An article published on the Baldrige Coach website.

Losing traction?

Sometimes senior leaders develop cold feet about remaining on their Performance Excellence journey.  Despite protestations to the contrary, it soon becomes clear that it isn’t about the journey; it is really about the award and recognition.  When CEOs begin to understand the Baldrige Excellence Framework, they also begin seeing gaps in the “perfect” organization they had viewed beforehand. 

In other cases, it has been other senior leaders who were “all in” when the CEO first announced the journey but who become disenchanted to discover that the journey requires changes.  Changes in their leadership, changes in their departments, and changes in priorities.  They convince the CEO to slow the pace, to back off a year or two.

We think this is just silly.  The journey never becomes shorter or less arduous with excuses and foot-dragging.  If anything, it just becomes more daunting.  Have you ever promised yourself that you’d become more fit with a regimen of exercise, weight training, and healthy eating?  Did you succeed, or did that also become something that was a good idea but too much work and uncomfortable lifestyle changes?

People who are successful with a fitness program often have similar strategies to keep themselves motivated.

1. They set goals and monitor their progress toward achieving them.

2. They find family members and friends who will join them. It helps promote accountability.

3. They seek out advice from others who are into fitness.

4. They read books and articles written by fitness experts and nutritionists.

5. They attend sports clinics to learn from those who are already further along.

6. They hire a fitness trainer or a coach who helps them in discovering their potential.

7. They don’t make excuses to avoid the hard work that comes with becoming more fit.

Can one or more of these strategies help revive a flagging Performance Excellence journey?  Of course, they can, with some slight adaptations.

1.Set two or three strategic goals that, if achieved, will propel your organization to higher levels of performance.  Identify leading indicators to monitor progress toward the ultimate outcome that you’re trying to meet.

2. Deploy the strategic goals and the measures throughout your organization. Enlist others in identifying how they can contribute to them.  Regularly report the progress. Celebrate early wins, or identify and remove barriers if progress isn’t being made.

3. Check out your Baldrige-based Alliance program and become a member. Network with others on the journey.

4. Read some of the books written by leaders of Baldrige Award-winning organizations.  Read our book that contains insights from more than 50 executives of award-winning organizations. See recommendations below.

5. Attend the Baldrige Quest for Excellence in April.  Attend other regional conferences hosted by Alliance members.

6. Work with a Baldrige coach to accelerate your progress and deepen your understanding of the Baldrige Excellence Framework.

7. Stop making excuses and start making progress. Get back on the Performance Excellence journey – not tomorrow – but today.