OE21 Introduction to Organization Excellence

Strategic Objective:

Strategic Objective:

Make the case for Learning and Implementing OE21

Quality Objective:

Learning Objective:

Understand Benefits of OE21 Standards for Organization Excellence



Who are Involved:

Managers become Internal Consultants; Leaders get better Results

Managers and Leaders of Organizations 


VALUE ADDED: - Organization Excellence


The OE21™ system is designed specifically to help managers and leaders become engaged in the learning and implementation of tools and techniques which help them understand what 21st-century managers really need to know in order to achieve these successes:

  • Improve workforce climate and satisfaction

  • Improve workforce capability and capacity

  • Improve workforce and leader development

  • Improve and reward workforce excellent performance

  • Improve process design/management to create better products, services

  • Improve project management to achieve cost, schedule, desired outcomes

  • Improve supplier and supply-chain management

  • Improve quality and risk management leading to organization excellence

  • Improve customer satisfaction, value-perception, loyalty, and referrals

  • Improve customer reviews of the organization's products and services

  • Improve financial performance (revenue, costs, overhead, profits, etc.)

  • Improve market performance (market share expansion; new market entry)

  • Improve organization strategy outcomes (become more competitive)

  • Improve community satisfaction and outcomes (give something back)

The organization has adopted the Baldrige Framework, published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and applicable to Business, Nonprofit and Government organizations. The Baldrige Excellence Commentary (link above) provides a description of the entire framework. The following paragraphs are extracts from the NIST summary of the Baldrige.

"Thousands of organizations around the world use the Baldrige Excellence Framework to improve and get sustainable results. Those recognized as national role models receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, a Presidential award."

"More than 100 recipients have broadly shared their best practices with others. Through that sharing, many thousands of organizations have improved their operations and results, and thus their contributions to the U.S. and global economies."

What can Baldrige do for my organization?

"Whether your organization is new, is growing, or has existed for many years, it faces daily and long-term challenges. It also has strengths that have served you well so far. The Baldrige Excellence Framework helps you identify and leverage your strengths and prepare to face your challenges. It helps you address issues that are important to your organization:


• Understanding what it takes to be competitive and achieve long-term success in your environment; 

• Getting your leaders, managers, and workforce all on the same page; 

• Ensuring that employees understand and can contribute to the drivers of the organization’s success; 

• Understanding, and meeting or exceeding, customer requirements and expectations; and 

• Ensuring that your operations are efficient and lead to short- and long-term success."

What can Baldrige do for Managers and Senior Leaders? Managers and senior leaders will be better able to position your organization to succeed and accomplish your mission—with a sense of greater clarity and with alignment among your leaders, employees, customers, and key partners."

Is there evidence that OE21 Really Works?


Evidence that OE21 Really Works


The OE21 Standards and tools were designed to be fully aligned with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (N.I.S.T.) Baldrige Excellence Framework.


This outstanding framework is used in support of the U.S. Baldrige National Quality Award. This award is the highest level of national recognition for performance excellence that a U.S. organization can receive. ​

The N.I.S.T. web site includes the following links to documents that provide strong evidence that the Baldrige framework is of great value to organizations.

Baldrige 20/20: An Executive's Guide to the Criteria for Performance Excellence


CEO Issue Sheet - Baldrige: Performance Excellence Delivers World-Class Results PDF

Economic Evaluation of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program December 2011

               (End of Citations from NIST Baldrige Excellence Framework)


FYI the creator of OE21 created the earlier versions beginning 1995, and updated it every year through 2019. The Baldrige-based OE21 System of standards and tools are registered with the US Copyright Office and supported by years of client success stories. See Customers List. 

System Requirements to Implement OE21

The organizations who use OE21 Standards and tools must meet these minimum requirements:

  • Microsoft Office365 licenses (used to run all OE21 spreadsheets and document files

  • License to use SurveyMethods.com application (Advanced Account) to create and use OE21 surveys

  • Access to all OE21 surveys sent from the OE21 provider to the organization's Survey Methods account

  • A private (non-public) INTRANET with a page named MAIN with links to OE21 surveys sheets, docs

The following are optional (added value) programs that will be beneficial in implementing OE21:

  • A Project Manager (e.g., Microsoft Project or a similar project manager application)

  • A Performance Measurement application (e.g., Microsoft-PowerBI or similar data analysis application

  • A team collaboration application (e.g., Microsoft TEAMS or a similar collaboration application) 

A.1 OE21 Learning Objectives and Instructions

Task 1 View the A.1 Video (Introduction to Organization Excellence) - Make sure you pay attention to these video key topics:

  • Why Baldrige Framework for OE is used for OE21 (source A.1)

  • Role of Internal Consultants; Future of IC

  • WIFM IC (Internal Champion and IC Capability/Certifications/Resume)

  • WIFM ORGANIZATIONS (Results) - get managers engaged and focused on results

  • RESULTS DASHBOARD - how it works; drivers bottom to top



  • OE21 installation (Main Intranet Page) 

Task 2 View the Baldrige Performance Excellence Framework Criteria Commentary -  

Do a quick read of the entire document, then study these Results (Category 7) topics:

  • 7.1 Product and Process Results

  • 7.2 Customer-Focused Results

  • 7.3 Workforce-Focused Results

  • 7.4 Leadership and Governance Results

  • 7.5 Financial, Market, and Strategy Results

Key Points to understand:

  • The OE21 Standards and Tools are used to measure and boost Category 7 Results

  • Organizations who implement OE21 assign managers and leaders to Focus Teams

    • Leadership Focus Team (LFT)​ - focus: measure and boost Results 7.4 and 7.5

    • Customer Focus Team (CFT) - focus: measure and boost Results 7.2

    • Operations Focus Team (OFT) - focus: measure and boost Results 7.1

    • Workforce Focus Team (WFT) - focus: measure and boost Results 7.3

  • All 27 OE21 Standards are allocated to the focus teams (LFT, CFT, OFT, WFT). 

  • OE21 Standards are written like standardized operating procedures.

  • OE21 Decision Support Tools include surveys, spreadsheet models, and other documents.

  • Focus teams are encouraged to collaborate with each other as they learn and implement the OE21 Standards and tools. 

Task 3 Learn how to assign Managers and Leaders to OE21 Focus Teams – The OE21 Learning and Assignment process applies to all managers and senior leaders who will be involved in OE21 focus teams. The following are the OE21 Focus Team staffing guidelines:

  • Leadership Focus Team (LFT): These are senior leaders, directors, or managers (e.g. CEO, CFO, COO, CHRO, CIO, and IT Managers, and other senior leadership roles). The Leadership Focus Team (LFT) is accountable for Leadership Excellence results (Results 7.4 and 7.5), including financial performance, marketplace performance, strategy alignment and accomplishment, leadership, and social responsibilities. The CIO and/or IT managers are part of the LFT and are responsible for OE21 4.1 Measurement, Analysis, and Improvement of Performance as well as OE21 4.2 Information and Knowledge Management. The CIO/IT roles are additionally responsible for the administration and operation of the Performance Measurement application (e.g., Microsoft-PowerBI or similar data analysis application) as well as the administration and publishing of the organization's INTRANET (non-public website containing important internal information).  


 LFT Decision Making Role - After each OE21 Standard is implemented, the LFT is responsible for decisions about Action Plans that may be required in response to information discovered during surveys and analysis conducted during the implementation of OE21 Standards. If minor action plans or no action plans are required, the LFT advises the team to proceed ahead to the next OE21 Standard. If significant action plans are required,  LFT decision-making is required. The decision-making process is as follows:


  • The LFT decides when and if Action Plans with tasks, persons responsible, task estimated start and completion dates, and estimated labor hours and non-labor dollars are created by the focus team​s using either the OE21 Simple Action Plan model or the organization's project management system.

  • The LFT reviews the results of the Action Plan estimation, including total cost, schedule timeframe, and resources required.


  • The LFT works with the focus teams to get a rough estimate of the benefits of executing the Action Plans and compares these benefits to the Action Plan cost estimate, schedule and resources required. Benefits should include positive impacts on related Key Performance Indicators (e.g., reduction in employee terminations, increased employee engagement, reduced cost of goods sold, reduced cycle time or schedule time for key processes, improved customer satisfaction, reduced product/service defects or rework, and increases in customer purchases, financial and market share). The LFT goal is to get a reasonable idea of the Benefits to Cost Ratio, before approving the Action Plan.

  • If the LFT approves the Action Plan, the LFT is responsible for collaborating with the department and work unit managers to finalize estimates of Action Plan labor and non-labor and to establish acceptance from performing organizations who will execute the Action Plan tasks. 

  • Customer Focus Team (CFT): These are managers of customer sales and relationships (e.g. VP Marketing, Manager of Sales, Manager of customer relations, etc.). The Customer Focus Team (CFT) is accountable for Customer Excellence results (Results 7.2), including customer engagement, satisfaction and value, key stakeholder's satisfaction and value, product and service performance (in the eyes of customers), and program outcomes.


  • Operations Focus Team (OFT): Top managers of Product and/or Service Design, Production, Delivery, and Customer Support, Project Managers, Quality Managers, Risk Managers and other managers who manage these operations. The Operations Focus Team (OFT)  is accountable for Operations Excellence results (Results 7.1), including process management, product and service design, production, delivery and support management, supplier/supply chain management, quality management, and risk management.


  • Workforce Focus Team (WFT): Comprised of Talent Development, Learning Managers, Human Resources Manager(s), and Work Unit Managers. Work Units are small groups of similarly skilled people within Departments or other sections of the organization. The Workforce Focus Team (WFT) is accountable for Workforce Excellence results (Results 7.3), including workforce satisfaction. engagement, workforce capability and capacity,  learning and development, and rewards-based workforce performance.

  • Facilitator (FAC) - One or two managers competent with computer applications such as spreadsheets, surveys, procedures, and file management. The OE21 Facilitator (FAC) will collect and track the progress (percent % complete) of all Focus Teams in implementing the OE21 standards and milestones.

How Many Managers Should Participate?  At least one or two managers (or senior leaders) from each of the four Focus Teams (LFT, CFT, OFT, WFT) should participate in order to take advantage of all of the OE21 Standards and Decision Support Tools. Ideally, the majority of all managers should participate in the program. 

How Progress of Implementing OE21 is Measured - Progress of implementing OE21 Standards is done with Milestones. Example:


PROGRESS: You have reached the Milestone "n" (good work). Input the status [1 to 100%] on the organization's OE21 Intranet Main page alongside the title of the particular OE21 standard.


Milestones are preceded by implementation tasks within each Standard (e.g. Task A.1-2).


Milestones are arranged in numerical sequence (e.g. Standard 5.1 has multiple milestones, for example, Milestone 5.1-M1, 5.1-M2,  5.1-M3, and so on.

OE21 Process Charts are tables showing TASKS and including MILESTONES with the cumulative percentage (e.g. 11%) value when the Milestone is reached. This % value is the Progress Indicator.  The FAC ensures that milestone progress indicators are received from Focus Teams and updated on the organization's OE21 Main Page (on the organization's INTRANET. 

Continue to OE21 Learning and Assignment Process

OE21 Learning and Assignment Process

Figure A.1-1 presents the OE21 Learning and Assignment Process step by step.



Figure A.1-1 OE21 Learning and Assignment Process

The OE21 Learning and Assignment Process utilizes Workbooks (pdf files) designed to allow students to study standards, open and use surveys, spreadsheets, and other docs, and to answer multiple-choice questions subdivided into a series of assignments. 

Learning Process: OE21 students complete OE21 Assignment Workbooks using the process shown in Figure A.1-1 and the Instructions in the Workbook. The flow of assignments in the workbook requires the student to read the OE21 Baldrige Commentary, OE21 Standard, Case Study, Implementation Tasks, and then use the OE21 Learning tools. The learning tools require the student to insert specific data into the tools, examine the results, and then answer multiple choice quiz questions.

Test Your Knowledge of OE21 Learning Objectives:  Take the Quiz for OE21 Introduction (provided by OE21 author). Once you pass the quiz, you have reached Milestone 1. 

PROGRESS: You have reached Milestone 1 (good work). Input the status [100%] on the organization's OE21 Intranet Main page alongside the title of this standard A.1

Continue ahead to B.1 Organization Excellence Assessment