#14 – Baldrige Strategic Planning

A strategic plan accurately evaluates our strengths and weaknesses. It looks at the changing future of the world around us as well as what our future might be by taking advantage of these opportunities. The plan should:

1. Be based on broad scale information gathering from clients, competitors, staff, docs, local communities
2. Look at alternatives
3. Be aware of future implications of current decisions
4. Give everyone a sense of involvement
5. Develop real insight into our client’s needs
6. Analyze potential competition
7. Is knowledge and access to knowledge maximized?
8. Overall strategy is broken down into measurable action plans
9. There will be 1,2,3,5, and 10 year plans.
10. Decide how to allocate our time, effort, dollars
11. Decide how much risk we can assume for expected rewards.


Dentistry is a combination of health care and business. The most difficult part of strategic quality planning is striking a balance between helping people be healthy and making a profit. There is never a perfect balance, but I believe humanness should outweigh money. For example, if a person who hasn’t paid for 3 previous appointments comes to you in pain, can you turn him away? These two factors need to be measured because they are so important.

In the past our focus was on short-range goals – putting out fires, fixing a problem, and improving productivity. Now we try to focus on quality improvements that require long-range planning on improving relationships through better communication. Our strategic plan must tie our long-range plans, our budget, and our annual objectives together. Even more difficult than tying these three facets together is agreeing on accurate measures of the success of our efforts.

The Baldrige process has helped us see the value of including team leaders in our long-range planning. Team leaders help control our group’s major problem of lack of individual initiative due to inability to cope with the amount of change I constantly throw into the system. More coordinated focus should result in fewer “false starts”, “great ideas for the month” (that people try to avoid), drifting off to oblivion of some programs, long delays, and general lack of coordinated effort. As we develop the planning process, each idea fits either as:

1. Strategic plan – organizing strategies in a coordinated plan to achieve goals
2. Goal – a major, fundamental, long-range result
3. Objective – clearly defined, measurable, short-term goal
4. Strategy – a course of action to attain an objective
5. Tactics – specific actions that support a strategy

Every organization has 3 levels of operation:

1. Strategic – overall purpose, values, direction, and strategy are developed in concepts
2. Management – systems are established to link our strategic plans without operational results
3. Operational – actual work processes carried out

Developing a Strategic Plan

1. pulls together all this information for analysis
2. sets priorities
3. assigns responsibilities
4. establishes processes
5. allocates resources


Organize a Strategic Plan

A. Questionnaires (staff, vendors, etc.)
1. avoid negative wording
2. staff focus on how their behavior effects client service
3. avoid “yes” and “no” questions
4. don’t put more than one thought in a question (“Do we have enough supplies and equipment?”)
5. never more than 20 questions
6. your questions should reflect HP’s values
7. don’t ask questions you aren’t willing to act on
8. questions requiring written responses are best and give you the most accurate answers that you can act on

Now answer these questions and then get with some senior secretary/ administrator and see if they agree with your ideas.

1. Why do we have a strategic plan?

2. Who is involved in developing our annual strategic plan?

3. How do you find out what our strategic plan is?