Sunday, August 26, 2012

Awards or no Awards? Need for a system that promotes organizational excellence

This is response to question posted in ASQ CEO’s blog

With 62 years of Deming Prize history in Japan, and 25 years of Baldrige history, and similar histories of programs around the world, why is enterprise quality, or enterprise excellence if you prefer, still the exception rather than the rule?

Excellent question. There is no simple answer to this.

Lack of long-term thinking, lack of quality culture, lack of systems thinking, 20th century thinking in global economy are still persistent in several organizations that are preventing these organizations to achieve and sustain organizational excellence.

Awards such as Baldrige definitely contributed to the organizational excellence and transformed the way managers think, feel, and act. 

There are serious shortcomings with these awards that must be addressed. Here are few recommendations to make Baldrige program work in the global economy.

·      Eliminate individual award system - Deming’s philosophy does not support individual awards or individual performance evaluation. Baldrige award culture contradicts Deming’s philosophy. Eliminate award culture.

·      Encourage continuous improvement  - The Baldrige program for organizational performance excellence should promote continuous improvement culture and not award culture. Promote continuous improvement culture.

·      Knowledge sharing – Promote knowledge sharing culture through Baldrige program. Encourage organizations to use Baldrige program for self-assessment and improvement.

·      Stakeholder focus - Government or Awards do not define quality. Customers of products and services define quality. Encourage organizations to share their performance excellence stories with stakeholders including customers.

·      Systems thinking – Include stakeholders (Employees, Managers, Suppliers, Customers, Board of Directors, Government, and Suppliers) in the continuous improvement effort. Everyone is responsible for quality. Educate management on longer-term thinking and not short term thinking.

·      Learning – Promote national or international performance excellence summits to specifically focus on sharing successes and lessons learned by organizations that use quality improvement programs such as Baldrige program. Provide appreciation certificates and not awards to all participants. Don’t include any programs that involve awards or certification or accreditation to avoid conflicts of interest.

·      Provide consulting assistance – Spend effort in assisting businesses to use Baldrige program to identify improvement opportunities. Volunteers that serve on the Baldrige program are great resources to assist with consulting.

·      Cost of Quality - Spend money wisely. Don’t spend money on awards. Spend money on education and training.

o  Spend money on providing educating and training small businesses to implement and improve quality management practices.

o  Spend money on providing scholarships to students pursuing education in quality management. These educated students (Future work force) will be instrumental in promoting quality culture within the organizations leading to improved organizational excellence and performance.

·      Globalization – With federal budget cuts, Baldrige program is no longer a national program. Consider expanding the scope of the program to include all businesses that conduct business with the US.

·      Innovation – Encourage innovative processes, methods, tools, and techniques to implement continuous improvement programs such as Baldrige. NIST can collaborate more with ASQ, educational institutions, organizations, and industry leaders to promote innovation in implementing Baldrige program for organizational performance excellence.

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