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It was recently announced by the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) that the Baldrige National Quality Program shall henceforth be known as the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. NIST, which administers the Baldrige Program, has decided not to rename the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, or MBNQA, for now.)
What’s the significance of the name change? What’s the difference, if any, between “quality” and “performance excellence”?
There are several interpretations of the term “performance excellence” posted on LinkedIn. Compare these with what Winder and Judd said about “quality” a few years back in the Quality Digest magazine. There’s an entertaining article on defining performance excellence that ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) published a little over a year ago.
Perhaps more importantly, there’s NIST’s explanation for the name change. They express the belief that the definition of “quality” has changed over the last couple of decades. It appears the term “performance excellence” suggests a more holistic approach than does “quality”. (And maybe NIST just thought it was time to freshen up the award, to bring it back into the business world’s consciousness.)
What do you think? Is there any substance to NIST’s argument? Which term — quality or performance excellence — means more to your organization? And is the Baldrige program more useful than, say, ISO 9001?