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The Official Baldrige Blog

Business Excellence 101: Improve Financial and Operational Performance with the Baldrige Framework

Business person pointing to financial charts showing Financial & Operational Performance from using the Baldrige Excellence Framework.
Credit: DYcouple/Shutterstock
Business Excellence 101 Blog Series

In this blog series, we are highlighting the many resources that are available to help you learn about Baldrige, improve organizational processes, and build long-term resilience.

The Baldrige Excellence Framework

The Baldrige Excellence Framework helps organizations manage all the components of their business as a unified whole. It is a nonprescriptive framework (available in three versions—business/nonprofit, education, and health care) that all leaders can use to help their organizations accomplish their mission, improve results, and become more competitive.

Why Baldrige?

The Baldrige framework is a comprehensive leadership and management tool. It doesn’t tell leaders how to run their own organization—better yet, it empowers them with transferrable skills and insights that are beneficial to all organizations, regardless of their unique operating environments and challenges. 

“People ask, ‘Why Baldrige?’ My answer is very simple: Triple A bond rating on Wall Street from all three rating agencies, bringing capital projects in on time and within budget, a 96% business satisfaction rating, a 94% resident satisfaction rating, an overall quality rating of 95%, and an employee satisfaction rating of 97%.”

– Michael Levinson, former City Manager, City of Coral Springs (2007 Baldrige Award recipient)

How the Baldrige Criteria Inform the Framework

The Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence is a key part of the Baldrige framework. It is a tool that leaders can use to understand and manage organizational performance across all sectors and sizes. The Criteria consists of a set of insightful questions that 

  1. address how high-performing organizations operate and achieve sustainable results, and 
  2. incorporate proven practices on current leadership and management issues.

“The Baldrige Criteria challenged us to become leaders by any measure, and we succeeded—seeing improved productivity, customer loyalty, employee engagement, and financial returns.”

– Samuel Liang, former President and CEO, MEDRAD (now Bayer HealthCare, Radiology & Interventional; 2003 and 2010 Baldrige Award recipient)

Organizations Report Positive Results

The Baldrige Criteria take a holistic, systems approach in viewing an organization’s performance management capabilities across seven categories, as shown in the framework diagram below (i.e., Leadership; Strategy; Customers; Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management; Workforce; Operations; and Results).

The Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence Overview consists of the six categories (Organizational Profile, Leadership, Strategy, Customers, Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management, Workforce, Operations, and Results).

With an emphasis on feedback and a fact-based, knowledge-driven system for improving performance and competitiveness, the Criteria have helped thousands of organizations in the United States and around the world report positive results, such as

  • growth in customer satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty; 
  • world-class product and service outcomes; 
  • role-model process efficiency; 
  • increased workforce and volunteer satisfaction and engagement; 
  • growth in revenue and market share and improved financial results; 
  • increased student learning outcomes; and 
  • dramatically improved patient outcomes, safety, and loyalty.

“Our business has grown exponentially over the last 20 years, and that growth coincides almost perfectly with our Baldrige journey. We’ve maintained an average growth rate of almost 10%. So, for anyone, who is wondering whether the Baldrige process is worth the time or money, I’d offer this . . . we were on a path of growth before we started practicing Baldrige, but that growth line shifted exponentially after we started.”

– Terry May, President and Founder, MESA (20062012, and 2020 Baldrige Award recipient)

Lead Your Team to High Performance

The Baldrige framework has inspired organizations around the globe to assess their performance and improve  their results for more than 30 years

You, too, can set your team up for success with the framework! Learn more about how Baldrige works.

Business Excellence 101 Blog Series

Previous Blogs
Business Excellence 101: Five Things to Know about the Baldrige Program

Upcoming Blogs
Business Excellence 101: Begin Your Baldrige Journey

2021-2022 Baldrige Excellence Framework Business/Nonprofit feature image

Baldrige Excellence Framework®

The Baldrige Excellence Framework has empowered organizations to accomplish their missions, improve results, and become more competitive. It includes the Criteria for Performance Excellence, core values and concepts, and guidelines for evaluating your processes and results.

Purchase your copy today!

Available versions: Business/Nonprofit, Education, and Health Care

About the author

Michelle Peña

Michelle Peña is a writer/editor for the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program at NIST. Her background includes degrees in English and Spanish from George Mason University, an advanced degree from George Washington University, and more than 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. 

Michelle is passionate about the benefits of personal development in the workplace and helping others become more emotionally resilient leaders in their community. Her blogs provide encouraging perspectives to help employees and businesses thrive and build a culture of continuous improvement.

As a digital marketing enthusiast, she also enjoys sharing motivational social media content and actionable growth strategies that professionals can use to empower their organization.

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