A recently released white paper, “Using the Baldrige Excellence Framework to Improve Organizational Resilience and Sustainability,” summarizes key framework benefits as conveyed by senior leaders of high-performing organizations in an interview-based study. Interview participants all headed organizations that earned the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award®, managed by the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program® (BPEP) and/or top-tier, Baldrige framework-based awards of state-level and regional programs of the Alliance for Performance Excellence (a nonprofit network that partners with BPEP to support excellence in organizations across the country). The Alliance includes Communities of Excellence 2026, which uses an adapted version of the Baldrige framework to assess and recognize the performance of U.S. communities.
The new publication provides fresh testimonials on the cross-sector value of using the Baldrige Excellence Framework® (which includes the Criteria for Performance Excellence®—available in business/nonprofit, health care, and education-sector versions) to guide and continuously improve leadership and management based on a systems perspective of an organization’s performance. Comments from interviewed leaders in the white paper emphasize the positive impact on Baldrige framework-using organizations’ resilience and sustainability (long-term success).
For example, the publication shares the following quote from an interview with a director of strategy and innovation of a community recognized for its performance through Communities of Excellence 2026:
We started using Baldrige in the community in 2016 and can see the positive changes in the strategic planning process—doing it under a new lens and obtaining input to ensure we are current with the needs of the community. Deploying the strategy through workgroups with specific priorities led to great outcomes, great partnerships, and great connections. Strategic planning has become intentional. The framework has driven change around resiliency and sustainability within our strategic planning.
Another Baldrige Award-winning organization leader is quoted as follows:
the Baldrige framework causes us to have robust business continuity and recovery plans. [When the COVID-19 pandemic hit], we were ready to go remote with a flip of the switch because one of the things that Baldrige did for us was make us insane planners . . . not so insane when you get down to it.
The team that conducted the study and produced the white paper was led by Janice K. Garfield, PhD, a faculty member of the College of Management and Technology at Walden University. Team members included Meridith K. Wentz, PhD, assistant chancellor of planning, assessment, research, and quality at the University of Wisconsin-Stout (a Baldrige Award recipient); Audrey D. Butlett-Swenson, instruction coordinator and liaison librarian at Walden University’s College of Management and Technology; Kevin Wilkinson, EdD, program director and assistant professor in the College of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Management at the University of Wisconsin-Stout; Gary Zack, director of information technology at Geisinger Health System; Michael Dillard, CEO of Dillard Global Coaching and Leadership Development Institute; Suzanne Collins, information technology manager at Plasser American Corporation; Andria Coleman, food and nutrition manager/general manager at Sodexo North America; Adrienne D. Adkins-Provost, vice president of strategy implementation at Fresenius Kidney Care; Allen R. Turner, emergency management specialist at NASA Glenn Research Center; and Susan McKeon, chief financial officer and associate laboratory director for the business services directorate at Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Note: This is the first of two planned blogs about the white paper.
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.
These are excellent insights, really illustrating the value of using the Baldrige Framework (in "good" times as well as challenging times). Usually, the best insights come from the best organizations! Thanks to Walden University and the research team for exploring the power of Baldrige through the lens of leaders who are using it to sustain results through these challenging times.
Thank you for your comment, Brian.
We at BPEP also appreciate the work of Dr. Jan Garfield's team from Walden University in uncovering leaders' views of the value of the Baldrige framework to their organizations' resilience and long-term success. In light of fierce challenges such as the pandemic, these testimonials are heartening.