In this blog series, we are highlighting some of the learning (successful strategies and programs) shared by Baldrige Award recipients to highlight the categories of the Baldrige Criteria and how your organization might consider using them as guidance.
Part of the purpose of Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Improvement Act of 1987 (Public Law 100-107) is to disseminate information about the successful strategies and programs of Baldrige Award-winning organizations that “practice effective quality management and as a result make significant improvements in the quality of their goods and services.” Such sharing by Baldrige Award recipients is done face-to-face and with the option of asking questions of and networking with these recipients at the Annual Quest for Excellence® Conference, as well as at the Baldrige Fall Conference. Baldrige Award recipients also often host sharing days after their wins to share best practices.
Category 2 of the Baldrige Criteria covers your organization’s strategy.
The Strategy category is divided into items for strategy development and implementation. The category asks how you develop strategic objectives and action plans, implement them, change them if circumstances require, and measure progress. The category stresses that your organization’s long‐term organizational success and competitive environment are key strategic issues that need to be integral parts of your overall planning.
While many organizations are increasingly adept at strategic planning, executing plans is still a significant challenge. This is especially true given market demands to be agile and be prepared for unexpected change, such as volatile economic conditions or disruptive technologies that can upset an otherwise fast‐paced but more predictable marketplace. This category highlights the need to focus not only on developing your plans, but also on your capability to execute them.
Following are some practices shared by Baldrige Award recipients (Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital and Stellar Solutions) in the realms of developing/implementing/changing/measuring progress of strategic objectives and action plans, and using strategic planning to ensure long‐term organizational success and a competitive environment.
What could your organization learn/adapt?
2016 Baldrige Award Recipient, Health Care
Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital (MHHS) is part of the Memorial Hermann Health System, the largest nonprofit health system in Southeast Texas. MHHS is a 149-bed, full-service acute care community hospital located in Sugar Land, Texas, just southwest of Houston.
MHHS gathers input across the Memorial Hermann Health System to develop its strategic plan, with a focus on ADVANCE Strategies:
The ADVANCE strategies are used to form strategic initiatives, metrics, and targets for each business unit to reliably execute the plan. The strategic initiatives have one- (short-term) and three-year (longer-term) time frames.
Each strategic initiative and related action plan is assigned a leadership sponsor and involvement by one of five strategy councils; the intent is to foster ownership, accountability, and focus on the initiative. Once the action plans are validated and finalized, they are moved to processes for deployment, execution, and monitoring, which involve the workforce and key stakeholders.
Measuring accountability is an important part of strategic planning at MHHS. Strategic initiatives always align with leadership goals and are cascaded to departments to develop aligned plans. Outcomes are sustained through eight channels of specific accountability, including strategy champions reporting monthly on key metrics and variances; informal, daily empowerment through safety huddles, messages on public bulletin boards, and personal communications from directors as they review their daily updates; use of Baldrige thinking and performance improvements tools to sustain outcomes; and monthly Medical Executive Committee meetings. These channels enable ongoing review of plan deployment effectiveness. Should an opportunity to improve the process be identified, it is either addressed immediately or integrated into future planning cycles.
2017 Baldrige Award Recipient, Small Business
Stellar Solutions is a global provider of systems engineering, integration, and program management expertise in government and commercial programs related to the aerospace field. A woman-owned, professional engineering services business, Stellar was founded in 1995 to provide technical expertise and management for national and international aerospace programs.
Ensuring long‐term organizational success and a competitive environment are integral parts of Stellar’s overall planning. The organization ensures that strategic planning is
Part of ensuring a long-term planning focus is a questionnaire about employees’ perception of the work environment and potential opportunities or challenges. Questions include the following:
Employees participate in strategic plan all-hands meetings prepared to answer these questions and share responses. Developed in these meetings are key strategic plan elements, including how to maintain current business and continue satisfying the critical needs of current customers (near-term horizon), and how to ensure situational awareness of opportunities on the longer-term horizon. Ideas from the meetings become the draft strategic plan for each sector, which vice presidents present to the executive leadership for approval and collaboration across sectors. In alignment with specific goals in the strategic plan, individual incentive plans are used to evaluate employees.
The strategic plan has to be dynamic and adaptable throughout the year as the environment changes. Summer meetings, held across Stellar’s three major geographies, are another opportunity to get the workforce together to review progress against the strategic plan, brainstorm ideas on how to execute on goals for the remainder of the year, and start thinking about the strategic plan for the upcoming year. In addition to these company-wide events, the senior leadership team meets on a monthly basis to review performance metrics against the strategic plan, share knowledge from employees and customers, and adapt the plan as needed—an ongoing monthly process called Convergence.
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.
I've looked at Cat 6 before and now with Cat 2, you've simplified yet thoroughly described those 2 categories.
Appreciate all your help
It's a great source of learning and I would encourage all applicants and examiners to read them.
Toni Kfuri, MD, MPH.
Thanks so much for your comment, Toni!