1. 2013 Business excellence awards around the world

    December 4, 2013 by BPIR.com Limited


    In the pursuit for excellence, 2013 was a very challenging year for many organisations around the world. Business excellence awards are the most prestigious awards any organisation can achieve; it recognises organisations which have demonstrated excellence in all areas of operation. Below are some of the business excellence award winners of 2013, for a list of other business award winners join BPIR today (we have a database of 13,000 award winners stretching back over 8 years) and learn how they achieved their success.

    Baldrige National Quality Award
    Pewaukee School District
    Sutter Davis Hospital
    Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano

    EFQM Excellence Award
    Alpenresort Schwarz – EFQM Excellence Awardand Prize Winner
    BMW Regensburg
    GHA Glasgow Housing Association
    Nilufer Municipality
    St Mary’s College
    Stavropol Agrarian University
    WDH Wakefield and District Housing
    GC Europe

    Singapore Quality Award
    Building and Construction Authority
    Nanyang Girls’ High School
    Tiong Seng Contractors
    Systems on Silicon Manufacturing Company
    Qian Hu Corporation
    Biosensors Interventional Technologies

    New Zealand Business Excellence Foundation Award
    Spectrum Care Trust – GOLD
    Western Bay of Plenty District Council – GOLD
    Waipa District Council – SILVER
    Bay of Plenty District Health Board – BRONZE

  2. The Sponsor as the face of organisational change

    November 25, 2013 by

    A large proportion of projects are not given enough executive level attention. Due to this, a large number of projects ultimately fail, as they move further and further away from the business’ core competencies, and strategic alignment between business and project breaks down. In order to overcome this, effective organizations recognize project sponsorship as a key part in any project. It is very important to have active sponsors who support change. Sponsors establish direction for the future, communicate through vision, and forge aligned, high performance teams.

    Dr. H. James Harrington, CEO and Douglas Nelson of Harrington Associates, have written a white paper explaining further how an effective sponsor, who sits at an executive level, can help eliminate the barriers to change and ensure the rapid and effective implementation of project outcomes. Commissioned by the Project Management Institute (PMI), the white paper, outlines characteristics and skills of a strong sponsor, including; power, sense of urgency, vision, public role, private role, and leverage. It includes a small but effective tool for assessing the suitability of a person for a sponsor role.

    The following statement from Managing Change in Organizations: A Practice Guide (PMI, 2013b) provides the foundational concept for this whitepaper.

    “A sponsor provides resources required for change and has the ultimate responsibility for the program or project, building commitment for the change particularly at the senior management level across the organization. Direct responsibility and accountability for the change needs to be clearly defined and accepted at an appropriately high level within an organization. Consequently, the sponsor for a change effort should be someone who has sufficient authority, influence, power, enthusiasm, and time to ensure that any conflicts that could impede the change are resolved in a timely and appropriate fashion.”

    Read the white paper HERE hosted by PMI.

  3. 20 years of learning, nine key changes in performance excellence

    September 12, 2013 by BPIR.com Limited

    On August 1987, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Improvement Act, aiming to improve U.S. competitiveness and create sustainable economy. The programme was named after Malcolm Baldrige, for his contribution to long-term improvement in efficiency and effectiveness of government. Malcolm Baldrige served as Secretary of Commerce from 1981 until 1987 Baldrige

    Baldrige Award and Baldrige Programme have guided organisations on their journeys toward continuous improvement and business excellence through seven criteria:
    1- Leadership
    2- Strategic planning
    3- Customer focus
    4- Measurement, analysis, and knowledge management
    5- Workforce focus
    6- Operations focus
    7- Results

    After 25 years, Baldrige Performance Excellence programme have helped thousands of organisations to develop and maintain a world-class operations around the world. According to research conducted by the Centre for Organisational Excellence Research there are at least 8 countries follow an exact copy of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence and 9 follow a tailored version of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence.

    Dr. Harry Hertz, Director, Baldrige Performance Excellence Programme, after 21 years in Baldrige programme 18 of them as a programme director, decided to retire on the 25th anniversary for Baldrige programme.

    In the blog below Harry shares his 20-years insights that summarise some of the key performance characteristics of Baldrige role-model organisations.

    I always find the annual Baldrige Quest for Excellence Conference to be more than a mere gathering of people to discuss topics of common interest. It is an energy-rich experience. The 25th anniversary event was all that and more because of the combination of celebratory gala, Baldrige Award ceremony, and Quest for Excellence Conference.
    Each year I use this April column to share some of my insights from the conference presentations. Since this is my last Quest for Excellence Conference as director of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, I’ve decided to share two groups of insights. The first set is derived from the presentations given by our four 2012 Baldrige Award recipients; the second set is insights learned during the 20 years that I have been attending the conferences.

    The 25th Annual Quest for Excellence
    These are challenging times for all organizations. The unique blend of Baldrige Award recipients in 2012 (Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control—large manufacturing; MESA—small business/manufacturing; North Mississippi Health Services—large health care system; and the City of Irving, Texas— municipal government) allowed me to observe a set of commonalities that represent “universal truths” that are independent of sector. Although the following two key themes were not necessarily stated directly in conference presentations, I found a profound commonality in the mindsets and operations of the very different enterprises.

    1. The importance of relationships and transparency. These two concepts—relationships and transparency—are foundational to the sustainability of an organization or enterprise. Role-model organizations strive to build strong and supportive relationships with employees, customers, partners, and key suppliers. A key to building these strong relationships is transparency and openness in all aspects of the relationship. If transparency and relationships are strong, trust between people and organizations is built, and there is a basis for both longevity in the relationship and commitment to allegiance and support through periods of change.

    2. The logic chain of purpose ? employee ? customer ? strategy (implementation). With a clear, meaningful, and well-communicated sense of purpose, an organization can gain an enduring sense of commitment from employees. That commitment leads to employees building strong customer relationships and loyalty. Furthermore, that loyalty from employees and customers engenders support at all levels in both groups for the organization’s strategy and its implementation. This is particularly important in times of rapidly changing external environments that require agility, trust, and commitment as strategy and, therefore, strategy implementation change.

    20 years of learning
    As stated above, because this is my last opportunity as director of the Baldrige Program to reflect on what I have learned in 20 years of attending Baldrige Quest for Excellence conferences, I am taking advantage of this occasion to share some of my “20-year” insights. I believe the following themes summarize some of the key changes in the evolving challenges, complexity, and definition of performance excellence. This list also summarizes some of the key performance characteristics of Baldrige role-model organizations. I present the nine themes in roughly chronological order from the early 1990s through the new millennium and current decade.

    1. From individual criteria categories to the interaction of categories: In the early 1990s, a role-model business was characterized by outstanding performance in the individual categories of the Baldrige criteria. Since the mid-1990s, outstanding organizations have excelled not only in the individual categories, but also in the interaction among and alignment of the categories. For example, human resource or workforce plans and workforce development needs and opportunities should align with the organization’s strategic plan. Results should measure progress in key areas related to implementation of those plans and workforce development outcomes in those areas. Strategic planning should incorporate voice-of-the-customer input, which, in turn, might affect workforce development opportunities.

    2. From alignment to integration: Outstanding organizations moved from aligning key processes and measuring the related results to integrating key processes, with active feedback from in-process measures and outcomes results. Such organizations moved from consistency among and sequential focus on processes to harmonization of plans, processes, information, resource decisions, and results. Integration has meant that the components of organizational performance are being managed as an interconnected system.

    3. Succession planning: We started to see a clear focus on succession planning by senior leaders, with the specific intent of grooming the next generation of leaders of the organization. Furthermore, this succession planning cascaded through the organization with development of “leaders” at all levels of the organization. Coupled with this change was a new focus on knowledge management, capturing the intrinsic and extrinsic knowledge of the organization and its workforce in order to enhance organizational sustainability.

    4. Ethics: With ethics scandals seeming to constantly be in business headlines, role-model organizations with no significant ethics issues or challenges nonetheless strengthened their ethics programs. Senior leaders’ communications addressed ethics on a regular basis, hotlines and ombudsperson positions were established, and regular ethics training sessions relevant to specific business issues were instituted.

    5. Strategic advantages and challenges: Strategic plans started to have a foundation based on a clear understanding of an organization’s strategic challenges and advantages, addressing those challenges, and building on the strategic advantages the organization enjoyed in its marketplace. Internal communication and transparency improved both here and in the area of organizational ethics. If the workforce better understood the organization’s operating environment, its members could contribute more effectively, both operationally and strategically.

    6. From satisfaction to engagement: A change in focus from satisfaction to engagement seemed to occur among role-model organizations simultaneously for their workforce and their customers. Organizations were realizing that engagement was a true differentiator in the marketplace; building employee and customer loyalty and retention was a key contributor to organizational sustainability. The cost of hiring and training a new employee far exceeded the cost of continuing to develop an existing employee, and the cost of acquiring new customers was much greater than building a relationship and enhancing business with an existing customer.

    7. Core competencies: Leading organizations started identifying their organizational core competencies, those that related to intellectual property that they wanted to protect and those that formed the basis of any strategic advantage they enjoyed in the marketplace. They also started looking at core competencies they would need in the future to sustain the organization. Core competencies factored into strategic decisions, such as work that would be outsourced and work that would be accomplished by the organization’s employees.

    8. Workforce capability and capacity: The next area to achieve focus from role-model organizations was workforce capability and capacity. Closely related to core competency and work considerations are the decisions about the workforce expertise needed (capability) and the numbers of people needed with particular skill sets or cross-training (capacity). The challenge was to balance capability and capacity needs both now and looking into the future, with a focus on retraining and development needs, as well as growth areas. Where a decline in workforce was indicated, the challenge was planning so that natural attrition would suffice.

    9. Innovation: This focus area for the 2013–2014 Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence arose from the changes we are seeing in role-model organizations. They are embracing a culture of innovation and establishing strategic processes for investment as well as processes for identifying totally new approaches to products, processes, and business models. Innovation has become a driver of sustainability for these organizations.

    Looking at this nine-step series of changes in organizational performance characteristics, I see one conclusion as inevitable: Leading a successful enterprise and achieving sustainability involves increasing complexity. The challenge going forward is to embrace this complexity in a manner that allows agility and simplicity in implementing change. I believe our country’s economic future hinges on it!

  4. Journey to Excellence: Iredell-Statesville Schools

    September 2, 2013 by BPIR.com Limited

    In the past five years, the US economy has been suffering and this has of course resulted in there being a number of cuts in various governmental departments and one of them was the education sector.

    New infrastructure, supplies and programmes to improve teaching at such a time seemed impossible. However, even in such hard times, there has been a ray of hope– the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence. The Baldrige criteria have helped to change Iredell-Statesville Schools from being average to high performing schools.

    Iredell-Statesville Schools in North Carolina is a district of thirty-six schools, that was struggling against a measly graduation rate and a high dropout percentage. However, ISS still had a dream to reach the top ten ranked districts in the state.

    By 2008, the picture had turned around, with the help of innovative programmes like the early-college programme designed for people who are the first in their family to go to college, other imaginative methods like a differentiated diploma (letting a student graduate with less than the customary credits at ISS).

    As a result ISS won the 2008 Baldrige Award, although funding was still a problem. Dropout rates became very low and the graduation rate soared to eighty percent. This improvement allowed ISS to apply to a grant to the US Department of Education later to solve the funding problem.

    Baldrige processes have been highly effective for ISS and turned their performance around, which is evidence that everybody has the potential; one only needs to apply business excellence frameworks properly to bring out the potential.

    Below is a blog post from Blogrige (the official Baldrige blog) on Iredell-Statesville Schools’s Business Excellence journey

    It’s no surprise to anyone that the economy has been bad. And in the education sector, where healthy budgets mean that teachers have the needed supplies and students have the adequate guidance to learn, a bad economy can be especially bad.

    The Baldrige Performance Excellence Program has been interviewing past Baldrige Award recipients to ask if they are still using the Criteria for Performance Excellence and what the Criteria have done for them; we call these interviews “success stories

    At Iredell-Statesville Schools (ISS) in North Carolina, a 2008 Baldrige Award winner, the economy’s impact on the budget has been bad, but with the help of the Criteria, senior leaders have put processes in place and tightened up those processes. This has helped the district to be more competitive for grants and embed its culture of continuous improvement.

    “Our district’s commitment to quality has served us well,” says Brady Johnson, superintendent, Iredell-Statesville Schools. “This is particularly true in the wake of the recession. In spite of draconian budget cuts, and the loss of 11 percent of our workforce, our students’ performance continues to improve. I attribute this to our focus on the Baldrige Criteria and our commitment to continuous improvement.”

    Read more about ISS’s story. (See right-hand column and scroll down to the story “A Vision to be Among the Best.”).

  5. Collaborative Business Excellence Assessments

    August 4, 2013 by BPIR.com Limited

    Collaborative business excellence assessments are a practical approach to identify an organisation’s strengths and opportunities for improvement in a short period of time. In summary, an expert works as a facilitator and meets with the employees that have knowledge of the organisation’s systems, processes and performance for the category being assessed. Together the organisation’s strengths and opportunities for improvement are identified.

    Collaborative assessment is not a new technique, for example COER provides a collaborative assessment – called the Benchmarking and Performance Excellence Self-assessment – through BusinessExcellenceTools.com

    Recently the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program started to offer collaborative assessments as a new service. Collaborative assessments provide a number of advantages, such as time and cost, in comparison to the traditional awards process. .
    The article below from Baldrige.com compares the traditional award assessment with collaborative assessments.

    As the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program celebrates its 25th year, it continues to evolve to meet the needs of key stakeholders. Recently, the program announced that it will offer Collaborative Assessments as a new service. The announcement states that this assessment against the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence will provide timely, actionable feedback to be used immediately to improve organizational performance. While not explicitly stated, the service seems to be targeting organizations that may be new to the Baldrige Criteria.

    So you may be wondering, “What is a Collaborative Assessment?” Good question!

    The collaborative assessment is a proven method that has been used in multiple organizations worldwide. It is not a new concept; this author has been successfully implementing this approach to assessment for over 15 years. In general, it is an event-focused approach to efficiently complete an assessment in a short period of time. The approach uses the input from subject matter experts with assistance from criteria and assessment experts. The participants collaborate to identify the vital few strengths and opportunities for improvement within the organization. These strengths can be used as input to generate an application for a state or national quality award. The opportunities for improvement can be prioritized and converted into action plans for improving organizational performance.

    While this article will focus primarily on collaborative assessments using the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, the approach could be used for almost any type of business or organizational assessment, provided the purpose is for understanding of actual performance and opportunities, and not as part of a judging or certification process. The collaborative assessment process can be subject to participant bias if there is a performance goal to be evaluated as part of the assessment outcome.

    The Collaborative Assessment approach is not for all circumstances. For organizations that are applying for award recognition, the process for examiner assessment and feedback is a robust and high value approach. For organizations using the assessment primarily as an input for improvement, the Collaborative Assessment provides a solution to many of the inherent disadvantages that exist with traditional awards process assessments.

    Disadvantages of Traditional Awards Process Assessments

    1. Takes too long – For organizations that apply for the Baldrige Award, it takes five to nine months from the submission of the eligibility form until you get your feedback. If a primary purpose of applying is to get feedback, then the better part of a year is lost before beginning to take improvement actions. With the Collaborative Assessment approach, most of the work is completed within one week.
    2. Resources required – A full self-assessment requires a great deal of time, personnel and financial investment. An awards application takes even longer. Preparation of an application covering all items has been estimated at 1800 person-hours. When resources are exhausted completing the assessment and application, there may be little remaining energy or enthusiasm for the more important task of taking action to improve.
    3. Untimely for business calendar – Most awards programs, including Baldrige, are on a fixed calendar with feedback reports delivered in the Fall. The feedback report is critical for organizations that anticipate developing action plans from the opportunities for improvement. Depending upon the strategic and business planning cycles for the organization, the feedback may not be in sync with business needs. A Collaborative Assessment can be scheduled to occur any time during the year or planning cycle.
    4. Wasted time – When writing an application for award recognition, the organizational emphasis is on the strengths of the organization. In the evaluation steps of the awards process, examiner teams use their expertise to try to figure out the opportunities for improvement. It can be similar to a game of hide-and- seek. Applicants tend to embellish the approaches and deployment to present the organization in the best light possible. Poor results are often omitted from the application. In the Collaborative Assessment process, opportunities for improvement are more transparent, thus providing a more efficient process for understanding current state performance.
    5. Awards vs. improvement mindset – As noted in a recent message from Debbie Collard, immediate past chair of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Foundation, “Ninety-three award recipient organizations have been publicly acknowledged as performance excellence role models and shared their best practices so that other organizations could learn and improve.” This is one of the tremendous benefits from this program. However, when the focus of the applicant is on achieving award recognition, a competitive mindset can impact the behaviors of those involved in writing the awards application. There can be a tendency to deny real opportunities for improvement, or even to shut down the sharing of best practices between organizations. This can especially occur within organizations when organizational units begin to compete against each other for awards recognition. Oftentimes, gamesmanship shows up in applications that stretch the stated performance beyond reality. With Collaborative Assessments, the focus is shifted more towards understanding the gaps between true current performance and the desired performance.
    6. Add-on activities – Most organizations will get “volunteers” to gather the information required for an awards application. This activity may begin two or three months prior to the deadline for submission, and can distract from other work responsibilities for several hours every week. Once the application is submitted, the effort is put aside until the feedback report is received several months later. By then, many of the application findings have become forgotten or are less clear. The Collaborative Assessment compresses the effort into a much more efficient information- and data-gathering event. Action plans are developed while the information is still very fresh on everyone’s minds.
    7. Lack of follow through on feedback – The feedback received from a Baldrige assessment can be incredibly enlightening for organizations wanting to improve. Unfortunately, when the feedback is received as a part of the award process, it often does not get effectively converted into action plans for improvement. This can occur for several reasons already stated. If the primary purpose for assessing is to improve, then the awards process can totally derail this objective unless there is an exceptional tenacity for follow through. Organizations that are just starting out or struggling to move forward are especially vulnerable to this risk. Collaborative Assessments are primarily focused on knowing where to improve and putting action plans into place quickly. Therefore, the likelihood of timely follow though is increased.
    8. Activities too score oriented – There can be exceptional pressure to improve application scores without understanding the true intent of the criteria. In the awards process, the assessment score is the primary output that is used in determining award levels and recognition. Applicants are not involved in the actual scoring and sometimes lack understanding of how the scores are derived. The Collaborative Assessment process can involve the SMEs in the scoring activities so further learning and understanding can take place. The focus of scoring in a Collaborative Assessment is to provide a baseline metric from which overall improvement can be measured.
    9. Lack of senior leader engagement – The tasks of writing applications and conducting self-assessments are often delegated to non-senior leaders. This is a missed opportunity for those who are setting direction and priorities for the organization. It also can lead to a lack of acceptance upon receipt of the feedback report because senior leaders missed the chance to learn more about their organization through active involvement in the assessment and application process. A Collaborative Assessment provides good opportunity for senior leader engagement and learning.
    10. Lack of criteria understanding – The Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence are incredibly rich and have gone through many iterations of improvement over the past 25 years. Let’s face it – the criteria will often overwhelm applicants, especially those who are new to them. The Collaborative Assessment lessens this concern because the process and criteria experts help guide the subject matter experts to understand the purpose and intent of the criteria questions. Learning occurs about the criteria and organizational performance.

    There may be various approaches that can be applied for conducting a Collaborative Assessment. Some suggested features for an effective collaborative assessment include the following:

    Focused Event – Depending upon the size of the organization, a full assessment against the Baldrige Criteria can be completed in 3 to 5 days. Preparation for the event should include planning the event logistics and scheduling of the subject matter experts. Other activities that can be completed in advance include answering the Organizational Profile questions from the criteria, gathering existing documentation about organization processes and gathering data and reports for key organization metrics. While it is important to do a good job of planning, excessive planning and front-end work can be non-value adding and negate the benefits of the Collaborative Assessment. On the other hand, it is important that the necessary people are available for the full-time they are scheduled during the collaboration efforts. This will provide for an accurate and efficient assessment for the organization.

    Experts and SMEs – Two key groups of people are necessary for a Collaborative Assessment –people with expertise in the criteria and conducting assessments, and people who are knowledgeable about the organizational processes and performance. There are several sources for assessment experts including Baldrige examiners, state award examiners, consultants and internal resources who are skilled in the criteria and assessing. The subject matter experts (SMEs) can include all levels and functions of the organization. A good cross section is necessary to get a true picture of how the organization works and performs. The SMEs are scheduled to participate only during the parts that are most relevant to their involvement the organization. For example, you would expect senior leaders to participate in the assessment while addressing Leadership criteria questions. Human resource representatives should participate when addressing the Workforce Focus criteria questions.

    Focus group format – Assessment information is gathered in a focus group setting. For each section of the criteria, a team of SMEs is scheduled to respond to the criteria questions. For the categories 1-6 of the Baldrige Criteria, responses should address the “what” and “how” questions of the criteria, and should also address “how well” the organization can respond in terms of approach and deployment. The “how well” responses are the basis for the strengths and opportunity information gathered. For the Results category within the Baldrige Criteria, the responses address the “what” and “how” questions and again “how well” the organization is performing. The assessment experts facilitate the discussion by helping the SMEs to understanding the intent of the questions and the scoring criteria which provide a basis for “how well” the organization is performing. The assessment experts will offer their own insights based upon participant responses and knowledge of the performance excellence criteria. The Baldrige Program collaborative assessment gathers information from interviews or small focus groups of category “champions” and their teams (usually 3 – 5 people from across the organization).

    Brainstorm – During each focus group, it is best to begin the discussion by conducting a brainstorming session. The facilitator begins the conversation by explaining the specific criteria questions that the group is addressing. A recording device should be tracking responses in real-time. One technique that happens to be a personal favorite is to project the responses using an LCD projector so all the participants can see the information that is being captured. Responses are recorded on two separate lists – one for strengths and another for opportunities for improvement (OFIs). (Note that the term “weakness” is avoided.) At first, the facilitator should simply accept responses like any other brainstorming session. The facilitator may ask clarifying questions, but must refrain from judging. After the group has provided input, then the facilitator should invite discussion regarding the information collected. This is the opportunity for the facilitator to transition to a teaching/consulting mode to help the participants understanding how well the organization responds to the criteria. The facilitator will highlight some of the key strengths and OFIs from the responses, and help the group to understand where information may be missing or off base.

    Consensus around strengths and opportunities – At the end of each focus group session, the group will identify the most important strengths and OFIs from the discussion. This can be done using several methods. Multi-voting techniques or rating ballots are effective approaches for getting input from a group of people very quickly. With the Baldrige Program, examiner teams work with the category champions to decide which strengths and OFIs are relevant and important. The final decision lies with the category champions.

    Built-in site visit to verify – Information that is gathered in the focus group sessions will need to be verified or clarified. This is a very appropriate activity to include. These can be conducted in between the focus group sessions or perhaps by sending a small group out in the middle of a session if the information can be accessed easily.

    Scoring by experts – Scoring is an optional activity in a collaborative assessment. When included, it should be secondary to the identification of key strengths and opportunities. Scoring should be done by the Criteria Experts who are well trained in the scoring guidelines. The advantage of scoring is that it can provide a metric for evaluating progress over time. The scoring becomes non-value adding when energy becomes diverted from gathering assessment information to justifying the score that was provided.

    Affinitize key themes – Typically, a collaborative assessment will gather much information, including a long list of strengths and OFIs. This information needs to be synthesized, by separating the useful many from the vital few. One technique that has been proven effective is the process of affinitizing OFIs so that they are grouped into similar themes. The output of this exercise will provide a summary of the most important issues from the assessment.

    Action Planning – The final step is to prioritize the opportunities and develop action plans to close the gap between current performance and desired performance. One approach is to narrow the synthesized OFIs from the prior step to create a top twenty list, effectively prioritizing the data so the most significant opportunities are the most apparent.. The selection of the top priorities should include input from the participants and the facilitators. Senior leaders should use this input to determine the most important OFI for which the organization will take immediate action. Action plans should be created with assignments and milestones for follow-up and completion. Ideally, these action plans become integrated into the organization’s annual plans and performance management systems.

    Collaborative Assessment Advantages

    Let’s recap. For organizations that intend to use the Baldrige Criteria or similar assessment criteria for internal assessment and continuous improvement, the Collaborative Assessment process can be described as:

    Faster – most of the work is completed in a one week period.

    Less Costly – because the assessment requires little preparation and is completed so quickly, it takes less labor to complete when compared to more traditional application assessments.

    More Efficient – the collaborative assessment facilitates organizational learning about the criteria and performance, while building consensus and buy-in for the things that need to change.

    Time to Begin

    There are five key steps to follow to get started with the Collaborative Assessment as a transformational activity in your organization.

    Decide – Leadership needs to decide if an assessment is strategically important to the organization, and if so, what they hope to accomplish. If the purpose is to get started or to continue a journey to performance excellence using Baldrige or similar criteria, then a collaborative assessment may be a good fit for the organization.

    Prepare – The organization will need select experts to facilitate the assessment. The experts may come from many sources, including the Baldrige program, a State Awards program, consultants or internal experts. The experts can help the organization to schedule and plan the assessment, including the selection of key participants. The collaborative assessment that the Baldrige Program offers typically entails two months of planning ahead of the actual assessment. The primary purposes of the planning are getting clear on expectations, setting the right structure within the organization to carry out their roles, getting interviews and focus groups confirmed logistics, and getting a clear context of the organization. Much of this initial information can be gleaned from the Organizational Profile.

    Launch – For smaller organizations, the initial assessment may be for the entire entity. Larger organizations may want to begin with a subset of the overall entity, such as a location, a business unit, or major function.

    Spread – For larger organizations, the assessment can then be spread to other units and areas. All organizations should begin to schedule periodic assessments to monitor performance and identify opportunities for improvement. The follow-up assessments become a means for keeping track of progress and re-prioritizing based upon the changing needs of the organization.

    Sustain – The assessment activities and finding should be integrated into annual strategic planning and continuous improvement activities. The organization may eventually apply for award recognition if there are expected benefits to the organization.

    The ultimate purpose of collaborative assessments is to help the organization to achieve the highest level of performance possible in the eyes of their customers and key stakeholders.