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Tulsa Regional Chamber earns Oklahoma Quality Foundation honor

Published Thursday, November 7, 2019

As part of its eighth annual Sharing of Best Practices Conference held on Nov. 6 in Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma Quality Foundation (OQF) honored the Tulsa Regional Chamber with its 2019 OQF Award for Commitment to Excellence.

The Award for Commitment to Excellence represents the third of five increasingly rigorous levels within the OQF framework, which is based on the Malcolm Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence. The Chamber achieved level one in 2013 and level two in 2015.

“The Tulsa Regional Chamber is on a quality journey, and this honor represents the next step in that journey,” said Justin McLaughlin, executive vice president and chief operating officer for the Chamber. “One of our organizational core values is accountability, and participation in the OQF process is a primary means of holding ourselves accountable for continuous improvement.”

The process began in May with submission of a 50-page application that detailed the Chamber’s work in the areas of leadership, strategy, customers, information management, workforce and operations. In September, a team of examiners visited the Chamber offices to interview staff and volunteers, and to see firsthand what was described in the application.

“The combination of the written application and the site visit allowed us to tell the story of our work in a three-dimensional way,” said McLaughlin. “It also gave us numerous opportunities to really reflect on how far we’ve come in terms of our processes and the results we generate.”

The Baldrige framework has its roots back in the 1980s, when it was initially focused on helping manufacturers, such as automakers, improve their processes in order to be more globally competitive. Baldrige has since migrated into the health care, education, and more recently, non-profit sectors.

As part of the Sharing of Best Practices Conference, members of the Chamber’s resource development team led a breakout session on the unique challenges faced by non-profit associations and membership-based organizations when trying to acquire and retain customers.

The conference was organized by the Oklahoma Quality Foundation, which seeks to be a catalyst for building better organizations across the state by inspiring role model performance and results based on Baldrige principles. Since 1993, OQF has worked with hundreds of Oklahoma companies and organizations in their pursuit of continuous improvement and performance excellence.

For many participants, success at the state level is a precursor to pursuing a national Malcolm Baldrige award. The Tulsa Regional Chamber plans to pursue that path as well.

“We ultimately want to be known not just as the best in the state, but also the best nationally,” McLaughlin said. “The dedication to excellence required to get there will also ensure we continue to deliver the very best services for our member businesses and the wider northeast Oklahoma region.”

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