How the Baldrige Framework Is Helping Rural U.S. Communities

How the Baldrige Framework Is Helping Rural U.S. Communities
Posted on September 6, 2016, by Christine Schaefer 

In preparing to share here how the Baldrige Excellence Framework is being used to support community vitality in a rural region of Missouri, I’ve been thinking of how quintessentially American the Communities of Excellence 2026 (COE 2026) initiative is. In particular, it strikes me that what’s happening in northwest Missouri exemplifies an idealistic, innovation-minded spirit that has been present in American communities for centuries—likely reenergized by the continual infusion of immigrants seeking a better life than what they experienced in their countries of origin. Consider the prescient words of John Winthrop, the 17th-century founder of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, to his Pilgrim community: “We must consider that we shall be a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people upon us.”

Draft framework customized for application within a Community

Update on Communities of Excellence 2026 
Posted on March 31, 2016, by Christine Schaefer

What’s the latest on the initiative launched last year to create “an archipelago” of high-performing communities in the United States using a framework based on the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence? I recently asked Stephanie Norling, managing director of Communities of Excellence 2026, for an update.

 

Quality Leadership and the U.S. Constitution

Preserving the ‘genius’ of the Constitution  by David Keene – The Washington Times – Monday, September 12, 2016

The success of the American Republic is directly traceable to the wisdom and work of the 55 men who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 to draft a constitution designed not so much to empower government, but to limit that power. Forrest McDonald,...

The U.S. Constitution was designed on four components of change that the world-renowned quality expert W. Edwards Deming labeled as a System of Profound Knowledge (SoPK).

These components include an understanding of the human behavior that influences motivation (psychology), action (systems), feedback (variation) and learning (knowledge).

The Constitution identifies “top management” as the citizenry and assigns “We the People” the responsibility to work towards the ideal of a “more perfect union.”

Quality Leadership is all about reducing variation from the ideal.  

Book Review: The Coming Jobs War

Book: Jim Clifton, Chairman, and CEO of Gallup, The Coming Jobs War: What every leader must know about the future of job creation:

  • Definitive leadership strategy for fixing the American economy, drawn from Gallup’s unmatched global polling and written by the company’s chairman.
  • What everyone in the world wants is a good job. “This is one of the most important discoveries Gallup has ever made,” says the company’s Chairman, Jim Clifton.
  • In The Coming Jobs War, Clifton makes the bold assertion that job creation and successful entrepreneurship are the world’s most pressing issues right now, outpacing runaway government spending, environmental degradation and even the threat of global terrorism.

I liked the focus on the importance and impact of creating “good” jobs and that we are in a global competition (war). In addition to surveys, I also liked the fact that he identified a target for GDP growth rate at 5%  to help assess progress:

  • GDP is the sum of all production and spending in one country in one year.
  • America needs 5% GDP growth to maintain it’s leadership of the free world.
  • America goes broke when its GDP falls, and jobs can’t be found. A country goes broke one company at a time and then one city at a time. It grinds down. And it’s happening now.”
  • Less GDP growth also means that the United States won’t have the money to afford its national entitlements – Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid …
  • America’s only real solution — and keep in mind, this is true for every country too — is to expand the size of the GDP pie. That means job growth.
  • Very few Americans are aware that small and medium-sized businesses are responsible for most of the jobs in America.
  • The fact is that the rich tax base depends primarily on companies with fewer that 500 employees and even more so on companies with fewer than 100 employees.

Good Jobs

  • Clearly, having a good job is worth more than a paycheck. If you have a great job — one with unlimited growth opportunity, a manager who is interested in your development, and that gives you a sense of mission and purpose — you have about the best life you can have at this time in human history.  Conversely, being unhappily out of work for six moths – or even more deadly, being out of work for 18 months or more — is about the worst life you can have, anywhere in the world.

Businesses, Corporations, Organizations

  • Gallup has determined that 28% of the American workforce is “engaged,” another 53% is “not engaged” and a staggering “19%” is “actively disengaged.”
  • Customer engagement is the better predictor of sales and growth.
  • American businesses need to have the highest customer engagement scores in the world because when they do, they win the hearts and minds of all U.S. customers. And then, slowly but surely they will win the hearts and minds of all global customers.

W. Edwards Deming made similar assessments to Clifton/Gallup on the importance of customers (the most important part of the production line) and the need for organizations to develop a culture that embraces continuous improvement.

Deming described the improvement cycle as a “chain reaction” —  If you improve quality by doing the right things as defined by customers, costs decrease, productivity improves, increase market share, stay in business and provide jobs and more jobs.

I just came across a recent article on Deming in the Harvard Business Review by Joshua Macht, titled: The Management Thinker We Should Never Have Forgotten.  Macht states that “Toward the end of his life, Deming began to theorize as to why his ideas were never fully embraced. He was 90 when he wrote the following to Peter Senge (who recounted the correspondence in his influential The Fifth Discipline):”

Our prevailing system of management has destroyed our people. People are born with intrinsic motivation, self-respect, dignity, curiosity to learn, joy in learning. The forces of destruction begin with toddlers — a prize for the best Halloween costume, grades in school, gold stars — and on up through the university. On the job, people, teams, and divisions are ranked, reward for the top, punishment for the bottom. Management by objectives, quotas, incentive pay, business plans, put together separately, division by division, cause further loss, unknown and unknowable.

Clifton’s book also identifies quite a few strategies that could be applied at the community level to include the critical role of entrepreneurs, innovators, inventors, tribal leaders, super mentors, and local leaders.  The critical importance of entrepreneurs is that they provide  “successful business models” and that “the business model really is everything.” pg. 84.

In support of creating good jobs, Clifton also identified the importance of needed first steps (pg. 169-177) that include law and order, food and shelter, key institutions, mobility and communication, youth development, job climate, and job enhancement. This includes the needed community infrastructure to support good jobs, e.g., it takes a community.

He states: “The feat these leaders have to pull off is doubling their entrepreneurial energy by aligning all their local forces.”  ”They succeed by declaring all-out war.”  Pg. 65.

Deming did not have a successful business model, but there are Deming based models that I have used with success that may support the needed alignment to double entrepreneurial energy.

The Baldrige criteria for performance excellence is another proven framework that supports continuous improvement.  The Criteria is available for businesses, non-profits to include government, health care, and education.  I expressed my advocacy for application of the criteria for improving the quality of government service in my article “A Government Program That Has Withstood the Test of Time” that was referenced in the Blogrige post:  Would the Founding Fathers Have Embraced Baldrige?

In the 8-Step Process for Leading change, the first step is to “Create a sense of urgency.” A sense of urgency is needed to challenge the acceptance of the status quo. Clifton created a sense of urgency through a “declaration of war”  and reinforcing what the situation will be like if we do not improve and support the changes needed to achieve the 5% GDP rate.  There  would very likely be a correlation between a group’s actions and results with the group’s sense of urgency.

In my community, for instance, the issue of kids hunger motivated a volunteer group to successfully address the issue by providing food that could be taken home in backpacks and supporting more summer food programs to help ensure that no child was without food during the summer break from school.

I think any group can develop a sense of urgency by identifying the adverse impact on people and the community when people lack access to what Abraham Maslow identified in the hierarchy of needs.  Clifton identifies the needs in the “Gallup Path to Global WellBeing” (pg.169).

The aim of the U.S system of government as identified in the preamble to the Constitution was to form a “more perfect union.”

A “more perfect community” would include people working together to reduce imperfections also commonly referred to as continuous improvement.  In the words of Vince Lombardi, perfection is not possible, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.

Clifton reinforces that winning the war on jobs has to be led at the local level.

A Quality Transformation is Non-Partisan

Reply to a LinkedIn post

Quality transformation: Helping the most of us, Posted on August 8, 2016 by David Schwinn

In this month’s column, David Schwinn comments on Robert Reich’s book, Saving Capitalism, and makes a call to action. Do you agree? Join the conversation!

Part 1 of 2.  I hope this post opens the needed discussion on the differences between a quality transformation and a “transformation” from the perspective of partisan politics.

Robert Reich’s endorsement of Bernie Sanders along with his stated “deepest respect and admiration for Hillary Clinton” is available in one of Reich’s Facebook posts.

I would suggest scanning through Reich’s posts to help assess the degree of respect he has for those that disagree with him but yet would be needed to support and sustain change In the long term.

A recent example of this partisan approach is the Affordable Care Act. An introduction to a better approach derived from the contributions of W. Edward Deming is introduced in my article at FedSmith.com: Working With Idiots and Getting Better Results,

Part 2 of 2   In the context of W. Edwards Deming’s work, philosophy, and guidance on transformation, partisan political solutions represent tampering which makes things worse.

Deming’s NONPARTISAN strategy for transformation has a higher probability of achieving outcomes where we all gain or at least, are not any worse off. Deming’s approach provides “the method” where we can work together in striving towards the optimal, e.g., the “more perfect union” the U.S. Founding Fathers envisioned.

Political parties do identify the polarity on issues and studies of solutions indicate suboptimal results — government policies that benefit the few (“elites”) at the expense of the many.  Ref: Does the government represent the people?  The outcome from this study has led both conservative and liberal media to suggest that the U.S. has “transformed” from a republic into an oligarchy.

A quality transformation will require the application of a new and proven standard for Quality Leadership, e.g., a new leadership paradigm.

Working with Idiots and Getting Better Results

The first step needed to improve any situation is to admit that you have a problem.

In his Washington Post article “We think our enemies are idiots, and that’s a problem – The psychological explanation for our partisan strife,” psychologist and college professor Adam Waytz suggests that among the causes that prevent people from effectively working together to resolve problems is the belief that others, especially those who disagree with us, have lesser minds. Waytz and his colleagues have coined this as “the lesser minds problem.” He goes on to state that “Physiological research shows that in virtually every way, we assume that the minds of our peers are less rich than our own minds.”

Those with “lesser minds”—i.e., “the idiots”—are thought to be less sophisticated, thoughtful and empathic, with a lower capability for reason, emotion and discipline. Waytz further states that “The minds of our peers may seem lesser, but the minds of our political opponents seem downright moronic.”

Given that someone will disagree with us and we will disagree with others, everyone may be considered an idiot by someone at one time or another.

In my article “Improving Health Care – A Better Way,” I introduce the work of Jonathan Haidt, who also identified a theory to help explain conflict between people that may account for some of the political polarization.

“Haidt’s research indicates that moral responses are instinctual—human beings are born preloaded with basic moral values. He believes that political attitudes are an extension of our moral reasoning, which accounts for much of the vitriol that surrounds liberal and conservative ideology.

According to Haidt, an individual’s beliefs and actions are influenced through a filter of values that include caring, fairness, loyalty, authority, sanctity and liberty. These values provide a foundation that is needed for a society to function. He believes that liberals focus more on caring and fairness and undervalue the importance of loyalty, authority, sanctity and liberty. Conservatives also value caring and fairness, but not at the exclusion of loyalty, authority, sanctity and liberty.”

However, as Waytz points out:

“Bridging the gap between our own minds and other minds requires colossal efforts of deliberation, humility and cooperation, but recognizing why this gap exists to begin with can help start us on our way.”

Bridging the Divide – A Better Method

Waytz reinforces that judgments regarding the variation between people can become a self-fulfilling prophecy:

“If we believe our political opponents are as rational, thoughtful and empathic as we are, then we are likely to pursue political compromise through rational debate, civil discussion and collaborative analysis of the facts. But if we think our opponents are mindless, then rational bias rather than objectivity.”t makes sense to forgo civility and push our opinions across the table with brute force and discount any counterarguments as rooted in irrational bias rather than objectivity.”

The contributions of W. Edwards Deming in helping organizations and industries do the right things were recognized by the editors of FORTUNE magazine as among the greatest contributions in business history.

Deming felt that American management failed to tap the potential of all employees. As a result, he believed that the United States was one of the most underdeveloped nations in the world. He also remarked that if he were to reduce his message to just a few words, it all had to do with reducing variation.

“Businesses” are organizations that consist of people. Put another way, the Deming application framework for improving individual and group capability by reducing variation from the ideal may be among the greatest contributions in human history.

The underlying premise of the Deming application method includes the following:

  • Every individual is unique. As a result, each individual will have unique potential and capabilities.
  • People can agree on facts and ideals. Within organizations, ideals are expressed in vision statements and facts are provided in accounting and performance-related reports.
  • People can find common causes to problems, can choose to agree to disagree and then can choose to work together to get results where everyone wins. For example, when discussing the gap between the ideal end state expressed in the vision and the actual performance that occurs as part of a strategic assessment, organizational leaders can develop a consensus on the actions that need to be taken to close the gap (i.e., reduce variation).
  • People will always have different opinions, beliefs, perceptions, values, norms, morals and theories as to the identification of problems, their root causes and the solutions to solve those problems. These differences are fundamental to understanding, learning and improvement. An organization that “learns” leverages the diversity in the workforce to identify and implement better solutions.
  • There will never be the “perfect answer” in any given situation. The number of solutions could be infinite, but when implemented, some solutions will have better results than others in the near, mid and long term. Deming advocated the application of the Shewhart cycle for learning and development (also referred to as the scientific method).

The Shewhart cycle consists of four phases:

  • Plan a change or test aimed at improvement.
  • Carry out the change or test, preferably on a small scale.
  • Study the effects to help ensure that the change minimized the cost of the two types of mistakes—treating common-cause variation as special-cause variation and vice versa—that can be made. This information is the basis for determining if change resulted in improvement.
  • Act on what was learned.

Applying Deming-based methods requires an understanding and basic knowledge of the interrelationships between people, systems and their respective variability. This awareness and insight leads to the “new knowledge” that is needed for helping determine when changes to policies, systems and processes result in improvement.

The U.S. Founding Fathers applied an unconscious or intuitive understanding of these principles when they designed the U.S. political system. The justice system also integrates these principles. I provide a little more background on this in my papers “Drive Out Fear: Having the Courage To Do The Right Thing” and “The Deming Paradigm for Reducing Variation: Unknown by Most, Misunderstood by Many, Relevant to All” which I presented at the Deming International Research Seminars.

A quick assessment of your knowledge of variation can be completed in a couple of minutes. If you have five minutes, my article “Revolutionize Government in Five Minutes or Less” may be of interest.

A Way Ahead

French intellectual and author Marcel Proust remarked that “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” Bridging the gap Waytz identified between our own minds and other minds requires “new eyes” and a method.

Deming provides the new eyes and the method that successful leaders have always used on an unconscious or intuitive level when leading others to achieve success.

A more common knowledge (conscious awareness and understanding) is an alternative for getting past individual differences. With conscious awareness and understanding, you can accept the fact that individuals vary and choose to develop more positive relationships with those individuals opposing your point of view instead of considering them enemies or idiots.

The more pervasive application of the Deming principles and methods has the potential to support a new era of leadership that is critical in addressing the challenges of our times. These challenges include unemployment, underemployment, adequate healthcare, national and economic security and a better method for exercising our individual and collective responsibility to take action that results in progress toward achieving the more perfect union our Founding Fathers envisioned.

Deming’s genius in providing the framework needed to successfully address these challenges may one day be considered as among the greatest contributions in human history.

 

The longer version of this article written to support civil server reform is available at FedSmith.com.

Is the culture killing you?

In her book review at the New York Times of  Sebastian Junger’s “Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging”,  which addressed the  assimilation of veterans back into society, Jennifer Senior highlights Junger’s observation that the American culture may have adverse impacts on health:

“But Mr. Junger’s most powerful — and surprising — argument is the one he makes about the military’s epidemic of post-traumatic stress disorder, which in many cases he suspects may not be PTSD at all.”

“Why, if you think about it, would roughly 50 percent of our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans apply for permanent PTSD disability when only 10 percent of them saw combat?”

“The problem doesn’t seem to be trauma on the battlefield,” he concludes, “so much as re-entry into society.” And, he suggests, this problem might deserve its own diagnostic term.”

PTSD has been cited as a contributing factor in many suicides ( Reserve suicides up 23 percent — active-duty count remains steady).

The term “Tribe” in a military context, describes that soldiers work within a cultural hierarchy of shared values that optimizes their respective power  in pursuit of the common aim to protect and defend the United States.   In a  combat zone, when making and supporting the decisions that have life or death consequences, the focus shifts to supporting your fellow soldiers.  As Junger reinforces:

“After months of combat, during which “soldiers all but ignore differences of race, religion and politics within their platoon,” they return to the United States to find  a society that is basically at war with itself.”

“It’s a formula for deep despair. “Today’s veterans often come home to find that, although they’re willing to die for their country,” he writes, “they’re not sure how to live with it.”

Society, Culture, and The Prevailing Style of Management (TPSM)

The contributions of W. Edwards Deming in the application of a new philosophy and methods for improving leadership and management within an organization were recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the nine hidden turning points in world history and by FORTUNE Magazine as among the greatest contributions in business history.

I suggest that Deming’s “diagnostic term” for the condition that links poor health to culture could be referred to as “The Prevailing Style of Management (TPSM).”

Deming’s analysis on TPSM in America supports the conclusion that organizations, as well as the society, were at war with itself.   He remarked:

“What is the world’s most underdeveloped nation? With the storehouse of skills and knowledge contained in its millions of unemployed, and with the even more appalling underuse, misuse, and abuse of skills and knowledge in the army of employed people in all ranks in all industries, the United States may be today the most underdeveloped nation in the world.”

As an Army reservist, I served two and a half years on active duty from 2001-2004 supporting the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In the 2009-2010 timeframe, I served a tour in South Korea where I supported the transformation of the 8th Army to an operational-level Field Army.

Although I did not serve in a designated combat zone and I do not suffer from PTSD, I can certainly relate to the stress of transitioning from a high performing culture dedicated to protecting and defending the country back to an organization and “a society that is basically at war with itself.”

In order to raise awareness within the civil service and society on the need for transformation from the prevailing style of management to the better methods for improving quality and productivity, I started writing articles at FedSmith.com.  I recently developed a blog – QualityLeadershipBlog.com to help  raise awareness on the importance of applying a new standard for Quality Leadership.

Democratize the enterprise

Escaping the Prison of the Prevailing System of Management in the Western World: Observations from a Deming Four-Day Seminar in May 1991, by  Craig Anderson, Audit Resolution Specialist at FEMA

The LinkedIn post from a current federal employee reinforces the impact that the contributions of W. Edward Deming continues to have in helping to address the political and economic issues facing America.

As a federal employee, I attended Deming’s four-day in 1988. The question that Deming asked that had the most impact on my life was when he asked: “What percent of your performance is due to the system?” I was an auditor at the time for the Navy and wrote down 98%. (A correct answer can range from 85-100%).

This conclusion led to the realization that in America, “We the People” own the system and are what Deming would refer to as “top management.” This understanding leads to the question: “How do “we” transition from our “prevailing style of management” that supports action by our political representatives that lead to solutions where we all win or at least, are not any worse off?

For private sector organizations, one of the most positive trends for organizations that have embraced the Deming philosophy has been the transition to Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs).  Given Deming’s admonition that transformation is everyone’s job, creating more “owners” (top management) along with applying the better methods is a great way of optimizing the performance of the organization.

Federal employees as owners, work in and on the system but must have the support of their fellow owners to bring about the needed improvements. Within the federal government, perhaps a good first step for us is to support policy changes to adopt the better approach for managing and interpreting data along with eliminating individual rankings and performance bonuses for federal employees.

Additional information to support the needed transformation

Neither Party Has Answers to Problems Plaguing America

Walther Mead in his article “A Drought of Ideas” posted at RealClearPolitics.com under the heading  “Neither Party Has Answers to Problems Plaguing Americans” uses an example of a political dysfunction in addressing the funding problems  of a small state college. He concludes that:

“It is time for America to step up its game, and as the first step in that process it is time for a wave of creative social thought, some coming from the Right and some from the Left, so that the present stale competition between parties bereft of serious policy ideas can be replaced by something meaningful and real.”

In this 2016 U.S. election cycle, the dissatisfaction of the voters on both the left and the right reinforce that the system is not meeting the needs and expectations of the citizenry.

Dr. W. Edwards Deming in his book “Out of the Crisis ” published in 1986, was prescient is his assessment of the results of NOT applying the better paradigm for reducing variation from the ideal.  He remarked:

“What is the world’s most underdeveloped nation? With the storehouse of skills and knowledge contained in its millions of unemployed, and with the even more appalling underuse, misuse, and abuse of skills and knowledge in the army of employed people in all ranks in all industries, the United States may be today the most underdeveloped nation in the world.”

Dr. Deming was adamant that “top management” was responsible for quality.  In America by law, aren’t “we the people”  top management”? The political parties offer products (candidates)  and services (policies and legislation)  that are producing results that the citizenry is concluding is unacceptable.  For instance, average survey results at RealClearPolitics.com identify that 66 %  of respondents believe the country is on the wrong track.

A Way Ahead?   U.S. policies have an impact not only on the country but globally as well.   Can a nation be treated as an organization that can be transformed through the Deming philosophy and methods?  Is the better strategy to improve organizations in hopes that this will lead to national level transformation, and if so, how has this been working out?

LinkedIn Post Reply: A New Theory For Transforming Society

A New Theory for Transforming Society by Jim Rough : In 1993 I had a mind-blowing insight about how to transform our society so we could solve many of our most intractable issues. Since that moment I’ve been explaining, experimenting and developing the idea —published a book about it (“Society’s Breakthrough! Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People“);” hosted a TV show; co-founded a non profit organization (The Center for Wise Democracy); convened conferences, gave talks, etc.  Recently on Skype I was getting reacquainted with an old friend, Jim Wanless, and wow. Jim’s questions brought out a whole new way of explaining the idea. (See the informal, edited, 23 minute video.)

Jim – great concept – enjoyed the video. I think an additional component that would enhance the transformation strategy is integrating a more explicit knowledge and application of the variation principle. This principle creates a new standard for Quality Leadership that “We the People” can apply in working towards a more- perfect union.  A summary of the variation principle applied to a “controversial issue” such as abortion is available at the following link.  I think your dynamic facilitation  concept  aligned with the explicit aim to reduce variation would help reinforce a better way of making the types of changes that to improvements that can be sustained.

Resolving Controversial Issues – Abortion Issue:

On major change, the first step in Kotter’s 8 stage process for leading change is to start with a sense of urgency. As you mentioned, a “crisis” can provide the extrinsic motivation to bring about needed change.  However, sustaining a quality approach requires people to be more intrinsically motivated which is supported by the fact that variation either gets better or it gets worse.

Thoughts?  If interested in discussing further, you can also contact me at  tjclark2036@gmail.com.