Breaking Badrige

Baldrige Award problems continue to get worse . . . here's why:

2020 Baldrige Award Program Falure


Breaking Badrige is pro-Baldrige in that it brings attention to what needs to be done to fix Baldrige from the perspective of someone whose Baldrige involvement predates all members of the Baldrige Overseers, Judges, Foundation, and NIST staff. There is no conspiracy of silence here.

  • Are the recent Baldrige health care winners with "C" and "D" 2019 Leapfrog scores "role models?

  • April 2019: Baldrige health care winner Sharp sued by 81 women for secretly filming them undressed and unconscious

  • Flaunting the Overseers direction to simplify?: The 2020 Baldrige (aka, Bloatrige) Criteria ballooned to more than 1,300 individual questions in an apparent effort to continue to prevent businesses from applying for America's 'premier' business award.

  • Baldrige was created as business award to improve America's competitiveness. With no business* applicants since 2013, has it become a total failure? This 30-year chart may hold the answer

  • Suppliers Deniers: When you allocate more than 99% of the results scoring weight to half of everything an organization needs to do to be successful and allocate less than 1% of the results scoring weight to the other half of everything they need to do, businesses abandon you - See "Smoking Gun Scoring Disparity Pie Chart"

  • Excellence 'Role Model'?: Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) District ranks 9th of 24 Maryland school districts. Did they 'game the Baldrige'? to win when they compared themselves to the 17th ranked district (Baltimore) and referred to it as a "Benchmark"? Did they really exclude approximately 70% of their students with the lowest scholastic performance from the key performance results as reported? . . . Tell me again, how did they get designated as a Baldrige Role Model?. Here's what we know and what we don't know . . .

  • Failure to fix Blatant Criteria Flaws

  • Has Baldrige abandoned its 'Systems Perspective' core value?: It has literally been removed from the Baldrige Framework.  A brief summary of recent Criteria changes appears to definitively answer this question . . . see the summary

  • Has Baldrige Become Political?: How can the Baldrige Criteria improve American competiveness if the scoring apparently encourages outsourcing of the American workforce to foreign nations?

  • Baldrige has fallen out of favor internationally based on my work with more than 30+ national business excellence awards in the past 7 years . . . EFQM is now used by the majority of countries . . . three four times as many as Baldrige . . . and the free-fall continues . . . now a late 2015 independent study of award programs from more than 60 nations confirms these findings

  • "Bad Criteria will defeat a good quality award every time"  . . . Guide to Determining if the Baldrige Criteria still make organizations more competitive

  • Product and Process Results Devalued: Product and Process Results were recently reduced 50 points (from 170 points to 120 points). This is 5% of the total assessment score gone. This is one of several actions taken to deemphasize products and processes which most (if not all) businesses see as counter-productive.

  • Financial and Market De-emphasis: Financial and Market Results scoring points decreased from 130 points when introduced to 90 points in 2015-16 Criteria. Again, this is contrary to how many (if not all) businesses think, manage, and act.

  • Good? but Certainly Not Great: None of the dozens of Baldrige Health Care winners are ranked as top tier health care organizations . . . RE: the ranking reports

  • Site Visit Training has been eliminated from Baldrige Examiner Training . . . for many of us, this was the most useful and engaging, and valuable training . . . maybe the Baylor Plano winner debacle would not have occurred? . . . See: Baldrige Site Visit Training No More

  • Baldrige winner accused in the deaths of thousands of pets . . . more on the lawsuit

  • Baldrige link to Ebola? . . . was a Baldrige site visit was awarded to Texas Health Dallas . . . and, scheduled the week the dying Ebola patient and infected staff members were present? . . . according to the Dallas Morning News

  • Is Baldrige actually crediting itself with revolutionizing American manufacturing?: . . . Are they aware that of the millions of US manufacturing companies which could apply for the Award that none (AKA, zero, nada, zilch) have applied for the Baldrige Award the past several years? . . . are they aware that Flawed Criteria and Scoring may be the cause? . . . developing . . .

  • Continuous Improvement (Mis)Guidance? Baldrige differs with the ASQ definition and with their own definition of see 'continuous improvement conflicts'

  • Baldrige appears to advocate the Veterans Administration (VA) as a 'world-best public service role model for health care' . . . really!: The Baldrige Blog appears to have effectively heralded VA as a "world-best public service role model for health care" based on their use of the Baldrige Criteria for more than 15 years at the very time VA was 'caught-in-the-act' of pervasively falsifying patient wait time records and misidentifying hundreds of veterans' graves! . . . access this apparent 'Baldrige testimonial' Blog link and a summary of this sad state of affairs here. Baldrige has even developed model case studies based on VA. Baldrige has been core to driving VA improvement for more than 15 years . . . what a testimonial. One wonders why VA is not presenting at the annual Quest For Excellence Conference?

    • Baldrige Award recall imminent? HC winner Sutter Davis April 2018 headlines:

        -  "California Attorney General sues Sutter Health, alleging unlawful price rises" - San Francisco Chronicle - [Note: The investigation began before winning the Baldrige Award]

        -  "California sues Sutter Health alleging the hospital system unfairly inflated costs for patients" - LA Times - [AG alleges anti-competitive practices unfairly inflated costs.

        -  "Sutter Health California Being Sued for Unlawful Conduct" - KSRO - [Excess profits gained from illegal pricing went to extreme executive compensation and acquisitions

        -  "California takes on health care giant Sutter Health over high costs" - Hartford Business - [Gag clauses on prices and "punitively high" out-of-network charges]

        -  Kamala Harris (Current US Senator) began the investigation in 2012 while CA Attorney General. Sutter Davis won the Baldrige Award in 2013

Stunning Prolonged Decline of Business Participation in the Baldrige Award


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 potentially 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 reduced its assessment scoring in the current Criteria for areas important to businesses (e.g., products and services, processes and systems, and cost management) drastically since its peak popularity with businesses . . . for example:

The total Baldrige assessment points assigned to products and/or services have been sharply reduced ~50% over the years . . . this includes both the points for processes and for results


All businesses seek to improve their competitiveness. The Baldrige Mission is to improve the competitiveness of American businesses. The graphic above indicates total failure of the Baldrige Award with respect to its Mission. Baldrige abandoned businesses by progressively reducing assessment scoring in the core areas of business excellence.


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Paul Steel

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