Thirty-four organizations from a wide range of sectors and U.S. states have submitted applications for the 2016 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Demonstrating the relevance and value of the Baldrige Excellence Framework to organizations of multiple sizes and sectors, the 2016 Baldrige Award applicants include 21 health care organizations, four education organizations, four nonprofit organizations, three small businesses, and 2 service businesses. The organizations are based in 20 different states and represent every major region of the United States.

Working in teams over the summer, members of the volunteer board of Baldrige examiners will evaluate the award applicants against the 2015-2016 Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence. The assessment criteria encompass categories of leadership; strategy; customers; measurement, analysis, and knowledge management; workforce; operations; and results. Baldrige examiners provide each applicant with 500 to 1,000 hours of review and a detailed report on the organization’s strengths and opportunities for improvement.

In August, the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program (BPEP)’s Judges Panel will determine which organizations will receive site visits by examiner teams to verify information in the application and clarify questions that come up during the review. From those site-visited organizations, the 2016 Baldrige Award recipients will be selected in November 2016.

BPEP is managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in cooperation with the private sector. The program raises awareness about the importance of performance excellence in driving the U.S. and global economy; provides organizational assessment tools and criteria; develops and educates leaders in all types of organizations about the practices of national role models (in fact, BPEP has ranked first among U.S. government and military organizations for leadership training for two consecutive years; in 2015, it was named in the top seven for education programs, including those of universities, that were part of its category recognition); and recognizes them with the Baldrige Award in six categories: manufacturing, service, small business, health care, education and nonprofit.

Thousands of organizations worldwide use the Baldrige framework and Criteria, which are regularly revised to reflect leading practices, to guide their operations, improve performance and get sustainable results. This proven improvement and innovation framework offers organizations an integrated leadership guide to key management areas, including strategy, operations, data and information, and results. The next edition of the Baldrige Excellence Framework will be published in 2017.

The Baldrige Award is not given for specific products or services. Since 1988, 109 awards have been presented to 102 organizations (including seven two-time recipients). For more information on the Baldrige Program, go to


The Path to Performance Excellence

PENW educates organizations in performance excellence management and administers the only state awards and recognition program for performance excellence in the Pacific Northwest. We partner with Pacific Northwest organizations dedicated to improving their performance. Our main areas of focus are:

  • helping organizations achieve best-in-class levels of performance,
  • identifying and recognizing role-model organizations, and,
  • identifying and sharing best management practices, principles, and strategies.

To accomplish this, PENW conducts third party assessments for applicant organizations. The assessments are conducted by examiner teams and provide detailed feedback by evaluating:

  • organizational approaches (processes);
  • the extent to which the approaches are deployed, evaluated/improved, aligned and integrated throughout the organization; and
  • their effectiveness at driving organizational results.
Implementing the Criteria for Performance Excellence


To start the Performance Excellence journey, learn framework, concepts, and principles of the Baldrige criteria. A half-day "Introduction to Performance Excellence" workshop is offered on-site and throughout the year in various locations throughout the Pacific Northwest. This is an opportunity to send an individual or a team.


When an organization has started on the Baldrige path, it is important to understand the readiness of the organization for the transformation and where the gaps are between the current performance and Baldrige excellence. PENW offers two options to assist organizations at this phase.

  1. A one-day in-house facilitated workshop Introduction and Assessment will provide an understanding of how much of the Baldrige criteria is currently in practice in your organization and identify the gaps. Assessment is tailored to the level of maturity and the size of your organization.

  2. Some organizations may wish to use a detailed On Line Assessment tool that can be used by the entire organization or key individuals within the organization. Upon completing the assessment, a detailed report analyzing the input received and a facilitated half-day session to understand how to turn the feedback into action will be provided.

Developing Expertise

For individuals or teams in an organization that have been charged with being the lead for the Baldrige efforts, this two-day workshop will provide an in-depth knowledge of the criteria. Using a Baldrige Case Study application, participants will understand how an organization implemented strategies and applied the criteria. These classes are offered on-site.

Application Assistance

Present your organization in its best and most accurate light by taking advantage of the Preparing and Applying for the PENW workshop. Classes are offered throughout the year and on-site. Organizations preparing their first PENW application may also take advantage of the Writing a PENW Application learning collaborative which walks teams through the preparation of an application through a structured process which incorporates training, 1:1 feedback and planning sessions, and team facilitation. Organizations preparing advanced applications may want to utilize PENW customized consulting services.

Taking Action on the Feedback

When you have received feedback from an assessment (the on-line assessment or a gap analysis) or an application feedback report, the following offerings will assist organizations in addressing those gaps and opportunities for improvement identified. Begin with the customized on-site Turning Feedback into Action workshop and then utilize the PENW Improvement Opportunity Service. The Improvement Opportunities are listed by Baldrige category to assist in finding the intervention that will best address the needs of your organization.

Contact us for more information on Opportunities of Improvement.