Use the Baldrige Award Criteria to Measure Operational Excellence
How Do You Measure Operational Excellence?
At the most basic level, it should be relatively easy to measure operational excellence. All you have to do is measure and look at the results! Many would argue that all one needs to do is review a set of key performance indicators for all of the organization’s key performance areas. Is this not enough information for such an evaluation? When one uses the Baldrige award criteria to help measure operational excellence, they find that they need more than just excellent results.
Unfortunately, there are limitations if we only use ‘the numbers’ to assess performance excellence. This is especially true if one considers the future sustainability and competitiveness of the organization. How effectively will current work system designs support the organization’s strategic intent over the next five to ten years? Are systematic processes in place to drive further work system design changes? How will we meet shifts in internal and external customer expectations?
Finally, for true process effectiveness, positive trends aren’t enough. Key trends should exhibit movement towards external levels of excellence. These levels should be consistent with the long term goals of the organization.
EXPLORE MORE: How Great are Your Work Systems?
The Design of the Baldrige Award Criteria Helps Drive Operational Excellence
From a Baldrige perspective, effectiveness and sustainability go hand and hand. The Baldrige perspective on effectiveness also takes into consideration the potential effects that different work systems can have on others. Have you ever seen one process perform at an exceptional level, but at the same time, cause the performance of other processes to falter? Have you ever seen efficiency improve in one work area at the expense of patient satisfaction or safety in another?
The design of the Baldrige award criteria, scoring guidelines, and assessment process take sustainability, integration, and other factors into consideration. These factors alone support its use as a tool to evaluate process effectiveness. Results are important, as they constitute 45% of the total Award points. The Baldrige belief is simple. An organization will struggle to sustain excellent results over time, in all areas of importance, if it fails to effectively deploy, refine, and integrate its key work systems.
DISCOVER MORE: How to Measure and Improve Your Process Improvement Work System
How Can You Can Use the Baldrige Award Criteria to Measure Operational Excellence?
There are five different approaches that leaders can use to gauge their current level of organizational design and performance against the Baldrige award criteria. These five approaches are shown in the graphic for this post. The length of time that one needs to use a given approach ranges between minutes and days, and months, if not years.
This is the fastest way to get a quick read on where your organization may stack up against the Baldrige award criteria. Examiner teams use the Scoring Band descriptors at the end of the assessment process to help ensure a ‘best fit’ score assignment. There should be alignment between the scorebook mix of strengths and opportunities for improvement and the overall Process and Results sub-scores.
Here’s how to use the descriptors as a quick assessment tool. First, simply select the ‘best fit’ descriptor for your organization. Do this for both the Process and the Results columns. Then, read the descriptor above and below the two you select (one for Process and one for Results). This helps ensure you make a ‘best fit’ selection. You won’t receive recognition for where you rank. However, you have at least two performance excellence benchmarks.