While the annual online application for the 2017 Board of Examiners has now closed, we are always looking for ways to celebrate Baldrige Examiners. Competitively selected, these volunteers hail from many states, sectors, and professions. Following is an interview of William (Bill) Craddock from Arkansas. President of Craddock & Associates, Inc., Bill has served on the Board of Examiners for the past six years.
Tell us how you first became interested in becoming a Baldrige examiner?
In my second year of participation in the Arkansas Governor’s Quality Award Program [a member of the Alliance for Performance Excellence, a network of Baldrige-based state and sector programs], I volunteered to be on the training committee. I soon recognized that examiner experience at the national level could help improve our training at the state level. The value began with the knowledge gained from the formal training and discussions with other examiners about how they approached different scenarios, and continued through mentoring by my team leader during the evaluation process. I believe I am a better trainer for our state program because of my participation as a national examiner.
What were your impressions or highlights of your first training to be an examiner? What have been highlights for you of annual examiner training in subsequent years?
I was very impressed with the caliber of the Baldrige examiners in my first training class and felt honored to be included in the room. Everyone (examiners and Baldrige staff) both shared experiences and provided specific feedback on how to improve. In subsequent years, I have enjoyed visiting with colleagues with whom I have served on teams or worked on projects. I have also appreciated the opportunities to help facilitate the training.
Would you please share some memorable learning experiences you’ve had as an examiner on Consensus Review teams?
It’s a difficult balance to stay on schedule for the consensus calls and make sure all team members are both heard and will support the consensus decision. Occasionally, there is a team member who voices an alternate viewpoint in a way that convinces the other team members. Regardless of how passionate some of the consensus discussions are, it always feels great when the team leader declares “we have reached consensus”—especially at the end of the last consensus review call.
How have you applied learning from your service as a Baldrige examiner to your work with various organizations?
There are multiple ways Baldrige participation has helped me. I listen more carefully and try to better understand the other person’s perspective. I recruit organizations to get involved—both as applicants and as sources of potential examiners. I tell them how amazing it is to see truly outstanding organizations up close and personal during a site visit.
My focus is on helping organizations improve. The Baldrige phrase “successful now and in the future” really resonates with me.
Because the 2015 revision of ISO 9001 created greater alignment with the Baldrige Criteria, I am now actively involved with organizations who are working to upgrade to the revised standard. And yes, I still recruit them to get involved as Baldrige applicants!