ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

October 1997


1996 Baldrige Winner Continues To Grow
Information Sharing, Dispersing Control and High Quality Standards Keys to CRI Success

Kaizen Events: Two Weeks To Dramatic Process Improvement
USBI's 'Kaizen Events' Working to Keep NASA Flying

Electronic Monitoring: There's No Place Like Home

When Cultures Collide...
Keep The Best-Lose The Rest


by Peter Block

We...They...Them...And Us
by Cathy Kramer


Brief Cases
Business News Briefs

Views for a Change

Book Review

Letters to the Editor


1996 Baldrige Winner Continues
To Grow
Information Sharing, Dispersing Control and High Quality
Standards Keys To CRI Success

October hosts the announcement of the Malcolm Baldrige winners. The award is no stranger to industry giants (past winners include Motorola, IBM and FedEx), but last October it was a small company standing tall. Custom Research Inc. was awarded the Malcolm Baldrige Award (small service business category) for its relentless pursuit of quality, innovation and perfection. This October, as CRI celebrates the one year anniversary of their Baldrige win, News for a Change Editor Bill Brewer spoke with CRI Executive Vice President Jan Elsesser about information-sharing, empowering teams, learning a client's business, partnering and the future of CRI. 

NFC: At the "Quest for Excellence Conference," featuring the 1996 winners of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, you showed a slide that said, "Leaders give power away." How does that work at CRI?
Elsesser: Essentially we look for really great people. We give them the tools they need to do their jobs and then get out of their way so they can actually run things. Our team organization means that we are really broken down into the smallest groups we can. We give those groups both the responsibility and authority to manage their groups and they do it well.
NFC: You have a little over 100 employees and there are eight senior leaders who work together to set strategy.
Elsesser: That's correct. In addition to our steering
committee, those eight people represent all aspects of our business. We have people who represent our technology expertise; people who represent the team side of the business. We have people who represent the sales side and people who represent our new product development efforts. They cover a full range of what needs to be taken into account to make that strategic planning happen.
NFC: At CRI all account teams are measured on quality, client satisfaction and profit. Who sets those measures?
Elsesser: Actually they begin to set them themselves - subject to some discussion with managers of course. They also set what we call surprise and delight goals that are specific to our clients. They have specific action plans for making that happen. We look at those quarterly with them and also at the end of the year to see how we've done.


Oct. '97 News for a Change | Email Editor

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