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Improving Organizational Performance

President Obama has expressed his intention that VA be transformed into a 21st century organization, and Secretary Shinseki has expressed his commitment to making VA "people centric, results driven, and forward looking." My suggestion is to expand on the Secretary's vision by increasing VA's use of the Baldrige Criteria to measure and improve organizational performance.

Currently, VA uses the Baldrige Criteria as the basis for the Secretary's Robert W. Carey Performance Excellence Awards Program. The Baldrige Criteria are organized into seven categories: leadership; strategic planning; customer focus; workforce focus; process management; measurement, analysis, and knowledge; and results. And the Baldrige Criteria are built upon core values and concepts of visionary leadership, customer-driven excellence, organizational and personal learning, valuing workforce members and partners, agility, focus on the future, managing for innovation; management by fact, societal responsibility, focus on results and creating value, and a systems perspective.

Increasing VA's use of the Baldrige Criteria to measure and improve organizational performance would provide an integrated approach to organizational performance management.


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    Actually I believe it needs to be taken even one further step than just Baldrige. Having participated in many of the Baldrige National Award Assessments it quickly became clear that the only thing that seemed to matter in Baldrige criteria was that procedures were documented and updated (which is really all that Baldrige criteria require). There is no provisions in Baldrige to ensure that the procedures documented were the "best procedures" and may have even been counterproductive procedures; as long as they were documented though was all that mattered. There have been Baldrige National Award recipients that probably shouldn't have received the award because the quality of the end product or service is not measured in Baldrige (Cadilac and Merrill-Lynch Credit comes to mind). By itself, Baldrige criteria alone are not sufficient to provide true VA value-enhancing programs. I suggest that further research on true Quality measurement application be done by VA and applied more along the lines of some "dashboards" being used today by the Fortune 100 to truly measure that the VA has both the best processes and is acheiving customer satisfaction. Such "dashboard" end results should be available for public viewing.