Authored by: Norma Krech, Business Performance Consultant with R Ledbetter & Associates, and Sterling Master Examiner

Is the Sterling Collaborative Assessment Right for You?

A Sterling Collaborative Assessment teams your organization’s senior leaders with the most highly experienced Florida Sterling Examiners in an assessment of your organization against the Sterling Criteria. This fast paced evaluation focuses on the most important aspects of your management practices. This joint assessment ensures feedback is not only aligned to your priorities, but also immediately actionable.

The Sterling Collaborative Assessment is an opportunity for organizations that have matured in their performance excellence journey, and are considering applying for the Governor’s Sterling Award. This assessment will provide your organization with a feedback report demonstrating your organization’s strengths and opportunities for improvement, and prioritized action plans for immediate implementation to address these opportunities.

Since the Sterling Collaborative Assessment is conducted in conjunction with members of your leadership team and is consultative in nature, such assessments are not eligible for the Florida Sterling Award process. However, a Sterling Collaborative Assessment may just be what your organization needs to be ready to compete for role model status recognition through the Governor’s Sterling Award process.

How It Is Performed:

The Sterling Collaborative Assessment contains three key phases: Preparation, Execution, and Action.


The organization identifies members of its leadership team as Category Leads – one for each of the six process categories of the Sterling Criteria – Leadership, Strategy; Customer, Measurement/Analysis/Knowledge Management, Workforce; and Operations. The Category Lead is the organization’s subject-matter-expert for their category, understands the processes and practices for their category as they relate to the Sterling Criteria, and the importance and priorities of next steps.

The organization also identifies an Assessment Coordinator responsible for working with the Assessment Team Lead as a liaison between the organization and the team.  The Assessment Coordinator will aid the assessment process through logistics such as scheduling pre-site visit calls, obtaining meeting rooms, providing on-site supplies and materials, and site-visit accommodations for the assessment team. It is preferable that the Assessment Coordinator be well versed in the organization’s processes and practices, the Sterling Criteria, and is also available to the site visit team for validation or clarification of key findings.

The assessment team is selected by the Florida Sterling Council, and these teams are comprised of the most experienced Sterling examiners who have worked extensively with executives and in consultative roles within their organization or professionally. The team is comprised of four Examiners, including a team leader, and all team members are pre-cleared for any conflicts with your organization

The organization creates an Organizational Profile by responding to a series of questions about the organization, its challenges, and opportunities. The team reviews the Organizational Profile and has pre-site visit calls with the organization in preparation for a site visit. This ensures a high quality feedback report and action plan to propel breakthrough performance.


The on-site assessment kicks off with an In-Brief Meeting that ensures organizational and process understandings between Leaders and the assessment team. Immediately following the In-Brief Meeting, the examiners break into two groups and meet with the organization’s Category Leads to begin gathering, clarifying, and verifying information. The examiners hold additional sessions with Managers/Supervisors, as well as with associates/staff to enable as much of the organization as possible to provide their input and be a part of the assessment process.

The assessment team and Category Leaders agree on the organization’s strengths and opportunities, and work together to develop and prioritize action plans to address identified opportunities for improvement. The site visit culminates with the organization’s Category Leads presenting their action plans to the entire Leadership Team through the Out-Brief session.

A Feedback Report, including an executive summary, and category level strengths, opportunities, and action plans, is the final deliverable of the Sterling Collaborative Assessment and is provided to the organization within one week following site visit.


The final phase in the Sterling Collaborative Assessment is Action. The organization assimilates the six category Action Plans into a single, prioritized action plan. For example, there may be an action item in one category that compliments or contributes to an action item in another category. Once the final Action Plan is defined, the organization determines the means and timeframes to complete the Action Plan.

How to Get Started

Does the Sterling Collaborative Assessment sound like what you need to jump start your business results? If so, or if you want additional information regarding this value-added process, please contact the Sterling Office at 850-922-5316.


Norma Krech is a Business Performance Consultant with R Ledbetter & Associates. She was with EchoStar prior to that and is a Master Examiner with 8 active years on the Sterling Board of Examiners. Her service has not been continuous due to employment obligations, but began with Sterling in 2000. I sent her an email asking for an updated bio as the one I have is years old. Since she lives in Colorado, it may be this afternoon before I receive a response.