Monday, July 14, 2014

In Search of Performance Excellence

Congratulations to ASQ for achieving "Excellence" level of achievement for the 2014 Wisconsin Forward Award. The Wisconsin Forward Award is essentially the state-level equivalent of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in the U.S.

In the June blog post to A View from the Q, ASQ CEO Bill Troy asks whether we have been part of an organization that has embarked on an excellence program, and what has been our experience with this exercise in organizational self-examination?

I have been actively involved with the Malcolm Baldrige Criteria since 1997 when 3M Dental Products Division won the national Baldrige Award. I continue to serve as a Baldrige Evaluator for the State of Minnesota through the Performance Excellence Network (PEN). PEN is a non-profit, membership based organization that builds networks and helps leaders navigate various pathways and routes in pursuit of performance excellence. Though 3M Company's Quality Council is a Site (organizational) member of PEN, I continue to maintain my Individual membership as well.

The Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence are organized around 7 Categories of:
  1. Leadership
  2. Strategic Planning
  3. Customer Focus
  4. Measurement, Analysis and Knowledge Management
  5. Workforce Focus
  6. Operations Focus, and
  7. Results
My two areas of greatest interest, focus and passion among the Baldrige Criteria are Leadership and Strategic Planning. During the first 15 years of my professional career as a Quality Specialist and statistical practitioner I focused primarily on the rigorous, disciplined use of tools and methods to improve the quality of processes, products and services. Over the years, my appreciation of a system and of Deming's profound knowledge has evolved to my significantly greater emphasis today on the importance of culture and leadership as foundations to continuous and breakthrough improvement. Thought leaders in leadership and management, and human factors experts, such as W. Edwards Deming, Peter Senge, Peter Drucker, Roger Conners, Simon Sinek, and many more, have shaped my belief system that shared values, vision, purpose, accountability and leadership create and foster the culture necessary to ignite and sustain the passion for excellence.

It is my experience that an impassioned workforce, inspired and empowered by leadership, that is laser-focused on creating positive customer experiences, is an absolute requirement to employee engagement resulting in organizational success and growth leading to sustainable performance improvement.

The Baldrige Criteria, its organizational assessment tools and army of Evaluators and Judges, and the assemblage of previous role model organizations, together provide valuable benchmarks and roadmap for this improvement journey.

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