The framework is the 30,000 foot view of the Criteria. [Note: Education and Health Care Criteria have slightly different nomenclature.] The building blocks, or Categories, are essential -- performance in the Baldrige categories is the cost of entry -- but excellence in the linkages will be the mark of competitive leadership. The arrows point to excellence. The umbrella over strategy and action plans: It is the set of customer and market focused company-level requirements. These are derived from short- and long-term planning. They are the things that must be done well for the strategy to succeed. The action plans “bring the strategy to life.” They guide overall resource decisions. They drive the alignment of measures for all work units to ensure customer satisfaction and market success. The system: The leadership triad -- leadership, strategic planning, customer & market focus -- emphasizes the importance of a leadership focus on strategy and customers. The results triad is HR focus, process management, and business results. Its focus is on the employees and key processes that accomplish the work of the organization that yields results. ALL company actions point toward results. The large arrow in the center connects the leadership and results triads -- a critical linkage for company success -- and shows the role leaders must play in driving results improvement. Information and analysis are critical to a fact-based system; they are the foundation for the performance management system.
The four-stage evaluation process is illustrated in this chart. After each stage of review, the Panel of Judges meets to decide which applicants should go forward to the next stage -- consensus or site visit. The Judges’ guidelines encourage giving “benefit of the doubt” to make certain that all potential Award recipients proceed to each succeeding stage of review. When it is determined that an applicant will not proceed to the next stage of the process, the feedback report is prepared and sent within 45 days. All information remains strictly confidential throughout the process. There are strict conflict-of-interest rules that are followed by all Examiners, Judges, and National Quality Program staff.
The system for scoring applicant responses to the 20 Criteria Items involves the assessment of three evaluation dimensions and considers the factor of “importance” to the applicant’s business. The process employs Scoring Guidelines, which are an anchored rating scale. All Baldrige Award Examiners observe a set of published guidelines in assignment of scores to applicants’ responses. This scoring system is spelled out in detail so that an organization can assess itself and so that applicants are completely familiar with the system being used. The three scoring dimensions, critical to evaluation and feedback, are: Approach, which refers to how the applicant addresses the Item requirements, or what method(s) are used. The factors used to evaluate approaches include: (1) appropriateness of the methods to the requirement, (2) the effectiveness of the use of the methods, and (3) evidence of innovation and/or significant and effective adaptations of approaches used in other types of applications or businesses; Deployment, which refers to the extent to which the applicant’s approach is applied to all requirements of the Item. The factors used to evaluate deployment include: (1) use of the approach in addressing business and item requirements, and (2) use of the approach by all appropriate work units; and Results , which refers to outcomes in achieving the purposes given in the Item. The factors used to evaluate results include: (1) current performance, (2) performance relative to appropriate comparisons and/or benchmarks, (3) rate, breadth, and importance of performance improvements, (4) demonstration of sustained improvement and/or sustained high-level performance, and (5) linkage of results measures to key performance measures identified in the Business Overview and in Approach/Deployment Items. Evaluation and feedback must also consider the factor of “importance” of improvements in approach, deployment, and results to the applicant’s business. Areas of greatest importance should be identified in the Business Overview, and in items of particular importance, such as the key customer and process requirements and key strategies and action plans.
The Baldrige National Quality Program is more than an Award program. A major purpose of the Criteria is to provide a framework organizations can use for self-assessment. To encourage self-assessment, the Program makes available the materials to accomplish Baldrige assessments in-house. Materials include the Criteria, scoring guidelines, a structure for identifying organizational strengths and opportunities for improvement, and a case study packet that demonstrates the complete process.