Archive for Steve George
I've been involved with Baldrige since writing my first award application in 1989. I have worked with five Baldrige Award winners and several state award winners and have researched, written, edited, and evaluated dozens of Baldrige assessments. I've also written four Baldrige-related books, been a Baldrige examiner, provided Baldrige training, and written and edited Baldrige case studies. My goal for Baldrige.com is to create an online community for sharing information and best practices, answering questions, and elevating the quality of the organizations we buy from, work for, supply, and get services from. Our vision is: Every Organization a Baldrige Organization!
Where do you start? You want to make your organization more competitive, better able to meet customer needs, less inclined to mistakes, but you’ve been doing things the same way for years and you’re not sure where to begin.
When I get this question, I suggest starting with one or more of the 3 P’s: processes, people, or planning.
Start with Processes. The Baldrige model is a process model because the work of an organization is done through processes. Organizations that haven’t taken a formal approach to process management usually spend way too much time firefighting because their processes are out of control, or they blame people when their processes fail. Neither is a prescription for long-term success.
You can develop a process orientation by first identifying your key work processes, which Baldrige defines as your most important internal value creation processes. If you’re not sure where to start, look at what products and/or services you provide to your customers and figure out the internal steps that design, produce, and deliver those products and services. Then consider the support processes that make these customer-driven processes possible, such as your key processes in sales, marketing, finance, human resources, IT, etc. Once you’ve identified your value creation processes, assign a process owner responsible for each, usually a senior leader with the authority to allocate resources and remove obstacles. Form process improvement teams …Steve George | 0 comments | Continued
We’ve written frequently about the value of employee engagement on bottom results (here and here, for example) and how to engage employees (here and here). The second part of the fifth category of the Baldrige model is titled “Workforce Engagement.” It asks about key dimensions of employee engagement including culture, performance management, learning and development, and career progression. It also asks “how you determine the key elements that affect workforce engagement?”
Lonnie Wilson has been teaching and implementing lean and other culture-changing techniques for more than 40 years. His recent article in IndustryWeek, “Find the Missing Pieces in Your Employee Engagement Effort,” provides some context for that Baldrige question by listing five key elements necessary to engage employees—and keep them engaged:
- A sense of meaningfulness. Wilson poses a Baldrige-esque question: “Do [employees] understand the company mission and vision to represent a company that seeks to be competitive, thriving, growing, a company that not only makes money but gives back to the employees and it a good corporate citizen?” And do they believe their jobs serve that mission and vision?
- A sense of control. Do employees have ways to control what and how they do things or do they check their brains at the door every day?
- A sense of accomplishment. Can employees codify and quantify their contribution? Can they answer the question: “How did I (we)
Fortune recently named Google number one among the 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2012. Explaining its decision, Fortune wrote: “Everything was up at Google last year—revenues, profits, share price, paid search click, hiring—and so, too was employee love…Employees rave about their mission, the culture, and the famous perks.”
Larry Page, Google’s co-founder and CEO, explained what he thinks draws people to Google: “You want to be working on meaningful, impactful projects, and that’s the thing there is really a shortage of in the world. I think at Google we still have that. We’ve always had that in spades.”
Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information. “I don’t think we’re going to run out of important things to do,” Page observes. He sees his role as a leader “to make sure everybody in the company has great opportunities, and that they feel they’re having a meaningful impact and are contributing to the good of society.”
Google is a great place to work because it values its people. It engages them in the mission of the company. It encourages high performance. It provides compensation, rewards, recognition, and benefits that demonstrate the value it places on its employees. As a result, Googlers, as they are called, give their company a powerful competitive advantage.
Commenting on the Larry Page interview, Thomas Hawk wrote, “I have never met employees at any company …Steve George | 1 comment | Continued
Baldrige is a process model. The first six of the Criteria’s seven categories ask how you do what you do, while the seventh category asks for the results of those processes. Your organization, division, department, and work group must think process to drive continuous improvement and achieve your goals.
In Baldrige terms, “how” encompasses four areas: approach, deployment, learning, and integration. When responding to the “how” questions in the Criteria, of which there are more than 130, you must be able to describe how you address each of these four areas for all of your key processes. Ideally, your approaches will be systematic and repeatable. They will be designed, managed, and improved using data and information. They will be deployed to all relevant parts of the organization. They will include cycles of evaluation and improvement. They will align and harmonize with other key processes, plans, measures, actions, and results to achieve the organization’s goals.
You can develop more effective processes at any level of your organization. Start by identifying your key processes. Map out the steps in each. Identify the key customers for the process and determine their requirements for quality, delivery, cost, and service. Identify the key suppliers to the process, both internal and external, and determine what the process requires from these suppliers. Identify the key requirements of the process, again in terms of quality, delivery, cost, and …Steve George | 1 comment | Continued
Let me tell you about one of the best articles ever written about Baldrige in the mainstream press. “We Will Be the Best-Run Business in America,” by Leigh Buchanan, appeared in Inc. magazine on January 24, 2012. You will find the article here.
Buchanan tells the story of Larry Potterfield and the company he founded, MidwayUSA, a small business that sells shooting supplies and hunting gear. Midway won the Baldrige Award in 2009.
Potterfield was first exposed to Baldrige in the mid-1990s, but it wasn’t until 2003 that he embraced it. “He immersed himself in the award criteria,” Buchanan writes, “then personally taught them to 27 managers and executives.” He told the workforce that Midway would win a Missouri Quality Award in 2008 and a Baldrige Award in 2009. The company’s new goal is to win a second Baldrige Award in 2015.
Midway has approximately 370 employees. Every year, senior leaders choose 10 to 14 high-potential employees to serves as Missouri Quality Award or Baldrige examiners. It’s the company’s leadership development program. “I absolutely love this process,” Buchanan quotes Jake Dablemont, Midway’s HR manager. “If I look at the value of what I’ve learned in grad school versus what I’ve learned as an examiner, I would choose to be an examiner every day of the week.”
Potterfield believes Baldrige is foundational to Midway’s goal to be the best-run company …Steve George | 0 comments | Continued
I am pleased to announce the sale of Baldrige.com to the Juran Institute. Founded by quality guru Dr. Joseph M. Juran in 1979, the Juran Institute offers a broad range of services to help organizations improve performance, including Baldrige Assessment and consulting, Lean and Six Sigma, change management, quality planning, team building, and the Juran Management System. You can learn more about the company here.
Dr. Juran was a vocal advocate for the Baldrige program. I interviewed him in 1991 for my first book on the Baldrige model and he was kind enough to write a reference for the book. At the end of the interview, he not only invited me to his annual conference, then called IMPRO, but he offered to pay all of my expenses to attend. Before the conference, Dr. Juran delivered, “Making Quality Happen,” which remains one of the most informative sessions I’ve ever taken part in about the value of a systems approach to quality management and improvement.
I quoted him in my book, The Baldrige Quality System: “Prior to the Baldrige Award, any company that didn’t have a quality revolution was confused. Quality consultants were tugging them in different directions. We lost a decade that way. The criteria can become the focal point around which the renaissance can be built.”
Dr. Juran’s prediction has not come true—yet. While Baldrige still has the potential …Steve George | 0 comments | Continued
A new study of the net social value of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program concludes that the program “creates great value for the U.S. economy.”
Economists Albert N. Link from the University of North Carolina and John T. Scott from Dartmouth College published their evaluation of 45 Baldrige Award applicants on December 16, 2011. The report is available here (pdf). The Baldrige program asked the 274 organizations that submitted applications from 2007 to 2010 to participate in the study and 45 accepted the invitation. Link and Scott used a counterfactual evaluation method to determine the benefit-to-cost ratio, asking what the private sector would have had to invest to achieve the same level of benefits through the Baldrige program. Benefits were realized in three areas:
- Savings to the applicants in investment costs to achieve the same level of benefits from their performance excellence strategies as they realized from the Baldrige program
- Gains by consumers in greater satisfaction from higher quality products and services
- Gains to the economy from saving scarce resources because the Baldrige Criteria were available
As I understand it, the counterfactual evaluation case made by the study is that organizations that integrate Baldrige increase demand because they offer higher quality products and services and they reduce costs because of more efficient operations. They earn more and spend less.
Link and Scott describe the methodology in their report. They concluded …Steve George | 0 comments | Continued