[No surprise here. Building broad understanding across the employee base of how a business runs, how it measures success, and how it will engage everyone in that process can only support a culture of lasting strength and viability. Leaders aren’t there for their own benefit, but the lasting benefit of the company long after they are gone. They do this through engaged, cultural development across all departments, at all levels. ed.]
Over my career I have seen many organizations adopt the Baldrige framework and others like it. I have been part of efforts of this nature many times I whole-heartedly support the intent of “organization effectiveness” efforts of this nature. I do have a couple of observations about organizations that try to implement such efforts.
1. All of these type effort require changes to the organization culture. And like any culture change they must be adopted from the top down. Too often senior executives see these efforts as good for employees, but do not understand what changes they themselves should make. When executives ignore developing their own personal change agenda, they send a “here goes another one” signal to the employees.
2. Many of these efforts are treated as “programs”, and are viewed as having limited shelf lives. “OK, we did that”. Malcolm Baldrige and other such efforts are long term efforts, and must go beyond the term of the newest CEO. Executives turn over, sometimes often, but developing a culture of quality is long term. Sustainability is more than the tenure of the latest CEO or COO. Some organization form, like a “Baldrige Board”/Steering Group, must remain in place and be refurbished with a viable succession plan.
3. Many organizations jump into such efforts “whole hog” and require tremendous attention and documentation to the effort regardless of employee workload. Big mistake. Many efforts get buried under mounds of administration (paper work). Florida Power and Light’s process improvement effort is and example. The effort can die of it’s own administrative weight.
4. The program cannot be perceived as an exercise separate from doing business on a day to day basis. Employees have to believe that their efforts result in viable business accomplishments. Every Malcolm Baldrige goal should be tied to/a derivative of a valid business goal.
Just a few thought on the subject. I enjoy your blogs.
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