2021 Above & Beyond Award

Clyniece Chaney & Helena Machado

Every year the SPQA recognizes special examiners who have contributed greatly to the success of the Award Program. This peer recognition from team members and team leadership is delivered through three special awards: Above and Beyond Award, Rookie of the Year Award, and Examiner of the Year.

The Above and Beyond recognition is awarded to individuals who have contributed significantly to their assigned roles and/or special projects. This year’s co-recipients are Helena Machado and Clyneice Chaney. Helena’s tireless efforts as SPQA’s training coordinator has allowed our examiners to provide high-caliber feedback to our applicants. Clyneice’s contribution as a team editor and a training facilitator was invaluable to our award program success this year.

Clyneice Chaney

Helena Machado

What is one thing that surprises you about the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence?

Clyneice: How inexpensive it is for the applicant and the value that they receive for such a small investment.

Helena: The Framework does not surprise me as much as it fascinates me by its systematic, customer focused approach guided by visionary leadership, fact-based management and a commitment to organizational learning and innovation. The representation of these and other core values in the Criteria, provide comprehensive guide for organizational leaders committed to continuous improvement to set a course for performance excellence. The alignment between Categories and the integration and focus on results are the reason the Framework is my favorite tool.

Being an Examiner for the SPQA is a significant time commitment, what motivates you to keep coming back to serve as an examiner?

Clyneice: Every year that I’ve worked with an applicant whether examiner, mentor, editor have been opportunities to learn. Yes, I was able to provide knowledge to others, but I was also the recipient on knowledge. Each year is an experience of continuous learning.

Helena: The time commitment is significant and frankly sometimes challenging; but the opportunity to engage, discuss and watch other practitioners of the Framework and organizations use of Criteria to become more effective, meet stakeholder expectation and achieve strategic results is the motivation. It is rewarding to see that you are doing well, and inspiring to see and learn how well others are doing, and to learn from fellow examiners and the members of the organizations we have the privilege to work with.

Why should an organization choose to use the Baldrige Criteria for Excellence to drive improvement?

Clyneice: The SPQA Baldrige program is one of the most effective and least costly means for an organization to pursue organizational excellence. What it will do for an organization seeking to become better is priceless.

Helena: The Baldrige Excellence Framework is a complex, yet a flexible tool to guide organizational change and improvement. By establishing systematic, repeatable and measurable processes that support Strategic Objective though well-defined key work systems the organization can effectively, and consistently move to a fact-based, results centered approach to managing and accessing organizational performance.

What is your most memorable Examiner Team experience that either keeps you laughing or makes you exceptionally proud of the work you have done?

Clyneice: One of my first examiner team experience was years ago. The applicant was a manufacturing company that primarily hired high school graduates as laborers. During my walk around as the examiner, with my hard hat and closed shoes, I got to see and hear these employees talk about control charts for helping to maintain equipment within acceptable ranges, their pride in their ability to suggest and see improvements in their stations was so evident. That organization had taught them about statistical process control in a way that allowed them to feel pride for their contributions to making the company better. It was a wonderful moment for me.

Helena: It is hard to pinpoint one experience, because each has provided opportunities to acquire new skills that have led to  personal growth and organizational improvement. Examiner discussions about criteria interpretation and application that occur during Training and Consensus are one of my favorite things. Another is the Feedback Meeting and the frank and unhindered discussions that can help the applicant grow beyond the score or award level and recognize the feedback report as one of the many tools to help the organization toward excellence.