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The Official Baldrige Blog

A Map for Total Performance


No one can deny that there are plenty of quality tools out there to improve performance—of a team, of a process, of a product—but to integrate those tools and know where to apply them for the good of the whole organization, so that learning can be applied and the system can most effectively use resources, that's where the Baldrige Excellence Framework comes in. Whether you describe it as a blueprint or a map,  it is the framework that should guide how and where you apply quality tools.

To borrow two quotes from recent interviews with quality experts,

  • “The Baldrige framework is like the blueprint of a building, with ISO used for specific systems within the building such as electrical and air conditioning systems.” (Ron Schulingkamp)
  • "Baldrige is the overall organizing framework that can identify where there are problems. . . . Think of Baldrige like a map that will show the organization where . . . Six Sigma, Lean, and other tools should be deployed. . . . If an organization deploys [such tools] without an overall map as Baldrige, it would be like taking a trip in a car but not having a map to know the way." (Gene O’Dell)

And here's another expert from Quality magazine who writes about the Baldrige Criteria's complementary nature with business process management (BPM) objectives. In "Aligning BPM with the Seven Categories of the Malcolm Baldrige Award," Forrest W. Breyfogle III, the founder and CEO of Smarter Solutions Inc, writes, "Most organizations use the Baldrige categories to build up a total performance map in order to rule out areas that require improvement. Along with this, organizations may also rely on tools, such as BPM, to devise operations and enhance organization processes."

He describes BPM as a way to take control of processes, and aligning BPM with the "high-performing business processes" gained from using the Criteria can lead to "economic viability, efficient operations, conservation of natural resources, and social responsibility."

"Therefore, it can be said that the success of BPM, along with other business process tools, can be improved . . . through the Baldrige Criteria," he writes. "The effective alignment could be a source of increasing improvement to even more advanced developments. Breakthrough progress gives organizations the highest competitive edge in all circumstances. . . . By relying on the Criteria, businesses are steps closer to attaining higher levels of productivity and profitability, better employee relations, improved market share, and customer loyalty."

Breyfogle adds, "By taking the seven Baldrige categories into consideration, well-developed and balanced results can be expected. Any misalignment could mean that there is something wrong with the business processes or other areas in the organization, making things easier and more efficient for organizations to implement business and measure performance. . . . The Baldrige Criteria, therefore, serve as strong criteria to conduct self-assessments and benchmark an organization’s processes and methods with those companies rewarded by the Baldrige Award."

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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Absolutely true.."................
Dawn, it was good to see that my Quality Magazine article was referenced in your blog. For those who would like more information on the details of how one could execute a road map for achieving total performance, I suggest that the two links at the bottom of my referenced Quality Magazine article be checked out.
Thanks, Forrest, and everyone for their comments.
Total agreement with this roadmap to performance excellence. Best practices are agglutinated in the criteria.

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