7 Tips to Rev Your Application Writing Engine

Kudos to all of this year’s TNCPE Award Applicants! We know you are down to the finish line preparing your application and thought you might like to hear some helpful hints from those who have been there.

And if you’re skipping the application process this year, read through to get a headstart on next year or to just follow along with the process as a mini check-up of your organization’s, well… organizational health!

1. Set yourself up for success.

It might sound “woo-woo”, but dig deep, and take some time defining yourselves. You might want to rush through the Organizational Profile to “get to the good stuff”, but there’s so much that can be learned just from taking the time to look at your organization from a different perspective.

Just defining your organization, your mission, your goals, your values and culture, can spark ideas for improvement or places you may need to dig deeper. Examining your workforce, assets, customers, products, and even your industry may help you see what changes need to be made since your last use of the Criteria – especially after the seismic shifts of a global pandemic.

And if you get the Organizational Profile right, the examiners will have a much better chance of understanding your organization and giving you relevant feedback.

2. Describe your processes.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. In Categories 1-6, try to avoid stories or examples, and instead describe HOW you get things done. What steps do you use? Who participates? How do you know if it’s working?

Think about it like writing out step-by-step instructions for your organization’s next leader. What would be most important for them to know? That level of information will help Examiners (and other team members) understand and evaluate your application for maximum actionable feedback.

And while this might look like a ton of work right now, think of it as an investment in your systems. By writing it all out, you have a clear understanding of these processes that you can also pass on or hand over to others in your organization.

3. Don’t leave results until the end…

Work smarter, not harder. As you are writing Categories 1-6, make note of the processes you are describing, and then put the results of those processes in Category 7 right away. Working this way can even help you see linkages to address with the Examiners or your internal team. 

4. A picture is worth 1,000 words.

It might feel a little “high-school-English-essay-at-3-am,” but in Categories 1-6, show us a flowchart or diagram! And in Category 7, very little text is needed since it’s all about the metrics of results – just using bar or line graphs to illustrate your findings will do the trick.

5. You get a few freebies!

Maxed out the page limit? Don’t forget that the glossary and organizational chart are allowed as part of your application and don’t count towards your page limits. Look for opportunities to move some of your contextual information to these sections and make the most of your application.

6. Need an example? Learn from the best!

Check out the Baldrige website to see how others addressed that tricky part of the application that has your team stumped.

View the Award Application Summaries >>

7. Last but certainly not least… phone a friend!

If you’re in the throes of application writing and up against a major block, get in touch with questions! We are here for YOU.

And if you’re in between application cycles but want to do a little Baldrige tune-up, we can help! We offer training, coaching and facilitation workshops to give your organization the boost it needs.