The Baldrige Business Model

The first fully integrated and implementable Baldrige excellence model

Has the Baldrige Award gone out of business?

For the first time in the 25 year history of the award, there were no Baldrige business applicants
and Criteria degradation and impracticality are looking more and more like the primary causes

2013 Baldrige Applicants Summay

To put this in perspective, not one of the 20 million for-profit businesses in the United States applied for the Baldrige Award this year.


Even worse, the number of applicants has declined 73% for Health Care and 80% for Education since 2010

Source: NIST Baldrige Website

In contrast, the Singapore and several other major national award programs based on the Baldrige Criteria have successful in sustaining engagement of their business applicants.


The familiar Baldrige Framework has endured for decades and served as a model for other national and international excellence award frameworks. I realized this while helping Xerox of Europe with their successful effort to win the first EFQM European Quality Award. The Europeans told me that they admired the success of the Baldrige Award but they did not see America as the world's quality leader. So, they decided to reinvent the Baldrige Criteria and the Baldrige Framework. It took them years to do this because getting experts from several countries to agree on the model was not easy to do. When all was ready in 1992, they admitted to me that they had 'reinvented the wheel'. In fact, when I worked as an assessor in several European nations, the assessment process and questions were quite similar to Baldrige. Today both models have evolved and the differences are more apparent. Philosophies and concepts differ somewhat but both remain based on a similar integrated system of core management and other enabling processes. Unfortunately, many only look for the differences between Baldrige and EFQM but there is much more in common than there is different from this assessor's perspective. Whether you prefer EFQM or Baldrige, integration of systematic processes is a common denominator and it is also the most effective way to accelerate organizational improvement.

Many people are already familiar with this Baldrige Framework Model shown here but what about the more actionable version in the second graphic below?:

2011 Baldrige Framework

The graphic below depicts the Baldrige Framework in terms of what makes it work - its key processes and systems:

Note to readers: If you are not using the Baldrige Criteria, please try to mentally block out the word "Baldrige" when reviewing the information below.

Baldrige Management System Model

(Total Integrated Baldrige Excellence System)


One argument for looking at the Baldrige Framework with more of a systems perspective is that more than 80% of the Criteria questions begin with "How". These systems and processes are the enablers of excellence and they are shared by all major excellence awards including the new Asian regional quality award that will soon be launched. Maybe it's because everything is a process or at least a part of a process. Each process in the Total Baldrige Integrated Excellence System is actually a core process that has been updated using knowledge gained from hundreds of assessments of public and private sector and health care and education Criteria users worldwide. These core processes are the 'best of the best'. However, the best processes in the world are useless unless you can gain their acceptance and implement them. I have 30 years of experience in facilitating implementation of processes and systems while preserving the culture and special needs of various sizes and types of organizations. It is much easier to do than most people think. The key to success is to replace the core of your existing processes which are not capable of best-in-class performance with a best practice core processes. This allows you to preserve everything that works well, everything important to your success, your culture, and everything you are already the expert in.

The core process approach enables organizations to accelerate their overall rate of improvement and cost reduction beyond today's continuous improvement and Business Excellence approaches.

Replacing incapable core processes with highly capable ones increases your organizational improvement rate to breakthrough. This can be done for any process or system in the graphic or you can be taught how to do it. Please call me and I will be pleased to discuss this with you.

Thank you for reading this page and I hope you will keep an open mind regarding the use of Core Process Models as the most effective approach to improving the rate of organizational improvement.

Paul Steel

Phone: +1 425 444 4386


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