Sunday, August 20, 2017, was the 30th anniversary of the signing of Public Law 100-107, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Improvement Act. This legislation established what is one of the most, if not the most, effective and heavily leveraged public-private partnerships in the United States. The most important concept here is “partnership”—or perhaps “community” says it better. Below, I’ll explain some of what the partnership has accomplished over the years, but the first thing to recognize is that none of it would have been possible without the incredible support of the many members of the Baldrige community:
I am humbled and proud to be part of the unique, vast community of public- and private-sector organizations and individuals that have participated in the Baldrige Award process or otherwise supported organizational improvement using the Baldrige framework. The passion for innovation and excellence demonstrated by the diverse members of this public-private partnership binds and inspires us all. I also want to acknowledge the many outstanding leaders who have brought their organizations down the path to performance excellence by adopting the Baldrige Excellence Framework. It takes tremendous humility and courage to open yourself and your organization to a rigorous Baldrige evaluation, whether it is performed internally or by trained Baldrige examiners. These leaders exemplify the Core Values and Concepts found in the Baldrige framework:
In short, they are committed to achieving excellence for themselves, their organizations, and those they serve. Thursday, August 20, 1987 President Reagan signs the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Improvement Act in honor of "Mac" Baldrige, the late Secretary of Commerce, who I believe also embodied those same qualities. Intended to help improve our national competitiveness in a global economy, the Baldrige Program—managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and funded through fees earned and financial support from the Baldrige Foundation—was initially tasked with encouraging and enabling businesses to improve the quality of their products and services, something sorely needed by the mid-eighties. We would accomplish this daunting task through a three-fold mission:
What has the partnership accomplished over the past 30 years?
While all of this is very impressive, if you drill down from this 30,000-foot level, you see that engaging in the Baldrige process does much more than help organizations achieve their goals. It literally improves the lives of hundreds of millions of employees, customers, patients, students, and community members. Jobs are created, saved, and improved; customers and community members receive better products and services for lower costs; patients receive better care with a better patient experience at a lower cost; and more students of all kinds graduate, receive a better education, and enhanced opportunities for their future. My deepest thanks and appreciation to all who have contributed to improving our nation through their involvement with the Baldrige Program and our extended community over the past 30 years!