If you are familiar with Baldrige, then you likely know the importance of an Organizational Profile as the starting point in your performance excellence journey. It represents “a snapshot of your organization, the key influences on how it operates, and the key challenges it faces. It is the most appropriate starting point for self-assessment…” (from the Baldrige website).
For communities, the Community Profile represents a similar starting point. Documenting a Community Profile is the first step on the journey to community performance excellence. The responses to the questions in the Community Profile define what is most relevant and important to a community’s well-being and performance and will set the context for the answers to the rest of the Communities of Excellence Framework’s questions in Categories One through Seven. The questions in the Profile are divided into the following sections: Community Environment, Community Relationships and Community Strategic Situation and are designed to create a snapshot of the community at a point in time.
At the same time, the Community Profile is a fluid document. Communities will always be updating their Profile as the community changes or as the leadership teams gain new insights about the Community. The profile should help all those engaged to think collectively as a community and to ensure they have everyone at the table that should be there to create an inclusive, holistic representation of the community. It’s a helpful tool to learn how to work together, to get everyone thinking about the community in the same way, and agreeing on and using the same community language.
Back in May of 2017 our first cohort of communities joined the National Learning Collaborative. In the first few months we focused on teaching the basic principles of community performance excellence and on understanding concepts needed to develop a Baldrige-based Community Profile. In October of 2017 all five communities received the Commitment to Community Excellence Recognition, which required submitting the Community Profile for feedback from a group of volunteer examiners. The purpose of the feedback is to help identify key themes, highlights and challenges such as gaps in key information as well as to identify and prioritize topics for which conflicting, little, or no information is available. It is an important first step, and an important tool for future action planning.
You can view the Profiles on our website under Learning Collaborative communities. The four communities are: Brookfield/Marceline, Kanawha County, San Diego South Region and West Kendall. We want to acknowledge and congratulate these communities and also recognize their support as they’ve shared their experience with our second cohort of communities that joined last September. This group has all developed drafts of their Community Profile and we expect to be reviewing their Community Profiles this Fall when we begin accepting applications for the Commitment to Community Excellence Recognition starting September 15th.
The best way for your community to get involved and start on the community performance excellence journey is to join our National Learning Collaborative beginning in October of 2018. Applications will be accepted through July 31st. Visit our website to learn more.