Thursday, November 13, 2008

Where’s the Beef?

Baldrige Burger
Originally uploaded by Tidewater Muse
This was too good to pass up; this essay was written by Jeff Wright and published in the November 2008 CG OPC Newsletter.

By Jeff Wright

The visual model of the Baldrige criteria, showing the categories and their relationships, is referred to as the Baldrige Burger, but is that simply because of the way it looks? Perhaps when introducing clients to “the burger” it would be a good idea to give a more robust explanation of the name. An officemate (Jeff Dow) once exhibited true LEADERSHIP when he challenged me on calling the burger “a burger” shortly after I started with the Coast Guard and was STRATEGICALLY PLANNING and preparing my first presentation. I was forced to think more about the APPROPRIATENESS and IMPORTANCE of using the name “burger”.

In my mind a burger is something made of separate but complimentary ingredients, a meal that is a system of sorts with all of the ingredients LINKED and working together to make it all encompassing, complete and satisfying with no GAPS (all of the food groups can easily be represented). A burger is something convenient that you can really get your hands around. A burger gives us a quick and easy way to satisfy a need, hunger. Most of all COMPARITIVELY speaking, a burger is fun. Cutting down my burger consumption and ceasing this TREND was something I had to do in my efforts to lose weight, however, they could not be entirely eliminated from my diet as I clearly recognize the legitimate element of fun involved in my long standing RELATIONSHIP with the burger.

Imagine firmly grasping and embracing the burger, perhaps quite firmly, as you eagerly take a substantial bite. Then begins the chewing and the mixing of separate ingredients and condiments as they come into ALIGNMENT, combine and work together to give an overall satisfying experience. Finally the actual swallowing or moment of ingestion when the combined elements are fully INTEGRATED and become part of you in order to curb certain pangs. Various remnants remain on the chin and in the teeth as reminders of the experience while also prompting the eager CONSUMER (you) to take yet another delicious bite.

Let’s consider the KEY FACTORS that support both the BASIC REQUIREMENTS and the MULTIPLE REQUIREMENTS of a burger.

First are the buns that hold everything together. A burger without a bun is “naked” or “open face” some people (including your’s truly) would argue that this is not a really burger at all but just a random hodge-podge of ingredients requiring extra utensils and the WORKFORCE FOCUS associated with dish-washing. The top bun covers everything and provides REFERENCE or even a certain CONTEXT for everything under it. The bun is flexible or AGILE which allows it to adjust for change. Any burger connoisseur would agree that the bun does in fact CREATE VALUE to the entire burger eating experience. The top bun does all of this while also being one of the first and most important things that the CUSTOMER experiences. The bottom bun is CRITICAL and serves as the FOUNDATION and STABILIZING element of our burger. It is also the part that seems to collect the “juices” that are fed from all of the other ingredients as INPUT. These juices help the bun CONFORM to the other parts of the burger but also have an interesting effect on the bun’s texture allowing it to provide even more of a STABILIZING force or contributing OUTPUT as the biting and eating continue. Thus the more the burger is used and consumed, the more of an effective FACTOR the bottom bun becomes over the LONG and SHORT TERM.

Several ingredients or COMPONENTS can be found between the buns of a burger but it is not clear which is most important because when you separate them it looses its burger-ness (see PIG bottom of pg 62 – top of pg 63). Often at a cook–out I might hear someone say that they are putting more burgers on the grill, maybe they will also offer me another burger as they thrust a plate full of meat at me. This particular APPROACH and SPECIFIC LANGUAGE is just not correct and presents a significant OPPORTUNITY FOR IMPROVEMENT, however, in my anxiousness to see the PROCESS MANAGED and get fed, I may avoid a correction in order to achieve the desired RESULTS. A most important LEARNING is that meat patties are not burgers, they are simply ingredients.

It is agreed that as a unit meat may be a considerable ingredient to a burger, but just what is meat anyway? For the purposes at hand we should simply think of it as just one, and only one, of the COMPLIMENTARY ingredients, however, meat could also possibly be made of something a cow once considered a burger (but that’s another article).

The ingredients, components or elements between the buns are what form the STRUCTURE of the burger. Completely complimentary and inherently linked, these elements are what form the burger’s substance and MATRIX.

The only way to truly appreciate all that the burger has to offer is to formulate an ACTION PLAN with an initial TASK being to actually get hold of one, wrapping your hands around it, and another to sink your teeth into the burger and chew like there’s no tomorrow, then DEPLOYMENT takes place as you swallow and savor the sweet feeling as it slides down your gullet.

The consumption of burgers does raise the LEVEL or robustness of one’s own KNOWLEDGE, experience, completeness, and overall substance, however, without the acknowledgement of true value found within the burger, you may just get fat.

~ Jeff Wright

Notes Jeff, the views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of CG-0931 nor any sane person.