Governor Rick Scott announced the winners of the 2011 Governor’s Sterling Award today: Manatee County Tax Collector and the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation, Tampa.
Since 1992, the Florida Sterling Council, located in the office of the Governor, has assisted organizations in utilizing proven standards of excellence as a guide to making improvements that generate better operations, customer value, and overall results. The Governor's Sterling Award and the Sterling Management Model are based on the National Malcolm Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence.
“Our office has truly benefitted from the Sterling Management System,” said Ken Burton Jr., Tax Collector. “The Sterling journey has made us a more agile organization, something that is necessary in today’s changing business culture. The processes and business rules that we have implemented over the course of six years have given us the solid infrastructure required to perform our duties with integrity and respect, focus on innovation, and serve with excellence.“
The Tax Collector’s Office is the first Manatee County organization, public or private, to win the award. The application process is segmented into eight areas. The first is the Organizational Profile, which explains the office’s primary functionality. Then there are seven criteria groups that must be employed by the office. They are Leadership, Strategic Planning, Customer Focus, Measurement/Analysis/Knowledge Management, Workforce Focus, Process Management and Results.
The 50 page application was submitted in November. A team of Florida Sterling examiners came to the office in March for a site visit to ensure that the Sterling Management System was not only on paper, but was thoroughly integrated and deployed throughout the organization.
“The examiner team visited a couple of weeks before we completed our construction and training to assume full-service driver licenses,” Burton said. “I think we were so focused on taking on these responsibilities, we didn’t have time to stress out or be nervous about their time here. And the examiners were great; our employees were very much at ease around them.” The Sterling judges met to review the examiners’ recommendation in April; and the Governor made the final decision last week.
Among the programs implemented during the course of adopting the Sterling management process were systematic strategic planning, daily training sessions, home team meetings, a balanced scorecard, organizational reviews, increased employee engagement and improved customer focus.
“When we first began implementing these processes, we never considered going for the award, in fact I often said it was never about the award,” said Burton. “But after we did some comparable research, we decided we had attained a level that we thought was role model; and fortunately, so did the Governor and the Florida Sterling Council.”
The Manatee County Tax Collector’s Office will be honored at the Governor’s Sterling Awards Banquet, June 3, in Orlando.