Tom Harkenrider is vice president — management services for Constructive Concepts Incorporated, La Jolla, California. He is also a member of APPA's Strategic Assessment Task Force and can be reached at

Food recipes are learned and prepared in many ways. Some of the best are those that are distinctively seasoned. Emeril Lagasse, celebrity chef on the nationally syndicated Food Network, has a signature method for seasoning his recipes that he refers to as "kicking it up a notch." Emeril takes a pinch of his special seasoning called "essence of Emeril," steps back with his hand raised, and just as though he was making a one handed dunk shot, propels the seasoning at the dish and shouts in unison with the studio audience,"BAM!" The recipe has now been transformed into something special from being "kicked up a notch."

SAM, the APPA Strategic Assessment Model, was developed based on two recipes for organizational performance excellence. They are the equivalent of the "essence of Emeril" and represent in a sense, the "essence of SAM." One of them is referred to as the "Balanced Scorecard" and the other is the "Baldrige," short for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Literally thousands of organizations of all kinds and sizes have adopted these two performance measurement instruments for their continuous quality improvement initiatives. Besides being well recognized and standing the test of time, they have become fairly straightforward and easy to use by both line and leadership staff combined. Most organizations are able to benefit from using the information provided by both instruments for self-assessment, which is one of the primary objectives of SAM. This article will, therefore, present case studies about some organizations that have been successfully seasoning their organizations with this "essence of SAM" and kicking their organizational performance "up a notch."

Although the APPA SAM book and recent Facilities Manager articles offer ample reference material about Baldrige and Balanced Scorecard, it is important to keep in mind two things. The first is that both models describe the relative levels of organizational performance as a holistic system; all ingredients of the recipe interact with each other. This means that the elements of the models are linked and have an effect on the other elements. For example, financial measures can relate to customer and employee satisfaction indicators, process improvements can influence financial indicators, employee satisfaction can influence customer satisfaction, leadership systems can influence all of the above, and so on. The second is that each organization is responsible for deciding what is important and what is not; the models are non-prescriptive guidelines; the organization is as individual as any "chef." For example, the relative focus on safety training and near-miss accident tracking for the service desk personnel would not be as relevant as for the crafts and trades staff. Some organizational ingredients require more "seasoning" than others depending on the "chef" and "cooking conditions."

A chapter in the first edition of the SAM book, "More than a Feeling," made mention of several organizations that were using the essence of SAM. They included the University of Southern California, Emory University, and Soka University of America. Chapters were also authored by individuals such as Jack Hug and Mohammad Qayoumi who were pioneers in the application of performance assessment models offering the University of California, San Diego as a case study for Balanced Scorecard. The following are some additional case studies as they apply to the Baldrige including APPA's movement to include a Baldrige format from SAM in the Excellence Award and Facilities Management Evaluation Programs.

University of Southern California

When Dr. Thomas Moran, vice president for business affairs, launched his Baldrige based quality improvement initiative in 1996, he probably had no idea about the significance of being a pioneer in that area, nor the eventual influence that program would have on campus community and the facility management organization. One of his first accomplishments was completing a copy of the Baldrige Award application referred to as the "Eureka Award" administered by the California Council for Quality and Service (CCQS). The complete application form is posted on the web page Dr. Moran ultimately accepted a Best in Class award recognition for that effort in 1997.

The greater value from this effort came in the form of a feedback report that a team of well trained CCQS examiners provided as a result of scoring the application against criteria similar to the five levels of organizational growth outlined in the SAM matrix. The feedback report contained comments about strengths and opportunities for improvement in each of the seven categories shown on in Figure 1. In addition to receiving a feedback report, he was also requested to open his doors to other award recipients and high performance organizations for a "Best Practices" site visit. His Division of Business Affairs was now on the "radar screen" in the high performance organizational circles.

Figure 1. Seven Quality Categories
1.0 Leadership
1.1 Leadership System
1.2 Company Responsibilities and Citizenship
2.0 Strategic Planning
2.1 Strategic Development Process
2.2 Company Strategy
3.0 Customer and Market Focus
3.1 Customer and Market Knowledge
3.2 Customer Satisfaction and Relationship Enhancement
4.0 Information and Analysis
4.1 Selection and Use of Information and Data
4.2 Selection and Use of Comparative Information and Data
4.3 Analysis and Review of Company Performance
5.0 Human Resources Development and Management
5.1 Work Systems
5.2 Employee Education, Training and Development
5.3 Employee Well-Being and Satisfaction
6.0 Process Management
6.1 Management of Product and Service Processes
6.2 Management of Support Processes
6.3 Management of Supplier and Partnering Processes
7.0 Business Results
7.1 Customer Satisfaction Results
7.2 Financial and Market Results
7.3 Human Resources Results
7.4 Supplier and Partner Results
7.5 Company-Specific Results

Maurice Hollman, associate vice president for facilities management services, also recognized the value of incorporating the Baldrige into his own quality improvement programs. APPA had developed the Strategic Assessment Model and there was some information flowing amongst APPA colleagues about the Facilities Management Evaluation and Award for Excellence programs getting a facelift in order present the SAM family appearance. With the enthusiastic support from Dr. Moran, the Facility Management Services leadership staff decided to carry on where the division left off by applying the Baldrige model to the next level within their individual work units.

The first two work units selected were the Construction and Project Management Services and Customer Resource Center departments. An abbreviated version of the Baldrige application was chosen from the CCQS program referred to as "Challenge Award." The value associated with this effort again came from having a feedback report that not only points out organizational characteristics that are worth preserving, but items that can help the organization perform at even higher levels.

Both of these work units received recognition awards from CCQS in the presence of Dr. Moran and other quality award constituents, but the true objective was to achieve something else. They were in need of a sound systematic process for aligning their departmental short and long term goals and objectives with those of their division of business affairs and campus community. They also needed a complimentary approach to measuring and communicating their progress along a meaningful continuum. The scoring criteria and feedback reporting processes would serve those needs. These processes are described in more detail in the application forms that can be downloaded from a number of websites. The Customer Resource Center's category application and feedback report defines where the organizational strengths are within that category of interest along with what would be given consideration to take that positive performance to higher levels. As previously mentioned, these comments are based on scoring criteria that was used as the basis for the new SAM "matrix" (available on the APPA website at These feedback reports were then used to assess priorities and determine the annual goals and objectives for those work units.

The next step was to expand this program to other work units as well as reassess the progress of the first two work units. The next work unit that was selected was the Facilities Financial Services department. Two significant process improvements were made while that work group completed their "Challenge Award application." One dealt with reducing the cycle time between the time the application is submitted and when the feedback report is received. Since the CCQS program relies on volunteer examiners to provide feedback reports, it can take several weeks before the report is prepared and reviewed by that organization. Chris McCann, the department director, took the initiative to understand the feedback report process, and create a preliminary internal feedback report well in advance of the one provided by CCQS. The other process improvement was that she self-initiated action items that were clearly important prior to being assigned by Maurice Hollman to do so. For example, her department initiated customer feedback survey materials that addressed the opportunity to improve the customer feedback loop processes specific to that work unit. In taking such initiatives, she also began drafting the framework for the next level application for the "Prospector Award" that is only one step away from the development of a "Eureka Award" that the whole department intends on preparing in the future.

What can be demonstrated here is the development of a sound and systematic quality improvement process that, when amalgamated from the work units up through the department, can be aligned at the division or institution level. As this experience unfolds at USC, a growing number of colleges and universities are participating in the state, local, and national programs of similar structure. The newly revised SAM program will help the facilities organizations be "blanched" and "seasoned" well ahead of time and add some "BAM" to the new recipes.

Emory University

Emeril has a phrase that he often uses with respect to seasoning common ingredients like flour or eggs. He will say something like, "I don't know where your items come from, but where I come from, they don't come seasoned!" Then he proceeds to "kick the ingredients up a notch." Bob Hascall, senior associate vice president, Facilities Management Division at Emory University, was able to get some Baldrige of the pre-seasoned variety through a network of resources associated with Georgia's Ogelthorpe award program. Unlike the "seasoning" that was added at the staff level at USC, Emory's approach was to have a departmental application and feedback report provided by a local Ogelthorpe award program examiner. This approach has its advantages for organizations that have this expertise available and want to make sure that they are getting their quality initiative off on a good start. There are also APPA members like Mo Qayoumi at California State University/Northridge, myself, and others who have examiner training at the state and national level who will represent a growing number of organizations that have in-house Baldrige program capabilities. This approach was what helped the Emory Facility Management Division organization get a jump-start on achieving several significant accomplishments as a result of utilizing the following process.

The process began when Bob Hascall invited me as a representative of the APPA SAM program to attend one of his senior staff meetings. The concepts of SAM's application of the Balanced Scorecard and Baldrige principles were reviewed along with the organizational growth model based on Baldrige scoring criteria. The organization was then introduced to the local resources available from the state Ogelthorpe Quality Award program. Following my introduction to the "essence of SAM," an Ogelthorpe award program examiner was retained to interview representative members of the organization in order to determine strengths and opportunities for improvement in the category areas of strategic planning, customer service, and process improvement. Baldrige Categories 2, 3, and 6 respectively. The concepts of Approach, Deployment, and Results, as they relate to improvement opportunities, were then explained to the staff, and work plans were developed accordingly.

One key outcome, similar to the USC experience, was the determination that each department should develop its own set of strategic goals, which feed into the division's goals. Bob Hascall and his top leadership team of approximately 30 people now develop an annual plan centered on goals. They meet quarterly to discuss departmental goals and to assess where they are in meeting their objectives. Frontline staff now collaborates with the leadership system in order to set goals and develop work plans in support of achieving those goals along with identifying appropriate performance metrics. The departmental leadership system, consisting of managers and supervisors, are then able to insure that they're departmental goals feed into the division's primary strategic goals.

Bob Hascall, in turn, insures that the division's goals and objectives support those of the university. The division's annual report to the university administration provides information in detail about details what the division has done in support of university goals. The information is also formatted around a Baldrige based feedback report in terms of strengths that support results and opportunities for improvement in terms of goals and objectives for the coming year.

This division-wide effort results in continuous improvement throughout the organization whereby all departments deploy a sound and systemic approach. It provides more structure for consistency and insures that all functions of the division are aligned with a specific and desired direction. The process also helps to identify key performance improvement metrics.

Another key determination was to establish program improvement teams and to assign a team to each of the seven performance excellence categories outlined by Baldrige. For instance, the Customer and Market Focus, Category 3 Team has developed an ambitious list of eight projects, which include:

These and other similar strategies are enabling the organization to focus on key areas in each of the seven categories and are keeping organization-wide efforts aligned.

Both of these initiatives demonstrate focused, organization-wide processes and are aligned at the division and university levels. Both involve staff from Frontline and Leadership Teams and serve to pull the various FM departments together to focus on common goals. As with the SAM model and improvement matrix, Emory's recipes for success involved the blending of sound and systematic processes that are uniformly deployed to achieve measurable results in balanced categories.

Soka University of America

Another one of the signature Emeril statements refers to the relationship of food and seasonings. Once they have the right relationship developed, they become "happy, happy." Soka University of America is building a new campus in Aliso Viejo, an area near Laguna Beach in South Orange County, California. Archibald Asawa, vice president for administrative affairs, determined through his strategic planning processes that the entire facility management operations for that organization should be outsourced. This decision furthered the need to have sound and systematic processes in place to make sure that the owner/service contractor relationships contain the right mixture of seasonings to stay " happy, happy."

The current SAM model was therefore selected as the "seasoning of choice" for the development of contracted service agreements. This approach was first tested in 1991 for the Salk Institute by using an essence of SAM, Baldrige-based, Request for Proposal approach to the contracted security and general contractor services. (ref. Critical Issue series book number 9). The logic behind this decision was based on the desire to have the service contractor perform at the same level of expectations that the organization would otherwise have of its in-house operations. A Request for Qualifications for Soka University's contracted operations and maintenance services was therefore issued based on similar criteria. The RFQ basically followed a condensed Baldrige application guideline modified to reflect Soka University's preferences for the performance of O&M services.

The responses to the request for qualifications were reviewed by a panel of faculty and staff members who reached immediate consensus for short-list selection based on this process.The general feeling of the companies that did not make the short list was still favorable because of the value associated with preparation of what they can now use as a self assessment and improvement tool like that which has evolved with the current SAM model. A number of them were actually thankful for the educational process this provided. The finalists were also able to clearly describe how they were performing for other clients in common terms and measures much like the application of the SAM model to work units within an organization. Once the service provider is selected, the performance model and metrics in the SAM criteria will be used as a basis for performance assessment.

In addition to the facilities management applications, Archibald Asawa has been considering the use of the SAM model concept for other applications such as "ground up" strategic planning processes that would relate to shared governance issues. A growing number of colleges and universities, including Soka University of America, are also giving consideration to using the Baldrige for accreditation and institutional strategic planning purposes. Some of them even have their national and regional award applications and feedback reports on their web page. Other institutions include but are not limited to, Mount San Antonio Community College and Cuesta College in California, Northwest Missouri State University, Richland College in Texas, Eastern Iowa Community College, and Terra Community College in Ohio.


New developments in the Facilities Management Evaluation Program and the Award for Excellence process/model after application/site visit/feedback report and scoring process, with Emory and USC as pragmatic examples.

Current revisions to the FMEP program and Award for Excellence programs reflect the desire to more closely integrate elements of quality, excellence, and continuous improvement into an assessment program.


"A good idea does not care who owns it" is an applicable phrase for what APPA is providing to its membership and higher education at large. As one of the early proponents for the Baldrige and Balanced Scorecard, it is particularly rewarding for me to see these good ideas enjoying a growing adoption rate. The phrase "the proof is in the pudding" is also an applicable phrase for the food recipe analogies. Emeril always places a final focus on presentation particularly since the viewing audience can only see and not sense the aroma of his recipes through what he would envision in the future as "smellevision." It is therefore important that the "essence of SAM" be applied to taste, and serve to enhance the presentation of our profession and the institutions we serve. Bon Appetit!