1. Learning from Role Models: Category 4: Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management

    June 9, 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 4?
    Category 4 of the Baldrige Criteria covers all key information on effectively measuring, analyzing, and improving performance, as well as managing organizational knowledge to drive improvement, innovation, and organizational competitiveness.

    Category 4: Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management
    This category asks how your organization uses data and information to improve organizational efficiency and effectiveness and to stimulate innovation. It asks how you select and use data and information to guide your process management. This category also asks how you build and manage your organization’s knowledge assets and ensure the quality and availability of data and information.

    Baldrige Award Recipient Best Practices
    Following are some practices shared by Baldrige Award recipients (the Center for Organ Recovery & Education, Charter School of San Diego, and Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center) in the realms of selecting and using data for organizational planning and performance improvement, and performance measurement, analysis, and review, as well as to identify best practices. What could your organization learn/adapt?

    Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE)
    2019 Baldrige Award Recipient, Nonprofit

    Because industry comparative data were limited, CORE took a lead role in collaborating with two other organ procurement organizations (OPOs)—who were also high-performing Baldrige Award recipients—in creating the Leadership and Innovation National Collaborative (LINC).

    LINC meets periodically to define, share, and compare data and best practices. CEOs and COOs from each member organization discuss joint strategies in an effort to enhance OPO industry performance and public perception. In 2018, the LINC executives created two committees–metrics and knowledge management–to share defined, normalized, and comparable data and to develop best practices.

    To advance OPOs’ best practices, CORE’s information technology team also worked closely with an industry-wide association to build a tool to examine infrastructure, data, and integration. CORE uses methods such as a leadership-initiated “catch-ball” process that spreads best practices through workforce communication and consensus and a program fostering employee-submitted “Great Ideas.” To identify best practices, CORE participates in local and national associations and collaborates with hospitals and transplant centers.

    CORE also gathers industry comparative data through regulatory organizations, accreditors, and customers. In cases where no industry data are available, CORE uses relative and appropriate benchmark data outside of the industry; for example, safety, turnover, information technology responses, and salary surveys have outside industry comparisons.

    The organization continuously monitors its performance on key measures through corporate and department-level dashboards, with measures cascading from dashboards and scorecards to action plans. Measures are tracked daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually using resources such as the “data mall,” which was built in-house by CORE’s information technology staff.

    Reports and dashboards in the CORE data mall require validation and sign-off. All data extracts are centralized to ensure that values are consistently used across reports and that data are current. This approach allows CORE to have great agility. For example, in 2017, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services changed the way it measured transplanted lungs and partial liver transplants. CORE was able to rapidly change its own measurements and reporting.

    To project its future performance, CORE uses predictive analytics of historical data and external benchmarks and trend data. For example, the clinical department uses linear regression models to forecast the number of organs recovered, a key strategic measure. The human resources department uses a forecasting model to maintain optimal workforce skills and capacity; this model has been continuously improved to address the challenge of daily fluctuations in staffing needs for CORE’s uniquely reactive industry.

    Charter School of San Diego (CSSD)
    2015 Baldrige Award Recipient, Education

    To engage students and reduce dropout rates, CSSD brings together students, parents, teachers, counselors, and support staff to deliver learning through Pathways Personalized Education Plans (PPEPs). PPEPs are used to determine what educational programs and support to provide students by drawing on data and information, including from local school districts, surveys, community demographics, students’ short- and long-term goals, learning styles, current interests, academic achievement, and skills development. Through meetings and data reviews, teachers monitor changes in students’ needs and work with learning leads to connect students and families to local resources.

    Broken into three phases, PPEPs help students advance academically:

    1. Personalized Pathways Intake. Students’ PPEP creation begins during enrollment. A support staff member personalizes students’ individualized academic plans by collecting and analyzing information. Assigned teachers consider inputs to assign and develop personalized courses that are delivered through a blended, online independent study educational program. Teachers also work closely with families to set personal and academic goals, as well as to align resources.
    2. Student Pathways Implementation and Progress. Students and parents work with their teachers in one-on-one and small group settings. Each student’s PPEP is enhanced with field trips, volunteer opportunities, cultural events, guest speakers, career days, elective course options, and work experience customized to student interest and pathway choice. The online student and parent portal allows students and parents to access course assignments and grades at any given time.
    3. Successful Pathways Transition. Based on their preferences, students are either redirected to traditional high schools or graduate based on accomplishment of their PPEP goals. All students complete an exit survey to identify best practices and opportunities for improvement.

    The PPEP Storybook provides a single source for reviewing all pertinent student outcome results. Examples of PPEP Storybook reports include student demographic reports, new student data reports, student participation reports, student confidence survey results, graduate data, student achievement results, dropout data, retention and redirection reports, and key customer survey results. Data are segmented by school, region, resource center, and individual teacher. Several results from the PPEP Storybook are also reflected in the instructional staff scorecard.

    PPEP Storybook data are reviewed and analyzed to ensure that instructional strategies are successful for each student. Teachers can immediately reconcile and adjust students’ instruction, methods of delivery, and resources. Teachers and staff conduct home visits, perform and track appropriate interventions, and refer students and families to specific community resources and partnerships.

    Through monitoring of PPEP Storybook results and teacher scorecards, the organization learns about and identifies best practices and high performance. These best practices and high performers are held up as role models.

    Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center (MHHCC)
    2018 Baldrige Award Recipient, Health Care

    At MHHCC, data and information used for tracking daily operations and overall organizational performance are selected, collected, aligned, and integrated through the Performance Measurement Process (PMP), which is aligned with the plan, do, check, act, and evaluate process. Performance measurement supports data-driven decision making and the effective performance of key work systems, leadership and governance, access to care, delivery of care, transition to care, and support.

    In PMP step 1, leaders set organizational direction and establish Covenant Goals (strategic objectives); all subsequent measures are aligned to these goals. Measures are tracked on the organizational scorecard and through quarterly business reviews. In step 2, strategic objectives flow to 90-day action plan measures, and to processes and departments to ensure alignment. Measures and appropriate comparisons are defined for each 90-day action plan.

    In PMP step 3, 90-day action plans and daily operations are executed, and performance is measured. In step 4, results are analyzed, including analysis of organizational scorecard metrics, progress on 90-day action plans, and departmental or process performance. In Step 5, performance on measures is systematically aggregated and reviewed through the Operational Rhythm.

    The Operational Rhythm is a structured, multi-tiered framework for reviewing organizational performance and capabilities. Performance is assessed using a balanced set of measures; performance results are analyzed to provide information for decision making; and improvement plans are developed and implemented when objectives are not met. As part of the Operational Rhythm, performance gaps are identified and compared to goals, competitors, or benchmarks.

    In a 2018 improvement, alignment boards were deployed in each department. They display the organization’s mission, vision, and core values; strategic plan on a page; nursing strategic plan; organizational scorecard; department strategic challenge; stop light reports from senior leaders visiting each department and the front-line (i.e., rounding); and action plans.

    MHHCC expands service offerings by acting on market intelligence gathered via techniques such as patient and family advisory councils, analysis of third-party data, and the website and diverse social media tools. Leveraging this intelligence, MHHCC introduced a new stroke telemedicine product; gained insight into an opportunity for secondary market entry that included the need to provide services to the Amish community; and targeted the expansion of the oncology service line.

    High-performing units submit best practices electronically to the Hospital Update Board (HUB). After an idea is submitted, best practice team members review and determine if the idea is a “best” practice or a “recommended leadership” practice. Identified best practices/recommended leadership practices are presented at leadership meetings along with action plans for their deployment. Additionally, best practices are captured through 90-day action plan weekly report outs, leadership rounding, the Nursing Clinical Practice Council, and other updates.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. BPIR.com Newsletter: June 2020

    June 1, 2020 by BPIR.com Limited





    Best Practice Report: Leadership: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

    Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is when an organisation takes responsibility for the impact of its decisions and operations on society and the environment. It is when an organisation achieves a balance between economic, environmental and social imperatives, and the expectations of stakeholders for the long term.

    Featured Events

    Latest News

    • How the Baldrige Framework Helps a Small Business Excel…. read more
    • Learning from Role Models: Category 5: Workforce…. read more
    • Insights from Baldrige Award Winning University’s New Chancellor…. read more
    • Economic Impacts of Baldrige Excellence in Every State…. read more
    • Does Everyone Know What Your Mission Means (Expects)?…. read more
    • Infographics: Tips for Promoting Employee Well-Being & Mental Health in the Workplace…. read more


    All new BPIR.com website

    The work on a new BPIR.com website is progressing as planned, the new website will offer a unique user experience. A clean, modern design, easy navigation, and helpful tools and resources to be utilized. Through the new website and future growth of content, BPIR.com strives as an industry leader to deliver best practices resources.

    Some the features in the new website:

    – Better search facility based on business excellence model criteria used around the world
    – More content throughout all the databases and faster future updates
    – Better compatibility with different devices such as tablets and mobile phones

    The new website will be ready for testing by selected partners and members by September. Sign up as a beta tester and get a special discount for the membership.


    Voice of the customer (VOC) programme provides valuable feedback loop

    Using the Baldrige Criteria as the guide, the AARP, US-based interest group for the elderly, implemented a Voice of the Customer (VOC) programme as a customer feedback loop for all programmes and for volunteers that served in the programmes. The VOC feedback provided AARP with actionable information feedback that enabled AARP to take in what people are saying about AARP on social media, on blogs or other media sources, via the call centre, in email, or even in person at AARP’s many local events and then to analyse that information on a daily basis. Using a real-time customer-sentiment analysis tool, AARP took care of requests, anticipated challenges, and improved service to people.


    A Cybersecurity Framework Success Story

    The article describes the University of Kansas Medical Centre’s (UKMC) implementation of The Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity. The Framework is a voluntary framework developed through a collaborative process by industry, academia, and government stakeholders. The Framework enables organisations – regardless of size, degree of cybersecurity risk, or cybersecurity sophistication – to apply the principles and best practices of risk management to improving security and resilience. In the process The Baldrige Cybersecurity Excellence Builder (BCEB) effectively complemented the use of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF).

    Do you know that there are more than 1300 performance measures available in BPIR.com? And increasing…

    BPIR Tip of the Month – Searching performance measures

    Business Excellence Models

    Use BPIR.com to help you to select measures to assess your organisation’s performance. There are around 1200 to choose from, with description and formulae for each measure. Commentaries are also provided for the most commonly used measures. These explain why the measure is important and how to use it.


  5. 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