There was a good editorial in the Sunday March 28th issue of the Chattanooga Times Free Press titled, “Where is the Great Recession Commission?” You have to register and pay for access to the archived article on the Times Free Press website but I think a legal online copy is here.
Jim Hall is a former chairman for the National Transportation Safety Board and in his editorial he asks why there is not a commission performing an “independent holistic investigation into the events, circumstances and actions that precipitated the current [economic] crisis.” He compared the function of this non-existent commission to an NTSB investigation that occurs after every major airline incident. “The NTSB , an independent agency [was] created by Congress in 1967 based on the belief that to eliminate systemic risks and tragedies in the future we must understand those of today.”
It is pretty easy to draw an analogy between what Mr. Hall discusses and what a Baldrige examination team does. Anyone that uses the Baldrige criteria as an applicant on the national or state level or as a self-assessment, digs deep into the goings-on of their organization to really see what they are doing. They then try and accurately describe all of those goings-on in the Baldrige application. The true benefit of using the Baldrige criteria comes when some independent commission, whether in the form of external Baldrige examiners or an internal cross-functional assessment team, pour over the application and evaluate what your organization says it does compared to the questions contained in the criteria. The feedback from this independent commission can be invaluable.