You have been with Sterling for about 20 years. What is the most notable change in the Sterling/Baldrige Criteria that has helped you professionally and personally?
It is amazing to me that I have just completed my twentieth year as a Florida Sterling Examiner, yet every year I learn something that I can apply either personally or professionally. I guess, the way the criteria have evolved over time is one of its best characteristics. For example, I recall that prior to the spate of hurricanes we experienced in 2004, the concept of emergency operations planning wasn’t really a focus. It was clearly a discriminator for organizational sustainability and was amplified in subsequent releases of the criteria for performance excellence. Even the Baldrige Model learns.
Every year, you coordinate the Story Board competition. What skills or aptitudes do you look for when selecting a judge for the competition?
The Story Board competition is a great stepping stone for teams beginning on their journey to excellence. It is a great communication tool for capturing the process followed, the tools utilized, and ultimately, the results of a team’s improvement efforts. The story boards are judged by a team of examiners against a fixed criterion. We’ve drawn upon the examiner corps for judges because of their understanding of the criteria along with project management and execution techniques. An examiner makes a perfect Story Board Judge!
How many years have you trained Examiners on the Sterling Criteria, and what do you gain from this type of leadership?
I looked back (I save everything) and I guess I started training on the criteria way back in 2002! The thing I really gain by facilitating this type of training is how much I learn from the experience. There is a Latin proverb “Docendo discimus” – “by teaching, we learn.” This is so true!
This July, we plan to recognize and celebrate our current Examiners in a new and unique way – virtually! As a process guy, how do you approach making an event successful?
As an engineer by schooling (and a blackbelt), I’m a firm believer in ‘everything is a process.’ Capturing that process (standard work) is the best way to assure consistent results. Now, when we embark on new territory (like virtual recognition) we are working with a blank slate, so we need to learn from others who have done similar transitions (benchmarking). We’ll also need to gather input from all of the stakeholders as we develop it. I think it will be interesting to see how well we balance the structure of the event, with extemporaneous ‘fun’ while sticking to a fixed time limit. This should be an interesting adventure <grin>.
You are the CEO of Nature Coast Quality Associates, LLC. What motivated you to make your own business?
A few years back my wife Abby and I decided to transition from 40 (or 50) hour a week professions, to something that would be a bit more selective. The LLC was the answer, allowing me time to enjoy our lives while still engaging with organizations on the road to organizational excellence. It’s also nice being your own boss.
What inspired you to get an RV, and where is the place you want to go first once quarantine restrictions lift more?
We bought the RV to go out west, and then sell it after a couple of years. That was over five years ago (so much for sticking to the plan). We really enjoy camping both here in Florida (our state parks are wonderful assets, and cost-effective too), and during our annual summer trips up north. Our next adventure starts very soon as we take our portable ‘home’ up to New England. It’s the ultimate in social distancing travel. PS – we still haven’t made it out West yet… 2021, here we come!
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