The Malcomb Baldrige National Quality Award – Priceless

Can we put a price tag on quality? I think the more pressing question is can we afford to lose the Baldrige Award program? Paul’s most recent blog post raises an important concern.

If I were to ask a handful of acquaintances or friends if they know what the Baldrige Excellence program is, I would bet that the majority of them would not have a clue. Now bear with me, these are people who also say they “aren’t in quality”. So just because there’s a population who doesn’t know about the Baldrige or personally feel that it’s benefited them, mean that it really didn’t provide value? Not in the least.

Paul gets to the heart of what the Baldrige Excellent Award is about. And it isn’t about awards. He says, it’s about identifying and recognizing role model organizations, establishing criteria for evaluating improvement efforts and disseminating and sharing best practices.

I got back to an old saying – Why recreate the wheel? We all know that there are organizations and people that we can learn from, who have been in the trenches and paid their dues…and we can learn from them. We can benefit from their best practices and lessons learned.

Baldrige Award winners are mandated to share their stories with others. And that I think is a priceless part of the benefits we all gain from having this program. Companies are not chomping at the bit to give people an insider view to the journey they took to improving their processes. And many companies (especially small businesses or start ups) do not have the resources to hire consultants to guide them through the improvement cycle.

The Baldrige Program provides a best in class comparison and roadmap for the rest of us. For me, that is priceless.

I’m part of the ASQ Influential Voices program. While I receive an honorarium from ASQ for my commitment, the thoughts and opinions expressed on my blog are my own.

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One Response to The Malcomb Baldrige National Quality Award – Priceless

  1. Baldrige OFI says:

    Did you know that a controlled study was conducted about 10 years ago and identified the organizational variables key to high performance? The findings are summarized in a Harvard Business Review article entitled “What Really Works” published in 2003. A book by the same title contains all the details.

    Baldrige has never been cited by HBR – or any other thought leading publication. Why? Paid attendance at its annual Quest for Excellence declines every year. Why? The national “Race to the Top” for education makes no mention of Baldrige. Why? Most businesses in the U.S. have fewer than 75 employees. Only two or three have ever won an award. Why not many, many more? Indeed, the Baldrige Award program refuses to publish any specific data about its use of the its own criteria – why? And on and on. Too bad that ASQ itself doesn’t conduct an annual self assessment using the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence. Perhaps its own inaction is the best reason for terminating the Baldrige Award as a government program.

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