Practical tips for execution.
Practical tips for execution.
Baldrige in Brief
Accelerating Excellence®
What's the Matter with Good Intentions?

Some people make New Years resolutions, while others view them as something to inevitably be cast by the wayside at some future date.  I fall into the latter group and genuinely admire the folks who not only make but achieve their resolutions.  It’s hard to explain because I’m a compulsive list maker of daily to-do’s. I’ve even been known to write something on my list after I’ve completed the task just to get that sense of accomplishment. But longer-range goals can be harder to pin down when there’s no incremental gratification.

We often talk in the Baldrige examiner community that we don’t give credit for things in an application that are written in the future tense because they’re just “good intentions” and may not come to fruition. Glenn likes to offer this little story to illustrate this phenomenon. “Five frogs were sitting on a log, and one decided to jump. How many frogs are left?”  The answer is “still five” because deciding (or having good intentions) isn’t “doing.”

In his latest book, Excellence Now: Extreme Humanism, Tom Peters devotes this entire third chapter on execution.  He quotes another business guru, Peter Drucker, “Strategy is a commodity; execution is an art.” In a similar vein, Pat Croce, motivational speaker and best-selling author, spends a lot of time in Lead or Get Off the Pot! The Seven Secrets of a Self-Made Leader, on practical approaches for getting things done. (Side note: I once worked with a VP of Engineering who told his team, “There’s ‘done,’ and there’s ‘done, done, done.”  In other words, the project isn’t complete until all of the details are taken care of.)

What are some practical steps you can take to transform good intentions into fait accompli?

1.Break down the goal into bite-sized tasks that can be accomplished in a day, and record them on your “to-do” list.

2.Identify incremental measures of progress, such as number of words written, number of phone calls placed, etc.  Keep track of those and seek a positive trend over time.

3.Get yourself an accountability coach, someone you check in with on a periodic basis to provide the status of your milestone accomplishments and measures.

4.Tell you accountability coach to accept no excuses from you. Stuff always happens and can be easily used to give yourself an “out.”

5.Remind yourself not only the benefits you expect to gain but also the negative consequences if this good intention doesn’t become a reality.

6.Read inspirational stories about people who overcame incredible odds to achieve something important.

As a leader in your organization, do you make action plans without having a follow-up mechanism to review progress? In your performance management process, how much weight is given to actually achieving an identified goal? Do you require projects to be “done, done, done,” or do you give credit for a good effort?  There are two balancing core values and concepts in the Baldrige Excellence Framework: Visionary Leadership and Delivering Value and Results. If you read many of the Baldrige Award Recipient Profiles, you’ll find role model practices in many of the process categories of the Criteria but also enviable results the organizations have achieved.  Their stories might inspire some of your own efforts to achieve some of your own good intentions.

Join us at the Quest for Excellence 2023! The conference will feature some new and exciting opportunities to learn role model best practices from nationally recognized thought leaders, former Award recipients, and representatives from other high-performing organizations. Enjoy sessions focusing on innovation and healthy, thriving communities, and take home solutions to help your organization achieve breakthrough performance and results in all sectors in areas such as leadership; strategy; customers; measurement, analysis, and knowledge management; workforce; and operations. Use these links to register as an individual or group. If you have questions about the Quest Conference please reach out to Josh Racette, Executive Director of Corporate Development for the Baldrige Foundation, by email at

Check out another Baldrige-focused Conference hosted by TNCPE.
Early bird pricing is available through February 5th! Glenn and I are presenting, so we'd love to see you there, too!

Register for the upcoming Baldrige Foundation Webinar! 

Developing a High performance Culture through Team based Coaching

This complementary webinar is scheduled for January 31, so the time to act is now!!!

Excellence in Education
The Baldrige Foundation Institute for Performance Excellence supports Individuals and organizations around the world by providing quality educational programs. Recently, the Institute for Performance Excellence announced the addition of over 370 online, self-paced learning opportunities to add to their current educational offerings. These courses are designed to support professional development opportunities for organizations and their employees. To learn more about all educational offerings, please visit the

Glenn Bodinson | 826 Belt Line Plaza | Richardson, TX 75080 | (972) 489-5430 |
Kay Kendall | 826 Belt Line Plaza | Richardson, TX 75080 | (972) 489-3611 |
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