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The Official Baldrige Blog

Baldrige for a More Effective Job Search


A new year brings with it an opportunity to be grateful for your many blessings. At the Baldrige Program, one of our blessings has to be the engaged community of Baldrige practitioners—folks who have served as examiners at all levels, across the country; who not only understand but have often mastered how to use the Baldrige Excellence Framework, which includes the Criteria for Performance Excellence; and who share a spirit of giving back to help others improve and, so doing, help the nation.

Not too long ago, I came across an online post by Baldrige alumnus examiner Suresh Nirody, assistant vice president supply chain for Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. He shared a novel way to use the Baldrige Criteria for personal development—as a tool for a job search.

His idea is to use the Organizational Profile, the preface of the Criteria, to ground yourself in the organization to which you are applying for a job. The Organizational Profile is intended to be used to create an overview of an organization, from its environment and relationships to its competitive position, strategic context, and performance improvement system. By answering the questions contained in the Organization Profile, one can figure out the key factors that are of the greatest importance to the organization—what makes that potential employer tick.

Says Nirody, "When researching a particular company that you have targeted as a possible future employer, the Baldrige Organization Profile provides an excellent framework to use. Research the company and look for answers to the questions in the profile! This will stand you in good stead."

He explains,

  • "First, it will help you develop a better understanding of the company; can clarify for you if you really want to work for that company; and can help you determine if you might be a good fit.
  • Second it can provide you information that you can use in the interview process to show that you understand various aspects of the company, such as its challenges.
  • And third, you can use the framework to help you formulate consequential questions, so that when the interviewer asks you for your questions you ask about critical-to-success items such as core competencies or strategic challenges, etc."

What tips do you have for ways to use the Baldrige Framework and Criteria?

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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What a great idea by Suresh. I've had the privilege of being on a team with Suresh and learned from him at that time as well. I'll share this idea with some of my colleagues in Hawaii.
With very little customisation or localisation, the criteria questions are a great added-value audit tool. "Assessment by interview" I think it's called.
The OP is the most unappreciated COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE the Baldrige program has. Finding Employee Fit -- I have clients who require every prospective employee to read an online copy of the OP, and the executives and the interview team ask the interviewee about it related to how they fit into the culture described in the OP. Communicating with your Family -- I tell my clients that the best test to see if they have a well-written OP is to have employees take it home and ask their significant other to read it, then ask them what their impression is. Most say the response is, "Wow! So that's what you do." Strategic Planning Environmental Scan/Situation Audit -- I also tell clients that the OP should be required reading for everyone participating in the strategic planning process and it should be on the agenda to revise it as part of the SP. Strategic Analysis Toolkit -- If you reconfigure the 13 requirements in the Op you can produce a SIPOC diagram suing the responses to P1b3 - P1a. - P1b2. We have used this in applications before to explain what the "work system" is. Done with good data, P12a is a great competitive analysis tool (which we also use in applications) and contains the information needed to do Porter's Five Factor Industry Analysis. P1b and P.1a2 should contain enough information to conduct a SWOT analysis. Some clients display their P.2b responses in that that format and present as part of their 2.1a responses on how they determine core competencies, strategic opportunities, and intelligent risks as well as strategic challenges, strategic opportunities, and blind spots. Quality New Mexico has been using the OP as the application document for is first ward level, the Adobe Award for over 10 years. The Quality Texas Foundation is copying that best practice … and … providing assistance to new applicants to help them identify the SMEs for each requirement, documents, and the data they need to prepare the OP or to identify the gaps they need to address before they move onto the next level of recognition. The only thing the OP does not do is slice bread, but I think it is possible to do that, too, but it would have to be really fresh bread.
Indeed this is a good idea by Suresh. Thanks for sharing.

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