Each year we interview the newest members of the Judges’ Panel of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award to share their individual 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. At the panel’s annual meeting in August, the judges review data from Baldrige examiner teams’ scoring of written applications (the Independent and Consensus Review processes), then vote on which applicants to advance to Site Visit Review (the third and final examination stage), in which examiners will verify and clarify their performance in all seven Criteria categories of the Baldrige Excellence Framework. At the panel’s annual meeting In November, the judges review reports and other documentation from site visits in order 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 each serve for a period of three years.
Keith T. Everett
Chief Officer, Performance, Cultural Operations and Compliance
Capital Caring Health
What experiences led you to the role of Baldrige judge?
I’ve experienced an interesting journey, which started in 2005. I was first exposed to the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program by a former mentor who was selected as a Baldrige examiner. This exposure led me to apply to become a Baldrige examiner, too, in 2018. That experience and a combination of personal passion and a commitment to excellence led me here.
How do you see the Baldrige Excellence Framework (including the Criteria for Performance Excellence) as valuable to health care organizations today?
While this may sound like a cliché, the Baldrige framework gives organizations the foundation for performance excellence. Any organization (especially those in health care) wants and needs a framework to build both a horizonal strategy and a vertical strategy for success. The Baldrige framework helps organizations identify how they lead, implement strategy, work with their customers, measure performance, engage their workforce, operationalize their processes, and obtain their desired results.
How do you apply Baldrige principles/concepts in your current work experience/employer?
Every element of the framework is part of my daily work. This includes how I lead, implement strategy, engage our patients and workforce, monitor our operations, measure performance, and review performance results.
As a Baldrige judge, what are your hopes for this year's judging process? For instance, is there anything you'd like to help applicants and potential Baldrige Award applicants understand about the process?
As I am a first-year judge, my aims are to first learn and fully understand the process. For potential Baldrige Award applicants, I would advise ensuring that you are ready, for example, by doing a Baldrige self-assessment [using the Baldrige Criteria questions]. This will give you the opportunity to take a comprehensive look at your organization. Keep in mind that the completion of the Organizational Profile, the prefatory section of the Criteria, is the key to your application. Ensure that the excellent work you are doing points back to what is important to your organization, and this information should be in your Organizational Profile.
What encouragement/advice would you give Baldrige examiners for their work in evaluating organizations as part of the Baldrige Award process?
As a former examiner, I truly appreciate the work that happens in the Independent Review phase of the Baldrige Award evaluation process. This process is essential to painting a clear picture to the organization. Continue this work; seeing the organization through your collective eyes allows us [as members of the Judges Panel] to better make decisions on which organizations move to the next level.
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.