Last week Brian Lassiter, Max Summers and I had the pleasure of presenting at the 2016 Baldrige Quest for Excellence National Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. This annual conference is an opportunity to learn role model best practices from current and former Baldrige National Quality Award recipients from the health, education, manufacturing, non-profit, governmental, and small business sectors. Four of our Board members, (pictured below) were also in attendance. Max Summers, (not pictured below) is Chair of the Regional Vitality Committee in Northwest Missouri, one of the Communities of Excellence 2026 pilot Communities.
Left to right: JoAnn Sternke, Superintendent of Pewaukee School District; Brian Lassiter, President/CEO Performance Excellence Network; Bob Fangmeyer, Director, Baldrige Performance Excellence Program; Lowell Kruse, Chair, Communities of Excellence 2026.
The Communities of Excellence 2026 breakout session, entitled “Using Baldrige to Improve Community Outcomes” was a great opportunity to introduce the Baldrige community to our initiative. One of the reasons for testing the Communities of Excellence Framework in communities of differing sizes and complexities (large/small, urban/rural) is to understand how it will be applicable to any community in the country. From our conversations and community focus groups so far, we feel confident that this will be the case. We also recognize that different approaches: In Northwest Missouri, a systems leadership approach driven by grassroots community formal and informal leaders, and in San Diego County, a jurisdiction, the Health and Human Services Agency serving at the facilitator, can both be supported by this framework.
As a side note, I was lucky enough to be able to attend JoAnn Sternke’s session, “How to Manage Processes so they don’t Manage You”, and I must say that she has now set the bar very high when it comes to energetic, engaging presentations about organizational processes. I encourage you never to pass up an opportunity to hear her speak.
Managing Director, Communities of Excellence 2026