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The Importance of Leadership and the “Best Kept Secret” for Using a Baldrige Application

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Dr. Katherine Gottlieb, president/CEO of Baldrige Award recipient Southcentral Foundation (SF) and recipient of the 2015 Harry S. Hertz Leadership Award, knows a thing or two about leadership. During her tenure, she and her organization have not only racked up corporate, program, and individual awards, but Gottlieb has received quite a few leadership awards, too, including the Bridge Builders of Anchorage “Excellence in Community Service Award,” the Alaska Public Health Association’s Alaska Meritorious Health Service Award, and an Alaska Pacific University honorary doctorate in public service.

In preparation for her presentation on leadership at the 28th annual Quest for Excellence® Conference, I asked her all about leadership.

Why has leadership been important to you, your organization?

The importance of leadership has been demonstrated in multiple ways:

  • first, in creating an organization that has an environment of trust and transparency, where customers and employees feel like they own the successes of the system;
  • second, leadership has guided the organization through systematic changes quickly, without causing fatigue;
  • third, the successful buy-in of leadership for the adoption of change, and the use of the Baldrige tools to drive systematic change and innovation; and
  • last, by leadership honoring customer and employee beliefs, values, and traditions.

Can you share a story of leadership that has shaped your current success?

There are so many stories to share. Trust can be earned through building relationships and creating an environment of trust by building an infrastructure based on a Vision and Mission, which is built on goals, objectives, and operational principles; this is what ties together all of SCF. And this includes governance, executive leadership, and all employees.

What are your top tips for using Baldrige tools to support leadership? The Baldrige Excellence Framework as a tool doesn't tell an organization what to do—it asks questions that drive systematic improvement and change that may be adapted to the culture of an organization.

When an organization believes it has reached the top of successful change, Baldrige encourages the people to take even more steps through suggested opportunities for improvements. By following these steps to improvement, an organization may develop a means for delegation of authority, leading to higher employee and customer satisfaction.

Baldrige is a journey, a tool that may be used for years after an award is won. It is universal and may be used for all types of businesses to reach for best practices and succeed.

What else might participants learn at your conference session?

We are choosing to attend the Quest for Excellence® conference to continue to grow and keep up with the latest innovative ways for improvement. We continue to interact with and visit other organizations that have won the Baldrige Award.

We have hired and placed people on our organizational development team to continue to remind us of those things learned while instructing and teaching others.

And I believe SF has found the best kept secret on how to utilize the Baldrige application—we plan to share this at the workshop.

What are a few key reasons that organization in your sector can benefit from using the Baldrige Excellence Framework?

It is all about the strengths of the tool and putting it to work:

  • Systematic change with innovation equals sustainability for the organization.
  • Utilizing a tool that is more than “words”; Baldrige drives innovation.
  • Baldrige ensures that all staff members use the same language and continue to grow one with another toward best practices.

Register now for the 28th Annual Quest for Excellence Conference to attend this session, “Leadership,” as well as other sessions from role-model Baldrige Award recipients, past and present, from every sector of the U.S. economy.

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...

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Comments

You need to "push" this point out more. "The Baldrige Excellence Framework as a tool doesn’t tell an organization what to do—it asks questions that drive systematic improvement and change that may be adapted to the culture of an organization."
What a great point. Thank you for sharing. "Trust can be earned through building relationships and creating an environment of trust by building an infrastructure based on a Vision and Mission, which is built on goals, objectives, and operational principles; this is what ties together all of SCF. And this includes governance, executive leadership, and all employees."
I would love to have this thinking in our school system of support staff. Keeps being rebutted with same old mind set.

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