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Baldrige FAQs: Senior Leadership Involvement

How can I encourage senior leadership involvement and persuade/convince upper management to use the Criteria and the Baldrige process?

No matter what type of organization you work in, the best way for senior leaders to learn about the benefits of Baldrige is for you to introduce them to organizations that have adopted the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence and to the benefits those organizations have realized from the process. Benefits are derived both from self-assessment and from the application process.

You can also provide copies of the Your Guide to Performance Excellence brochure to your management team. This brochure presents some of the many benefits of self-assessing and of submitting an application. Other short Baldrige publications that may be useful to your efforts include A Baldrige Perspective for the Board of Directors and Baldrige Asks: How Do You Know? Another idea is to set up a meeting between your executive team and the top leaders from one of the Baldrige Award recipients. The annual Quest for Excellence® Conference is also an excellent opportunity for your senior management to learn directly from Baldrige Award recipients about the benefits of using the Baldrige Criteria and going through the application process.

If your organization is a subunit of a larger organization, consider having one unit apply for the Baldrige Award. The benefits gained by that subunit could then be realized throughout the rest of the organization.

Another option is to start the process at the state level. Many state programs have tiered application or recognition systems. This may allow for a "stepping-stone" or a "walk-before-you-run" approach. The investment of time and energy could be more gradual, with some states allowing applicants to respond only at the item or category level.

The most important message to get across is that the Baldrige process is not something extra—it is a systems approach to managing your organization that is integrated into what you already do or should do.