When Steve Bovey first learned about the Baldrige Excellence Framework, he was impressed that it was not “another flavor of the month” among management fads. In contrast, he said he saw that it is “a systematic framework that can apply to any type of business, which can use whatever flavor (performance improvement system) it has already chosen.”
“The Baldrige framework doesn’t need to replace what you have,” he added. “It makes what you have more effective.”
In the case of Adventist Health Castle (AHC)—the 2017 Baldrige Award recipient in Hawaii where Bovey serves as quality improvement coordinator—he summed up the benefits this way: “The Baldrige framework has helped us look at our organization from the 30,000-foot view to enhance alignment and integration.”
|“The [Baldrige] Criteria have helped us identify our blind spots and become more systematic in our methodology through the use of ADLI. When we became more systematic about our real work, we achieved the results that we needed.”|
How AHC Makes Baldrige “How We Work”
With a focus on how his health care system uses the Baldrige framework to continue to support excellent performance today, Bovey looks forward to leading a session at the Baldrige Program’s upcoming Quest for Excellence® Conference. “Our time is too valuable to be doing extra work, so we have made a conscious effort to make Baldrige ‘how we work,’” said Bovey recently. “During [our Quest] session, we will describe methods we have used to make this goal a reality.”
Asked for an example of how AHC has benefited from integrating the Baldrige framework, Bovey responded, “By merging category teams with existing teams and committees, we have reduced the number of meetings and increased the effectiveness of our teams.”
He further described how AHC teams of employees use the Baldrige process evaluation factors of Approach, Deployment, Learning, Integration (ADLI) to think about the performance of their work processes. The teams now do an annual update of responses to Baldrige Criteria questions in the category related to their function in the organization, and they use an ADLI table format to capture information in those four dimensions of process evaluation, Bovey said.
“Our team members also have received training to become internal Baldrige examiners to evaluate organizational performance both in their category and in one other team’s category. The result of this annual examination is a prioritized list of improvement opportunities for their team in the coming year,” he added.
Tips to Introduce Your Organization to the Baldrige Framework
Based on AHC’s experience, Bovey shared the following tips for those in other organizations who are interested in introducing or sustaining their use of the Baldrige framework:
- Align Baldrige categories with the real work of organizational teams/committees.
- Engage team leaders and team members in an annual Baldrige application update [updating responses to Baldrige Criteria questions], but with a focus on updating bullet points in an ADLI table rather than “wordsmithing” paragraphs in a document.
- Train team members to be examiners and apply that training to evaluate their own work and the work of another (category) team.
- Use this evaluation to identify strengths and prioritize opportunities for improvement for the coming year.
- Develop 90-day action plans in each team.
- Schedule quarterly meetings for team leaders to provide updates to their 90-day action plans and to identify opportunities for integration.
Finally, Bovey shared with me what he’d say about the Baldrige framework if he wanted to give a quick summary of the benefits to a group of senior leaders who knew little or nothing about it:
|“If you are tired of putting out fires—and of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing—then you may want to consider using the Baldrige framework. It’s not so much about an award as it is about helping you get the results that you need.”|