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The Official Baldrige Blog

business competition

I have recently read numerous copies of the same short blog post on different web sites. The blog post says there is one simple question to ask that will give your organization a competitive advantage if you act on it quickly. The question is: "What do your customers want more than anything?" While listening to customers and meeting or exceeding their desires is a key consideration in strategy, the 2015-2016 Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence provide a systems perspective to organizational performance leadership and strategy that cover all dimensions contributing to ongoing organizational success. So at the risk of complicating what has been put forward as a one question path to success, let me propose five additional questions to consider.

1. What is your organization's vision?

What is your organization's North Star? Where do your leaders envision the future of your organization will be? What is your organization striving to become?

2. How are you thinking strategically?

How are you scanning your environment to understand opportunities and threats? How are you looking for blind spots that could surprise you? How do you remain agile, so you can address technological or economic changes?

3. What are your work systems for the future?

How will you efficiently produce your products and services in the future and protect your intellectual property? What work will be done by your employees? What will you do through partnerships, outsourcing, or your supply chain?

4. How are you building organizational knowledge?

How are you capturing the knowledge of your employees and sharing it in your organization? How are you helping your employees learn and develop for the future? How are you innovating?

5. How are you assuring the resources to implement your plans?

How are you making the finances and people available to make sure you can accomplish your plans?

Is your organization set for success? Are you looking at customer desires only or are you addressing all six questions? If you would like to hear from some organizations that are addressing all six questions in role model fashion, join us at Quest for Excellence 27!  

About the author

Harry Hertz “The Baldrige Cheermudgeon”

I am Harry Hertz, the Baldrige Cheermudgeon, and Director Emeritus of the Baldrige Program. I joined the Program in 1992 after a decade in management in the analytical chemistry and chemical sciences laboratories at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the home of the Baldrige Program. I started my career at NIST (NBS) as a bench analytical chemist.

My favorite aspects of the Baldrige Program are: (1) the opportunity to interact with leading thinkers from all sectors of the U.S. economy who serve as volunteers in the Baldrige Program, who participate in the Baldrige Executive Fellows Program, and who represent Award applicants at the forefront of the continuous journey to performance excellence, and (2) the intellectual challenge of synthesizing ideas from leading thinkers and from personal research into Insights on the Road to Performance Excellence and other blogs that tackle challenges at the “leading edge of validated leadership and performance practice,” and contribute to the continuous revision of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Framework.

Outside of work I spend my time with family (including three beautiful granddaughters), exercising, baking bread, traveling, educating tomorrow’s leaders, and participating on various boards and board committees.

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