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The similarities and differences between Baldrige and EFQM
PostedJuly 02, 2014, in  Step 4: continuous improvement
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The EFQM Excellence Model has amply proven its worth over the years, but especially in Europe. In the United States of America, the Baldrige model is widely used as a 'road map to performance excellence’. The models show various similarities, but there are also differences. On request of Improve4all, Paul Grizzell, President of Core Values Partners, explains background, properties and opportunities.

Paul Grizzell, President Core Values Partners and Baldrige/EFQM Coach

Strongly results focused

Is your organization at the top of its game? If so, maybe you are wondering how incremental improvements can help you reach higher levels of performance excellence. Or perhaps your organization's performance is just mediocre and you are wondering how to accelerate improvement? The EFQM Excellence Model and the Baldrige Model are two widely used management models that help organizations advance on their performance excellence journeys. Both models are highly outcome-focused and are used in all sectors worldwide, both for-profit and non-profit.  

Key concept: both Baldrige and EFQM help an organization understand how it performs and identify how it can improve processes, clearly focusing on performance excellence.  

Similarities and differences

Although Baldrige and EFQM are different in structure, the models share some common characteristics. Both models are built on a set of values: Core Values (Baldrige) and Fundamental Concepts of Excellence (EFQM). It is crucial that these principles are in line with the vision and mission and resulting activities of an organization. Whether this is the case is measured on the basis of ‘Process’ (Baldrige) or ‘Enablers’ (EFQM) criteria. Based on these criteria, an understanding of the organization’s performance emerges.  

In addition to the “Process” and “Enablers” Criteria, both models include Results – a balanced set of metrics that evaluate the outcomes of the organization’s processes.


Summary: both Baldrige and EFQM are based on values that represent performance excellence. If an organization aspires to be represented by these values, the Baldrige or EFQM criteria are like a “road map” to performance excellence.  

Continuous improvement

The diagram below illustrates how organizations in the U.S.A. use the Baldrige Model to create a culture of continuous improvement.        


To measure is to know

Both models have developed a tool to reveal the actual performance of an organization. EFQM has developed RADAR, short for: Results, Approach, Deployment, Assessment and Refinement. The Baldrige Model also builds on structured improvement of organizational performance, but with a concept called ADLI:

  • Approach: What do you do?
  • Deployment: How extensively do you do it?
  • Learning: How do you evaluate and improve?
  • Integration: How well is your approach aligned to your organization’s needs?

Summary: Both models provide methods to identify, assess the maturity of, and improve key processes.  


In both cases the journey is not easy. It takes a focused effort by leaders to structurally change processes. A healthy dose of perseverance and visionary leadership is indispensable; however, the rewards are big: both Baldrige and EFQM provide participants with clear insights into their own performance, inspiration for improvements, and improved results benefitting the entire organization. The 'way to excellence’ is long and challenging, but rest assured at every crossing there will be a clear signpost. Stay true to the chosen model and you will never lose your way.


Paul Grizzell, President Core Values Partners and Baldrige/EFQM Coach 


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PostedJuly 02, 2014, in Step 4: continuous improvement
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