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Quality Digest


Executives at Baldrige Fellowship Explore Leadership Challenges in a Changing World of Work

Program inspires leaders to consider systems perspective for continuous improvement and innovation

Published: Tuesday, July 5, 2022 - 10:59

(NIST: Gaithersburg, MD) -- Almost everything about leadership—including how to adapt in a post-pandemic world, lead a hybrid workforce, and overcome burnout among skilled staff members to address the “great resignation”—has changed or been challenged over the last few years.

In 2022, 14 executives have embarked on a year-long journey of learning in the prestigious Baldrige Executive Fellows Program, the only executive leadership fellowship that provides one-on-one access to leaders of Baldrige Award recipient organizations. They will study how world-class U.S. organizations and their senior leaders achieve strategic and operational excellence and stimulate innovation. Within a collegial environment, the Baldrige Fellows will have a unique opportunity to compare the perspectives of executives across sectors, share candid advice on leadership challenges, and use the insights they gain to address a strategic challenge or opportunity within their own organizations as part of their individual capstone projects.

“The Baldrige Executive Fellows Program is the only executive leadership fellowship that provides one-on-one access to Baldrige Award recipients and the opportunity to learn role-model management strategies from these high-performing executives,” said Laurie Locascio, director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Undersecretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology. "It is our belief that your participation in this program will benefit you personally, your organization, and your organization’s key stakeholders—employees, customers, patients, partners, suppliers, and the larger community. Now is a perfect time for executives with vision and foresight to understand and apply the Baldrige concepts as a means to improving their organization and its sustainability.”

Twelve years ago, based on an idea on how to better engage U.S. executives, the program was created to inspire senior leaders to embrace a systems perspective in pursuit of continuous improvement and innovation for their organizations’ long-term success. Participants have learned through Baldrige Award-winning organizations’ sharing of best practices and innovative strategies, seeing performance excellence in action, and building a peer network of other executives—while using the Baldrige Excellence Framework as a common language and guiding document.

Since its inception in 2010, the Baldrige Executive Fellows Program has graduated more than 125 executives, whose capstone projects have included overhauling strategic planning processes, creating high-reliability health care organizations, lessening patients’ reliance on opioids after surgery, improving employee engagement, engaging physicians, overhauling communication processes for diverse workforces, better preparing students for professional careers, reimagining population health and community outcomes, and innovating supplier networks. Fellows have come from all sectors of the U.S. economy and have visited and personally met with hundreds of Baldrige Award recipient senior leaders, visiting facilities, factories, hospital floors, hotels, restaurants, and airports, among other locations, to build understanding of role-model strategies to lead a high-performing organization.

You can learn more here, including how to apply to be a Baldrige Fellow.

In conjunction with NIST and the private sector, the Baldrige Program manages the Baldrige Award, which was named after Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th Secretary of Commerce, and established by Congress in 1987. The Baldrige Program promotes innovation and excellence in organizational performance, recognizes the achievements and results of U.S. organizations, and publicizes successful performance strategies. The Baldrige Program also offers the 2021–2022 Baldrige Excellence Framework: Proven leadership and management practices for high performance, which includes the regularly revised and world-emulated Criteria for Performance Excellence. 


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For 40 years Quality Digest has been the go-to source for all things quality. Our newsletter, Quality Digest, shares expert commentary and relevant industry resources to assist our readers in their quest for continuous improvement. Our website includes every column and article from the newsletter since May 2009 as well as back issues of Quality Digest magazine to August 1995. We are committed to promoting a view wherein quality is not a niche, but an integral part of every phase of manufacturing and services.