Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Integrating Baldrige with Other Tools

The Baldrige Excellence Framework and its Criteria, Lean, ISO, Six Sigma ... how do you know which performance improvement tools are right for your organization?

These improvement tools are complementary, not mutually exclusive. For example, Baldrige, Lean, and Six Sigma all

  • focus on results

  • use a team approach

  • require management by fact

  • are customer- and market-focused

  • require strong leadership for  long-term effectiveness

These tools also share the concept of continuous improvement. The Baldrige Criteria help you identify areas within your organization that are most ripe for improvement, and continuous improvement is an integral part of the cyclical steps of Lean and Six Sigma. For example, in a Lean environment, you work continuously to identify and eliminate waste-generating processes. In the control stage of a Six Sigma project, you generate and monitor data continuously to identify needs for further improvement.

Here's one difference: the Baldrige Criteria serve as a comprehensive framework for performance excellence. They focus on business results as well as organizational improvement and innovation systems. Lean and Six Sigma methodologies drive waste and inefficiencies out of processes, and ISO 9000 is a series of standards for an efficient quality conformance system. Overall, ISO 9000 registration covers less than 10 percent of the Baldrige Criteria.

Integrating the Baldrige Criteria and Other Improvement Tools

Any organization—no matter its sector or size— can use the Baldrige Criteria as a roadmap for performance excellence. In fact, many organizations begin their improvement efforts by using the Criteria for self-assessment. Through the Baldrige Criteria, you pinpoint strengths and opportunities for improvement, but the Criteria allow you to choose the most suitable tools for carrying out improvements. For example, you might

  • use Baldrige to develop an overall performance map, identify areas for improvement, and track results

  • use Six Sigma, Lean, or other tools to design operations or improve processes


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

Related Links

How Baldrige Works
Baldrige Impacts
Baldrige Products and Services
Baldrige Award
Baldrige Award Recipient Listing
Baldrige FAQs


  • Baldrige Customer Service
    (301) 975-2036
    100 Bureau Drive, M/S 1020
    Gaithersburg, MD 20899-1020
Created March 1, 2010, Updated November 15, 2019