Baldrige Criteria Flaws

Bad Criteria Will Defeat Competiveness Improvement Every Time

Some key reasons for the more than 20-year long sustained decline of the Baldrige Award

2017 Baldrige Framework Criteria and Assessment Scoring Flaws

Product and Process Results Devalued: Product and Process Results have been reduced 50 points (down from 170 points to 120 points). 50 points represent 5% of the total assessment. That is one of several actions taken that deemphasize the importance of products and processes in achieving excellence. Most (if not all) businesses see this as wrong, counter-productive, and anti-competitive.

Financial and Market De-Emphasis: Financial and Market Results assessment scoring has decreased from 130 points when introduced down to 90 points in the Framework Criteria. Again, this is contrary to how many if not all businesses think, manage, and act. If you try to picture a CEO being told that financial and market results are significantly less important than before, it should not be a surprise that business has essentially abandoned the Baldrige Criteria (Zero manufacturing applicants for the past 7 years).

Supplier Results Drastically Reduced: Supplier results are now weighted less than 10% of what they were as a percent of all results from when Baldrige was at peak popularity with businesses. Could it be that having public sector employees responsible for writing the Criteria for the private sector is an oxymoron?

Process Importance Disparity Flaw: Assigning a quantum level higher assessment value to an identical process when it is done internally versus when it is done externally makes no sense to many . . . unless you believe in the Baldrige Criteria. Example: Manufacture of Apple iPhones is given only about 10% of the assessment scoring in Baldrige as is the manufacture of Samsung Galaxy Series phones.

Validity of Analyses Not Addressed Flaw: If you read Item 4.1, Area b carefully, you will see that the 'validity of analyses' used to support valid conclusions is not addressed. It seems that everyday we see competing analyses related to climate change, healthcare reform, etc. These analyses often use the same data to support significantly different conclusions. Comment: This major gap in the Baldrige Criteria needs to be fixed immediately.

Confounded and Difficult to Comprehend Flaw: The Measurement, Analysis & Knowledge Management Category has long failed to effectively address the progressive relationship among data, information, and knowledge. The use of these key terms remains confounding and confusing . . . much like their use of the terms 'work processes' and 'work systems'.

Projections Masquerading as Results Flaw (aka, Scoring Actual Accomplishments less than Results that have NOT YET OCCURRED Flaw): Baldrige scores projections as results and assigns them to the highest scoring band. In effect, you can receive a higher score for projecting good results than you can for achieving good results. Think of it this way: If Baldrige is right about projections being results, we can all make a financial killing on the stock market and on sports betting. The reality is that projections are rarely accurate. All Baldrige has to do is take them out of the Result Scoring . . . but, they would have to admit they are wrong . . . no way! . . . they have declared 'Criteria writing' as their core competency.

Importance of Designing Processes but Not Systems Flaw: Baldrige requires a description of your process for designing processes but it has discontinued requiring a description of your process for designing and implementing systems. Why?

Classifying Non-Operational Processes as Operational Processes Flaw: Renaming the “Process Management” Category to “Operations” created a terminology conflict problem because non-operational processes (e.g., Support processes) are now classified as and assessed as Operational Processes. This is in contrast to the rest of the world in that COOs are seldom if ever responsible for support and administration processes. Singapore has corrected this flaw. Baldrige needs to come out of denial and do what is right. Hint: 'Processes' includes all processes . . . 'operations' does not include all processes.

“Systems Perspective” Hype Flaw: The “systems perspective” so effectively captured in the original Baldrige Framework (graphic) and introduced by Dr. Curt Reimann in 1988 has endured for almost 30 years and remains as the underlying model for all major international quality and business excellence frameworks. In recent years the “systems perspective” term has been strongly and appropriately emphasized in Baldrige promotions . . . but, has anyone ever seen a Baldrige Program mapping of the Baldrige Framework System at an actionable level of detail? It appears that although the term 'systems perspective' is used profusely that no defined and documented system actually exists. The question is why hasn’t an actionable systems perspective model been provided if it is so important to improving organizational competitiveness? Several insiders seem to think that it does not exist. Another scenario is that if it exists and it were were shown, it would reveal several flaws. For example, how could the confounded confusion that is ‘work systems’ and ‘work processes’ be rationally modeled? 

Touchy-Feely Era Flaw: Most business people seem to agree that reducing their efforts focused on products, services, processes, systems, cost, and suppliers on the order of 50% would make them less competitive. However, a new analysis shows that is exactly what has happened to the Baldrige Criteria assessment scoring from the time when it was most popular with businesses in the early 1990s compared to the 2015-2016 Criteria version. This de-emphasis started in the late 1990s to early 2000’s and steadily declined since then. The effect has been dramatic as shown in the “Baldrige Ground Zero Graphic” where there are no For-Profit applicants and 100% Non-Profit applicants indicating the total failure of Baldrige as a business excellence award.

Non-Productivity on Steroids Flaw: The 2015-2016 version of the Baldrige Criteria include more than 1,100 separate questions which are referred to as requirements. If there is a more effective way to obstruct productivity, it has not been discovered. And, many of these questions use terminology that is difficult to understand. Take your most knowledgeable people away from their work for months to improve their writing (not your organization) and hire a consultant to a quarter million to what the Criteria mean and that is all it takes to produce an application for assessment.

Distorted Perspectives Flaw: For some, the Baldrige Framework Criteria appear to prioritize a 'holistic' perspective over a 'pragmatic' perspective . . . an 'academic' perspective over a 'real world' perspective . . . a 'public sector' perspective' over a 'private sector' perspective . . . a 'touchy-feely' perspective over a 'process and systems perspective . . .


Additional Criteria Flaws:


Flawed Criteria may be the major reason for the international decline of the Baldrige Award but there are other reasons. See: Breaking Badrige