Baldrige National Quality Award

The Malcom Baldrige National Quality Award

The Malcom Baldrige National Quality Award was created by the 100th United States Congress on August 20, 1987 by Public law 100-107 (Library of Congress, n.d.).  The award is named for Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th Secretary of Commerce, who served under President Reagan from January 22, 1981 until his accidental death on July 25, 1987 from a rodeo accident in California.  Secretary Baldrige was well-known for his award-winning managerial accomplishments and contributions to the United States Government.  During his tenure, Secretary Baldrige reduced the Department of Commerce’s administrative staff by 25% and its annual budget by 30% through process improvements and efficiencies (National Institute of Standards and Technology, 2016).

The Malcom Baldrige National Quality Award is the United States’ topmost national level award given to an organization in recognition for their performance excellence.  This annual award can be presented to as many as 18 organizations across six categories: healthcare, small business, service, manufacturing, education, and nonprofit (National Institute of Standards and Technology, 2017).  The Baldrige award has four functions.  First, it encourages United States’ companies to advance productivity and quality through acknowledgement of the award without losing their competitive edge via increased profits.  Second, it recognizes an organization’s quality improvement accomplishments as a benchmark for other companies to emulate.  Third, it creates processes and measures to be used by various industry categories in assessing their own quality improvement initiates.  Fourth, it specifies procedures and benchmarks for other United States’ organizations who wish to cultivate a change in their organizational behavior and norms by providing detailed information on how other organizations achieved this transformation (Evans, 2017, p. 62).

Criteria for Performance Excellence

The Baldrige criteria for performance excellence provides a framework or outline that organizations can review and incorporate into their operations to increase efficiencies and effectiveness.  These criteria are designed to focus an organization’s efforts on those activities that foster improvements and add to the overall well-being of the organization; shedding those unnecessary actions that detract from performance excellence and waste resources.  The criteria are structured in a hierarchical layout by categories that address the main area, then continually drill further down to specific areas to concentrate on (Evans, 2017, p. 66).

This framework is made up of seven categories of criteria to help achieve performance excellence: leadership, strategy, customers, measurement, workforce, operations, and results (American Society for Quality, 2018).

1. Leadership category: This category examines the criticality of leadership, how positively the leadership affects the organization, and how the organizations interacts within its surrounding communities.

2. Strategy category: This category addresses how the organization develops long- terms plans, postures its resources in support of those plans, and lays out the necessary sequential actions to execute the plans.

3. Customer’s category: This category identifies how the organization interacts with its customers to create partnerships and foster long-lasting relationship where all parties involved have a vested interest in their community culture.

4. Measurement, analysis, and knowledge management category: This category reveals how well the organization uses data, analysis, and feedback to support key operations, processes, and decisions.

5. Workforce category: This category provides insight into how the organization employs, develops, compensates, empowers, protects, organizes and structures its workforce.

6. Operations category: This category examines how key processes and procedures are designed, managed, and reviewed to ensure they support the organization’s core functions.

7. Results category: This category provides details on how well the organization executed its core functions, effectiveness of its strategies and operations, supported its customers, managed its workforce, and how it compares to its industry competition.

Previous Employer Performance Excellence Assessment

I am currently a federal employee and have worked for several federal agencies in the past decade.  My explorer performance excellence assessment is on my former federal agency employer; I moved to a different federal agency less than a year ago and do not have the longevity with my current agency to provide an accurate assessment.  The assessment on my former federal employer is based solely only on my personal experiences; no surveys or other instruments were used to gather data for my responses.

My assessment responses are based upon the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Baldrige Performance Excellence Program assessment tool entitled “Are We Making Progress” (National Institute of Standards and Technology, 2016).  The assessment tool uses 40 statements to evaluate the seven Baldrige award categories of criteria.  My assessment for the seven categories are as follows:

1. Leadership category: This category has seven assessment statements and I strongly agree with all seven.  My previous workplace ensured every member knew the organization’s mission, vision, goals, and values.  Leaders at all echelons set the example to abide by and created a positive work environment.  I felt like a valued employee whose input was sought after and acted upon if warranted.

2. Strategy category: This category has five assessment statements and I strongly agree with the first four statements and disagree with the last one.  My previous workplace asked for strategic inputs, developed long-term plans, and shared the plans with all employees.  However, the organization was not able to make changes quickly when needed; the locally developed strategic plans were submitted to a higher-headquarters for evaluation and possible implementation.  This hierarchical process was very slow and seldom resulted in any changes.

3. Customers category: This category has five assessment statements and I strongly agree with all five statements.  Everyone at my previous workplace knew the customer priority list in the event of multiple tasking were levied on us.  All employees were assigned a group of customers in which they communicated with on a weekly basis and had fully authority to resolve current and future requirements up to a predetermined threshold.

4. Measurement, analysis, and knowledge management category: This category has five assessment statements and I strongly agree with all five statements.  My previous work center used a central processing system that tracked everyone assignments, detailed the progress of the requirements in terms of the days and percentages, and provided all the necessary metrics to analyze the entire organization’s workload.  Employees could easily identify issues and a means to correct it or expedite a resolution.

5. Workforce category: This category has six assessment statements and I strongly agree with all of them.  My previous work center had an environment of loyalty and trust.  People knew they would get recognized for their accomplishments and pulled aside in a private setting when they were not meeting standards.  Employees were mentored and encouraged to reach beyond their current position.

6. Operations category: This category has four assessment statements and I strongly agree with all of them.  Everyone was given all the necessary infrastructure, tools, and supplies to meet or exceed their work requirements.  Employees were only able to improve their work processes with the latitude given to them with the federal rules and regulations governing our processes.

7. Results category: This category has nine assessment statements and I strongly agree with all of them.  Federal agencies and their subordinate organizations have a lot of laws and regulations they must follow that private organization do not have to follow or they are able to modify.  My previous organization was a high-performing organization given the parameters in which it had to operate; it had good leadership, the proper organizational structure, and the correct mix of employees and skill sets to accomplish their mission and goals.

Additionally, my previous organization has been continuously recognized as one of the premier units within our agency for its dedication to the mission, high performance ratings, and customer feedback.  In regards to the question posed by the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program assessment tool “Are We Making Progress”, I conclude that my previous organization is definitely making progress.

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