In this judges panel blog series, we have been interviewing members of the Judges’ Panel of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award to share individual members’ insights and perspectives on the award process, their experiences, and the Baldrige framework and approach to organizational improvement in general.
The primary role of the Judges’ Panel is to ensure the integrity of the Baldrige Award selection process. Based on a review of results of examiners’ scoring of written applications (the Independent and Consensus Review processes), judges vote on which applicants merit Site Visit Review (the third and final examination stage) to verify and clarify their performance in all seven Criteria categories of the Baldrige Excellence Framework. The judges also review reports from site visit to recommend to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce which organizations to name as U.S. role models—Baldrige Award recipients. No judge participates in any discussion of an organization for which he/she has a real or perceived conflict of interest. Judges serve for a period of three years.
Requa is one of five new Baldrige judges this year.
Bruce A. Requa
What experiences led you to the role of Baldrige judge?
I’ve been active with the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program for the last ten years as an Baldrige examiner, senior examiner, and alumni examiner. During this time, my passion for performance improvement has been focused in two key areas:
How do you see the Baldrige Excellence Framework and Criteria as valuable to businesses and other organizations?
The Criteria are useful across all industries as a tool for understanding and implementing best management practices. Each of the seven categories [Leadership; Strategy; Customers; Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management; Workforce; Operations; and Results] provides incredible value and helps leaders improve their organizational processes. I’ve been privileged as an examiner to learn from world-class organizations whose leaders state very simply that Baldrige is their management framework—it works and they get excellent business results.
How do you apply Baldrige principles/concepts in your current work?
The principles embodied in the Baldrige framework help me understand the end-to-end connectivity across the business. When tackling business problems, I can go to the [Baldrige] Criteria, review the questions, and then use them to dive into our approaches for managing the business. It’s a great framework for identifying the gaps and then determining approaches for closing them.
As a new member of the panel, what are your hopes for the judging process? For instance, is there anything you’d like to help applicants and potential Baldrige Award applicants understand about the process?
One of the tenets of Baldrige has been to “trust the process.” As an examiner, I’ve found that the process works every time regardless of the people or organizations involved.
My expectation is for the judging process to have the same rigor applied so that each applicant receives the same thorough review and analysis that all receive during the Consensus Review [team evaluation phase of the Baldrige Award process].
What encouragement/advice would you give Baldrige examiners for their work in evaluating organizations as part of the Baldrige Award process?
If you are given the opportunity to participate in a site visit, dive in deep to understand the organization—ask questions, look for processes that will help the organization improve, and find the blind spots. When spending time with the applicant, the examiners can really understand how to help the organization improve, which is ultimately the goal of the process.
The Baldrige Excellence Framework has empowered organizations to accomplish their missions, improve results, and become more competitive. It includes the Criteria for Performance Excellence, core values and concepts, and guidelines for evaluating your processes and results.