Intelligent Risks – Opportunities for which the potential gain outweighs the potential harm or loss to your organization’s sustainability if you do not explore them. Taking intelligent risks requires a tolerance for failure and an expectation that innovation is not achieved by initiating only successful endeavors.
Strategic Opportunities – Prospects that arise from outside-the-box thinking, brainstorming, capitalizing on serendipity, research and innovation processes, nonlinear extrapolation of current conditions, and other approaches to imagining a different future. Choosing which strategic opportunities to pursue involves consideration of relative risk, financial and otherwise, and then making intelligent choices (intelligent risks).
This year, NIST added the two terms above to their glossary. These two new terms summarize the changes made to the criteria in a more succinct way than I ever could, but I’ll lay out the differences further below. The purpose of revising the Criteria is “that the Criteria always reflect the leading edge of validated management practice,” inevitably leading to sustainability and success when orchestrated with an organization management program. Some of the more significant changes and their rationale are outlined below
1. The information and decision process for work systems has been incorporated into the strategic planning category.
- Why? Decisions about what should be made or supplied outside the company, core competencies, and how to engage customers are made by senior leaders, and need to be integrated into the strategic planning to be sustainable. They wouldn’t be called core competencies if they weren’t vitally important to the health of an organization.
2. Innovation management has been introduced through the Criteria.
- How come? Well, if you don’t understand the importance of innovation in a business world where product and service evolution takes place faster than ever before, you’ve missed the boat already. The Criteria ask how senior leaders foster an encouraging environment for contribution and brainstorming, and stress intelligent risks. There are new mentions of “innovation” that show up in the Leadership section, as well as Strategic Planning, Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management, and Operations Focus.
3. If you’re going to dive into social media, do it with a “strong sense of organizational values.”
- Why? Social media has the ability to help organizations reach out to their current and potential customers, link coworkers together, coordinate suppliers, partners, and simultaneously gather vast amounts of market data. The key phrase here is “has the ability to.” Social media can also be a company’s detriment, and smartly managing the usage of it while minding the organization’s values is essential.
4. Calculating Results has been modified.
- How so? This time around, results are not directly correlated to the Criteria categories, so tabulation is more systemic. The point values for Customer-Focused Results and Workforce-Focused Results have each been changed to 85 points (previously 90 and 80, respectively) to further emphasize the roles of customer and employee engagement. Financial and Market Results are worth the same (80 points), while Product and Process Results now has an additional area to emphasize supply-chain management results. Leadership and Governance Results is now the only location where strategic performance and implementation is rated.
So, think you’re ready to apply? Head to http://www.nist.gov/baldrige/enter/how_to_apply.cfm and download an application. Applications are being accepted until February 19 if you also want to nominate one of your senior leaders to the Board of Examiners, or if you want to skip that part, you can apply until April 2. Not sure if your organization is eligible? Check out this page: http://www.nist.gov/baldrige/enter/eligible.cfm
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