What We Do

Southwest Alliance for Excellence (SWAE) empowers organizations and communities in AZ, NV and UT to pursue performance excellence delivering transformational results, high-performing employee engagement, and customer satisfaction. Achieving performance excellence is a journey. SWAE offers 4 levels of achievement and recognition to facilitate and motivate continued progress in your excellence journey.

The Baldrige Foundation recently published a succinct 10-step approach describing the excellence journey. SWAE’s mission is to help you along your journey by providing training, coaching, consulting, assessments, and recognition.

1. Initial Awareness and Understanding

  • Leadership Commitment: Secure commitment from top leadership to explore and potentially adopt the Baldrige Framework.
  • Education: Conduct educational sessions for leadership and key staff to understand the Baldrige Excellence Framework, criteria, and its benefits.

2. Assessment and Baseline Establishment

  • Organizational Profile: Start by completing the Organizational Profile to clarify your organization’s context, key relationships, and strategic situation.
  • Self-Assessment: Perform a self-assessment against the Baldrige criteria to identify strengths and opportunities for improvement. This can be done using the Baldrige Excellence Builder or a more detailed assessment tool.

3. Planning for Improvement

  • Identify Priorities: Based on the self-assessment results, identify priority areas for improvement.
  • Action Planning: Develop action plans to address the identified improvement areas, including goals, timelines, responsible individuals, and required resources.

4. Education and Training

  • Baldrige Training: Provide training for staff on the Baldrige criteria and the specific improvements planned for your organization.
  • Change Management: Include training on change management to facilitate the adoption of new practices and behaviors.

5. Process Management

  • Process Design and Improvement: Review and redesign key processes based on Baldrige criteria, focusing on efficiency, effectiveness, and adaptability.
  • Performance Measurement: Establish metrics and measurement systems to monitor progress and performance against the Baldrige criteria and your action plans.

6. Integration and Alignment

  • Integration: Ensure that Baldrige principles are integrated into daily operations, decision-making processes, and strategic planning.
  • Alignment: Align goals, processes, and performance measures across the organization to ensure consistency with the Baldrige criteria and your strategic objectives.

7. Review and Continuous Improvement

  • Regular Reviews: Conduct regular review meetings to assess progress on action plans, evaluate results, and make necessary adjustments.
  • Continuous Improvement: Foster a culture of continuous improvement, encouraging innovation, learning, and the sharing of best practices.

8. Engagement and Communication

  • Stakeholder Engagement: Engage employees, customers, partners, and other stakeholders in the Baldrige journey, soliciting their feedback and involvement.
  • Communication: Maintain open and transparent communication about the goals, progress, and achievements related to the Baldrige implementation.

9. Application and Recognition

  • Baldrige Application: Consider applying for a Baldrige-based award at the state or national level to benchmark your organization against the criteria and receive detailed feedback. The State-level awards serve as a feeder to the National program.
  • Celebrate Success: Recognize and celebrate improvements and achievements to maintain momentum and reinforce the value of the Baldrige journey.

10. Continue to Strive

  • Recognize Opportunity: As you strive forward, we consider the opportunity to understand that our current level of success as an organization can always be improved. So, keep pushing forward!
  • Be Willing to Share: The Baldrige community thrives off of the sharing of information, so we encourage you to attend the Quest for Excellence┬« Conference and share your successes and failures so that we can all learn and grow.

Remember, the implementation of the Baldrige criteria is not a one-time event but an ongoing journey toward excellence. Each organization’s path will be unique, based on its specific context, needs, and strategic priorities. Engaging with the Baldrige community and utilizing available resources and tools can provide additional support and guidance throughout this process.