I am frequently asked about the elements of a Baldrige assessment, whether conducted as a self-assessment or externally conducted. The topic came up again during a discussion I was part of last week. In particular, what is the relationship among the various components of a Baldrige assessment. Here is my simple explanation for the three major components:

  1. The Organizational Profile (Category P in the Baldrige Criteria): This section is about what’s important to you. You describe your organization and its operating environment, key relationships, competitive environment, and strategic context.
  2. The Baldrige Criteria (Categories 1-7) responses: This section is about how you are accomplishing what’s important to you. In a systematic fashion starting with leadership and ending with results, you describe how your organization does what’s important to you for successful enterprise management and sustainability.
  3. The Scoring Guidelines: This section allows you to assess how well you are accomplishing what’s important to you. The scoring guidelines allow you to assess the maturity of your processes and their deployment, and the breadth and significance of the results you are achieving.

We always speak of a systems approach to organizational performance management. The full system is a combination of all three pieces. Without all three it would be neither holistic nor a system.

The most common incomplete use of the system is ignoring the Scoring Guidelines. They are the dimension that complements the seven categories of the Criteria. The Scoring Guidelines allow you to evaluate how mature your approaches are, how well you deploy them, how systematically you evaluate and improve them, and how successfully you align them with what’s important to you. For results, the Scoring Guidelines help you evaluate your current performance, your performance changes over time, how well your results compare with other organizations, and how successfully they address what’s important to you.

Sustainability requires knowing what you are doing (the criteria), how well you are doing it (the scoring guidelines), and how relevant it is to your needs (the organizational profile).

Organizations frequently and appropriately start with just the organizational profile, because you need to know who you are before you can add more detail. In a recent Blogrige interview with Lisa Muller from Jenks Public Schools, she describes the value of the organizational profile.

But once you know who you are, assessment requires the how (criteria responses) and the how well (scoring)!

This blog was originally posted on Blogrige; the official Baldrige blog, by Harry Hertz, the Baldrige Cheermudgeon.

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