1. Is Johnny Carson to Blame for the 1973 Toilet Paper Shortage? How Could Baldrige Help Manufacturers Prepare for the Next Panic-purchases?

    June 3, 2020 by BPIR.com Limited

    Originally posted on blogrige by Harry Hertz

    My fascination with toilet paper
    I will answer the questions posed in the title to this posting, but first a little history. I guess my fascination with toilet paper began in the early 1970’s while living in Europe. I had an occasion to use the toilet while riding British rails and was fascinated by two aspects of the toilet paper. First the paper itself was waxed on one side and coarse on the other. But even more fascinating was that each sheet was imprinted “On Her Majesty’s Service.” Far be it from me to question Her Majesty! The second experience was visiting a little town in Italy and going to a restroom where the toilet paper really was squares of an old newspaper hung up by a piece of string through a hole in the sheets.

    Fast forward to the gasoline shortage in the U.S. in the 1970’s. There was a simultaneous shortage of toilet paper. Why? According to CBS News, a Congressman from Wisconsin released a statement saying, “The next thing we’re gonna have to worry about is a potential toilet paper shortage.” Tonight Show writers picked this up and wrote it into Johnny Carson’s monologue for Dec. 19, 1973, omitting the word “potential.” That sent his audience of nearly 20 million people to the supermarkets and the rest is history. About a month later Carson issued a correction, “For all my life in entertainment, I don’t want to be remembered as the man who created a false toilet paper scare. Apparently there is no shortage!”

    So, what is the cause of today’s shortage?
    As best I can tell from reading numerous reports there are two contributing causes. According to Time and psychologist Baruch Fischhoff, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, when people experience a shortage of certain foods they can always substitute. But that leads to thinking about things that don’t have substitutes. When it is a primal need, like toilet paper, we run to the stores and guarantee our personal supply. The same reaction occurs in advance of a snowstorm. However, since that is a regional event supplies can be quickly replenished.

    The second contributing cause is families staying at home and not going to work or school. According to Georgia-Pacific, a leading U.S. toilet paper manufacturer, 40% of toilet paper use normally occurs outside the home. The problem is that the paper manufacturing industry works on tight margins and commercial toilet paper is different in make-up and packaging than home-use toilet paper. Making a shift in existing assembly lines is difficult.

    So, how could Baldrige help?
    Today, it’s toilet paper. But could your product face a shortage one day due to circumstances beyond your control? The Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence ask a number of relevant questions that can help manufacturers prepare for unexpected runs on their products:

    • Item 3.1 is about listening to customers and determining their product and service needs.
      Specific questions ask how you determine customer and market needs for product offerings. Also, how you adapt product offerings to meet the requirements and exceed customer group and market segment expectations. Before a shortage strikes your product, could you prepare some flexible manufacturing lines or alternative packaging and delivery options?
    • Item 4.2 is about managing information and organizational learning.
      Specific questions address assembling and transferring relevant knowledge for use in innovation and strategic planning. Also, how you embed learning in the way your organization operates. Are you incorporating information and knowledge from other instances of shortages in your planning processes?
    • Item 6.1 is about designing, managing, and improving key products and work processes.
      Specific questions address designing products and work processes to incorporate organizational knowledge, consideration of risk, and the potential need for agility into products and processes.
    • Item 6.2 is about effective management of operations.
      Specific questions address how your organization prepares for disasters or emergencies. It asks how your disaster emergency preparedness system considers prevention, continuity of operations, and recovery. It also asks about how your system takes your reliance on workforce, partners, and your supply network into account.

    These are not easy questions to address in low-margin industries. While I may be biased, I believe the Baldrige Criteria questions could help your organization and industry be better prepared for disasters and emergencies in the future and avoid shortages?

    Oh, and one final smile for those who haven’t heard it, my neighbors’ yard got TP’d yesterday and their real estate value immediately went up $10,000.

    Stay well!


  2. Learning from Role Models: Category 1: Leadership

    June 2, 2020 by BPIR.com Limited

    Originally posted on blogrige by Dawn Bailey

    Baldrige Criteria Blog Series
    In this blog series, we are highlighting some of the learning (successful strategies and programs) shared by Baldrige Award recipients to highlight the categories of the Baldrige Criteria and how your organization might consider using them as inspiration.

    What is Category 1?

    Category 1 of the Baldrige Criteria covers your organization’s leadership.

    Category 1: Leadership
    This category asks how senior leaders’ personal actions and your governance system guide and sustain your organization. It asks about the key aspects of your senior leaders’ responsibilities, with the aim of creating an organization that is successful now and in the future. It also asks how the organization ensures that everyone in the organization behaves legally and ethically, how it fulfills its societal contributions, and how it supports its key communities.

    Baldrige Award Recipient Best Practices
    Following are some leadership practices shared by Baldrige Award recipients (Donor Alliance, Mary Greeley Medical Center, and Tri County Tech) in the realms of supporting a mission-driven workforce, reinforcing culture, setting expectations, fulfilling societal contributions, and supporting key communities. What could your organization learn/adapt?

    Donor Alliance
    2018 Baldrige Award Recipient, Nonprofit

    Successful nonprofit organizations know that a workforce committed to the mission is one element of success; Donor Alliance, the third largest U.S. organ procurement organization by geographic service area, knows that a commitment to mission is everything.

    In the year Donor Alliance received the Baldrige Award, 100% of staff members indicated that they understood how their jobs helped the organization achieve success. Also, staff members consistently reported that they understood the company’s plans for future success and how their work supports that success.

    Senior leaders demonstrate a commitment to the mission at every opportunity. Each organizational presentation begins with review of the mission, vision, and values (MVV). To ensure transparency, senior leaders communicate key decisions to help staff understand the reason for and impact of them. Engagement is partly measured by staff members demonstrating a widespread awareness, understanding, and connection to the MVV, along with how their own personal objectives contribute to fulfilling the organization’s mission to save lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation.

    Senior leaders also emphasize the mission-driven culture by inviting donor families and organ/tissue recipients to share their stories during quarterly all-staff meetings. These stories provide employees with a clear connection of their work to achieving the mission.

    The organization’s approaches for creating an environment for success have undergone multiple refinements. Most recently, an Integration Team was created to improve and integrate approaches for strategy development, innovation, and knowledge management. In 2018, based on the Integration Team’s feedback to senior leaders, the organization moved to an integrated platform to manage both organizational strategic and individual performance.

    The deployment of strategic objectives, strategic goals, and action plans strengthens alignment from individual employees to the organization’s objectives and mission. Leaders review personal goal progress with each employee during monthly 1:1 meetings.

    In addition, the Organizational Rhythm integrates all of these approaches together to help the organization focus on the actions to stay mission-driven and meet the goals of the strategic plan. The Organizational Rhythm provides the structure for how Donor Alliance tracks, evaluates, and improves key systems, processes, and deployment of key approaches throughout the organization.

    Mary Greeley Medical Center
    2019 Baldrige Award Recipient, Health Care

    The tag line “Doing What’s Right” for Mary Greeley Medical Center (MGMC) not only captures a key characteristic of the organization’s culture but makes clear the expectations that senior leaders have not only for their staff but for themselves. As part of the culture, leaders reinforce the tag line through the Patient and Family Advisory Council, where patients and families share their views of “what’s right” and learn about and contribute to important changes; in leaders’ visits to patients on care units and to employees in their work environments; and through leaders’ participation in improvement events. The tag line reinforces MGMC’s mission, vision, and values (MVV) and supports a culture where employees are empowered to continuously improve their work and to do what’s right.

    Senior leaders systematically set, communicate, and deploy the MVV through the Leadership System, which is aligned with the requirements of patients, other customers, and stakeholders. Leaders personally and regularly share the vision and values with the workforce, medical staff, and key suppliers and partners. In addition, senior leaders recognize employees for exhibiting the MVV in their daily work and send personal thank-you notes to employees’ homes.

    The personal actions of senior leaders reflect a commitment to the organization’s values through listening to staff members’ concerns and accomplishments, through fair and respectful two-way communication, and through CEO-led employee focus groups. Respect is reinforced through communication and support of engaging those closest to the work to be innovative in the design and re-design of their work and through sharing progress with all employees.

    In 2017, MGMC adopted the Big Dot Goal philosophy to create laser focus on action required to achieve key organizational strategies (reduce preventable harm, improve inpatient experience, increase employee engagement, and achieve operating margin). The philosophy ensures that senior leaders create and reinforce a culture of doing what’s right. Each vice president is assigned a Big Dot Goal based on his/her area of responsibility, and he/she brings progress-to-plan on the goal to monthly meetings. The Big Dot Goals and leader assignment of such are aligned with the organization’s performance management system and are cascaded throughout the organization and hardwired into daily operations through the senior leader strategic plan review, leader monthly meeting model, Leader Business Review, and workforce Big Dot Goal cards to support operational decision making.

    Tri County Tech
    2018 Baldrige Award Recipient, Education

    Tri County Tech (TCT) contributes to society by providing education for a skilled workforce and preparing students for continuing education. TCT resides in one of the most poverty-stricken U.S. states, but the school offers students hope by breaking the cycle of poverty through placement in good jobs and opportunities for continuing education.

    TCT makes every effort to provide opportunities that help students reach their goals. The Tri County Foundation provides opportunities and financial assistance that allow students to be successful in their selected programs of study. The foundation’s goal is “No student should be denied access to education due to their ability to pay.” TCT created a process through its Student Success Advisors for disadvantaged students to receive financial assistance, including funding for eye exams, gas cards, and monies for needed medication and even food, a most basic need that is sometimes not easily obtained.

    Societal well-being and benefit are part of TCT’s overall strategy, aligning with its value of investing in the community and its core competency of economic and community development. TCT has two employee-led standing committees: the Community Relations Committee and Bright Ideas Committee.

    The Community Relations Committee’s focus is aligned with the value of investing in the community. The committee leads the process for selecting and prioritizing societal well-being efforts. The process has four steps:

    1. Determine the top-three fundraising events and volunteer activities to be supported by TCT’s workforce.
    2. Expect each workforce member to perform a minimum of 16 community service hours, which is included in his/her individual action plans, with eight of those hours during paid time-off. (A key performance measure of the Operational Plan is for 100% of the workforce to attain community service goals.)
    3. Analyze the results of TCT’s community involvement.
    4. Make recommendations for improvements that will lead to the selection of future fundraising events and volunteer activities.

    Community interest and concerns are addressed through meetings with partner schools, towns, and the Board of Education. In full transparency, senior leaders share organizational performance through measurement and reporting systems, monthly Superintendent Forums attended by all employees, and workgroup-level communications. In the year TCT received the Baldrige Award, more than 300 workforce members and students volunteered for United Way’s Day of Caring, making TCT the largest contingent of volunteers from one organization.


  3. How the Baldrige Framework Helps a Small Business Excel

    May 15, 2020 by BPIR.com Limited

    Orginially posted on Bolgrige by Christine Schaefer

    It’s easy to love a well-run small business! Who doesn’t admire seeing even the smallest mom-and-pop-run enterprise in your community demonstrating and fostering entrepreneurialism, innovation, and other essential aspects of the American ethos? Who doesn’t feel moved by the unique and important role small businesses often play in supporting the local economy and community life?

    One example of such a small business is Integrated Project Management Company (IPM)—an Illinois-based small business that earned the Baldrige Award in 2018 for its outstanding practices in all seven areas of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence (leadership, strategy, customers, performance measurement/analysis/improvement and information/knowledge management, workforce, operations, and results).

    Founded in 1988 as the first project management consulting firm in the nation, IPM has expanded its focus over the years beyond manufacturing-related projects to offer specialized services in ten areas of organizational management for clients in the fields of life sciences and health care as well as consumer and industrial products. Demonstrating a commitment to the vitality of local communities, IPM has a philanthropic arm called Project Mercy that provides financial and volunteer assistance to support children, veterans, education, disease research, and homeless people in the areas where the company’s employees work and live.

    I recently asked Larry Meyer, managing director of knowledge and process management at IPM, to share how the company has benefited—in good times and bad—from its use of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence as a leadership and management framework.

    “For more than 30 years, we’ve been helping companies accomplish their most complex and critical initiatives,” said Meyer. “We applied the same best practices and principles on our Baldrige journey—and we continue to apply them now.”

    The Q&A below capture the rest of the conversation with Meyer.

    What are some challenges IPM is facing today and how do Baldrige-based practices help you address them?

    At this time, our first challenge is making sure that our IPM family is healthy and safe, including that they are well-informed and can continue to work effectively. Like many businesses, we’ve had clients shift their priorities. Some are delaying engagements, but others are counting on us to help them execute their most important initiatives, especially if those initiatives have changed, whether that be temporarily or permanently.

    Our continuous-improvement efforts over the past few years, framed by our Baldrige journey, have helped position IPM for the recent disruption. For example, IT security enhancements enable our consultants to protect client information and communications from their homes. Our internal feedback loops— thanks to an OFI [opportunity for improvement] uncovered in the [Baldrige Award] application process—have helped the executive team make decisions with the most current information from the staff.

    We know that if we focus on our core competencies, applying best practices and continuous improvement, we’ll come out of this current situation even stronger.

    What are some examples of IPM’s best practices and how they’ve benefited your management consulting business?

    IPM benefited from applying our Strategy Realization Model—our process for developing strategic imperatives, ensuring that they’re aligned to our mission and vision, and then executing on the programs and projects that support those imperatives—to our Baldrige journey. Along the way, [Baldrige Award] application feedback then helped us improve our model.

    It is important to run the Baldrige journey as a program, or a group of related projects. We established a Program Management Office and a detailed phased approach, including a dedicated manager and focused core team, project charters and schedules, and a change management and communication plan. For example, OFIs were addressed as projects, and they were prioritized against each other and against daily responsibilities.

    One of our lessons learned was that we needed to better define our KPIs [key performance indicators]. We measure a lot of things, and it’s important to do so. But we had to evaluate which metrics truly drive performance.

    As we’ve embraced the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence in the way we work and think about the business, we continue to look for gaps and OFIs and then apply strong project management processes to address them.

    What are your top tips for introducing or sustaining use of the Baldrige Excellence Framework (including the Criteria for Performance Excellence) to promote a small business’s success?

    1. Make it a big deal. We rang a bell each time we identified an improvement. Then we brought those bells to the Baldrige Award ceremony as our noise makers. To keep the core team and the whole organization engaged, we created branding for communications that showed a school bus and stated, “Get on the bus!”
    2. Continue to challenge the organization. The application process itself was not easy, but some of the things we learned have helped our business. For instance, we had to find sources of competitive data; not only do we continue to rate ourselves using those benchmarks, but we also continue to seek new competitive data. Our discipline around maintaining records has improved, and online dashboards have improved data access.
    3. Most important, embrace ADLI [the Baldrige evaluation factors of Approach-Deployment-Learning-Integration] as a framework for assessing processes across the organization. Use of the ADLI framework has improved our ability to be self-critical of our processes and continues to be a great mindset for us to apply as we go forward on our Baldrige journey.

    What do you view as key reasons or ways that organizations of your size or sector can benefit from using the Baldrige framework?

    IPM’s primary reason for embarking on the journey was to improve our performance, competitiveness, and sustainability. To us, the benefits of the Baldrige framework are clear: It will enable sustained growth, competitiveness, and differentiation by validating our high performance, giving visibility into areas that we need to improve, and providing an enhanced measurement framework.

    Any organizations that want to continuously improve their processes would benefit from a framework that evaluates every critical element of a business. For small or immature companies, it is an excellent process for establishing a model and practices that will support strategy development. It will help organizations remove the obstacles to growth, profitability, differentiation, quality, and more. For more mature companies, it provides a means to accelerate growth and competitiveness.

    To us, the benefits of the Baldrige framework are clear: It will enable sustained growth, competitiveness, and differentiation by validating our high performance, giving visibility into areas that we need to improve, and providing an enhanced measurement framework.

    What is your “elevator pitch” about the Baldrige framework and/or assessment approach? In other words, what would you say to a group of senior leaders of a business who are not familiar with the Baldrige framework if you had 1-2 minutes to tell them something about it?

    IPM’s most important competitive advantages are culture and quality. The Baldrige framework provides next-level continuous improvement to help sustain our values-based culture and enhance quality by providing an objective analysis, finding hidden gaps, and demanding better measures.

    When did you first hear about the Baldrige framework? What were your initial thoughts or “aha” moments as you began learning about it?

    We understood it would be a huge undertaking. IPM has always been process-oriented, but pursuing the journey was not an easy decision. Because it would be a lot of work on top of managing our client engagements and growing the business, we considered it and deferred it several times. But, ultimately, we wanted to take our continuous improvement to the next level.

    How did you/your colleagues feel after winning the Baldrige Award?

    We felt proud and excited—and relieved! It took a while to fully understand and absorb the special recognition and broad impact it would have on the organization. Once it sunk in, we celebrated. At our all-staff meeting, we showed a fun slide show about IPM’s Baldrige journey, including some of those statistics. And when the award arrived, we all gathered in the reception area to watch as it was opened and placed on display.

    How has your perception of the Baldrige community changed since your organization became a Baldrige Award recipient? Have you received any particularly interesting calls from others asking you to share or benchmark with their organizations?

    We’ve had many speaking engagements and calls to share benchmarking. Some have asked us to help them, and we’ve worked on a few projects related to other organizations’ Baldrige initiatives. Some have asked what the “secret sauce” to winning is. We tell them there is no easy route; you have to put the effort in, have discipline, and manage expectations. It’s a journey, not a destination. We recently got a request from a Chinese college professor authoring a new management book to use our Baldrige application details in his book.

    What else would you like to share about your experience with Baldrige and/or winning the Baldrige Award?

    I mentioned above that we measure everything. Here are some of our Baldrige journey metrics:

    • 4.5 years on our Baldrige journey
    • ~8,000 hours of work invested
    • 133 figures included in our Baldrige Award application
    • 300+ documents provided to Baldrige examiners
    • 58% of IPM employees interviewed by Baldrige examiners

  4. Learning from Role Models: Category 5: Workforce

    May 14, 2020 by BPIR.com Limited

    Originally posted on Blogrige by Dawn Bailey

    Baldrige Criteria Blog Series
    In this blog series, we are highlighting some of the learning (successful strategies and programs) shared by Baldrige Award recipients to highlight the categories of the Baldrige Criteria and how your organization might consider using them as inspiration.

    Part of the purpose of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Improvement Act of 1987 (Public Law 100-107) is to disseminate information about the successful strategies and programs of Baldrige Award-winning organizations that “practice effective quality management and as a result make significant improvements in the quality of their goods and services.” Such sharing by Baldrige Award recipients is done at the Quest for Excellence® Conference, as well as at the Baldrige Fall Conference. Baldrige Award recipients also often host sharing days after their wins to share best practices.

    What is Category 5?
    Category 5 of the Baldrige Criteria covers your organization’s workforce.

    Category 5: Workforce
    This category addresses key workforce practices—those directed toward creating and maintaining a high?performance environment and toward engaging your workforce to enable it and your organization to adapt to change and succeed.

    Category 5 asks about your workforce capability and capacity needs, how you meet those needs to accomplish your organization’s work, and how you ensure a supportive work climate. You are also asked about your systems for managing workforce performance and developing your workforce members to enable and encourage all of them to contribute effectively and to the best of their ability.

    Baldrige Award Recipient Best Practices
    Following are some practices shared by Baldrige Award recipients (Adventist Health White Memorial, Howard Community College, and Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund) in the realms of workforce capability and capacity, support, engagement, performance development, and learning. What could your organization learn/adapt?

    Adventist Health White Memorial
    2019 Baldrige Award Recipient, Health Care

    In alignment with its community-based vision, Adventist Health White Memorial (AHWM) ensures health, wholeness, and hope by focusing on people.

    For example, in addition to programs to support community members (e.g., employing a former gang member to serve as a 24/7 gang liaison, raising more than $1 million through annual employee giving, and offering literal “showers of hope” for homeless community members), AHWM ensures that its clinical staff are supported and retained.

    Nurses
    Over nearly two decades, AHWM has worked closely with its partners in the Hispanic-majority community to train local residents in nursing. AHWM’s Health Careers Pathway Partnerships with local high schools and colleges provide mentorship opportunities through hands-on activities, leadership development programs, and community service projects. Almost half the nursing scholarships awarded since 2018 went to residents in AHWM’s impoverished service area, resulting in a nursing staff that reflects the demographics (including culture and preferred language) of the community. Of more than 224 local trainees since the year AHWM won the Baldrige Award, 100% received registered nurse licensing, 70% pursued advanced degrees, and 90% stayed at AHWM for more than three years.

    Physicians
    Associate retention is part of a five-year core strategy called Business Transformation. To support ongoing retention, an Engagement Council monitors associate retention data (in measures of capability and capacity) and shares best practices among departments. In addition, a culture of empowerment promotes shared governance, an evidence-based practice that promotes joint accountability and responsibility for making decisions that affect work, including patient outcomes.

    As a result of a focus on retention and culture, performance is at or very near the top quartile nationally for physician engagement factors, including for highly satisfied patients, according to a third-party physician engagement survey. In addition, AHWM’s medical resident retention rate has increased consistently at levels better than competing, regional hospitals since 2014, from 6% in 2014 to more than 40% in 2019.

    Howard Community College
    2019 Baldrige Award Recipient, Education

    For 11 years in a row, Howard Community College (HCC) has been named a “Great College To Work For” (GCTWF) by the Chronicle of Higher Education based on employee ratings of collaborative governance, compensation and benefits, confidence in senior leadership, diversity, facilities, security, professional development, respect/appreciation, and work/life balance. This is not an easy feat, as HCC is one of only two community colleges in the nation to be recognized as a GCTWF in every year possible.

    HCC says this honor was accomplished by crafting and nurturing its workforce through

    • Capability and capacity planning (e.g., through multi-year staffing plans, cross-functional teams, and robust surveys),
    • Recruitment (e.g., through local, regional, and national searches),
    • ?Onboarding (e.g., through new employee info sessions, a buddy system, and a three-year development program for new faculty),
    • Focusing on the drivers of engagement (e.g., through a merit system, 360-degree feedback, and faculty MAPs), and
    • Refining and improving the drivers of engagement (e.g., through professional development, faculty mentoring, and professional learning communities).

    In alignment with nurturing the workforce, processes are reviewed for continuous improvements and have resulted in the college adding behavioral interviewing training for supervisors, a new initiative to measure the engagement of minority employees, and a new employee web page. As a result, HCC’s overall turnover rate—defined as the number of full-time workforce employees who leave the college because of resignation, retirement, dismissal, or reorganization—was 6% better in the year it received the Baldrige Award than the Bureau of National Affairs annualized national rate.

    In addition, the college’s effort to increase diversity in the employee applicant pool by targeting advertisements and announcements to minority-specific groups has resulted in a minority draw rate 3% higher than the minority population of the area it serves. In fall 2018, the percentage of minorities among full-time faculty was 28.4% and among administrative/professional staff was 31.9%–both the highest figures since records have been kept.

    Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund
    2019 Baldrige Award Recipient, Nonprofit

    Performance management is just one of the 10 drivers of employee engagement for which the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) equals or outperforms the top 25% on a national survey; other drivers for which IMRF excels are empowerment, culture, customer focus, rewards and recognition, co-worker relationships, department relationships, company potential, manager relationships, and senior manager relationships.

    One of the ways that IMRF supports high performance is through its six-step Performance Management System, which also leverages compensation, reward, recognition, and incentive practices.

    1. Clarify expectations: Expectations for high-performance are communicated through job descriptions and performance standards. Standards are aligned with customer and business requirements such as accuracy and timeliness.
    2. Evaluate performance: Part of mid-year and annual reviews is goal accomplishment, which is aligned with action plans and set to achieve top-decile performance.
    3. Provide feedback: Feedback is aligned with the Leadership Scorecard and action plan performance measures. Voice-of-the-customer surveys provide another source of feedback to coach/train staff. As part of feedback and to reinforce intelligent risk taking, staff suggest improvements and participate in strength-weakness-opportunity-threat analyses.
    4. Recognize performance: Recognition is provided through “Kudos” awards, as well as town hall meetings, service anniversary celebrations, staff emails, and newsletters.
    5. Appraise performance: All staff receive a written performance appraisal that includes an evaluation of performance for the past year and goals for the next year. New hires receive a written appraisal at three months, mid-year, and annually. Appraisal forms are aligned with the key results areas of the Strategic Plan and Leadership Scorecard.
    6. Compensation: Since 2015, IMRF has been using a methodology to assess the compensation level of non-exempt staff based on years in role relative to the mid-point. This evaluation is completed annually to ensure appropriate placement within the salary range and helps to maintain internal equity.

  5. Insights from Baldrige Award-Winning University’s New Chancellor

    May 2, 2020 by BPIR.com Limited

    Originally posted on Blogrige by Christine Schaefer

    Nearly two decades ago, the University of Wisconsin-Stout (UW-Stout) became the nation’s first four-year university to earn the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. A few years ago, we interviewed leaders of the state polytechnic university so we could share how they’ve continued to leverage the Baldrige framework for continuous improvement and innovation.

    As a new chancellor assumed leadership of UW-Stout this year, we asked her about her views and aims for the Baldrige Award-winning university in regard to continuous improvement and excellence. The interview with UW-Stout Chancellor Dr. Katherine Frank follows.

    Could you please tell us about your past organizational leadership experiences and how you aim to benefit UW-Stout?

    I have spent my career in higher education at public, comprehensive universities. I began as an assistant professor of English and director of composition, and I took a traditional leadership route through academic affairs: department chair, dean, provost, chancellor. One of my profound leadership experiences was serving as faculty senate president at Colorado State University-Pueblo during a time when complex issues were discussed and long-lasting decisions were made. That experience strengthened my commitment to visionary, transparent leadership and to inclusive decision making and an organizational culture that builds trust and confidence.

    I am most proud of my involvement in decisions that continue to positively impact institutions and communities. For example, I hired several personnel who have become exceptional leaders, and I initiated the formation of the School of the Arts at Northern Kentucky University and the creation of an associate provost of extended learning and outreach [position] at Central Washington University. The former has strengthened fundraising, programs, and visibility, and the latter has improved online programming and outreach efforts.

    The effectiveness and uniqueness of the institution is truly the sum of its parts. As a result, I believe effective leadership depends on reciprocal relationships across the institution’s internal and external network, as well as on valuing people to leverage everyone’s passions, strengths, and expertise. In addition, my training as a humanist and my experience at other public institutions enable me to view UW-Stout’s polytechnic mission from a different vantage point and to provide a fresh perspective to the institution and our stakeholders. I bring a new way of seeing to the institution, and this helps to inform the conversation and work moving forward and creates an environment for success.

    Tell us about how your first weeks of serving as chancellor may have impacted your perspective on your goals for UW-Stout?

    Within a few days of taking office as chancellor at UW-Stout, I found myself leading an institution during an international crisis. Entering the current crisis a week after arriving at UW-Stout was difficult, but it allowed me to see the talent and dedication at the institution. I am surrounded by an incredible leadership team and privileged to work with such remarkable and generous students and faculty and staff members. This experience reminded me of the importance of valuing people and of providing support not only through this crisis, but well beyond it. Recovery will depend on our ability to take what we have learned and apply it going forward. One thing we have learned is that we must take time to communicate, learn from, motivate, and support one another through various channels. This moment has forced us to find the space and time for such connection and to think about how to foster it going forward.

    Leading through a crisis has also helped us to identify opportunities for improvement in our approaches and deployment. Through multiple avenues for two-way communication, we are tracking gaps and barriers in processes, policies, and procedures. We are developing action plans to address them as part of our recovery plan and integrating them into our strategic planning process. In addition, we are working on a case study so we can share our key learning with others.

    What do you see as the value for a university today of using the Baldrige Excellence Framework (including the Education Criteria for Performance Excellence)?

    Baldrige provides a nonprescriptive framework based on key factors important to the organization. We appreciate that it is not a one-size-fits-all or checklist approach to performance excellence.

    This approach helps us during good times—as well as challenging times like we face today. It keeps us focused on what is most important when making decisions about how to invest our time and limited resources.

    Baldrige also informs our approach to visioning and strategy development. At our spring Visioning Session to kick off our next strategic plan, we plan to share our organizational profile, examine core competencies, and refine our performance-improvement and process-improvement processes.

    Plus, the Baldrige framework is beneficial in that we can learn from sectors outside of higher education. Communication and direct contact with stakeholders are key, and we have adopted an approach that draws from the health care sector’s use of “rounding.” Although my plans for face-to-face visits with all academic departments, student organizations, and others have been prevented by the current quarantine, I continue to focus on communication. I hold open office hours twice a week via Microsoft Teams, meet with academic departments and other units remotely, and record messages for student organizations conducting virtual celebrations. The current crisis has reminded us of the importance of communication, collaboration, and community building, and I have spent much of my time connecting in various ways with different constituent groups.

    How do you view UW-Stout’s status as the first and (to-date) only four-year university in the nation to have earned a Baldrige Award?

    We are extremely proud of our status. It is important to share our story so others can learn from us, and it is important to participate in Baldrige events so we can learn from others and continue to improve.

    Against the backdrop of current challenges, our strengths in planning and our commitment to shared governance have become even more evident and essential. We are well equipped to systematically track and fill gaps, which will maximize our effectiveness during this period of operational adjustment and during the recovery process. Collecting formative assessment from all institutional stakeholders has been a priority; it has increased our agility in addressing concerns quickly and will remain a priority.

    Looking ahead, what’s next for UW-Stout in terms of continuous improvement and innovation?

    In summer 2020, we will fully launch the University Benchmark Project, a national initiative for data sharing and benchmarking at the unit level. In addition, in alignment with our ambitious vision statement to be an international leader, we will explore opportunities to enhance our international presence, including through the expansion of programs and initiatives. We are also enhancing our strategy development process, including changing our longer-term planning horizon to ten years. This change will help us stimulate and incorporate more innovation and promote more intelligent risk taking.

    To help boost morale during this challenging time, ignite innovation, and plan for recovery, we established a modest innovation fund. Faculty and staff members have been invited to submit proposals for projects that will address issues associated with the pandemic and have a lasting, positive impact on the university community. Proposals will be vetted by a committee, which will make recommendations to the chancellor for possible funding.

    What would you say to leaders of other education organizations that are using or considering the Baldrige framework to improve their operational effectiveness and promote academic excellence?

    Use it! You don’t have to start by submitting a [Baldrige Award] application or by becoming a Baldrige examiner. You can implement the Baldrige framework in small steps. Start by completing an Organizational Profile, by attending conferences and workshops hosted by your state Baldrige program, or by talking with Baldrige Award recipients. In fact, we plan to bring together people within higher education to talk about how the Baldrige framework can help educational organizations learn and grow at the fall 2020 Baldrige conference.