1. AARP’s CEO Talks about Leadership (and the Value of Baldrige)

    August 9, 2019 by BPIR.com Limited

    Article originally posted on Blogrige by Christine Schaefer

    Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO of AARP since 2014, was recognized by Fortune magazine this year as one of the world’s greatest leaders. Undoubtedly, members of her cohort of Baldrige Executive Fellows who gained new insights from learning from and with Jenkins were pleased for her (and not surprised). As Jenkins shared recently, “My interactions with other Baldrige Fellows have consistently been enlightening, inspiring, and illuminating.”

    Jenkins also graciously answered the following questions recently about leading an organization for excellence.

    Congratulations on being honored among the best leaders worldwide for 2019. What experiences have strengthened your leadership skills?

    I’m always on the lookout for learning experiences. I’m afforded an outstanding experience to learn, on an ongoing basis, from working closely with the network of chapters that AARP has built over the last 60 years.

    AARP operates chapters in all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. A network of that size and scale provides a powerful resource for staying directly connected with what’s happening on the ground in people’s communities. Tuning into that feedback on a consistent basis helps us to sharpen our relevance and value to the everyday lives of people age 50-plus and their families.

    As you know, leadership is the first of seven categories of organizational performance of the Baldrige Excellence Framework; the framework’s self-assessment questions ask senior leaders how (1) they set their organization’s vision and values, (2) promote legal and ethical behavior, (3) communicate, (4) create an environment for success, and (5) create a focus on action. Would you please comment on the importance of these dimensions of performing as a senior leader in a U.S. organization today?

    They’re all equally important, but certainly the fifth one—create a focus on action–is especially pertinent to our work at AARP.

    An example is the leadership role that AARP—as a fierce defender in the arena of health care for people age 50-plus and their families—is currently taking in the fight to drive lower prescription drug costs. Americans pay the highest prices in the world for prescription medicines, and it’s time to do something about making them more affordable for more people. Inevitably, that effort starts at the local and state level. As of this moment, 16 states have recently signed into effect 27 new laws that take concrete steps to drive down prescription drug prices—with more new laws expected soon.

    “The principles of the Baldrige Criteria are a vital tool…”

    After you became a Baldrige Executive Fellow in 2012, you used the Criteria for Performance Excellence (part of the Baldrige framework) to benefit your organization’s improvement efforts, as described in our previous blog interview. For example, you stated then, “With the Baldrige Criteria as our guide, we have implemented a customer feedback loop for all of our programs and for the volunteers that serve in our programs. It is providing us with actionable feedback that allows us to excel at living up to our mission.” Would you please share an update on your organization’s customer listening practices or other improvements toward excellence?

    We’re very proud of AARP’s Voice of the Customer program. In the same way that being an effective communicator starts with being a good listener, we also know that providing outstanding customer service is founded not just on listening to what people tell you, but also in acting on that feedback to implement improvements.

    Our Voice of the Customer program enables us to take in what people are saying about AARP on social media, on blogs or other media sources, via our call center, in email, or even in person at one of our many local events and to analyze that information on a daily basis.

    Using a real-time customer-sentiment analysis tool, we are able to take care of requests, anticipate challenges, and improve our level of service to people on an ongoing basis. A lot of organizations are heavily focused on what they want to tell people. Via our Voice of the Customer program, we have found that really listening to what people want to tell you (and acting on it) is even more valuable.

    You’ve evidently inspired others to also participate in the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program’s one-year executive leadership program in recent years. How do you view the value of a Baldrige Fellow’s learning from peers (and senior leaders of Baldrige Award-winning organizations) from different sectors and industries?

    Organizations around the world face many of the same opportunities and challenges regardless of their industry, and I always find it interesting to hear and learn from how others have approached something similar to what AARP might be facing.

    As a CEO, I’m afforded lots of opportunities to network, and I always go into them with an open mind. But I have found the ideas and areas of expertise I’ve encountered as a result of Baldrige to be of a really special quality. My interactions with other Baldrige Fellows have consistently been enlightening, inspiring, and illuminating.

    Would you please share a tip or insight on leading an organization to high performance?

    I think the way forward for any nonprofit is to spend less time on administration and more time on advancing your mission. Of course, a certain amount of internal processes are inevitable and even necessary, but staying focused on core elements matters most.

    • Why does your organization exist?
    • What are your core competencies?
    • Who are you helping?
    • What do they need?
    • How can you help provide it?

    The principles of the Baldrige Criteria are a vital tool in answering—and acting upon—those questions!


  2. 2019 Baldrige Case Study Features Nonprofit Organization

    July 25, 2019 by BPIR.com Limited

    Article originally posted on Blogrige

    The 2019 Baldrige Case Study: LifeBridge Organ and Tissue Sharing (LOTS) demonstrates how the Baldrige Criteria (part of the Baldrige Excellence Framework: Proven leadership and management practices for high performance) can be applied across seven key areas of any organization’s performance. The case study, which features a fictitous, federally designated, organ procurement organization, was used to train the 2019 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners on how a nonprofit organization might use the Baldrige Criteria as a guide to ensuring visionary and ethical leadership, an integrated strategy, customer-focused excellence, effective knowledge management and performance measurement, workforce engagement, efficient and innovative operations, and excellent results—with room for improvement; as part of training, Baldrige examiners used the case study to hone their skills in identifying strengths and opportunities for innovation and improvement.

    Baldrige case studies have at least three purposes. First, given that actual Baldrige Award applications remain confidential until award-winning organizations approve selected content for public sharing, the case studies are used to train examiners for the Baldrige Program’s annual award process. Second, the case studies serve as sample applications for organizations interested in applying for a Baldrige Award or in writing a whole or partial application as a self-assessment. In addition, the case studies show organizations in every sector how they might use the Criteria questions to assess and improve their performance, even if they are not interested in applying for a Baldrige Award. Case studies are also used by Baldrige-based regional or state award programs that are members of the nonprofit Alliance for Performance Excellence, part of the Baldrige Program’s public-private partnership.

    The Baldrige Program is very grateful to an actual organ procurement organization that allowed its own Baldrige-based award application to be the basis for this case study. From that real application, names and data were fictionalized, and elements were intentionally edited to be less mature, less beneficial, or missing in order for this case study to be scored lower by a team of examiners than the real application likely would be scored and thus provide more training opportunities.

    Adapted by volunteer Baldrige examiner Linda Martin, with her colleague Diane Brockmeier and the staff of 2015 Baldrige Award recipient Mid-America Transplant, LOTS depicts an organization dedicated to saving and improving lives through the coordination of organ and tissue donation. It is a 25-year-old nonprofit that serves 3.2 million people within the fictitious states of North Takoma and South Takoma. The delivery of services for two work systems requires the careful coordination of partners, collaborators, and key suppliers, and a partnership model is key to ensure that organs and tissues are always available for the organization’s key customers. LOTS is a 24/7, heavily regulated business, in which many of the employees are decentralized.

    You can learn how LOTS scored in an assessment against the 2019–2020 Baldrige Excellence Framework through the following free, downloadable resources related to the LOTS Case Study:

    The 2019 LifeBridge Organ and Tissue Sharing Consensus Scorebook (Word) was produced by a team of Baldrige master examiners (Scott Rogers [team leader], Bill Craddock, Pattie Curtis, Melanie Hatch, Ashley Holroyd, Pat Lapekas, and Deb McBride) who evaluated the fictitious organization against the Criteria. The Baldrige Program is especially grateful to this team of volunteers for the extraordinary efforts they undertook to work on the project with limited resources and guidance during the federal government shutdown in late 2018 through early 2019.

    This scorebook also includes insights gleaned from Baldrige examiners who participated in the 2019 Baldrige examiner preparatory class.

    The 2019 LifeBridge Organ and Tissue Sharing Feedback Report (Word) shows the scorebook comments in the format of the reports received by actual Baldrige Award applicants at the end of the annual evaluation process.

    Beyond learning from best practices and other examples in this case study, organizations that wish to get started with Baldrige-based performance improvement can access sector-specific resources online at “Baldrige by Sector” and basic ideas for how to get started using the Baldrige framework.

    Since 1987, the Baldrige Program has produced case studies that describe how fictitious organizations are fulfilling the requirements of the excellence framework and continually improving in challenging situations and economies. The case studies rotate sectors to show examples for a variety of organizations using the three versions of the Baldrige Excellence Framework: Business/Nonprofit, Health Care, and Education.

    Additional Baldrige case studies are available for free downloading in the Baldrige materials archive.


  3. Not Yet Using the Baldrige Excellence Framework? Five Ways Forward

    by BPIR.com Limited

    Article contributed originally posted by Christine Schaefer on Blogrige

    Here you are, on the website of the national Baldrige Performance Excellence Program—source of the regularly updated, widely validated leadership-and-management-strengthening tool known as the Baldrige Excellence Framework (which includes the Criteria for Performance Excellence).

    Are you already using this comprehensive self-assessment guide to strengthen your organization’s performance?

    If not, would you like to benefit from improvements and innovation in your approaches to leadership, strategy, customers, knowledge management and performance measurement, workforce, operations—and get better results in all these areas?

    Begin Using the Baldrige Excellence Framework
    Try one, more, or all of the following five ways to begin to use the Baldrige framework to advance your organization’s long-term success:

    1. As a foundational step toward completing a Baldrige self-assessment, read and respond to the questions of the Organizational Profile, the prefatory section of the Criteria for Performance Excellence. You can download this resource (PDF file) for free.
    2. Begin thinking about your organization’s responses to the Baldrige Excellence Builder—which contains the higher-level questions from the full Criteria for Performance Excellence. You can download the free PDF or order packets of ten copies (for example, for your organization leadership team).
    3. Read accounts of how organizations in different sectors and industries have used the Baldrige framework, learning tips and role-model practices of Baldrige Award recipients. You’ll find many of these stories here on Blogrige. Are you getting these blogs delivered right to your inbox on Tuesdays and Thursdays? Besides reading them on the home page of the Baldrige website, you can subscribe for free to receive these blogs by email.
    4. Attend the Baldrige Program’s annual best-practice-sharing conference, the Quest for Excellence® conference, held every spring. There you will hear high-performing organizations (recent Baldrige Award recipients) tell the stories of how they improved their performance using the Baldrige framework, and presenters will answer your specific questions. Learn more details about the next conference and register.
    5. Participate in Baldrige examiner training. You don’t have to be a Baldrige examiner to sign up for the Baldrige Examiner Training Experience (BETE). Non-examiner participants in this training can learn how to evaluate an organization using the Baldrige framework and assessment process in a classroom alongside current Baldrige examiners. The annual three-day training sessions are traditionally held in May in Gaithersburg (MD).
    6. These are certainly not the only ways to learn more about using the Baldrige framework. You can also read Baldrige case studies in your sector and application summaries of Baldrige Award recipients to see how they have responded to the Criteria for Performance Excellence. And get involved with your local/regional Baldrige-based training and award program to begin improving your organization with Baldrige Criteria-based assessments, training, and tools.

      Baldrige Award recipients, Baldrige examiners, and other seasoned Baldrige framework users: What other ways do you recommend that organizations get started?


  4. Best Practices Identified Along the Way

    May 28, 2019 by BPIR.com Limited

    Article contributed orginally posted by Dawn Bailey on Blogrige

    Imagine that your organization is identified as a role-model for the United States. After the well-earned celebration, would you sit on your laurels or look for new ways to continuously improve to find new best practices to adapt, implement, and share.

    Bristol Tennessee Essential Services (BTES), a 2017 Baldrige Award recipient, never stopped on its journey of continuous improvement, and at the upcoming Quest for Excellence® Conference in April, Leslie Blevins, public relations and communications manager, will share some best practices in a session titled “Our Journey and Best Practices Identified Along the Way.”

    In a recent exchange (captured below), Blevins described her upcoming presentation and her perspective on the Baldrige Framework.

    What will participants learn at your conference session?

    BTES has been on a journey of continuous improvement for over thirty years—and we’ve learned a lot! I’ll be sharing our journey during my session and talking about our biggest lessons learned. Participants will learn ideas on how to implement their values, create a focus for their entire organization, and manage customer inquiries, among other topics. We will also discuss BTES’s high workforce retention rates and performance appraisal process.

    What are your top tips for using Baldrige resources?

    One of the first things that we suggest to organizations is to become involved with your state or regional Baldrige-based program. (See Alliance for Performance Excellence.) We have seen the great value in sending employees each year to be on the Board of Examiners with our state program—the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence. If a company is interested in Baldrige, having someone on its staff trained as an examiner is the first step. Second, for BTES,

    Baldrige isn’t just a tool we use. It is how we run our business.

    The good thing about Baldrige is that it can work for any business at any stage. If you are just starting out with Baldrige, start with the Organizational Profile and work your way in. Don’t feel like you have to answer every single question the first time.

    Third—and this is one of the things that we will discuss during my session—create a focus for your organization. We do a lot of things at BTES, and prior to us creating what we call our “Key Success Factors,” we didn’t have a way to tie everything together. (Think of that arrow graphic in the Baldrige Framework [Steps toward Mature Processes] that discusses integration—our arrows were pointing in every direction.) Once we created a focus around safety, reliability, and financial outcomes, we were able to quickly align our processes and integrate everything we do back to what is most important to us.

    What’s happened at your organization since receiving the Baldrige Award?

    We’ve continued to improve. We’ve continued striving towards excellence. The moment we think that we’ve hit the pinnacle is the moment we start rolling down the hill, so we keep pushing, keep improving. As we move along in our journey, we will continue to fill out a Baldrige application every year to use internally so that we never back up, never lose our momentum in moving forward, in getting better. Being the best and exceeding our customers’ expectations means that every day we’ve got to be better today than we were yesterday and better tomorrow than we are today.

    Can you share an example of your success?

    BTES continues to look at how we can improve our products and services. We currently offer Internet speeds of 10 Gigabits per second to our customers, which is available to every business and home in our service area. Our focus on improvement shows in our safety results, our continued decrease of electric outage minutes, and our superior financial and marketplace results, which have left over $70 million in our customers’ pockets over the last 40 years.

    What do you think are a few key reasons that organizations in your sector can benefit from using the Baldrige Excellence Framework?

    The Baldrige Framework asks really good questions. Answering those questions makes an organization take a hard look at what it is doing and why. Other utilities could benefit from using the Framework because it helps to standardize processes, put a focus on the organization’s customers, and ask for data to back up decision making. The Framework takes an organization from reacting to problems as they arise to being proactive in improvements.


  5. Spotlight on 2018 Baldrige Award Recipient Leaders: IPM’s C. Richard Panico

    May 27, 2019 by BPIR.com Limited

    Article contributed orginally posted by Christine Schaefer on Blogrige

    In 1988, when C. Richard Panico founded Integrated Project Management Company, Inc., it was the first project management consulting firm in the United States. As IPM president and CEO, Panico has helped evolve the discipline of project management while creating proprietary methodologies to supplement the practice.

    IPM’s relationship-driven approach is evident in Panico’s own actions: he personally logged 321 contacts with customers in one recent year. This customer focus has led to results such as overall satisfaction scores of 9 out of 10 in post-service survey responses from customers, as well as an average customer satisfaction rate of 99 percent for the most recent three calendar years. The company’s annual revenue increased more than 60 percent over the four years preceding its Baldrige Award in 2018.

    In April, Panico will officially accept this Presidential award—the nation’s highest honor for organizational excellence. Consequently, at the Baldrige Program’s 31st Annual Quest for Excellence® Conference, Panico and other IPM leaders will present processes and practices that have helped the small business become a high-performing role model for U.S. organizations.

    In the following interview, Panico describes the focus of his upcoming Quest presentation on leadership, highlights how the Baldrige Excellence Framework has supported IPM’s journey to excellence, and gives four reasons why other organizations can also benefit from using the framework to improve their performance.

    In 1988, when C. Richard Panico founded Integrated Project Management Company, Inc., it was the first project management consulting firm in the United States. As IPM president and CEO, Panico has helped evolve the discipline of project management while creating proprietary methodologies to supplement the practice.

    IPM’s relationship-driven approach is evident in Panico’s own actions: he personally logged 321 contacts with customers in one recent year. This customer focus has led to results such as overall satisfaction scores of 9 out of 10 in post-service survey responses from customers, as well as an average customer satisfaction rate of 99 percent for the most recent three calendar years. The company’s annual revenue increased more than 60 percent over the four years preceding its Baldrige Award in 2018.

    In April, Panico will officially accept this Presidential award—the nation’s highest honor for organizational excellence. Consequently, at the Baldrige Program’s 31st Annual Quest for Excellence® Conference, Panico and other IPM leaders will present processes and practices that have helped the small business become a high-performing role model for U.S. organizations.

    In the following interview, Panico describes the focus of his upcoming Quest presentation on leadership, highlights how the Baldrige Excellence Framework has supported IPM’s journey to excellence, and gives four reasons why other organizations can also benefit from using the framework to improve their performance.

    Congratulations as your organization will be officially receiving its Baldrige Award at the ceremony this spring! Do you wish to share how you feel about this great achievement or how you or other employees reacted when you heard the news of winning the award?

    Achieving the Baldrige Award was our Superbowl!

    Our people were ecstatic when they heard the news. It is the highlight of an obsessive journey to improve every aspect of our business. More important, it validates the high-performance caliber of our people and the effectiveness of IPM’s business model and processes. Together these have enabled our evolution, sustained growth, and competitiveness. It places us in a distinguished group of other high-performing enterprises and further differentiates IPM.

    Would you please describe the topic of your leadership presentation at the upcoming Quest conference?

    The title of my presentation is “Essential Leadership: Inspiring Culture, Strategy, Execution, and Evolution.” The presentation is focused to emphasizing the leadership’s deep and critical role in establishing and sustaining a culture that drives both professional behavior and sustainable organizational high performance.

    An organization is part of a complex ecosystem of people and processes that—when properly focused through clearly stated values, a vision, a strategy, and a construct of well-defined and executed initiatives—continually evolves and even transforms to remain relevant and competitive. This ecosystem is enabled or hindered by leadership.

    How has the Baldrige Excellence Framework contributed to your organization’s success? Would you please share an example or two of Baldrige-based best practices at your organization and/or tips for using the Baldrige framework?

    As our organization has been focused on continuous improvement since its inception, the Baldrige Excellence Framework has motivated us to be more deliberate in assessing every aspect of the business. It helped us apply a higher level of scrutiny to our performance across every function and accelerated the development of more insightful key performance indicators (KPIs).

    IPM’s best practices include developing and sustaining a values-based, high-performing culture and strategic planning and execution.

    For organizations planning to use the Baldrige framework, it is important to recognize that this journey will require dedicated, focused resources. Like any other major initiative, it requires a strong leader, a well-orchestrated plan, and dedication to maintain momentum. It is best to understand the framework well before launching the journey. This is best accomplished by having the lead person and core team participate in examiner training; this will provide invaluable insight. Executive sponsorship/encouragement throughout the journey is also a critical requirement.

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

    They can

    • Develop a better understanding of constraints to performance
    • Gain insight to competitors and competitive influences
    • Improve the quality and application of KPIs to aid a real-time understanding of business performance and, therefore, decision making
    • Improve strategy to drive greater and sustainable growth and profitability

    IPM is a privately held business consulting company with 182 employees. Headquartered in Burr Ridge, Illinois, the small business has seven locations throughout the United States. It offers specialized services in ten areas essential to its targeted industries, which are life sciences, consumer products, industrial products, and health care. Beyond manufacturing-related projects, IPM has greatly expanded its range of project services over the past three decades to encompass areas such as organizational strategy and operational improvement initiatives.