My friends at TDn2K tell me that only three hospitality companies have ever won the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award: Ritz Carlton, Pal’s and K&N Management.

On June 4th, I get to stand on stage at Summer Brand Camp and interview leaders from K&N Management on what it takes to be a great place to work and how a relentless pursuit of excellence paid off in their organizations.

But first I had to find out — “What the hell is a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and why am I talking about this? What? What do you want me to do?”

Because, on the whole, I had no clue. The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award sounds like an answer to a human resources test question.

Here’s what I learned from the interwebs.

The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award is presented annually by the President of the United States to organizations that demonstrate quality and performance excellence. Organizations that apply are judged by an independent board of examiners. Recipients are selected based on achievement and improvement in seven areas, known as the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence:

Leadership: How upper management leads the organization, and how the organization leads within the community.

Strategic planning: How the organization establishes and plans to implement strategic directions.

Customer and market focus: How the organization builds and maintains strong, lasting relationships with customers.

Measurement, analysis, and knowledge management: How the organization uses data to support key processes and manage performance.

Human resource focus: How the organization empowers and involves its workforce.

Process management: How the organization designs, manages and improves key processes.

Business/organizational performance results: How the organization performs in terms of customer satisfaction, finances, human resources, supplier and partner performance, operations, governance and social responsibility, and how the organization compares to its competitors.

Although this is some serious nerdery for HR folks, these seven parameters are better than any six-bucket competency model in the human resources market.

Want to be a great place to work? Want to strive for excellence? Want to be inclusive and on the cutting edge of consciously recognizing and rewarding amazing employees? You can do no worse than to learn from Gini Quiroz and Danielle Robinson who have an informed POV about what it takes to do right by your employees and customers while working in HR.

I am excited to moderate this chat at Summer Brand Camp. If you can’t join us, leave some questions in the comments (below) and I’ll see if I can work them into the discussion!


  1. Your blog consistently confirms my “nerdery”. I was a TAPE (Texas state level of Baldrige) examiner, and am part of the team that writes our HR Focus category every year. Ugggh. Thanks.

    • Whenever I question my bona fides, I look back at my blog and realize that I have no competition in the world of human resources. Where else would you read about this shit? I do it for you, Carlos!

Comments are closed.