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Dawn Bailey


2022 Revisions to Baldrige Self-Assessment Tools

The focus is on preparation, communication, and inclusion

Published: Thursday, August 11, 2022 - 12:02

According to a survey of a broad cross-section of CEOs, the Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award noted that “deploying strategy is three times more difficult than developing strategy. If deployment is so challenging, the questions [should be], Are you making progress? How do you know?”

Understanding perceptions that lead to engagement

This introduction was part of the initial publication of the Baldrige self-assessment tool “Are We Making Progress?” and its companion document, “Are We Making Progress As Leaders?” Now in their fifth revisions, these tools were designed to help leaders understand the perceptions that provide insights about deployment and engagement across an organization. Such perceptions can help decision makers focus resources on key areas of improvement and communication efforts that will have the most impact, as well as recognize opportunities for innovation.

Making effective decisions

Organizations are encouraged to use and customize these surveys at no cost to check the perceptions of workforce members and peer leaders. Comparing the answers to workforce members’ perceptions from “Are We Making Progress?” and leaders’ perceptions from “Are We Making Progress As Leaders?” should help decision makers answer the following questions:
• Are your values, vision, mission, and plans being deployed?
• Does your leadership team understand them?
• Do the members of your workforce understand and support them?
• Are your communications effective?
• Is the message being well received?

In alignment with how validated leadership and management practices have evolved in the Baldrige Excellence Framework and its Criteria, the Are We Making Progress? surveys have recently been revised to help organizations set priorities for performance improvement and assessing performance.

2022 revisions

Highlights of the 2022 revisions include the following.

There is an intentional focus on preparing rather than planning, with the understanding that change—both planned and unplanned—is always on the horizon. For example, in the Strategy section, the verb “plans” has intentionally been changed to “prepares.” Similarly, a new statement has been added about whether an organization is “prepared to handle an emergency” and address “sudden disasters or new ideas.” There’s also a statement to check the perception that workforce members receive all the important information they need to make changes to their work when the organization makes unplanned changes.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) figures prominently in the revised self-assessments. A new statement checks the perception of “My organization treats all customers fairly” and “My organization is committed to including and embracing people from varying backgrounds, and treating everyone fairly.” There is also a testing of the perception that “the organization is a good place to work for all employees.”

Themes of communication are interwoven in the revised statements. For example, there is a focus on whether the workforce receives information on how work groups are included in an organization’s plans. The perception of bosses supporting workers, and leadership team members supporting each other is also checked.

The importance of continuous improvement comes through in statements to check the perception of regularly reviewing and improving processes, and protecting important assets (i.e., property), data, and information (security and cybersecurity).

When is the last time you checked the perceptions of your employees or leadership team?

First published July 12, 2022, in the Blogrige blog.


About The Author

Dawn Bailey’s picture

Dawn Bailey

Dawn Bailey is a writer/editor for the Baldrige Program involved in all aspects of communications, from leading the Baldrige Executive Fellows program to managing the direction of case studies, social media efforts, and assessment teams. She has more than 25 years of experience (18 years at the Baldrige Program) working on publications and education teams. Her background is in English and journalism, with degrees from the University of Connecticut and an advanced degree from George Mason University.