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Self-Assessing Your Organization

A Proven Approach to Performance Improvement

A self-assessment using the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence can help your organization achieve high performance and move toward performance excellence. Even if your organization isn’t ready to apply for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the Baldrige Criteria are a framework for evaluating your organization’s processes, their impact on results, and your progress toward your goals and objectives.

Whether your organization is large or small, or is in the manufacturing, service, education, health care, government, or nonprofit sector, you can begin your journey by using the Baldrige Criteria

  • for self-assessment and action
  • as a source of information on managing for excellence
  • to build a common language on performance excellence
  • to guide the development of processes focused on performance excellence


 Why Self-Assess?

  • Customers and/or competitors are driving a need to change.
  • Your industry or environment is changing.
  • Your organization is among the best, and you want to make sure it stays that way.
  • Business is good, and you want to keep it that way.
  • You want to enhance organizational learning.
  • Your organization’s values are aligned with the Core Values and Concepts of the Baldrige Criteria.
  • You see a clear connection between your organization’s key issues and the Criteria’s systematic approach to improving organizational performance.


How Will Your Organization Benefit?

A self-assessment can help you

  • identify successes and opportunities for improvement
  • jump-start a change initiative or energize current initiatives
  • energize the workforce
  • focus the organization on common goals
  • assess your organization’s performance against the competition
  • align your resources with your strategic objectives
  • deliver world-class results


How Do I Begin?

Tailor the Baldrige Program’s self-assessment tools to fit your organization’s needs. You may want to involve your entire workforce, choose participants from a cross section of functions and levels, or appoint a small group. Your organization’s experience with the Baldrige Criteria will help you decide where to begin.

  • Use Are We Making Progress? and Are We Making Progress as Leaders? to learn about the seven Baldrige Criteria Categories and quickly identify strengths and opportunities for improvement.
  • Use easyInsight: Take a First Step Toward a Baldrige Self-Assessment to identify gaps in your understanding of your organization and compare your organization with others.
  • Complete the Organizational Profile as the first step in a full self-assessment.
  • Answer the 18 Baldrige Criteria Item title questions for a fuller understanding of the Criteria and your organization’s performance.
  • Finally, conduct a full self-assessment using the seven Baldrige Criteria Categories.

Additional Resources

Many other resources are available to assist you in your self-assessment efforts, such as the state and local Baldrige-based programs, Baldrige Examiners and Baldrige Award Recipients. 

  • Numerous state and local Baldrige-based award programs provide helpful services in the area of self-assessment and action in addition to their award program functions. These programs can also provide networking opportunities, training, and consultation, in addition to their award programs. Visit the Alliance for Performance Excellence to find your state or local program.
  • Baldrige Examiners can help you understand the Criteria and how to apply them in your self-assessment and action efforts. Examiners receive training each year on the Baldrige Criteria. Also, you may want to consider becoming a state or national Examiner. Examiners receive valuable training and gain experience in understanding and applying the Criteria, which they can use within their own organizations.
  • Baldrige Award recipients honor their responsibility to serve as performance improvement advocates, share their strategies, and serve as role models. Many undertake ongoing self-assessments of their organizations and can share their experiences with you.
  • Each year, the Baldrige Program sponsors The Quest for Excellence® and Regional conferences showcase the role-model approaches of Baldrige Award recipients. These conferences provide insights into the best practices of numerous organizations that have used the Baldrige Criteria to improve performance and achieve world-class results. Workshops on self-assessment are often offered in conjunction with these conferences.
  • Explore frequently asked questions; other Baldrige materials and publications, including, Case Studies; and Baldrige Award recipient profiles.
  • Getting Results Video
    If your organization is looking for a validated integrated management approach, please take a look at this video. You will learn why leaders from organizations of all sizes in manufacturing, service, small business, healthcare, education, and nonprofit sectors use the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence.
  • Your Guide to Performance Excellence
    The introduction to Baldrige covers who we are, what we do, and what is performance excellence?


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