Better organizations. Better results.
April 3, 2017
Immediate Call for Experienced Examiners 
In addition to our standard 50-page Wisconsin Forward Award applications that are evaluated during our prescribed winter and summer cycles, Wisconsin Center for Performance Excellence (WCPE) accepts Wisconsin Challenger and Wisconsin Fast Forward applications at any time of the year. These application types are perfect for organizations seeking external feedback as they initiate or proceed on their performance excellence journeys. WCPE has just received a number of these applications (with more expected soon), and needs trained examiners to evaluate them and provide feedback. If you have served as an examiner at any time in the past three years, we could really use your help!  You will work virtually with a small team and over a very manageable timetable - as few as 10 hours in total. Interested? Please contact Brett Remington. We sincerely appreciate your consideration!    
New Additions to 2017 Calendar of Events
Whether you are trying to build a role model organization, trying to solve a sticky problem, or just want to gain an advantage in doing daily work, WCPE has all kinds of affordable and effective options for you to consider.  Our April line-up features:

April 5: Series kick-off of Becoming a Fantastic Facilitator. This is the first of eight half-day workshops we're offering to help you get more done at work. Session 1 will be held at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center (Madison) in the afternoon, and provides an introduction to running effective meetings and the job of a great facilitator. Due to the interactive nature of this session, space is limited. You may register for the entire eight-part series, or take individual classes.

April 7: Conflict Management: Mastering the Pivot at University of Wisconsin-Stout (Menomonie). Conflict can be a destructive force in an organization's culture as well as in your personal and professional relationships. Having a strategy to pivot away from these situations will help you to preserve your health and well-being. Time is running out to register! This workshop will also be offered in Madison on April 27.

April 11: Taking Your Leadership Pulse.The difference between good companies and high-performing companies can most often be measured by leadership effectiveness. How much of your own leadership potential have you realized? In this Madison workshop, you'll explore your own leadership characteristics in the dimensions of cognitive fitness, trust, failure, and self-awareness. As with so many of our workshops, there is a high degree of engagement with your instructor, so we must limit the class size. Register soon to reserve your seat!

April 19: The second session in the Becoming a Fantastic Facilitator series. The class will focus on how to facilitate virtual meetings using various technologies. Getting people together in person is always desirable, but can be highly impractical, costly, and time consuming. You'll learn the best ways of bringing people together when you're all in different places, and the skills and techniques necessary to keeping your meetings engaging in those circumstances. This is a half-day afternoon session offered in Madison.

April 20: Become a Social Media Rock Star. Don't miss this special two-hour event at the Aldo Leopold nature Center (Madison) with nationally-renowned social media consultant Spencer X. Smith. You'll learn all the insider secrets to managing your brand online through all popular media platforms. Space is absolutely limited to 75 people. We look forward to seeing you there.

April 24: Quality Geeks Madison. This is a social event for people who love quality. Their next gathering will be held at Vintage Brewing Company, 674 Whitney Way in Madison from 5 to 7 p.m. All are welcome. This event is not sponsored or managed by WCPE.

April 27: DOUBLE HEADER - Metric of Urgency at UW-Stout (Menomonie) and Conflict Management: Mastering the Pivot (Madison). We've brought back the Rendement Group for the Metric of Urgency workshop at UW-Stout on April 27. Discover your own key leading process indicator driving the biggest improvement opportunity in this one day hands-on workshop.

And following the great interest we had for a southern Wisconsin workshop, we've added a Madison date for Conflict Management: Mastering the Pivot. Only 25 seats are available - reserve yours today.

May's calendar features the first ever two-day workshop on Lean Sales Strategies (May 5 and 19), and the next three installments of Becoming a Fantastic Facilitator ( May 9, May 17, and May 24). Registration will open soon for the following events: experience a rare opportunity for board governance in  Boards that Add Value (May 8), our hugely popular Baldrige 101 and 201 (May 11 and May 12) workshops, as well as another installment on our Leadership development series: Leading High Performance Teams (May 22). 

You may be familiar with our "bring the whole team" pricing, which allows you to bring as many members of our organization as you like to our events for one low fee. But did you know that we may also be able to bring the learning event to you? On-site learning is convenient, affordable, and can be specifically tailored to your unique needs or expectations. Contact Brett Remington for more information.

One last thing: a special thank you to staff at University of Wisconsin-Stout, who answered our request for facility use, which gives us the ability to offer workshops in beautiful northwest Wisconsin. We are always in need of low-cost or no-cost venues to host our learning and development workshops all around the state. Could you help us out? We sincerely appreciate your consideration.
Membership Benefits
We value the commitment of our members to build Wisconsin's Community of Excellence, and are excited to announce that the Wisconsin Benchmarking Exchange (WiBMX) will launch in April.

The Wisconsin Benchmarking Exchange (WiBMX) is a members-only resource providing vital comparative data to inform critical decision-making. The exchange offers both professionally prepared, standardized survey instruments for your use, as well as a managed repository of performance outcomes in areas intended to initially include customer satisfaction, employee engagement, and communication effectiveness. Other areas will be added as member commitment grows.
Want to get your hands on great benchmark data? You must be a member of WCPE in order to participate.  Additional details available on our website.
Guest Article:  
Top Talent: Are You Looking for the Secret Sauce? 
By Mike Ghislain, NXTLEVEL Consulting
Mike Ghislain

When I speak with executives I often hear, "We need better talent," and "We just can't find the right  people for our business." Or how about this one: "When we hired him/her, we thought they would be a rock star but it didn't turn out that way." So why is it that so many companies experience similar struggles with hiring, managing, and retaining top talent?

The reasons are as diverse as the organizations experiencing these issues. And if I possessed the black box that universally solved the talent dilemma, I'd likely be retired on a beach somewhere. The fact is that organizations are made up of people, processes, and systems that work together to achieve desired outcomes. Although talent, on the surface, seems to be about the people, it is in fact as much about the processes and systems as well.

I'm a big fan of Jim Collins and his book "Good to Great," published in 2001. In his book, Jim introduces a simple talent management strategy using a bus metaphor that goes something like this:
  1. Get the right people on the bus. 
  2. Get the right people in the right seats on the bus.
  3. Get the wrong people off the bus. 
So there you have it: it's that simple-or not! I like to keep things simple so I love this outcome-based straw man of a talent strategy. While this is a great simplification, it needs a bit of fleshing out. What's needed next though, is to establish systematic and repeatable processes and systems that result in these desired outcomes. For example, under the strategic initiative of "Get the Right People on the Bus," we need to develop and deploy effective processes for talent sourcing, assessment, interviewing, compensation and onboarding. These processes are critical to identifying the right people and ensuring they are a match to the organization's vision, values and culture. Remember, it's a two-way street: if you want to hire "A" players, you need to have an "A" organization, or they won't come or stay. This same approach of process and system development occurs for the other two outcomes as well and embodies the entire human capital management function.

While the bus metaphor above may help you provide structure to your talent strategy and processes, there are other influences that significantly impact how effective your talent management strategy will be. These include: the philosophy and style of your top executive and senior leaders, the culture of your  company, and your use of Human Capital Management (HCM) technology. These influences will have as much or even more ability to either move you to the successful companies' leaderboard or leave you struggling to be an average performing company wondering why you can't find Top Talent.

In addition to being a past Wisconsin Forward Award examiner, Mike Ghislain is the founder of NXTLEVEL Consulting. Feel free to contact Mike with any questions or comments you may have at or visit

Have an article you'd like to be featured in the Excellence Insider? Contact us.
Jump-Start Your Performance Excellence Journey in as Little as Two Days!
New to Performance Excellence? Impatient for performance gains?  WCPE offers the Wisconsin Challenger and Wisconsin Fast Forward application pathways to get you going in a hurry. Both of these opportunities offer external evaluation conducted by our outstanding Board of Examiners who will create a detailed feedback report for you, uncovering areas of strength and opportunities for improvement. You will also be recognized at our annual Awards Gala. Our Baldrige 101 workshop delivers an immersive, personalized introduction to Performance Excellence. Baldrige 201 transitions from intent to action, coaching you through the development of your Wisconsin Challenger application in just one day. You will be ready to submit it for feedback after a little validating and polishing. The next Baldrige 101 and 201 series is next offered on May 11 and 12. Want the added detail that a Wisconsin Fast Forward application provides? WCPE can help your team draft your Fast Forward application in one day with our new Baldrige 301: Faster Fast Forward workshop. And don't forget: WCPE members are eligible to have the workshop delivered on your site. Contact us to schedule yours today.
Get the Tools You Need to Get Started for FREE.
The 2017-2018 Baldrige Excellence Builder is available from National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)  here. This is the framework we use for both the Wisconsin Challenger and Wisconsin Fast Forward applications. Even if you don't wish to submit an application just yet, the Baldrige Excellence Builder is a great way to self-assess your performance maturity and organizational progress towards being a role model organization.
We Leave You With This Reminder:
Don't downgrade your dream just to fit your reality. Upgrade your conviction to match your destiny. Be an active Member of WCPE's Community of Excellence and narrow the gap between your performance and your potential.  
Invest in the mission of the Wisconsin Center for Performance Excellence.  To learn more, click  here.  
Recent Organizational Members

Leadership Members
Metastar logo-white