Business Excellence (formerly Baldrige) New Zealand

It may be time for NZBEF to switch away from Baldrige

I have been honored to be part of the NZBEF and Baldrige Award programs from the start. It may surprise some to learn that in the beginning NZ was not certain whether to go with Baldrige or EFQM,. I was selected by NZ because I was experienced in both Baldrige and EFQM. This meant that if we started with Baldrige and wanted to switch to EFQM, NZ could continue use me as a strategist, advocate, and evaluator trainer. Times have changed.

Baldrige has fallen out of favor internationally based on my work with more than 30+ national business excellence awards in the past 5 years . . . EFQM is now used by three times the number of countries as as Baldrige . . . and Baldrige continues to decline rapidly . . . and now a 2015 independent study of award programs from more than 60 nations confirms my findings

Has the Baldrige Award gone out of business?

For the first time in the 27 year history of the award, there were no 2013 Baldrige business applicants including no manufacturing, service or small business applicants
and Criteria degradation and impracticality are looking more and more like the primary causes

Baldrige Failure

Why Baldrige has failed: Criteria flaws and practicality-adverse complexity have long been cited as major reasons for the sharp prolonged decline of business participation. Those are valid criticisms but now a new and stronger reason for Criteria rejection has emerged. New research comparing the Criteria when they were extremely popular with businesses to today’s Criteria which has a near 100% rejection rate show stark contrasts in relation to how businesses think and how Baldrige thinks. Baldrige has significantly reduced its assessment scoring in the current Criteria for areas important to businesses (e.g., products and services, processes and systems, and cost management) since it was wildly popular with businesses . . . more than 20 years ago.

Breaking BADrige . . . this news is not so good for Baldrige


Business excellence tools and resources for New Zealand from the most experienced source

Top this!

Vodafone was my 11th telecommunications client in 11 different countries. I am pleased to report that all eleven achieved their project objectives  . . . which for most of them was to win their 2013 national quality/excellence award . . . thank you Vodafone for keeping the streak alive . . . and, thank you for the special honor of inviting me to work with a truly outstanding organization that never stops improving . . . and it all started with Telecom New Zealand!

Fiji FBEA Vodafone


2013 Asian Productivity Organization (APO) Quality Awards for Practitioners Workshop with 17 Asian Nations Represented

APO Quality Awards Workshop - Paul Steel

Honored and pleased immensely to serve as APO Technical Expert to this critically important workshop (23-27 September 2013 Bangkok)


2012, 2013 and 2014 FIJI National Evaluator Training

I am especially grateful to Fiji National University National Training and Productivity Centre (NTPC) and to Public Service Commission (Office of the Prime Minister) for inviting me to train the Fiji Business Excellence Award Evaluators and the government's Service Excellence Award (SEA) Evaluators during May and June of this year. This is the only government that I am aware of that is using the Baldrige Criteria to assess and improve every Ministry, Agency, and Department including the Office of the Prime Minister and the Office of the President.

  2012 FBEA Evaluator Training - Paul Steel                                    2012 Fiji SEA Evaluator Training - Paul Steel  

2012 Fiji Business Excellence Award Evaluators                2012 Fiji Service Excellence Award Evaluators


It does not get any better than being selected to guide the development of the Asian Productivity Organization's manual to train the Business Excellence Consultants in most Asian nations including members from Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Mongolia, Thailand, Fiji, Taiwan, India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan.

Asian Business Excellence Consulting Course Design Team 

MISSION: Accelerating organizational improvement beyond the capabilities of all the Business Excellence approaches combined. Paul Steel

Baldrige-based improvement accelerated and made practical from the most experienced source



Criteria Use Guide


Baldrige Model Framework

  Best Systems & Processes  

All 46
Case Studies


Breaking BADrige




 Winners’ Applications


Innovation Winners

  International Winners  

Guides to Improvement


Site Visit Preparation

Core Services:


Application Development


Training, Workshops


Seminars, Speaking, Presenting


Interview Assessment -Best Option


One Stop Consulting Services


Special Focus:


Baldrige International (30+ countries)




Health Care


Nonprofit & Public Sector


Business - Private Sector


Baldrige Store:

All 2016 Guides Bundle

Guide to a Well-Written Application

Site Visit Preparation Guide

Guide to Effectively Presenting Results

Metrics - Benchmarks

Paul Steel

MISSION: Accelerating the total organizational improvement rate beyond the capabilities of all Business Excellence approaches combined. Paul


New Zealand's Baldrige-Based History of Excellence

The current New Zealand Business Excellence Award began in 1993 as the New Zealand National Quality Award (NZNQA It is now NZBEF (New Zealand Business Excellence Foundation - NZBEF) under the vision and steadfast support of Commerce and Immigration Minister Roger Maxwell. Minister Maxwell had observed the success and popularity of the Baldrige Award in the United States after it was launched in 1988. He also observed that the Europeans had launched the European Quality Award (EQA) in 1992 and that it was overwhelmingly popular. Both awards focused on achieving 'world-class' excellence and national competitiveness. These concepts appealed to New Zealand because of its remote geographical location and dependency on international trade. The top leaders of many of the largest businesses eagerly stepped forward to support the endeavor with genuine enthusiasm directed at improving both individual and national competitiveness. A search for someone to guide and train them led to me. When they learned that I was a Senior Baldrige Examiner from the beginning of the Award and that I had also served as consultant to Xerox of Europe which won the first European Quality Award, I was selected. At the time, there was some debate as to whether to use the Baldrige or the European Criteria. Selecting me gave New Zealand the option of switching which none of my competitors could match. These were exciting days with a 'Who's Who' of government and business leaders wanting to be visibly involved and a group of distinguished quality leaders from a wide variety of organizations.

Minister Roger Maxwel, Paul Steel and Erol Slyfield - First BDQA Award

Minister Roger Maxwell (far right), Errol Slyfield (far left) and Paul Steel (3rd from right) at launch of the first Business Development Quality Awards (BDQA) in 1994

The key people leading New Zealand's program included Doug Matteson (Chairman), Wayne Squires (Executive Director), and Errol Slyfield who served as deputy to Minister Maxwell in this capacity. Doug was strong in strategic planning and I remember him huddling with Wayne and I in a small conference room at the Waipuna Resort where we developed the original plan. Little did I know that this would lead to dozens more visits to New Zealand with my wife accompanying me on many.

In 1994, the Business Development Quality Award was launched in part to offer an easier version of the award process that would encourage smaller organizations to participate. this was vital due to the relative size of NZ businesses in relation to Australia and other large nations they compete with. 

Photos from the first years and mid years of NZNQA/NZBEF Assessor training


The Baldrige Management Model

The Baldrige Model - from the perspective of its systems and processes


 Each process in the Total Baldrige Integrated Excellence System is actually a core process that has been updated using knowledge gained from hundreds of assessments of public and private sector and health care and education Criteria users worldwide. These core processes are the 'best of the best'. However, the best processes in the world are useless unless you and your colleagues can accept and implement them. I have 30 years of experience in facilitating implementation of processes and systems while preserving the culture and special needs of various sizes and types of organizations. It is much easier to do than most people think. The key to success is to replace the core of your existing processes which are not capable of best-in-class performance with a best practice core processes. This allows you to preserve everything that works well, everything important to your success, your culture, and everything you are already the expert in.

The core process approach enables organizations to accelerate their overall rate of improvement beyond today's continuous improvement and Business Excellence approaches.

Replacing incapable core processes with highly capable ones causes a shift in your improvement rate from gradual to breakthrough. I can do this for you for any process or system in the graphic or I can teach you how to do it. Please contact me and I will be pleased to discuss this with you and/or visit with you.

2009 saw Kevin Riley become first Baldrige Foreign Examiner from NZBEF. It was great to reunite with Kevin at NIST after all these years since he hired me to consult Telecom NZ Yellow Pages - so many years ago.

 Kevin Riley - Harry Hertz - Paul Steel 090506 Paul Steel - Kevin Riley - Dr Curt Reimann

2009 Baldrige Examiner Training: Kevin Riley is shown with Dr. Harry Hertz, head of Indian Quality Award and myself (1st photo) and with Dr. Curt Reimann (Father of Baldrige Award) in 2nd photo

The Baldrige, EFQM, Australian, Singapore and other national excellence Criteria have opened up the world to me and have allowed me to enjoy visiting and learning about many cultures. Working with many of the best organizations in these great places has allowed me to learn how much about how they have achieved world-class excellence. This webpage celebrates these wonderful experiences with photos and more importantly shares what I have learned from assessing hundreds of organizations in more than 30 countries for over 20 years and also from working with quality gurus Dr. W. Edwards Deming and Dr. Armand (Val) Feigenbaum for seven years. Paul Steel

Baldrige Training  Thousands more people trained in Self-Assessment than the Baldrige Award Program! - Click to learn more

080824 Robin Mann - Paul Steel  090105 Robin - Paul  SQI-SPQ Symposium 3

Dr. Robin Mann and Paul Steel reminisce and discuss best practice integration strategy in Tehran and Singapore


Baldrige International

 Enjoy the photos from organizations in some of the more than 30 countries that have invited me to contribute to their pursuit of excellence

Baldrige Excellence international - work and photo links


Middle East


Latin America









Costa Rica

New Zealand




Puerto Rico







Saudi Arabia




Dubai - United Arab Emirates


South America





Brasil / Brazil

North America



United Kingdom





United States





  • Paul Steel New Zealand Experience and Services