Performance Excellence Framework

Criteria for Performance Excellence

The purpose of the Criteria is simply to help your organization, no matter what its size, sector, or industry, to answer three questions:

  • Is your organization doing as well as it could?
  • How do you know?
  • What and how should your organization improve or change?

By challenging yourself with the questions that make up the Criteria, you explore how you accomplish what is important to your organization. The questions (divided into six interrelated process categories and the seventh category for results) represent seven critical aspects of managing and performing as an organization:

1) Leadership
How do your senior leaders lead the organization, and how do you govern your organization and fulfill your societal responsibilities?

2) Strategy
How do you develop and implement your strategy?

3) Customers
How do you obtain information from your customers, and how do you engage customers by serving their needs and building relationships?

4) Measurement, Analysis, & Knowledge Management
How do you measure, analyze, and improve organizational performance, and how do you manage your organizational knowledge assets, information, and information technology infrastructure?

5) Workforce
How do you build an effective and supportive workforce environment, and how do you engage your workforce to achieve a high-performance work environment?

6) Operations
How do you design, manage, and improve your essential products and work processes, and how do you ensure effective management of your operations?

7) Results
What are the above categories’ results – or, how do you know what you say you are doing is working?

“MESA had the opportunity to make ourselves a better organization by using the Baldrige Criteria. Every person at MESA prepared by learning and working to improve the way we do business. Baldrige [gave] us a business management model. [The Criteria] identify the key things to an organization’s success such as human resources.”

Terry May, president, MESA Products, Inc., 2012 and 2006 Award Recipient


The criteria look at the linkages between your business’s various elements, as shown in the diagram. Some examples of these linkages:

  • The connections between your processes and the results you achieve.
  • The need for data in the strategic planning process and improving operations.
  • The link between workforce planning and strategic planning.
  • The need for customer and market knowledge in establishing your strategy and action plans.
  • The connection between your action plans and any changes needed in your operations.

No matter your organization’s size, sector, or industry, we can support you on your business improvement journey. Our approach is built on the validated and internationally renowned Baldrige Excellence Framework, including the Criteria for Performance Excellence.

“The Baldrige framework helps organizations operate systematically within an integrated system using fact-based decision making to drive a culture of continuous improvement and innovation.”

Pete Reicks, Senior Vice President of Performance Excellence, Elevations Credit Union, 2015 Baldrige Award recipient


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