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Getting Started with the Baldrige Criteria

If you’re ready to introduce all of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence to your organization, how can you begin? How can you convince others in your organization of the value of a Baldrige self-assessment?

Basing your self-assessment on the Baldrige Criteria framework can help your organization improve and succeed. The Baldrige Criteria can help you improve communication, productivity, and effectiveness and achieve your strategic goals by

  • identifying strengths and opportunities for improvement
  • providing a common language for improvement
  • guiding organizational planning and learning
  • measuring performance and planning in an uncertain environment
  • deciding whether to use approaches such as ISO 9000, Lean, a Balanced Scorecard, and Six Sigma

Thousands of organizations use the Baldrige Criteria to guide their enterprises, improve performance, and achieve sustainable results. This proven improvement and innovation framework offers your organization an integrated approach to management in key areas.

Step 1. 
Identify the boundaries/scope of the assessment.
The self-assessment might cover the entire organization, a subunit, a division, or a department.

Step 2.
Select seven champions, one for each Baldrige Criteria Category.
These champions each lead a team in preparing responses to the questions in a Criteria Category. If they have not already done so, have the champions prepare an Organizational Profile describing your organization and its challenges.

Step 3.   
Select Category teams, and collect data and information to answer the Baldrige Criteria questions.
The champions select Category teams, and the teams collect information and data in response to the questions in their respective Categories.

Step 4.
Share the answers to the Baldrige Criteria questions among the Category teams.
In sharing the answers, the Category teams identify common themes.

Step 5.
Create and communicate an action plan for improvement.
Each Category team creates and communicates an action plan for improvement based on their answers and organizational priorities. The Self-Analysis Worksheet can help your Category teams identify strengths and opportunities, set priorities, and develop action plans.

Step 6.
Evaluate the self-assessment process, and identify possible improvements.
Senior leaders, champions, and teams evaluate the self-assessment and think about ways to improve it.    

Begin your organization’s self-assessment today with the Criteria for Performance Excellence.


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Baldrige Customer Service:
301-975-2036 Telephone
301-948-3716 Fax
baldrige@nist.gov Email

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