There is an interesting post on the official Baldrige blog by Jeff Lucas this week. He points out the measurable return that Cargill has realized by tracking how thoroughly each business has deployed Baldrige. (You know that Baldrige is built on the concept of identifying how much you have defined an approach, deployed that approach, learned from it, and integrated it across functions don’t you?) The post located here is completely understandable for the companies that have fully adopted the Baldrige framework as a mechanism for organizational improvement. But, there are companies that aren’t sure what Baldrige brings to the table and aren’t committed to implementing usage of the Criteria yet.
I think one of the powerful and unrecognized benefits of Baldrige is the fact that it is still beneficial to an organization to use it even if they don’t dive in and answer all of the questions contained in the Criteria. There are a lot of questions in the Baldrige Criteria, but if you just answer some of the questions pertaining to Customer Focus it can still help you improve. It’s like doing a few jumping jacks, skipping the sit ups and doing half of the push-ups in a workout. It’s still better for you than doing nothing.
Cargill uses the Baldrige Criteria at a high level. Don’t let that intimidate you and preventing you from using it at all. I work out but I can’t keep up with the Crossfit guys.