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The Official Baldrige Blog

Baldrige Examiners: Patriots, Community Members, Elite Quality Professionals

Posted by Dawn Bailey In 1987, when the development of a national quality award was assigned to scientists at the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), first Baldrige Program director Curt Reimann had a dilemma. How do you recruit quality experts from a broad spectrum of industries and ask them to contribute volunteer hours and expertise? And then how do you keep these volunteer experts engaged and willing to share with peers? In the late 1980s, for a technical organization like NBS, such cross-sector teamwork was new--scientists in different disciplines rarely worked across fields with other scientists. However, the cross-sector sharing was a success. Driven by patriotism and a spirit of continuous improvement and innovation, individual members of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners have worked together, sharing insights, expertise, and best practices from all sectors of the U.S. economy and abroad for more than 26 years. This elite group of professionals excelling at performance excellence and continuous improvement recently shared the benefits they have derived by serving as a Baldrige examiner; for example,

  • "Best post-grad-education and professional development"
  • Understanding of an organization at both the big-picture and detail levels
  • Knowledge of the core values at the foundation of all high-performing organizations
  • Skills to build consensus, balancing varied viewpoints
  • Knowledge of when to use ELMO (Enough, Let's Move On)
  • Application of a systematic framework to processes that are often driven by the "seat-of-the-pants"
  • Best practices across industries and sectors/benchmarking opportunities
  • Evaluation of processes using approach-deployment-learning-integration
  • "Continuous refining clarity and focus about performance"
  • An extensive network of other examiners for mentoring and sharing
  • Resources to create an organizational strategic plan
  • Knowledge of ways to improve measurements and deployment

This list continues and continues. Just ask a Baldrige examiner what he or she has personal gained as a professional development and what his or her organization has gained from having a Baldrige examiner among its ranks. What could you gain as a Baldrige examiner? Interested in finding out? Check out how to Become an ExaminerSpecial thanks to Rebecca Anderson and all of the Baldrige Examiners who participated in the LinkedIn discussion "The Benefits of Baldrige Program Examiner Participation." And thanks to all who have ever served as an examiner; your contributions continue to help U.S. organizations and the economy, as well as your peers, your companies, the Baldrige Program, and hopefully yourselves.


About the author

Dawn Bailey

Dawn Bailey is a writer/editor for the Baldrige Program and involved in all aspects of communications, from leading the Baldrige Executive Fellows program to managing the direction of case studies, social media efforts, and assessment teams. She has more than 25 years of experience, 18 years at the Baldrige Program. Her background is in English and journalism, with degrees from the University of Connecticut and an advanced degree from George Mason University.

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Thank you Dawn for all your efforts to spread the message about the benefits, not just of participating in the Baldrige award, but also of participating as an examiner. I was, just this morning, talking with a new friend about Baldrige and my state's Baldrige-based program (Virginia SPQA) and her comment was "why don't more people do this?" My response: "Good question!" I think, at least in part, the answer is we need to TALK ABOUT IT MORE!! So, if you've benefited from being a Baldrige examiner or from participating in any aspect of the Baldrige journey, TELL SOMEONE!! And, don't forget to use your favorite social media channels to do so!
I think one of the most telling comments I've ever heard about Baldrige participation was last year at examiner training - one of my fellow examiners said "when I'm with Baldrige examiners, I feel like I'm with my own kind." It's always heartening to me to personally meet and interact with so many people who are so DEDICATED to the success and well-being of our country and the people who are served by our businesses, health care services, and educational system. I think one aspect that is a deterrent is that "it's a lot of work," but most things of great value do require some investment! Dawn - I think it would be helpful to provide some "fair use guidelines" specifically related to this blog, so that we can all leverage it as a strategic advantage for examiner recruiting! (some really great fodder for quotations in there)
Exactly. Dr. Derek Cabrera once told me that our field is socially lonely, truer words have never been spoken. When I became an examiner thorough Virginia's SPQA-VA program for the first time I was surrounded by people who think like I do, we spoke a common language!
Wonderful article Dawn! I might add that if an Examiner is able to get on a National site visit, it's like learning as much as earning an MBA. Many Examiners have told me it was highlight of their professional career.

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