According to “a survey of a broad cross section of CEOs . . . deploying strategy is three times more difficult than developing strategy. If deployment is so challenging, the questions [should be], Are you making progress? How do you know?”
This introduction was part of the initial publication of the Baldrige self-assessment tool Are We Making Progress? and its companion document Are We Making Progress as Leaders?. Now in their fifth revisions, these tools were designed to help leaders understand the perceptions that provide insights as to deployment and engagement across an organization. Such perceptions can help decision makers focus resources on key areas of improvement and communication efforts that will have the most impact, as well as recognize opportunities for innovation.
Organizations are encouraged to use and customize these surveys at no cost to check the perceptions of workforce members and peer leaders. Comparing the answers to workforce members’ perceptions from Are We Making Progress? and leaders’ perceptions from Are We Making Progress as Leaders? should help decision makers answer the following questions:
Are your values, vision, mission, and plans being deployed?
Does your leadership team understand them?
Do the members of your workforce understand and support them?
Are your communications effective?
Is the message being well received?
In alignment with how validated leadership and management practices have evolved in the Baldrige Excellence Framework® and its Criteria, the Are We Making Progress? surveys have recently been revised to aid organizations in setting priorities for performance improvement and assessing performance.
Highlights of the 2022 revisions include the following:
There is an intentional focus on preparing rather than planning, with the understanding that change—both planned and unplanned—is always on the horizon. For example, in the Strategy section, the verb “plans” has intentionally been changed to “prepares.” Similarly, a new statement has been added about whether an organization is “prepared to handle an emergency” and address “sudden disasters or new ideas.” There’s also a statement to check the perception that workforce members receive all the important information they need to make changes to their work when the organization makes unplanned changes.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) figures prominently in the revised self-assessments. A new statement checks the perception of “My organization treats all customers fairly” and “My organization is committed to including and embracing people from varying backgrounds, and treating everyone fairly.” There is also a testing of the perception that “the organization is a good place to work for all employees.”
Themes of communication are interwoven in the revised statements. For example, there is a focus on whether the workforce receives information on how work groups are included in an organization’s plans. The perception of bosses supporting workers and leadership team members supporting each other is also checked.
The importance of continuous improvement comes through in statements to check the perception of regularly reviewing and improving processes, and protecting important assets (property), data, and information (security and cybersecurity).
When is the last time you checked the perceptions of your employees and/or leadership team?
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.