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Click here to send an email to the Baldrige/QSS Working Group.

In order to improve the performance of any organization, it is imperative that leadership fully understands their current level of performance. There are a variety of way to do this, using instruments that are available to every organization. this page will address four of the methods commonly used and where to access these strategies.

These assessments help the organization identify areas that need to be improved, thus providing direction for continuous improvement, redesign, reengineering and design opportunities. This page provides a brief description of a variety of instruments that will help you assess the current performance of your organization and who to contact for further information.

The Need for an Organizational Assessment

Assessing the organization is a first step in preparing or reviewing the strategic plan. Why is the performance assessment so frequently a difficult and ignored process?
  • Because it involves taking a hard look at the current status of the organization.
  • It involves looking critically at the Lines of Business (or lack of).
  • It examines the existing tracking systems for critical success factors (business drivers).
  • It assesses the underlying culture and how it helps or hinders organizational effectiveness.
In many organizations there is a feeling that performance audits will turn over too many rocks, expose too many sacred cows. But what is absolutely necessary in the organizational assessment is honesty and integrity. If defining the organization's future is critical element to the planning process, then knowing where one is starting from is certainly another critical element. The four recommended instruments to complete the organizational assessment are:
  • The Malcolm Baldrige Award Criteria
  • The Carey Award Criteria
  • The Quality system Survey
  • Focus Groups
The Malcolm Baldrige Award Criteria
Using the Malcolm Baldrige Criteria to Assess Progress
In 1987 congress passed Public Law 100-107 to establish the Malcolm Baldrige national Quard (MBNQA). Each year American organizations compete for this prestigious award. It enables the business to...
  • Measure their quality progress against that of others.
  • Complete a self-assessment of their business to view their progress.
  • Provide information for the quality council in each organization to complete their planning.
The Veterans Health Administration has Baldrige quality training available in the areas of ...
  • Executive Overview--A two-hour program providing executives with the tools to evaluate the applicability of the comprehensive assessment.
  • Baldrige Awareness--A twelve-hour program that provides the organization with the tools to evaluate its care delivery system and business practices.
  • Baldrige Train-the-Trainer--A twenty-four program to prepare internal Baldrige trainers for the organization.
For further information contact Annie Stein at (919) 286-6841 x 274


The Robert W. Carey Quality Award Criteria

Using the Carey Award Criteria to Assess Progress
The Carey Award criteria mirrors the seven categories of the Baldrige Award.
  • Leadership
  • Strategic Planning
  • Customer and Market Focus
  • Information and Analysis
  • Human Resource Development and Management
  • Process Management
  • Business Results
Veterans Administration organizations complete a written application for the award. A committee assesses the application and a decision is made to complete a site visit at the organization. Even without a site visit, following are some advantages to completing the application process:
  • The organization conducts an in-depth internal evaluation of itself.
  • The organization receives an evaluation of their written report that identifies strengths and weaknesses.
For further information contact Annie Stein at (919) 286-6841 x 274


The Quality System Survey (QSS)
Using the Quality System Survey to Assess Organization Culture
The purpose of the QSS is to measure the medical center on the seven categories of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award/Robert W. Carey Quality Award. The QSS provides an opportunity for employees to have input into the Quality Council's planning process. The survey is administered to all medical center employees (or a sample set), giving them the opportunity to provide their input into the evaluation of these areas.
The responses are analyzed and a feedback report developed which includes...
  • the average score for each question
  • an overall score for each of the seven categories
  • recommendation for improvement
  • comparisons with both Baldrige winners and other medical centers who have completed the survey

The Quality System Survey (QSS) is a survey-based organizational assessment based on the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award criteria modified for use within the Veterans Affairs Health Care Facilities. The QSS offers a low-cost way to assess your organization against the Baldrige criteria as well as provide benchmarks to other Health Care Facilities within the VA and to a Baldrige winner. The QSS has been used by more than 160 VA Health Care Facilities since 1992 and has over 67,000 responses in itís database.
Click Here For More Information on The Quality System Survey (QSS).
Click Here For A Sample QSS Feedback Report.

For further information contact Kurt Gundacker at (612) 725-2160



Focus Groups
Using Focus groups to receive information from internal and external customers
A focus group is "A carefully planned discussion led by a skilled moderator and designed to encourage individuals to share perceptions, feelings, and thought about products, services, or opportunities through a permissive, non-threatening environment." (Krueger, p.6)
To identify customer expectations and their opinion of your organization, VA facilities should engage in two-way communication with customers. "Customer-driven" focus groups would e used to...
  • Evaluate a product or service
  • Evaluate responses to information and/or messages
  • Assess training needs and/or evaluation of training
  • Gain insight into beliefs, behaviors and attitudes
  • Explore new territory that is not known well
  • Manage changes in work place policy and procedures
  • Gain information about how people will respond to new initiatives
  • Develop survey questionnaire items
There are advantages to using focus groups over assessment methods. some are...
  • Allows discussion of the "meaning of answers"
  • One person's ideas can stimulate or trigger another's
  • Encourages expression of perceptions, experiences, and/or attitudes
  • Allows exploration and follow-up
  • Can explore possible linkages
  • Save time over individual interviews
  • Can be used with individuals who resist questionnaires
For further information contact Ann Strong at (314) 894-5784




Employee Education System Product and Service Descriptions

The Malcolm Baldrige Award Criteria; | The Robert W. Carey Quality Award Criteria
The Quality System Survey (QSS)
Focus Groups | Links to Other Quality Products and Services

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This page created for the Veterans Affairs EEC by Assessment Technologies Plus, December, 1998
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