Skipping a Grade – Is Jumping from Level 1 to Level 3 a Wise Strategy?
Advancing directly from a Level 1 to a Level 3 application is achievable. However, does it constitute a prudent approach? Your initial experience with the first OQF application was remarkable — your organization established an internal “Excellence Squad” to craft it. A succinct yet comprehensive organizational profile was submitted. Commemorating your venture into Baldrige, you were honored with an Interest Recognition Certificate during the Excellence Awards Banquet. Infected with Framework Fever, you’ve identified the only cure as more Baldrige.
When the Excellence Squad congregates to deliberate the forthcoming award cycle, you propose a notion: Why not bypass Level 2 and directly pursue a Level 3 Award application?
You speculate that your organization can undoubtedly showcase substantial advancement, particularly with the valuable insights garnered from the perceptive group of OQF examiners who inspected your operational site. Furthermore, you partook in the Application Workshop at the Excellence Conference and contemplate joining the OQF Board of Examiners.
At OQF, we wholeheartedly welcome enthusiasm and understand that each organization’s expedition is unparalleled. Nevertheless, prior to embarking on the leap from Level 1 to Level 3, there are several crucial aspects we wish to remind you of.
A Continual Spectrum Foremost, each OQF application level forms a continuum with lower, middle, and upper thresholds. Progress in itself doesn’t guarantee advancement to the subsequent level — often, organizations demonstrate year-to-year improvements but continue to receive recognition within the same tier. This doesn’t signify stagnation; rather, it indicates that they haven’t yet fulfilled the standards of the succeeding level. This is an integral aspect of the journey.
A Significant Stride Completing a Level 2 application signifies a transition from providing an overview of your organization to addressing the “basic” prerequisites across all seven Categories of the Criteria. This marks a substantial stride in terms of application length, commitment from leadership, and the capacity of your workforce.
That being said, the Level 2 process will present a notably distinct experience compared to your Level 1 journey. Why not leverage Level 2 to acclimate everyone to the heightened intensity? Allow your organization the opportunity to comprehend what lies ahead, devoid of the added pressure from the Level 3 self-assessment, which typically spans over twice the page count of Level 2 and encompasses a two-day on-site visit. Additionally, your Level 2 application can lay the groundwork for your eventual Level 3 submission.
Special Treatment for Level 2 Applicants Given the augmented application demands mentioned earlier, your Level 2 Feedback Report will significantly differ from your Level 1 Feedback Report.
We aspire for your organization to harness the feedback for future enhancements. Consequently, your Level 2 fee encompasses a “Prioritizing Your Feedback” workshop, conducted at your premises after receiving your Feedback Report. This workshop is exclusively available to Level 2 applicants.
During this half-day workshop, a proficient OQF facilitator will scrutinize the Feedback Report alongside your leadership team and steer your organization through a systematic process to prioritize short- and long-term action plans geared towards driving improvements.
Hence, it’s prudent to deliberate twice before forgoing Level 2. You might forego the opportunity to strengthen the foundational pillars of your Excellence journey.