsal are two sides of the same coin. “You must program your internal viewfinder,” says Bowman. He’s speaking of visualization and no one, in Bowman’s opinion, does it better than Michael Phelps. “For months before a race Michael gets into a relaxed state. He mentally rehearses for two hours a day in the pool. He sees himself winning. He smells the air, tastes the water, hears the sounds, sees the clock.” Phelps take visualization one step further. He sees himself from the outside, as a spectator in the stands. He sees himself overcoming obstacles, too. For example, what would he do if he fell further behind in a race than he intended? Phelps practices all potential scenarios.

    According to Bowman mental rehearsal is a proven, well-established technique to achieve peak performance in nearly every endeavor. “ The brain cannot distinguish between something that’s vividly imagined and something that’s real.”

    Bowman believes that all of us—regardless of our field—have a strong belief in who we are today and who we’d like to be tomorrow. When we set goals in business, sports, or any area of achievement, there’s a gap between where we are and where we want to be. “The most strongly held mental picture is where you’ll be… so get really good at mental rehearsal,” Bowman advises. “If you can form a strong mental picture and visualize yourself doing it, your brain will immediately find ways to get you there.”

    Habit No. 3: Practice

    A person can be blessed with raw talent (or an 80-inch wingspan like Michael Phelps), but nobody can achieve excellence without putting in hours and hours of practice. To prepare for the 2004 Olympic games, “Michael Phelps trained 365 days a year for six years,” says Bowman.

    “You’ve got to be kidding,” I said in astonishment.

    “I know because I was there for all of it,” Bowman responded. “For Christmas, New Year’s and birthdays. Michael worked harder than I’ve seen anybody work in any endeavor.”

    An excellent performance in any field can be deceiving. The audience often assumes the performer is naturally talented because they make it look easy. I’ve seen the same reaction among great public-speakers. Brain researcher Dr. Jill Bolte-Taylor delivered one of the most popular TED Talks of all time. She told me she practiced her presentation 200 times. Most business leaders I’ve met haven’t practiced 200 times for all of their presentations combined, and then they wonder why they’re not making a sale or connecting with an audience.

    The wonderful result of practice is that you have literally programmed your brain for peak performance. On the day of the event you can clear your mind and your body and trust that they will do what you’ve practiced dozens, hundreds, or in Phelps’ case, thousands of times before.

    Bob Bowman doesn’t get the public glory that his famous student does, but make no mistake—there is no Michael Phelps without Bob Bowman and his daily habits. “Without Bob I have no shot at achieving the records I’ve achieved or winning the medals that I’ve won,” writes Phelps in the forward to Bowman’s book.

    Practicing these three daily habits might not take you to the Olympics, but you’ll be more likely to outshine your competition when the race counts.

  3. South African Quality Institutes latest news

    May 18, 2016 by ahmed

    South African Quality Institute (SAQI) http://www.saqi.co.za is the national body that co-ordinates the Quality effort in South Africa. Their monthly newsletter is an excellent source of information to keep up with the latest quality issues in South Africa.


    • Executive responsibility according to ISO 9001:2015, by Paul Harding
    • With the benefit of Hindsight, by ASQ
    • Celebrating IAQ’s Golden Anniversary, by Gregory H. Watson
    • Corporate Reputation: It certainly matters, by Terrance M. Booysen
    • Qaulity in Schools: Is stress good for children, by Richard Hayward

    Click here to download this newsletter.








  4. Toward a world class innovation strategy: Dubai Statistics Center leading the way

    May 17, 2016 by ahmed

    3rd Progress Sharing Day

    On the 28th of April, the 3rd Progress Sharing Day of Dubai We Learn was held. For those new to the initiative, this initiative is led by the Dubai Government Excellence Programme and the Centre of Organisational Excellence Research (COER), New Zealand. The initiative aims to empower a culture of institutional learning and the transfer and exchange of knowledge within Dubai’s government sector.

    The initiative consists of the mentoring of 13 benchmarking projects, training in organisational learning and benchmarking, and the provision of a best practice resource, http://www.BPIR.com, for all 37 government entities.

    To assist in the sharing of best practices, 3 progress sharing days for the 13 benchmarking projects have been held. During these days, each team describes the progress they have made with their projects. As all project teams are using the TRADE benchmarking methodology it is easy to compare progress. Some teams have recorded video clips to showcase their work and the benefits they are obtaining, such as the example below from Dubai Municipality.

    To add interest to the day, each team is given 10 minutes to present and the audience vote on which projects have made most progress. At the 3rd Progress Sharing Day, 4 teams were selected as achieving the most progress with Dubai Statistics Centre (DSC) achieving the most votes. The four projects were:

    • Shams Dubai Initiative (Customer awareness & engagement) – Dubai Electricity & Water Authority
    • Improving Purchasing Channels – Dubai Municipality
    • People Happiness – Knowledge & Human Development Authority
    • Innovative Statistics – Dubai Statistics Center (DSC)

    The aim of DSC’s project is to “identify best practices in Innovation to enable DSC to develop and implement a strategy for innovation to improve its processes and services”.

    DSC started its project by undertaking a number of innovation self-assessments. The self-assessment tools they used were from the BPIR.com. Of the 5 Innovation Self-assessment Tools, DSC found the self-assessment titled “Innovation Maturity (organisation-wide)” the most comprehensive and useful. The self-assessments enabled DSC to identify its current level of Innovation Maturity and identify specifically what needed to be improved. In particular, they identified the need to improve in: innovation strategies, innovation measurement, innovation labs, suggestion schemes and innovative statistical information delivery.
    During the search for potential benchmarking partners, DSC used the identified areas of improvement as criteria for selecting benchmarking partners. For example, DSC searched for organisations with an innovation strategy that resulted in an innovative culture.

    By the 3rd Progress Sharing Day, DSC had finished benchmarking visits to four organisations locally and obtained many best practices through internet research. Some examples of the practices that they are considering implementing are:

    • Innovation Management Standard: The European Innovation Management Standard CEN/TS 16555 has been underway since 2008, and as such it incorporates a lot of the elements which are believed to constitute current best practices on innovation management. The Standard consists of 7 documents:
      • Innovation management system (16555-1:2013)
      • Strategic intelligence management (16555-2:2014)
      • Innovation thinking (16555-2:2014)
      • Intellectual property management (16555-4:2014)
      • Collaboration management (16555-5:2014)
      • Creativity management (16555-6:2014)
      • Innovation management assessment (16555-7, 2015)
    • e-Cap System: An electronic system to follow-up corrective actions, analyse risks, prioritize actions and raise status reports as they consider any corrective action as a creative idea.
    • Government Innovation Lab Manual: A manual designed to provide tools and techniques on how to implement an innovation lab from brainstorming workshop to idea implementation.
    • Customer Pain Point: A system to find the problems faced by the customer in order to come up with innovative solutions, in other word it is a customer inspired innovation.

    For more information about this initiative download the attached article and sign-up up to COER’s newsletter to receive the latest updates.

  5. Effective use of social media

    May 15, 2016 by ahmed


    Originally posted on Blogrige by Harry Hertz

    In 2013, the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence started asking questions related to an organization’s use of social media. An emphasis was placed on effective use of social media. In the early days of this criteria change, many users of the Criteria had limited engagement with social media. More recently, every organization is using and must use social media, but not always effectively.

    So you might ask, what is ineffective use of social media? We probably all have personal experiences that could fit in this category. This blog was conceived after I received a recent marketing e-mail, the kind that has your name in the salutation. This one read as follows:

    “Good afternoon [first name],

    Hope this note finds you well. Based on your interest in …”

    How do you know my interests, if you address me as [first name] and don’t even know who I am? This was further exacerbated by actually dealing with a subject of absolutely no interest to me.

    This solicitation reminded me of other personalized solicitations that use mailing list information directly and start with something like:” Dear Hertz H,”. Will solicitations like these cause me to read further? Certainly not, other than to note the sender’s organization and lower my opinion of them and their brand. And with that goes overall brand image.

    There are many other examples of brand image that suffer because of ineffective use of social media. Some that have affected me and really strike a negative reaction are:

    • The charitable organization that solicits me by e-mail (and snail mail) several times a week. Am I contributing to their cause or their social media campaigns?
    • The organization that is regularly surveying me, but never seems to respond to customer feedback in any manner: not by a personal response (although I don’t expect that), not by changes in their performance from a customer’s perspective, and not by general responses through a blog, web site change, or mass e-mail that says we have listened and here are some changes we have made. The organization usually states my time is valuable, but in practice they don’t seem to value my time at all.
    • The company or organization that has been hacked and my data compromised, but the organization never notifies me or notifies me by a blanket announcement only after the press announces they found this out weeks or months after the actual occurrence.

    There are other examples I could cite and many more you could cite from your personal experiences. The Baldrige Criteria questions are designed to cause you to think about your organization from a systems perspective, to think about key linkages and cause-effect relationships. The 2015-2016 Criteria for Performance Excellence have added the consideration of brand image. Item 3.2 on Customer Engagement, has the following question: “How do you leverage social media to manage and enhance your brand and to enhance customer engagement and relationships with your organization?”

    Effective use of social media has become a significant factor in customer engagement and ineffective use can be a driver of disengagement and relationship deterioration or destruction. It is also a key factor in employee engagement. How effective is your organization’s use of social media? What impact has it had on your brand image, customer engagement, and employee engagement? Let me know your experiences (without mentioning brand names, please).