Communities of Excellence Framework

Contents

About the Community Excellence Builder

Core Values and Concepts
Glossary of Key Terms

Comments


About the Community Excellence Builder

The challenges communities face today and the challenges they will face in the future require a high level of performance—a commitment to community performance excellence that grows out of the recognition that the social determinants of economic vitality, educational achievement, and health status are inextricably interwoven. They require commitment among leaders across sectors and generations to take a systems approach to community performance.

The Communities of Excellence Framework is adapted from the Baldrige Excellence Framework and uses the format of the Baldrige Excellence Builder. Throughout the framework, you will see the phrase “health, education, the economy, and quality of life.” Certainly, communities are trying to achieve other outcomes, but if you envision your community as a set of systems that all must function together in order to achieve optimal performance, then fundamental to a community of excellence are the key outcomes of health, education, the economy, and quality of life, and they should be the focal point of your community’s strategic objectives.

A Focus on Core Values

The Communities of Excellence Framework is based on the following core values and concepts. They represent beliefs and behaviors that we believe are found in high-performing communities.

  • Community Perspective
  • Visionary Community Leadership
  • Ethics and Transparency
  • Resident and Customer Engagement
  • Valuing Diversity and Inclusiveness
  • Building and Sharing Knowledge
  • Agility
  • Focus on the Future
  • Encouraging Innovation
  • Measuring Performance
  • Societal Responsibility
  • Focus on Excellence
  • Delivering Value and Results

How to Use the Communities of Excellence Framework

Answer the Community Profile questions. Rather than prescribe how you should structure your community leadership, objectives, or action plans, or what your community’s mission, goals, and measures should be, the framework asks you to make those decisions as a community. In the Community Profile, you define what is most relevant and important to your community’s well-being and performance. The Community Profile sets the context for your answers to the rest of the Framework’s questions. It can also serve as your first community assessment.

Answer the questions in categories 1–7. Your answers to these questions are an assessment against the most important features of community excellence. The categories represent seven critical aspects of performing as a community:

  1. Community Leadership
  2. Community Strategy
  3. Residents and Other Customers
  4. Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management
  5. People and Organizational Resources
  6. Community Operations
  7. Results

Categories 1–6 each consist of two items (e.g., 1.1, 1.2) with many of the questions beginning with “how.” In answering these questions, give information on your community’s key processes:

  • Approach: How does your community accomplish its work? How systematic are the key processes used?
  • Deployment: How consistently are these key processes used throughout your community?
  • Learning: Have you evaluated and improved your key processes? Have improvements been shared within your community?
  • Integration: How do your community’s processes address its current and future needs?

For the five items in category 7, report on the results that are the most important to your community:

  • Levels: What is your community’s current performance?
  • Trends: Are the results improving, staying the same, or getting worse?
  • Comparisons: How does your community’s performance compare with that of other communities and competitors, or with benchmarks?
  • Integration: Is your community tracking results that are important to your community? Is it using the results in community decision making?

Evaluate your answers: process and results. Use the rubric on page 23 of the framework booklet to evaluate your answers to the questions in each item. Identify your strengths. Then look at the next higher level to see what you might improve.

Prioritize your actions. Celebrate your community’s strengths and build on them to improve the things your community does well. Sharing the strengths with the community can speed improvement. Also prioritize opportunities for improvement; your community cannot do everything at once. Think about what is most important for your community at this time, and decide what to work on first. Develop an action plan, implement it, and measure your community’s progress.

Community Profile

P    Community Profile

The community profile is where you start. It helps your community identify gaps in key information and focus on key performance requirements and results. It sets the context for your work in the remaining categories of the Communities of Excellence framework.

P.1   Community Description: What are your community’s key characteristics?

 a.  Community Environment

(0)  Community Definition and Identity  What geographic areas are included in your community? What is your community’s shared identity? What are your community’s KEY offerings in the areas of health, education, the economy, and quality of life? What is the relative importance of each KEY offering to your community’s well-being?

 (1) Shared Programs and Services      What are your community’s shared programs and services in the areas of health, education, the economy, and quality of life?

 (2) MISSION, VISION, and VALUES  What are your community’s stated, shared MISSION, VISION, and VALUES? What are your community’s CORE COMPETENCIES, and what is their relationship to its MISSION?

 (3) People and Organizational Resources  What KEY community  groups and SEGMENTS are involved in accomplishing your community’s MISSION and VISION and delivering its offerings? What recent changes has the community experienced in its needs for these community groups and SEGMENTS?

 (4) Community Assets What major facilities, infrastructure, and resources (e.g., technology, housing, transportation, and natural resources) support your community’s KEY offerings (see P.1a0)?

(5)  Regulatory Environment What are the KEY aspects of the regulatory environment under which your community operates?

Notes

P.1a(0). Include a map that shows the community described in this profile. Your community’s shared identity consists of the conditions, characteristics, and beliefs that help distinguish it from other communities.

Offerings are the distinctive features of your community that help establish its identity for residents and others who live, work, visit, or do business in your community. They might be offerings that your community is known for. Examples, among many others, are good health care, world-class higher education, tourist attractions, a positive business environment, vibrant/livable neighborhoods, strong ethnic heritage(s), theater and arts, and natural resources.

P.1a(1). Shared programs and services are the ones offered by your community as a whole. They usually involve more than one sector or address more than one service. They do not include programs or services offered by individual entities or agencies within your community.

P.1a(3.) “People and organizational resources” are the people and groups that are involved in accomplishing your community’s work. They include the groups that participate in offering shared programs and services, residents who serve as volunteers, and workforce groups that are important to the community. Key community groups include both formal and informal bodies and organizations.

P.1a(5). Most communities operate in a complex regulatory environment. Key regulations might include those that aid or constrain your community in accomplishing its mission.

 

 b. Community Relationships

(1) COMMUNITY LEADERS  Who are your COMMUNITY LEADERS? What collaborative leadership structure do they use in leading your community?

 (2) Residents, Other CUSTOMERS, and STAKEHOLDERS What are your community’s KEY resident groups, other CUSTOMER groups, and STAKEHOLDER groups? What are their KEY requirements and expectations for your community offerings, and for resident and other CUSTOMER support services? What are the differences in these requirements and expectations among resident groups, other CUSTOMER groups, and STAKEHOLDER groups?

(3)  Suppliers, PARTNERS, and COLLABORATORS Who are your community’s KEY suppliers, PARTNERS, and COLLABORATORS? What role do they play

  • in your community’s WORK SYSTEMS, especially in producing and delivering your community’s KEY offerings and resident and other customer support services, and
  • in enhancing your community’s offerings and competitiveness?

Notes

P.1b(1). Community leaders are the formal or informal, paid or unpaid, officially or unofficially designated individuals who guide or direct your community or segments within your community.

The collaborative leadership structure should consist of the people and groups that guide your community’s performance improvement efforts. It could take many forms. Whatever the structure used, it should include community leaders and key community groups that represent the various sectors within your community (e.g., business, education, government, health care, and nonprofit). It should also reflect the diversity within your community. This diversity might address variables such as race, religion, color, gender, national origin, language, disability, sexual orientation, age and generation, education, socioeconomic status, geographic origin, and skill characteristics, as well as ideas, thinking, academic disciplines, and perspectives (see the definition of “diversity” on page X).

P.1b(2). Residents and other customers are the people who use or receive the offerings, programs, and services you describe in P.1a(0) and P.1a(1). Resident groups might be defined by their gender, age, ethnicity, language, geographic origin, religion, political persuasion, socioeconomic status, or other characteristics. Other customer groups might be, for example, tourists, businesses, and people who work but do not live in the community. Stakeholder groups might be neighboring communities and other entities that are affected by your community’s actions and success.

P.1b(2). The requirements of your resident and other customer groups might include a safe community environment, accessible health care, job opportunities, clean air, good transportation, and clean public areas, among many others.

Stakeholder requirements might be similar. Other communities’ requirements might be related to the economy, health, education, or quality of life.

P.1b(3). A community’s suppliers, partners, and collaborators might be, for example, the county, state, or federal government; nonprofit associations and networks; or organizations that serve as suppliers to specific offerings or work systems.

 

P.2   Community Situation: What is your community’s strategic situation?

 a.  Competitive Environment

(1)  Competitive Position What is your community’s competitive position relative to similar or nearby communities? What is its relative size and growth locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally? What other communities are your community’s KEY competitors?

 (2) Competitiveness Changes What KEY changes, if any, are affecting your community’s competitive situation relating to health, education, the economy, and quality of life, including changes that create opportunities for INNOVATION and collaboration, as appropriate?

(3)  Comparative Data What KEY sources of comparative and competitive data are available to your community? What limitations, if any, affect your community’s ability to obtain or use these data?

 b.      Strategic Context

What are your community’s KEY STRATEGIC CHALLENGES and ADVANTAGES in the areas of health, education, the economy, and quality of life?

 c.    Performance Improvement System

What are the KEY elements of your community’s PERFORMANCE improvement system, including your community’s PROCESSES for evaluating and improving key community projects and PROCESSES?

Notes

P.2a(1). Key competitors might include other communities that seek to attract potential residents, other customers, and resources also sought by your community. Key competitors might also include other communities that provide similar offerings.

P.2b. Strategic challenges and advantages might relate to natural resources, geography, climate, research institutions, history, number of universities in the community, labor shortages or abundances, affordable housing, transportation, and access to technology, among others.

P.2c. This question is intended to set an overall context for your approach to performance improvement. The approach you use should be related to your community’s needs. Approaches compatible with the systems approach provided by the Baldrige framework might include Lean, Plan-Do-Study/Check-Act (PDSA/PDCA), Lean, and Six Sigma. Compatible community frameworks might include the Community Capital Framework, collective impact, Healthy Communities, and Community Visioning.

Terms in SMALL CAPS are defined in the Glossary of Key Terms

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Community Leadership

1      Community Leadership

1.1      Community Leadership: How do your leaders lead the community?

 (1)   How do your COMMUNITY LEADERS set your community’s shared VISION and VALUES?

 (2)  How do your COMMUNITY LEADERS’ actions demonstrate their commitment to legal and ethical behavior?

 (3)  How do your COMMUNITY LEADERS’ actions build a community that is successful now and in the future?

 (4)  How do your COMMUNITY LEADERS communicate with and engage KEY COMMUNITY WORKFORCE groups and SEGMENTS, KEY community groups, KEY resident and other CUSTOMER groups, and KEY STAKEHOLDERS?

(5)   How do your COMMUNITY LEADERS create a shared focus on action that will achieve the community’s MISSION?

Notes

1.1(2). This should include promoting a community environment that requires legal and ethical behavior.

1.1(3). Building a community that is successful now and in the future involves creating an environment for the achievement of the community’s mission, for performance improvement, and for learning. It also involves creating an environment that fosters community engagement.

1.1(4). Leaders should encourage frank, two-way communication; communicate key decisions and community priorities; and reinforce high performance by motivating community groups to participate in community performance improvement

 

1.2      Governance and Societal Responsibilities: How does your community govern itself and fulfill its societal responsibilities?

(1)  How does your community ensure responsible GOVERNANCE?

(2)   How does your community evaluate the performance of its leaders?

(3)   How does your community anticipate and address public concerns with its offerings?

(4)   How does your community promote and ensure ETHICAL BEHAVIOR in all interactions?

(5)   How does your community consider societal well-being and benefit outside the community as part of its shared strategy?

(6)   How does your community actively support and strengthen KEY groups and causes outside the community?

Notes

1.2(1). Responsible governance includes accountability by leaders, fiscal accountability, transparency in operations, transparency in selection of individuals and groups who participate in the collaborative leadership structure, transparency in operations, and protection of community interests.

1.2(3). Public concerns include any adverse societal impacts of your community’s offerings, compliance with and surpassing of regulatory and legal requirements, and risks associated with your community’s offerings.

1.2(5). This consideration includes how your community encourages key community groups and organizations to consider societal well-being and benefit as part of their strategy and daily operations.

1.2(6). Your community should consider areas of involvement that are related to its core competencies. Examples include partnering with other communities, businesses, and professional associations to engage in cooperative activities that benefit overall U.S. health, education, economic conditions, and quality of life.

Terms in SMALL CAPS are defined in the Glossary of Key Terms

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Community Strategy

2      Community Strategy

2.1      Strategy Development: How does your community develop its strategy?

(1)   How does your community conduct its strategic planning?

(2)   How does your community’s strategy development PROCESS stimulate and incorporate INNOVATION?

(3)   How does your community collect and analyze relevant data and develop information for its strategic planning PROCESS?

(4)  What are your community’s KEY WORK SYSTEMS?

(5)   What are your community’s KEY STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES and timetable for achieving them?

(6)   How do your community’s STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES achieve appropriate balance among varying and potentially competing community needs?

Notes

Strategy development refers to your community’s approach to preparing for the future. It might involve key community leaders and groups, residents, other customers, key stakeholders, and others who will be affected by your community’s strategy.

The Communities of Excellence Framework encourages a community perspective on strategy. In this view, the community develops and carries out its strategy as a unified whole, with various community groups, resident and other customer groups, and people and organizational resources aligned and collaborating.

2.1(2). Innovation refers to making meaningful change to improve community programs, services, processes, or community effectiveness and create new value for stakeholders.

2.1(4). Work systems refer to how your community’s work is accomplished, consisting of work processes within organizations, work processes that span organizational boundaries, and the resources from outside the community you need to develop and produce programs and services, and deliver them to your residents and other customers.

 

2.2      Strategy Implementation: How does your community implement its strategy?

(1)   What are your community’s KEY short- and longer-term ACTION PLANS?

(2)   How does your community DEPLOY its ACTION PLANS?

(3)   How does your community ensure that financial and other resources are available to support the achievement of its ACTION PLANS while it meets current obligations?

(4)   What are your community’s key plans for people and organizational resources to support its short- and longer-term STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES and ACTION PLANS?

(5)   What KEY performance MEASURES or INDICATORS does your community use to track the achievement and effectiveness of its ACTION PLANS?

(6)   For these KEY performance MEASURES or INDICATORS, what are your community’s PERFORMANCE PROJECTIONS for its short- and longer-term planning horizons?

(7)   How does your community establish and implement modified ACTION PLANS if circumstances require a shift in plans and rapid execution of new plans?

Notes

2.2(1). Action plans should derive from strategic objectives. Communities should optimize action plans by making sure they reinforce each other and avoid duplication and conflict. Action plans may include shared initiatives that your community undertakes to achieve its goals and objectives for improving health, education, the economy, and quality of life. If successful, these shared initiatives may become shared programs and services.

2.2(2). Community action plans might be deployed through organizations in the community and/or through community task forces that are not “owned” by any one organization. Action plans draw on the resources and community assets available, regardless of where they are formally based.

2.2(3). Communities may need to allocate or reallocate resources across organizations, or seek the involvement of additional groups or organizations, to ensure the success of action plans and achieve the desired outcomes.

2.2(5). The measures/indicators used to track achievement of action plans relate to the community results you report in category 7.

2.2(6).  Performance projections might include considerations of changes resulting from planned infrastructure, workforce planning, environmental mandates, legislative mandates and other considerations as appropriate.

Terms in SMALL CAPS are defined in the Glossary of Key Terms

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Residents and Other Customers

     Residents and Other Customers

3.1      Voice of the Customer: How does your community obtain information from its residents and other customers?

(1)   How does your community listen to, interact with, and observe residents and other CUSTOMERS to obtain actionable information?

(2)   How does your community listen to potential residents and other CUSTOMERS to obtain actionable information?

(3)   How does your community determine resident and other customer satisfaction, dissatisfaction, and ENGAGEMENT?

(4)   How does your community obtain information on residents’ and other CUSTOMERS’ satisfaction with their community relative to that of residents and other CUSTOMERS in other communities?

Notes

3. The Communities of Excellence Framework views residents in two ways: as customers (users of the community’s services—category 3) and as resources (to be engaged in doing the work of the community—category 5).

3.1(1). The listening methods should vary for the different resident and other customer groups defined in P.1b(2). They should capture actionable feedback from these groups on the quality of offerings and of resident and other customer support.

3.2      Customer Engagement: How does your community engage residents and other customers by serving their needs and building relationships?

(1)   How does your community determine its shared programs and services in the areas of health, education, the economy, and quality of life?

(2)   How does your community enable residents and other CUSTOMERS to seek information and support?

(3)   How does your community determine its resident and other CUSTOMER groups and market SEGMENTS?

(4)   How does your community build and manage relationships with residents and other CUSTOMERS?

(5)   How does your community manage residents’ and other CUSTOMERS’ complaints?

Notes

3.2(1). This includes how your community determines residents’ and other customers’ needs and requirements for these programs and services.

3.2(3). Communities should use information on residents and other customers to identify current resident and other customer groups, see P.1b(2), as well as to anticipate future groups. They might then determine which of these groups to emphasize in their programs and services, based on the community’s overall strategy.

3.2(4). This might include building and managing relationships to attract residents and other customers, meet their requirements, and exceed their expectations in each stage of the customer life cycle; and increase their engagement with your community.

Terms in SMALL CAPS are defined in the Glossary of Key Terms

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Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management

4      Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management

4.1      Measurement, Analysis, and Improvement of Community Performance: How does your community measure, analyze, and then improve community performance?

(1)   How does your community use data and information to track implementation of its programs and services and overall community PERFORMANCE?

(2)   How does your community select and effectively use comparative data and information?

(3)   How does your community use VOICE-OF-THE-CUSTOMER and community population data and information?

(4)   How does your community ensure that its PERFORMANCE measurement system can respond to rapid or unexpected changes inside or outside the community?

(5)   How does your community review its PERFORMANCE and capabilities?

(6)   How does your community share best practices across community groups, STAKEHOLDER groups, and residents?

(7)   How does your community project its future PERFORMANCE?

(8)   How does your community use findings from PERFORMANCE reviews (addressed in question 5) to develop priorities for continuous improvement and opportunities for INNOVATION?

Notes

The results of your analysis of community performance should inform the development and implementation of strategy at the community level.

4.1(1). Using data and information involves selecting, collecting, aligning, and integrating data and information to use in tracking shared programs and services and overall community performance. It also involves establishing key performance measures that track progress on achieving strategic objectives and action plans.

4.1(2). Comparative data and information are obtained by benchmarking and by seeking competitive comparisons. Benchmarking is identifying processes and results that represent best practices and performance for similar activities, inside or outside your community. Competitive comparisons relate your community’s performance to that of communities with similar programs and services.

4.2      Knowledge Management, Information, and Information Technology: How does your community manage its knowledge assets, information, and information technology infrastructure?

(1)   How does your community manage community knowledge?

(2)   How does your community use its knowledge and resources to embed LEARNING in the way it operates?

(3)   How does your community verify and ensure the quality of community data and information?

(4)   How does your community ensure the security of sensitive or privileged data and information?

(5)   How does your community ensure the availability of data and information?

(6)   How does your community ensure that hardware and software are reliable, secure, and user-friendly?

(7)   In the event of an emergency, how does your community ensure that hardware and software systems and data and information continue to be secure and available to effectively serve residents, other CUSTOMERS, and community needs?

Notes

4.2(1). Community knowledge is a community asset. Some of this knowledge resides within specific organizations, but some sits across organizations. Managing community knowledge includes

  • collecting and transferring knowledge from and to residents, other customers, the people and organizations that do the community’s work, suppliers, partners, and collaborators;
  • blending and correlating data from different sources to build new knowledge; and
  • assembling and transferring relevant knowledge for use in innovation and strategic planning processes.

4.2(4). Ensuring security includes managing electronic and other data and information to ensure confidentiality and only appropriate access. It also includes overseeing the cybersecurity of the community’s information systems.

Terms in SMALL CAPS are defined in the Glossary of Key Terms

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People and Organizational Resources

5    People and Organizational Resources

The Communities of Excellence Framework views residents in two ways: as customers (users of the community’s services—category 3) and as resources (“doers” of the community’s work—category 5).

“People and organizational resources” are the people and groups that are involved in accomplishing your community’s work. They include the groups that participate in offering shared programs and services, residents who serve as volunteers, and workforce groups that are important to the community.

5.1      People and Organizational Environment: How does your community build an effective and supportive environment for the people and organizations that do its work?

(1)   How does your community assess and manage its CAPABILITY and CAPACITY needs for people and organizational resources?

(2)   How does your community attract and retain new people and organizational resources?

(3)   How does your community coordinate its people and organizational resources?

(4)   How does your community prepare its people and organizational resources for changing CAPABILITY and CAPACITY needs?

(5)   How does your community ensure healthy, secure, and accessible community workplaces?

Notes

5.1(1). Capability refers to your community’s ability to carry out its offerings and shared programs and services through the skills, abilities, and competencies of its people and organizational resources. Capacity refers to sufficient staffing levels to carry out the community’s offerings and shared programs and services.

5.1(2). Communities should ensure that the community benefits from the diverse ideas, cultures, and thinking within the community.  See the definition of diversity on page XX.

5.1(3). This should involve coordinating and facilitating people and groups to accomplish the community’s shared work; capitalize on the community’s core competencies; and reinforce a focus on residents, other customers, and the community’s mission.

5.1(4). This might involve preparing people and groups for changes that result from, for example, a large employer leaving a community or from planned increases or decreases in shared programs and services.

5.2      Community Engagement: How does your community engage people and organizations to achieve high performance?

(1)   How does your community foster a culture that is characterized by open communication, HIGH PERFORMANCE, and COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT?

(2)   How does your community determine the KEY drivers of COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT?

(3)   How does your community assess COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT?

(4)   How does your community’s PERFORMANCE accountability system support HIGH PERFORMANCE and COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT?

(5)   How does your community support the personal development of community groups, residents, and leaders in ALIGNMENT with the community’s needs?

(6)   How do you evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the LEARNING and development offered to community groups, residents, and COMMUNITY LEADERS?

(7)   How does your community carry out EFFECTIVE succession planning for its leaders?

Notes

Community engagement is the extent of people’s and organizations’ emotional and intellectual commitment to accomplishing your community’s work, mission, and vision.

Terms in SMALL CAPS are defined in the Glossary of Key Terms

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Community Operations

6    Community Operations

6.1      Community Work Processes: How does your community design, manage, and improve its key shared programs, services, and work processes?

(1)   How does your community determine the requirements for its KEY shared programs, services, and work PROCESSES?

(2)   How does your community design its shared programs, services, and WORK PROCESSES to meet requirements?

(3)   How does your community’s day-to-day operation of its shared WORK PROCESSES ensure that they meet KEY PROCESS requirements?

(4)   How does your community improve its shared WORK PROCESSES to improve programs and services and their PERFORMANCE and to enhance your community’s CORE COMPETENCIES?

(5)   How does your community manage its shared operations for INNOVATION?

(6)   How does your community control the overall costs of its shared operations?

Notes

6.1(1). Your community’s key work processes are its most important value-creation processes. Your community’ key work processes are those that involve your community’s people and organizational resources and produce customer, stakeholder, and resident value. They might include processes for designing and implementing shared programs and services and for resident support.

 

6.2      Community Safety and Preparedness: How does your community ensure safety and emergency preparedness?

(1)   How does your community provide a safe community environment?

(2)   How does your community ensure that it is prepared for disasters or emergencies?

Notes

6.2(2). Your community’s preparation for disasters and emergency should consider shared responsibility for prevention, continuity of community operations, and recovery.

Disasters and emergencies might be related to weather, utilities, security, or a local or national emergency. The extent to which your community prepares for disasters or emergencies will depend on its environment and its sensitivity to disruptions.

Terms in SMALL CAPS are defined in the Glossary of Key Terms

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Results

7    Results

The results you report should reflect a community perspective: they should be results for the community as a unified whole, all with the end result of improving your community’s collective health, education, economy, and quality of life.

7.1      Community and Process Results: What are your community and process effectiveness results?

(1)   What are your community’s RESULTS for its offerings in the areas of health, education, the economy, and quality of life?

(2)   What are your community’s RESULTS for its shared programs and services?

(3)   What are your community’s PROCESS EFFECTIVENESS and efficiency RESULTS?

(4)   What are your community’s safety and emergency preparedness RESULTS?

Notes

7.1(1). Include results for key measures or indicators of the performance of offerings that are important to your residents and other customers.

7.2(2). Include results for key measures or indicators of the performance of shared programs and services that are important to and directly serve your residents and other customers.

7.3(4). Include results for key measures or indicators of your community’s preparedness for disasters or emergencies.

 

7.2      Customer-Focused Results: What are your resident and other customer-focused performance results?

(1)   What are your community’s RESULTS for resident and other CUSTOMER satisfaction and dissatisfaction?

(2)   What are your community’s RESULTS for resident and other CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT?

Notes

Results for resident and other customer satisfaction, dissatisfaction, and engagement should relate to the resident and other customer groups you identify in P.1b(2) and to the listening and determination methods you describe in item 3.1.

 7.3      People and Organizational Resource Results: What are your performance results for your people and organizational resources?

(1)   What are your community’s CAPABILITY and CAPACITY RESULTS for your people and organizational resources?

(2)   What are your community’s RESULTS for the health, security, and accessibility of its workplaces?

(3)   What are your community’s RESULTS for COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT?

(4)   What are your community’s RESULTS for the development of community groups, residents, and leaders

Notes

Results reported in this item should relate to the processes you describe in category 5.

7.3(3). Communities that rely on volunteers should report results for those volunteers.

 7.4      Leadership and Governance Results: What are your community’s leadership and governance results?

(1)   What are your RESULTS for COMMUNITY LEADERS’ communication and engagement with KEY community groups, KEY workforce groups, and KEY resident and other CUSTOMER groups?

(2)   What are your community’s RESULTS for GOVERNANCE accountability?

        (3)   What are your community’s RESULTS for ETHICAL BEHAVIOR?

(4)   What are your community’s RESULTS for societal responsibilities and support of KEY groups and causes outside the community?

(5)   What are your community’s RESULTS for the achievement of its strategy and ACTION PLANS?

Notes

7.4(2). These results might include legal/regulatory results for the community’s collaborative leadership structure.

7.5      Leadership and Governance Results: What are your community’s financial performance results?

(1)    What are your community’s financial RESULTS for its shared programs and services?

Notes

7.5(1). Examples of financial results for shared programs and services might be return on investment, and the savings that result from shared programs and services, such as reduction in resources required for public services due to decrease in demand, reduced health care costs, and jobs created.

Terms in SMALL CAPS are defined in the Glossary of Key Terms

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Core Values and Concepts

These beliefs and behaviors are embedded in high-performing communities. They are the foundation of community performance excellence and the results-oriented framework that creates a basis for action, feedback, and sustainability.

Core Values and Concepts:

  • Community Perspective
  • Visionary Community Leadership
  • Ethics and Transparency
  • Resident and Customer Engagement
  • Valuing Diversity and Inclusiveness
  • Building and Sharing Knowledge
  • Agility
  • Focus on the Future
  • Encouraging Innovation
  • Measuring Performance
  • Societal Responsibility
  • Focus on Excellence
  • Delivering Value and Results

Community Perspective

A Community Perspective means viewing your community as more than just the sum of its individual parts. A community of excellence views itself as a unified whole, with the different community groups, workforce groups, resident groups, and stakeholders actively aligned and collaborating to produce results.

Visionary Community Leadership

Your community’s formal and informal leaders should set a vision for the community, create a resident focus, demonstrate clear and visible community values and ethics, and set high expectations for the people and organizations in community.

Ethics and Transparency

Community leaders should express ethics and transparency in all community interactions. Formal and Informal leaders should be role models, deserving of trust by their community. Transparency is characterized by consistently candid and open communication by community leaders and by the sharing of clear and accurate information.

Resident and Customer Engagement

Residents and other customers are the ultimate judges and beneficiaries in a high performing community. To engage residents and other customers adequately requires deep knowledge of their needs and priorities.

Valuing Diversity and Inclusiveness

Communities of Excellence recognize the importance of celebrating diversity and actively seeking to include diverse opinions. They acknowledge that they must engage and include all of their residents as full participants who work together to create and enjoy living in a community of health, sustainable wealth, vitality, and safety.

Building and Sharing Knowledge

Building and Sharing knowledge includes documenting past and current successful efforts and sharing those successes with other community groups and communities across the country to benefit all our residents.

Agility

Communities of Excellence strive to act quickly and move nimbly in recognizing and addressing challenges and opportunities. They work to streamline processes to achieve their ends with minimum extraneous work while at the same time recognizing the importance of allowing all interested parties to contribute.

Focus on the Future

Taking the long view — how will this decision affect our children’s children — is a key criterion when making decisions that affect the health and well-being of the community. Recognizing the importance of helping grow the next generation of residents to assume formal and informal community leadership positions, Communities of Excellence place special emphasis on ensuring that all their children have equal opportunity and support to grow into productive, engaged community residents.

Encouraging Innovation

Innovation means making meaningful change to improve the health, educational status, vitality, and safety of your community’s resident. Innovation is particularly required where resident indicators in these key areas of performance are struggling. Innovation should lead your community to new dimensions of performance.

Measuring Performance

Measuring performance should provide critical data and information about key indicators, resident groups, community engagement, processes, and information sharing. Selected measurements should derive from your community’s needs and strategic objectives.

Mutual Societal Responsibility

Your community’s leaders should recognize the value of the businesses, organizations, and community groups that operate in a high performing community. A community of excellence will work to engage and align these groups’ efforts towards societal well-being to achieve maximum impact and mutual benefit between a community’s residents and the businesses, organizations and community groups that are based in them.

Focus on Excellence

A focus on excellence involves focusing on not just results, but the processes and relationships that help create those results in communities. Communities of Excellence benchmark both results and processes and understand the difference between incremental improvement and direct comparison to best in class performance; striving for the latter.

Delivering Value and Results

By delivering value to community groups, residents, and customers, your community contributes to the improved health status, increased educational attainment and increasing vitality of society as a whole. Your community’s performance indicators need to focus on key results. These results needs to be a composite of measures that include process results, resident and other customer results, people and organizational results, leadership, and strategy results; all with the end result of improving your community’s performance in health status, educational attainment, and economic vitality.

Glossary of Key Terms

The terms below are those in SMALL CAPS in the Community Excellence Builder, as well as terms in the scoring rubric.

ACTION PLANS. Specific actions that your community takes to reach its short- and longer-term strategic objectives. These plans specify the resources committed to and the time horizons for accomplishing plans. See also strategic objectives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALIGNMENT. A state of consistency among plans, processes, information, resource decisions, workforce capability and capacity, actions, results, and analyses that support key community-wide goals. See also integration.

APPROACH. The methods your community uses to carry out its processes.

BENCHMARKS. Processes and results that represent the best practices and best performance for similar activities or initiatives, inside or outside your community.

CAPABILITY. Your community’s ability to carry out its offerings and strategic initiatives through the skills, abilities, and competencies of its people and organizational resources.

CAPACITY. Sufficient staffing levels to carry out your community’s offerings and its shared programs and services.

COLLABORATORS. Organizations or individuals outside your community who cooperate with your community to support a particular activity or event or who cooperate intermittently when their short-term goals are aligned with or are the same as yours. See also partners.

COMMUNITY (SHARED) INITIATIVE. The specific projects or activities your community undertakes to achieve its action plans for improving health, education, the economy, and quality of life.

COMMUNITY LEADERS. The people who guide your community and its performance improvement effort. They include formal or informal, paid or unpaid, officially or unofficially designated individuals who guide or direct your community or segments within your community.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT. The extent of people’s and organizations’ emotional and intellectual commitment to accomplishing your community’s work, mission, and vision.

COMMUNITY PERFORMANCE EXCELLENCE. An integrated approach to community performance management that results in (1) delivery of ever-improving value to residents, other customers, and stakeholders, contributing to ongoing community success; (2) improvement of your community’s overall effectiveness and capabilities; and (3) learning for the community and for people and organizational resources.

CORE COMPETENCIES. Your community’s areas of greatest expertise or strength; those strategically important capabilities that are central to fulfilling your community’s mission or that provide an advantage in its environment. A core competency might be seen as a community asset.

CUSTOMER. An actual or potential user of your community’s offerings, programs, or services. See also stakeholders.

DEPLOYMENT. The extent to which your community applies an approach throughout the community.

EFFECTIVE. How well a process or a measure addresses its intended purpose.

ETHICAL BEHAVIOR. The actions your community takes to ensure that all its decisions, actions, and stakeholder interactions conform to its moral and professional principles of conduct. These principles should support all applicable laws and regulations and are the foundation for your community’s culture and values.

EXCELLENCE. See community performance excellence.

GOALS. Future conditions or performance levels that your community intends or desires to attain. See also performance projections.

GOVERNANCE. The shared system of management and controls exercised in the stewardship of your community and its resources.

HIGH PERFORMANCE. Ever-higher levels of overall community and individual performance, including quality, productivity, innovation rate, and cycle time.

HOW. The systems and processes that your community uses to achieve its mission requirements.
INNOVATION. Making meaningful change to improve products, processes, or community effectiveness and create new value for stakeholders. The outcome of innovation is a discontinuous or breakthrough change.

INTEGRATION. The harmonization of plans, processes, information, resource decisions, people and organizational capability and capacity, actions, results, and analyses to support key community-wide goals. See also alignment.

KEY. Major or most important; critical to achieving your intended outcome.

 

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KNOWLEDGE ASSETS. Your community’s accumulated intellectual resources; the knowledge possessed by your community and its people and organizational resources in the form of information, ideas, learning, understanding, memory, insights, cognitive and technical skills, and capabilities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LEARNING. New knowledge or skills acquired through evaluation, study, experience, and innovation. Learning can occur at the individual, organizational, or community level.

LEVELS. Numerical information that places or positions your community’s results, performance, and outcomes on a meaningful measurement scale.

MEASURES AND INDICATORS. Numerical information that quantifies the input, output, and performance dimensions of processes, programs, projects, services, and the overall community (outcomes).

MISSION. Your community’s overall purpose. The mission answers the question, “What is your community attempting to accomplish?”

PARTNERS. Key organizations or individuals who are working in concert with your community to achieve a common goal, improve performance, and accomplish your community’s mission and vision. Typically, partnerships are formal arrangements. See also collaborators.

PERFORMANCE. Outputs and their outcomes obtained from programs, services, processes, residents, and other customers that permit you to evaluate and compare your community’s results to performance projections, standards, past results, goals, and other communities’ results.

PERFORMANCE PROJECTIONS. Estimates of your community’s future performance. See also goals.

PROCESS. Linked activities with the purpose of producing a program or service for a resident, other customer, or other stakeholder (user) within or outside your community.

RESIDENT AND OTHER CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT. Your residents’ and other customers’ investment in or commitment to your community’s brand and offerings.

RESULTS. Outputs and outcomes achieved by your community.

SEGMENT. One part of your community’s resident, other customer, community offering, or people or organizational resource base.

SHARED INITIATIVES. See community (shared) initiatives.

STAKEHOLDERS. All groups that are or might be affected by your community’s actions and success. These include, but are not limited to, residents, organizations, employers and employees, visitors and tourists, and surrounding communities and regions.

STRATEGIC ADVANTAGES. Those community benefits and assets that exert a decisive influence on your community’s likelihood of future success. These advantages are frequently sources of current and future success relative to other communities.

STRATEGIC CHALLENGES. Those pressures that exert a decisive influence on your community’s likelihood of future success. These challenges are frequently driven by your community’s anticipated competitive position in the future relative to other communities and might be driven by political and cultural realities.

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES. The aims or responses that your community articulates to address major change or improvement, competitiveness or social issues, and strategic community advantages. See also action plans.

SYSTEMATIC. Well-ordered, repeatable, and exhibiting the use of data and information so that learning is possible.

TRENDS. Numerical information that shows the direction and rate of change of your community’s results or the consistency of its performance over time.

VALUE. The perceived worth of a program, service, process, asset, or function relative to its cost and possible alternatives.

VALUES. The guiding principles and behaviors that embody how your community and its people are expected to operate.

VISIONS. Your community’s desired future state.

VOICE OF THE CUSTOMER. Your community’s process for capturing resident and other customer-related information.

WORK PROCESSES. Your community’s most important internal value-creation processes. They might include processes for designing and implementing shared programs and services and for resident and other customer support.

WORK SYSTEMS. How your community’s work is accomplished, consisting of work processes within organizations, work processes that span organizational boundaries, and the external resources needed to develop and produce programs and services, and deliver them to residents and other customers.


Comments

2 thoughts on “Communities of Excellence Framework

  1. Heidi Mastrud

    I find that I’m getting hung up on the word “customer.” In community, I think that there is a co-creation that happens that shifts the balance from provider/customer to community/stakeholder. Have you considered using the word stakeholder in place of customer?

    Reply
    1. Brian Lassiter

      Hello, Heidi, and thanks for posting a comment! I know from your work at the University Minnesota School of Public Health that you support the concept of Communities of Excellence — thank you for doing so and for participating in the conversation.

      We did struggle a bit on the language in Category 3, specifically on “customer” versus “stakeholder”. (In fact, in an earlier version, we had stakeholder instead of customer.) But in the end, we landed on “customer,” because the essence of this Category is on listening to and engaging the recipients of a community’s offerings, programs, and services. Customer seemed to fit that description slightly better, though we do recognize that stakeholders — any person or group that might be affected by the community’s success — are also a key part of community. Note we use stakeholder in the Community Profile, in Category 1, and in the Glossary (and you’ll also see it in later Categories). Indeed, stakeholders include anyone that has a stake in the community’s success, while customer is a sub-set — those that receive services, offerings from the community.

      Your comment is helpful, however. As we continue to evolve and refine the community framework, we might consider how to elevate the notion of stakeholder in Category 3. Thanks for offering your thoughts!

      Brian Lassiter
      (board member of Communities of Excellence 2026, vice chair of the Alliance for Performance Excellence, and president of the MN-based Performance Excellence Network)

      Reply

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