The process begins with the organization submitting a Letter of Intent (due March 1, June 1, or September 1). Two months later, the organization submits an application – either a narrative application or a Baldrige Express survey conducted with its workforce (either full staff or a sampling). The narrative application offers the opportunity for the organization to describe its environmental situation, its key work processes, and its results (usually written by a small number of leaders and practitioners). The process of writing the application causes self-discovery: reflecting on the Baldrige questions facilitates deep internal dialogue with organizational leaders, often leading to a better understanding of organizational strengths and process gaps.
PEN now offers three tiered options, providing organizations with a paced, gradual pathway that “meets the organization where it is,” helping leaders identify and prioritize just the right level of opportunities for improvement. And for organizations earlier on the journey to excellence, it offers faster, less intense ways to improve processes and outcomes.
2. Independent Review
An independent review by a team of trained volunteer Evaluators to identify strengths and improvement opportunities through the perspective of the best practices in the Baldrige Criteria and through the filter of your Organizational Profile (which describes your operating environment, strategic challenges, and other key organizational factors). Teams are built by balancing many factors, including sector/industry knowledge, functional expertise, Baldrige experience, and leadership experience.
3. Consensus & Site Visit
The team then forms a consensus view of the organization’s strengths and improvement opportunities before conducting a site visit to verify perceived strengths and clarify possible improvement opportunities. Site visits are 1-4 days, depending on the assessment option chosen and the size, complexity, and maturity of the organization. Site visits also offer an opportunity for deep organizational learning for the organization, as the dialogue with a team of professionals oftentimes leads to organizational insights.
4. Improvement Planning
The output of our process is a comprehensive feedback report, which includes a list of key themes (similar to an executive summary), a description of strengths and improvement opportunities by Criteria Item, and scores. Our final step is an Improvement Planning Session. Scheduled about a month after the site visit, this 2-2.5 hour facilitated session is intended to 1) promote understanding of the feedback report, and 2) work with senior leaders to prioritize improvement opportunities that oftentimes serve as input to an organization’s planning process.