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Core Values and Concepts

The Baldrige Criteria are built on the following set of interrelated core values and concepts. These beliefs and behaviors are embedded in high-performing organizations. They are the foundation for integrating key performance and operational requirements within a results-oriented framework that creates a basis for action, feedback, and ongoing success.

For more detailed explanations of these core values and concepts, see the Baldrige Excellence Framework.

Systems Perspective

A systems perspective means managing all the parts of your organization as a unified whole to achieve your mission and strive toward your vision.

Visionary Leadership

Your organization’s senior leaders should set a vision for the organization, create a customer focus, demonstrate clear and visible organizational values and ethics, and set high expectations for the workforce.

Customer- (or Patient-, or Student-) Focused Excellence

Your customers (or patients, or students) are the ultimate judges of your performance and of product and service quality. Thus, your organization must consider all product and service characteristics, and modes of customer access and support, that contribute to customer satisfaction, loyalty, positive referrals, and ultimately your organization’s ongoing success.

Valuing People 

A successful organization values its workforce members and the other people who have a stake in the organization, including customers, community members, suppliers and partners, and other people affected by its actions.

Organizational Learning and Agility 

Organizational learning includes both continuous improvement of existing approaches and significant change or innovation, leading to new goals, approaches, products, and markets. Organizational learning must allow for agility, a capacity for rapid change and for flexibility in operations. 

Focus on Success

Ensuring your organization’s success now and in the future requires understanding the short- and longer-term factors that affect your organization and its marketplace, managing uncertainty and risk in the environment, and balancing some stakeholders’ short-term demands with the organization’s and stakeholders’ need to invest in long-term success.

Managing for Innovation

Innovation means making meaningful change to improve your products, services, programs, processes, operations, and business model, with the purpose of creating new value for stakeholders. Innovation requires a supportive environment, a process for identifying strategic opportunities, and the pursuit of those that are intelligent risks.

Management by Fact 

Management by fact requires you to measure and analyze your organization’s performance, both inside the organization and in your competitive environment. Analysis of performance measures and indicators should support organizational evaluation, alignment, and decision making.

Societal Contributions 

Your organization’s leaders should stress contributions to the public and the consideration of societal well-being and benefit. Your leaders should be role models for the well-being of your communities.

Ethics and Transparency

Your organization should stress ethical behavior by all workforce members in all stakeholder transactions and interactions. Senior leaders should be role models of ethical behavior, including transparency, characterized by candid and open communication on the part of leadership and management and by the sharing of accurate information.

Delivering Value and Results

Your organization should choose and analyze results that help you deliver and balance value for your key stakeholders. Thus, results need to include not just financial results, but also product and process results; customer and workforce satisfaction and engagement results; and leadership, strategy, and societal performance.

Getting Started

How Baldrige Works
Baldrige Excellence Builder
Self-Assessing Your Organization
Create an Organizational Profile
Baldrige Award


Purchase Baldrige Excellence Framework Business/Nonprofit, Education, Health Care
Self-Analysis Worksheet Word
Baldrige Key Terms
Baldrige Improvement Tools
The Baldrige Criteria 101 Word

Related Links

Board of Director Responsibilities: A Baldrige Core Values Perspective
Baldrige Impacts
Baldrige Products and Services
Baldrige Award
Baldrige Award Recipient Listing
Baldrige FAQs


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Created September 24, 2019, Updated November 15, 2019