But what was surprising and disappointing was the lack of public attention given to another Baldrige-related development four days earlier: a decision by Congress and President Barack Obama to eliminate all federal funding for the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, which sponsors the awards and related activities. The program cost federal taxpayers just under $10 million a year.
We believe that the Baldrige program will survive in some form. There is a foundation, as well as key partners, that are committed to ensuring the survival of the program. We at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, which won the Baldrige award in 2001, will do everything we can to help keep the Baldrige mission alive.
That's because we have seen what devotion to the philosophy of the Baldrige program, which was signed into law in 1987, can mean for an organization; UW-Stout is a much different university today than it was before we started on our "Baldrige journey."
Meeting the rigorous Criteria for Performance Excellence that accompanies the program made us seriously consider how we plan for the future, measure our performance in a number of areas and carry out our goals. The most important change brought about by our Baldrige experience, which now is part of our culture, was the establishment of an inclusive planning process to ensure that, in Baldrige speak, "all arrows are pointing in the same direction," and not at cross-purposes.