1. Does Everyone Know What Your Mission Means (Expects)?

    March 18, 2020 by BPIR.com Limited

    Originally posted on Blogrige by Dawn Bailey

    “What is your organization attempting to accomplish?”
    According to the Baldrige Excellence Framework, this question addresses your mission: your organization’s overall function. The mission might define cus­tomers or markets served, distinctive or core competencies, or technologies used.

    A Mission Statement of the People

    In a wonderful speech from 2005, Sr. Mary Jean Ryan, president and CEO (retired) of SSM Health Care, the first Baldrige Award recipient in health care, said, “For any organization, the mission is the lifeblood. . . the fundamental reason why we do what we do.”

    She went on to talk about her health care system’s early challenges with not having a common mission statement, instead allowing its health care facilities across seven regions the autonomy to identify their own missions and values. SSM eventually “discovered” a 13-word mission statement, involving nearly 3,000 employees at every level of the organization from every one of its entities, she said.

    “It wouldn’t have taken long for our communications department to come up with a catchy mission statement . . . that everybody in the system could relate to,” said Ryan during her presentation. “But we realized that a mission statement . . . must be of the people, by the people, and for the people. . . . If a solid mix of employees has not helped create the mission statement, it will not truly belong to them, and the potential to transform your organization will be hindered.”

    In 1999, after a year-long process, SSM came up with the following mission statement that is still used today:

    “Through our exceptional health care services, we reveal the healing presence of God.”

    The SSM website says that the mission statement and values are known by every employee and used to guide decisions and how staff members treat one another. Ryan said, “The mission and values must . . . be an internal guidepost to our own behavior. Because if we don’t treat one another well, how can we ever expect that our patients will feel that they’ve experienced the healing presence of God?”

    “This wonderful experience of rearticulating our mission and values might never have happened had we not used the Baldrige framework to improve our organization,” added Ryan.

    Award Winners’ Mission Statements
    Recently, a Baldrige Executive Fellow took a look at the mission statements of the Baldrige Award recipients. I thought this was an interesting exercise, so I focused on the 25 health care winners that came after SSM won in 2002. The following were their missions at the time they won the Baldrige Award:

    2019
    Adventist Health White Memorial
    Los Angeles, CA
    Mission: “Living God’s love by inspiring health, wholeness and hope.”

    Mary Greeley Medical Center
    Ames, IA
    Mission: “To advance health through specialized care and personal touch.”

    2018
    Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center
    Jasper, IN
    Mission: “Christ’s healing mission of compassion empowers us to be for others through quality and excellence.”

    2017
    Adventist Health Castle
    Oahu, HI
    Mission: “Living God’s love by inspiring health, wholeness, and hope.”

    Southcentral Foundation (2017 and 2011 Baldrige Award winner)
    Anchorage, AK
    Mission: “Working together with the Native Community to achieve wellness through health and related services.”

    2016
    Kindred Nursing and Rehabilitation – Mountain Valley (now Mountain Valley of Cascadia)
    Kellogg, ID
    Mission: “To promote healing, provide hope, preserve dignity, and produce value, for each patient, resident, family member, customer, employee, and shareholder we serve.”

    Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital
    Sugar Land, TX
    Mission: “A not-for-profit, community-owned, health system with spiritual values, dedicated to providing high-quality health services in order to improve the health of the people of Southeast Texas.”

    2015
    Charleston Area Medical Center Health System
    Charleston, WV
    Mission: “Striving to provide the best health care to every patient, every day.”

    2014
    Hill Country Memorial
    Fredericksburg, TX
    Mission: “Remarkable Always.”

    St. David’s HealthCare
    Austin, TX
    Mission: “To provide exceptional care to every patient, every day with a spirit of warmth, friendliness, and personal pride.”

    2013
    Sutter Davis Hospital
    Davis, CA
    Mission: “To enhance the well-being of people in the communities we serve, through a not-for-profit commitment to compassion and excellence in health care services.”

    2012
    North Mississippi Health Services
    Tupelo, MS
    Mission: “To be the provider of the best patient-centered care and health services in America.”

    2011
    Henry Ford Health System
    Detroit, MI
    Mission: “To improve human life through excellence in the science and art of health care and healing.”

    Schneck Medical Center
    Seymour, IN
    Mission: “To provide quality healthcare to all we serve.”

    2010
    Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital
    Downers Grove, IL
    Mission: “To serve the health needs of individuals, families, and communities through a wholistic approach.”

    2009
    AtlantiCare
    Egg Harbor Township, NJ
    Mission: “We deliver health and healing to all people through trusting relationships.”

    Heartland Health (now Mosaic)
    St. Joseph, MO
    Mission: “To improve the health of individuals and communities located in the Heartland region and provide the right care, at the right time, in the right place, at the right cost with outcomes second to none.”

    2008
    Poudre Valley Health System (now part of University of Colorado Health)
    Fort Collins, CO
    Mission: “To be an independent, non-profit organization and to provide innovative, comprehensive care of the highest quality, always exceeding customer expectations.”

    2007
    Mercy Health System (now part of MercyRockford Health System)
    Janesville WI
    Mission: “To provide exceptional healthcare services resulting in healing in the broadest sense.”

    Sharp HealthCare
    San Diego, CA
    Mission: “To improve the health of those we serve with a commitment to excellence in all that we do.”

    2006
    North Mississippi Medical Center
    Tupelo, MS
    Mission: “To continuously improve the health of the people of our region.”

    2005
    Bronson Methodist Hospital
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Mission: “Provide excellent healthcare services.”

    2004
    Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton
    Hamilton, NJ
    Mission: “Committed to Excellence Through Service. We exist to promote, preserve, and restore the health of our community.”

    2003
    Baptist Hospital, Inc.
    Pensacola, FL
    Mission: “To provide superior service based on Christian values to improve the quality of life for people and communities served.”

    Saint Luke’s Health System
    Kansas City, MO
    Mission: “Committed to the highest levels of excellence in providing health services to all patients in a caring environment. We are dedicated to medical research and education. As a member of the Saint Luke’s Health System, we are committed to enhancing the physical, mental, and spiritual health of the communities we serve.”

    Assessment of Mission Statements
    I think what these health care organizations are attempting to accomplish is pretty clear from reading these missions. I also think it’s interesting that embedded in these missions are the expectations for staff members of how to treat patients and one another. Patients and other customers might also have care expectations after reading such missions.

    • Have you thought about what your mission says about your organization?
    • Does each employee know what it means and how his/her job relates to and supports it?

    In other words, is your mission statement of the people?


  2. Board of Director Responsibilities

    November 8, 2019 by BPIR.com Limited

    Article originally posted on Blogrige by Harry Hertz

    The Baldrige Excellence Framework is underpinned by a set of 11 core values and concepts. These core values have guided both the development and understanding of the Baldrige Criteria for many years. They have served as the basis for defining role model leadership attributes. These leadership attributes, with a focus on the roles that Boards of Directors play, are also applicable to their performance. The core values are listed below with examples of their meaning for Boards.

    The values and examples are equally appropriate to public and privately held businesses, nonprofits, and public sector organizations. Depending on a board’s current focus and challenges, different attributes may have greater relative importance at a given time.

    Selects and Guides Visionary Leadership
    Exemplified by:

    1. Holding the CEO (the designated senior leader) accountable for adherence to the organization’s values and mission
    2. Reviewing organizational vision, strategies, CEO performance, and systems for achieving ongoing organizational success
    3. Inspiring and motivating the organization to achieve high performance, with high employee engagement
    4. Encouraging authenticity, allowing leaders to admit to missteps and encouraging them to report bad news

    Ensures a Systems Perspective
    Exemplified by:

    1. Holding the CEO accountable for setting a systems perspective across the organization, guiding and assessing the organization holistically
    2. Requiring a focus on strategic direction and customers to improve overall performance
    3. Ensuring utilization of the larger ecosystem (partners, suppliers, customers, communities) in which the organization operates to achieve efficiency and innovation

    Holds Leaders Accountable for Customer-Focused Excellence
    Exemplified by:

    1. Holding leaders accountable for a customer-focused culture in the organization, integrating customer engagement and loyalty as a strategic concept
    2. Requiring leadership attention to changing and emerging customer and market requirements
    3. Holding leaders accountable for the organization’s development of innovative offerings and customer relationships that serve as a differentiator from competitors

    Values People
    Exemplified by:

    1. Reviewing organizational culture to ensure a focus on meaningful work, engagement, empowerment, accountability, development, and well-being of workforce members
    2. Holding leaders accountable for an organizational environment of safety
    3. Ensuring a culture of inclusivity that capitalizes on the diversity of the workforce and the Board

    Holds Leaders Accountable for Organizational Learning and Agility
    Exemplified by:

    1. Reviewing organizational capacity for rapid change and for flexibility in operations
    2. Monitoring the organization’s ability to manage risk and make transformational changes despite ever-shorter cycle times
    3. Holding leaders accountable for embedding learning and improvement in the way the organization operates

    Focuses on Organizational Success (Sustainability)
    Exemplified by:

    1. Working with leaders to create a focus on short- and longer-term factors that affect the organization, its reputation, its stakeholders, and its future marketplace success, including needed core competencies and skills
    2. Accomplishing strategic succession planning for topmost leaders, selecting the CEO, and setting appropriate compensation
    3. Focusing on the “big picture,” ensuring that organizational planning anticipates future marketplace, economic, and technological influences and disruptions

    Guides the Organization for Innovation
    Exemplified by:

    1. Holding leaders accountable for an environment where strategic opportunities are identified, and the workforce is supported in taking intelligent risks

    Governs by Fact
    Exemplified by:

    1. Compelling the organization to measure performance both inside the organization and in its competitive environment
    2. Ensuring that data and analysis are used in operational and strategic decision making
    3. Challenging leaders and the organization to extract larger meaning from data and information
    4. Conducting audits and overseeing financial controls

    Encourages Societal Contributions
    Exemplified by:

    1. Acting as a governance role model for public and community responsibility
    2. Holding leaders accountable for organizational actions leading to societal well-being and benefit, thereby contributing to organizational success
    3. Motivating the organization to excel beyond minimal compliance with laws and regulations

    Ensures Ethics and Transparency
    Exemplified by:

    1. Demonstrating and requiring highly ethical behavior in all board and organizational activities and interactions
    2. Governing with transparency through open communication of clear and accurate information
    3. Holding leaders accountable for open communication of clear and accurate organizational information

    Ensures a Focus on Delivering Value and Results
    Exemplified by:

    1. Driving the organization to achieve excellent performance results
    2. Driving the organization’s leaders to exceed stakeholder requirements and achieve value for all stakeholders
    3. How do members of your Board Of Directors or your Advisory Body perform relative to these attributes and behaviors? Are they fulfilling all their responsibilities? Are they going beyond their roles and stepping into “leadership” roles? Would a discussion or self-assessment using these attributes enhance Board performance? This could start their journey into building a high performing organization in collaboration with the organization’s senior leaders.

  3. Best Practice Report: Leadership: Building a Successful Organisation

    September 9, 2019 by BPIR.com Limited

    While there are many different approaches to building a successful organisation, there are usually two common ingredients: a strong culture of excellence, and a system to enable and manage change effectively. These two ingredients often involve the following elements:

    • An environment to enable your mission to succeed and improve organisational and leadership performance, organisational learning, as well as learning for the workforce.
    • A workforce culture that delivers a consistently positive customer experience and fosters customer engagement.
    • An environment to enable innovation and intelligent risk taking, the achievement of your strategic objectives, and organisational agility.
    • Active participation in succession planning and the development of future organisational leaders.

     
     
     
     
     
    In This Report:

    1. what does building a successful organisation mean?
    2. which organisations have received recognition for being ‘a successful organisation’?
    3. how have leaders built a highly successful organisation?
    4. what research has been undertaken into how to build a successful organisation?
    5. what tools and methods are used to build highly successful organisations?
    6. how can a successful organisation be measured?
    7. what do business leaders say about building a successful organisation?
    8. conclusion

    Access the report from here. At the bottom of the page is a PDF version of the report for easy reading. If you are a non-member, you will find some of the links in this report do not work. To join BPIR.com and support our research simply click here or to find out more about membership, email membership@bpir.com. BPIR.com publishes a new best practice every month with over 80 available to members.


  4. Book release: Be a Frontline H.E.R.O.

    June 25, 2019 by BPIR.com Limited
    For a review copy of the bookor an interview with the author, please contact Dr. Cyndi (Crother) Laurin, at +1-480-717-9612 or Cyndi@guidetogreatness.com.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Moving the Frontline Forward: Engaging Your Employees to Provide an Optimal Customer Outcome through Improving the Overall Manager Experience

    Do you know someone who was very good at their job, and as a result was promoted into management without any people training? Maybe you’ve promoted an employee into management assuming they could hack it. Despite our best intentions, truth of the matter is most managers are not equipped to handle the people piece. The author of Be a Frontline HERO – a new book providing simple and accessible frontline management tools – tells a story we can all relate to that managers can incorporate in the same day and see immediate results.

    While innovative products and efficient processes are still the primary focus of most leaders, we know what really keeps a company competitive is its people. For over twenty years, the Gallup poll identifies approximately two-thirds of the workforce as not engaged in their work. Best said by Gallup’s CEO, Jim Clifton, in the State of the American Workplace Report:

    “The single biggest decision you make in your job – bigger than all the rest – is who you name manager. When you name the wrong person manager, nothing fixes that bad decision. Not compensation, not benefits – nothing.”

    Nearly the same percentage of people leaves their job, or plan to leave, as a direct result of the quality of the relationship with their direct supervisor. In August 2018, Randstad US released research determining the primary reasons workers chose to leave, most all of them were related to “…intangible benefits and day-to-day experiences at work…”. In October 2018, Inc.com noted the Randstad US article and summed it by saying, “Why people quit really boils down to one word…Disrespect.”

    Why does all of this matter? According to Dr. Cyndi Laurin, author of Be a Frontline HERO: A Parable to Propel your Job and Life (June 2019, ISBN 978-1098586089). “If employees are walking out the door because of bad management, they’re clearly not engaged in the work at hand, making an optimal customer outcome nearly impossible.” She goes on to say, “If we can right the ship with regard to improving the manager experience, workers will be more likely to engage, and at the end of the day, the customer wins.”

    And don’t think for a moment that this is all touchy-feely, Kumbaya work. There is a direct correlation between culture and the bottom line. If the company is bleeding out due to high turnover, poor quality, unhappy employees, and an ineffective culture, customers are going to feel the pain as well and take their business elsewhere.

    So here’s the real issue: How do you give your most valuable asset (your managers) the resources they need to quickly become effective without spending tons of money on training and months of time to see results? Reading Be a Frontline HERO is a great place to start. It tells the story of the main character, Emily, finding herself promoted to manager at a local pizzeria. While excited about the new challenge, she quickly realizes she’s in way over her head. Giving and soliciting regular feedback with her former peers, trying to establish standards and set expectations, and “faking it until she makes it” leaves her feeling both overwhelmed and exhausted.

    On the brink of quitting, an unlikely customer makes Emily an offer she can’t refuse. Five easy tools with very specific language to follow, and Emily learns how to provide meaningful feedback, how to get her team on the same page in less than ten minutes, and how to prioritize which issues to tackle right away and which to block for later. With her new H.E.R.O. tool belt, Emily is well on her way to becoming an effective manager.

    Here is some context supporting the book’s insights on how to provide an optimal customer outcome through improving the overall manager experience:

    • Management is the practice of observation and providing clear, regular feedback. The old (yet still prevalent) command-and-control style of management is antithetical to creating a culture where employees can engage in work that allows the customer to experience an optimal outcome. Without a system to manage others, people tend to default to how they were parented. Parenting your employees is not managing them. Three of the five tools in Be a Frontline HERO (Position to Notice, Keep it Up, and Adjust) provide both reinforcing and corrective language to support desired behaviors.
    • Many employees only receive feedback when they are doing something wrong (hence, it feels like being parented). Dr. Laurin shared, “Over the past 25 years, I have found that many employees want to be trusted and valued and told when they are doing something right as well as how to correct doing something that isn’t moving the business forward.” Behavioral research supports offering three opportunities for supporting desired behaviors to every one opportunity to adjust undesired behaviors.
    • When asked, you would be surprised at how few employees actually know how their work aligns to the overall business objectives. “Without that connection, it’s hard to engage in meaningful work,” says Dr. Laurin. “Be a Frontline HERO includes a tool to get your team on the same page in under ten minutes and stay on track throughout the day (Position to Notice, a.k.a. Walkabout).”
    • One of the most challenging aspects of managing is being able to decipher what issues need to be resolved immediately, and which ones can safely wait until a later time. As a frontline manager, issues with employees, customers, and inventory can be difficult to prioritize without a tool or system. One of the tools addresses this exact challenge and offers simple steps to ensure effective management of time (Block or Tackle).

    This brings us to the true appeal of Be a Frontline HERO. Written as a narrative, the book is a quick and easy yet powerful read, and the content can be implemented immediately. It’s not only a highly effective for new frontline leaders but can serve as a valuable model for experienced leaders as well. It’s an interesting and fun read about a scenario that anyone can relate to.

    “I believe the time is now to move frontline leadership forward,” says Dr. Laurin. “Many of us get promoted into a leadership role at some point or another without any guidance on how to manage people, and unless you are lucky enough to work for a company that invests in practical management guidance and support, Be a Frontline HERO can provide five simple tools that you can literally start using in the same day and see immediate results.”

    About the Author:
    Cyndi (Crother) Laurin, Ph.D. is the author of bestselling Catch! A Fishmonger’s Guide to Greatness (2005) and The Rudolph Factor: Finding the Bright Lights that Drive Innovation in Your Business (2009). She is a sought after keynote speaker, Chief Training Officer for AMP Services, and is also the Director for the undergraduate Business Administration Programs at Benedictine University Mesa. More information about her can be found at www.Linkedin.com/in/cyndilaurin.


  5. Love was in the air (and financial reserves are in the wallet)

    April 26, 2018 by BPIR.com Limited

    insights

    Originally posted on Blogrige by Harry Hertz

    Spring 2018
    The greatest challenge I have each year when I return from the Baldrige Program’s annual Quest for Excellence® Conference (QE) is prioritizing the most important messages for me and my organization, whether that is my work organization, volunteer organization, or—yes—my family (this one might be stealth). There are always so many great ideas that I know I will not succeed at implementing any of them unless I select only a few for action. The 30th anniversary conference was no different. I returned energized and started organizing my thoughts.

    My process begins with seeking thematic highlights and also capturing one or two individual gems of wisdom that I heard from individual speakers. Maybe these will help you set some of your priorities, even if you were unable to attend the conference. Maybe my reflections from this year’s conference will also encourage you to attend QE next year and discover your own themes!This year there were five 2017 Baldrige Award recipients (link is external) from the business, health care, and nonprofit sectors: Bristol Tennessee Essential Services (BTES), Stellar Solutions (Stellar), Adventist Health Castle (AHC), Southcentral Foundation (SCF), and City of Fort Collins (Fort Collins). Their products and services are widely different, but their approaches to excellence have remarkably similar, positive outcomes.

    Six Themes
    Following are my six themes. We have seen components of each of them before—they are not new concepts—but when they are practiced together, they yield very powerful results. I will begin with the most pervasive theme this year. It has always been present in Baldrige Award recipients; however, this year the word (not just the intent) was used frequently and unabashedly, and it set the tone for me for the whole conference. The word is love.

    Love Matters
    These five organizations love their employees, love their customers, and love their communities. For all of them it is about relationships. And as an outcome of those relationships they have the financial resources to treat all these people well.I was first struck by the boldness of this theme when Kathy Raethel of AHC shared her organization’s core competencies, of which one is “Love Matters.” AHC focuses on a culture where love matters to the extent that it permeates all relationships and everything the organization does. Within the first 90 days of employment, all employees attend an empathy-building workshop entitled “In Their Shoes.” This is accompanied by a set of “Always Behaviors” to promote caring interactions among workforce members and patients and a compassionate, healing ministry.SCF, too, is all about relationships—the organization’s customers are its owners, in deed and in fact. The acronym for SCF’s operating principles is RELATIONSHIPS. With those relationships, SCF goes “behind our eyes and with our hearts” to build true empathy.

    At Stellar, the vision is “satisfying our customers’ critical needs while realizing our dream jobs.” And 97% of Stellar’s employees say the leadership team shows an interest in each of them as a person, not just an employee.

    Fort Collins describes its culture with a three-word acronym: IT—WE—I. (IT is what we do, WE is the love for the people we work with, and I is the support for achieving my personal and professional growth.)

    BTES’s values statement uses the Rotary 4-Way Test (link is external), ending with “Is it fair to all? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”

    Storytelling
    Highly technical organizations are not generally known for the softer side of people interactions. They generally focus on knowledge transfer, facts, and data.

    This is not true for Stellar; even with a geographically dispersed workforce serving at its contactors’ sites, Stellar has an annual storytelling issue of its Constellations newsletter. How else would you share dreams and dream jobs?

    BTES, another technical company, considers storytelling so important that it retains a professor to teach storytelling to its employees. SCF started each of its presentations at QE with the speakers sharing their tribe and a story. At SCF, a core concept is WELLNESS, and the first “S” stands for “share our stories and our hearts.” AHC, too, values storytelling, saying it is about every patient, every employee.

    Community Commitment
    All Baldrige Award recipients are good citizens and stewards of their communities. This year, community focus was at the core of each of the recipients’ frame of reference, going beyond the focus I have seen in the past.

    For Fort Collins, its core competency is “commitment to community.” For Stellar, community outreach is one of its 16 key processes, and 100 percent of the employees say, “I feel good about the ways we contribute to the community.” They contribute to their community through the Stellar Solutions Foundation and through humanitarian research and development with their Quakefinder project (for earthquakes) that additionally fosters STEM education.

    BTES is a local business serving its local community. So every chance meeting of a BTES employee (or even a family member of an employee) with a Bristol citizen is an opportunity to listen to the voice of the customer. And those individual messages are causes for action when brought back to BTES. Its mission is about providing service to customers and the community.

    AHC exists because of community involvement. It was intense community interest that launched a campaign in 1953 to establish a medical center in Windward O‘ahu. Today, AHC is first in Hawaii for population health. The organization’s vision states, “We will transform the health experience of our community.”

    The SCF vision is “A Native Community that enjoys physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness.” And the mission is about working with the organization’s customer-owners to achieve wellness. In addition, SCF leaders talk about “growing their own” to guarantee health care to their community for generations to come.

    Process Orientation
    An organization doesn’t become a Baldrige Award recipient without a process orientation. This year’s award recipients brought that focus to a new level. I don’t remember a time in recent history where process focus has been so significantly a focus of senior leaders’ presentations and so well related to leadership systems. Furthermore, for these five organizations, the process focus is driven from the organizations’ visions and strategic plans.

    BTES has a defined process for cascading strategic plans down to each employee’s role. By the company’s open admission, Stellar employees “are rocket scientists,” who manage their performance through 16 key processes. Each process is defined using the Baldrige assessment scoring guidelines of ADLI (Approach, Deployment, Learning, and Integration) and LeTCI (Levels, Trends, Comparisons, and Integration). The LeTCI help ensure that appropriate results are defined and tracked for each process. Each process has a defined goal, objectives, subprocesses, measures, a “what we care about” statement, and tools and products.

    Surprisingly, Fort Collins also has 16 key processes. I don’t know that 16 is the magic number, but I do believe this coincidence has meaning—an organization needs a realistically trackable number of key processes or else they lose meaning as key processes and can’t be regularly reviewed by the senior leadership team. These key processes also serve as a communication tool of what is really important to achieving the mission and vision of the organization.

    One of the key lessons AHC learned on its Baldrige journey was that deploying an integrated strategy and performance management system creates a “remarkable ability to execute.” AHC specifically references a remarkable ability to execute for the benefit of employees, patients, and other key stakeholders. Finally, SCF, a two-time Baldrige Award recipient, is already well known from its prior Baldrige presentation on its Nuka system (link is external), an integrated process for care relationships and care delivery.

    Tracking Key Metrics Yields Great Financials
    This year, I saw a clear line of sight from strategy to customer and operational process key performance indicators, and to actual reported in-process and outcome measures. Furthermore, I repeatedly heard that when the right performance indicators are tracked, including key indicators of employee engagement, the financial performance outcomes will follow. This was a message delivered by all five recipients.

    Imagine a utility company that could go from broke to having five years of capital funding in the bank and deliver reliable electrical service with 60 minutes or less annual outage time for your household (that’s BTES). Imagine a health care system that could go from the bottom quartile to top decile performance in population health in five years and do it debt-free with a 10.3 percent EBIDA margin (that’s AHC). Imagine a health care system that is owned by its customers, delivers 97 percent customer satisfaction and performs in the 75th–90th percentile on many HEDIS measures (that’s SCF), while growing the operating reserve by 6 percent from 2012 to 2017. Imagine a city that receives a 90 percent rating on overall quality of city services and commits to being carbon-neutral by 2050, while maintaining a credit rating of “Aaa” by Moody’s, a rating maintained by only 4 percent of governments (that’s Fort Collins). Finally, imagine a small company of rocket scientists that has defined metrics for each of its 16 key processes, with leadership communication and community outreach being two of those key processes, and where 100 percent of your customers would recommend you to other organizations, with sufficient earnings to fund a foundation and humanitarian R&D (that’s Stellar).

    Technology Focus
    Today, technology is pervasive; but this year’s recipients uniformly went beyond the norm in using technology to drive innovations that serve their customers. Given the challenge of its extremely large and frequently remote geographic service, SCF has been a pioneer for years in the use of telemedicine. AHC prides itself on combining “state-of-the-art technology with state-of-the-heart care.” Stellar is doing rocket science “for a living,” while also developing autonomous trucks and performing humanitarian research on predicting earthquakes. BTES is delivering 10 Gbyte/sec Internet speeds to all its customers, while many of us are receiving residential service around 1 Gbyte/sec at premium rates. Fort Collins is one of the most digital cities in the United States, is reducing its carbon footprint while growing its population, and is already controlling traffic lights with Bluetooth data that react to the volume of traffic.

    I hope some of these six themes resonate with your organization. Considering these as six themes that exemplify contemporary excellence, I invite you to see if there are opportunities in these areas for your organization to pursue. Doing so isn’t rocket science (except for some of the technology)!

    Two Gems
    Occasionally, there are some simple truths that strike a particularly responsive chord with me because they provide great wisdom in a single statement. There were two of these gems in remarks made by Darin Atteberry, city manager of Fort Collins:

    “Treat metrics as a flashlight to shine attention on an opportunity for improvement, not as a hammer to beat on responsible people or processes.”

    I encourage you to consider how you use your overall organizational and process metrics.

    1. Are the metrics measuring what is important?
    2. Are you using them to guide performance improvement?
    3. Are you improving with a flashlight or a hammer?

    “Don’t lead in an average way; you’ll get average people and average performance.” Or to rephrase, “Lead your organization toward remarkable goals, and you will develop a remarkable workforce, producing remarkable results.”

    How Are You Leading Your Organization?

    • Are your goals to reach average or the 50th percentile? Or are your goals to reach the 90th percentile or benchmark performance?
    • Are you celebrating success along the way? Or are you ignoring or, even worse, punishing people for not making sufficient progress?
    • Are you using setbacks as a cause for negativity or a source of information to determine cause and reward process improvement?

    Are you on the road to performance excellence?