a bird’s eye view of your organization from a systems perspective.


an effective way to energize and engage employees.


a tool to help increase your focus on business results.


a low-cost consultation for strategic planning input.

About the Assessment & Awards Program

Applying for a Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence Award is an effective way to look at your organization from a systems perspective, energize employees, and increase the focus on business results using the comprehensive feedback report that details your organization’s strengths and opportunities for improvement. Successful organizations use this low-cost consultation as a key strategic planning input.

The TNCPE Award program is open to companies, government agencies, and non-profit organizations throughout Tennessee (some out-of-state organizations are also eligible). Whether you’re large or small, established or start-up, the program is scalable to fit your organization’s unique profile.

TNCPE Excellence Awards | Interest Award, Level 1 Assessment
Level 1

Recipients of the Interest Award are in the beginning stages of applying performance improvement principles by defining the organization’s most important plans and resources.

TNCPE Excellence Awards | Commitment Award, Level 2 Assessment
Level 2

Recipients of the Commitment Award have demonstrated progress by identifying and putting into place some key process improvements that are directly attributable to a fact-based improvement process.

TNCPE Excellence Awards | Achievement Award, Level 3 Assessment
Level 3

Recipients of the Achievement Award have demonstrated significant progress in building systematic, well-deployed processes that are aligned throughout and demonstrate cycles of learning.

TNCPE Excellence Awards | Excellence Award, Level 4 Assessment
Level 4

Recipients of the Excellence Award have demonstrated, through their processes, practices and results, the highest level of performance excellence.

Ready to get started?

A great way to get started is by ordering a copy of the TNCPE Baldrige Excellence Framework. This book is the foundation of the TNCPE program and provides details regarding application and eligibility requirements, as well as the Criteria for Performance Excellence on which to base your self-assessment. Order your copy of the framework online here or by emailing the TNCPE office at contact@tncpe.org.

The Framework is the foundation of your application. TNCPE’s version of this book contains the entire Baldrige Framework, as well as information on TNCPE’s assessment process and support workshops. This will help you determine the award level you would like to apply for. There are no prerequisites, so jump in based on what’s best for you!
Prepare and submit documents based on your application level. For Level One, you will submit an application and appropriate fees. For levels 2, 3 and 4, the application is broken into two parts: 1- The Intent to Apply and 2 - the Application Form and written response to the criteria questions.
TNCPE will assign a Master Examiner coach to facilitate a ½ day workshop. This workshop will prepare you and your leadership team to write an organizational profile with the continued help of your coach. Once you submit your completed Organizational Profile, you are officially a TNCPE Level 1 recipient!
You’re not finished yet! After becoming a TNCPE Level 1 Award winner, your coach will return for another ½ day workshop to introduce you to the rest of the Baldrige Criteria. This interactive workshop will help you identify your strengths and opportunities for improvement.
Once you are ready to complete an application for a Level 2, 3 or 4 award, you will need to submit a written response to the appropriate Criteria question level. Your written response will be assigned to a highly-trained examiner team who will conduct an initial evaluation.
During the site visit, your examiner team will tour your facilities and ask questions to gain a greater understanding of your organization.
When your examiner team has completed the evaluation of your written response & their site visit, the assessment is assigned for review. The Panel of Judges will review the team’s work and will determine your award level. A member of the TNCPE leadership team will call with your final Award information and send you a report detailing the strengths & opportunities for improvement the examiners identified.
Award recipients are honored at the Annual TNCPE Excellence Conference. Join us as guests of honor at our Excellence Celebration to receive your official award and be recognized for your pursuit of excellence.

The Assessment Process

The TNCPE Award program is based on a proven excellence framework published annually by TNCPE. Using questions posed in the Criteria, you’ll create a self-assessment that is analyzed by a team of TNCPE Examiners. This self-assessment can range from five to 55 pages, depending on the award level sought.

After analyzing your self-assessment, TNCPE Examiners will make a site visit to your workplace to gain a thorough understanding of your organization. Based on its findings, the examiner team will prepare a detailed feedback report that identifies your strengths and opportunities for improvement. The TNCPE Panel of Judges will review the examiners’ work and determine your organization’s recognition level.

The 2024 Intent to Apply applications are due May 31st.

Ready to level up your excellence journey?

We chose to do it because we wanted to be excellent, not ordinary. It’s helping build credibility while also improving who we are.


– Alan Lovelace, RPM Pizza, LLC –

The {assessment} process was very well laid out, and we had lots of resources to use in submitting our application.


– Tina Reisedge, First Horizon –

It gave us a framework for all of the different types of things we were trying to accomplish.


– Elaine Boyd, TN Department of Environment and Conservation –

Applicant Resources



Tips, Tools & Best Practices

How do I learn more about the criteria? 

Check out our #ExcellenceAtADistance series for more information about the criteria and how to apply it to your organization.

How many pages should we allocate to each Category?

How do we learn more about writing an application? 
No matter where you are on your excellence journey, TNCPE has a workshop to help you improve performance. We can provide tailored instruction at your workplace on various topics:

Should we skip Level 2? 


Baldrige Framework Books
Baldrige Excellence Builder

Based on the more detailed Baldrige Excellence Framework and Criteria for Performance Excellence, the Baldrige Excellence Builder helps you assess your organization’s strengths and opportunities for improvement against the most important features of organizational performance excellence. By completing and acting on this assessment, you will be better positioned to accomplish your mission, improve your results, and become more competitive.


Baldrige Cybersecurity Excellence Builder
  • The Baldrige Cybersecurity Excellence Builder is a self-assessment tool to help organizations better understand the effectiveness of their cybersecurity risk management efforts, and identity improvement opportunities in the context of their overall organizational performance. This self-assessment tool blends organizational assessment approaches from the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program (BPEP) with the concepts and principles of the Cybersecurity Framework developed by National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Applied Cybersecurity Division (ACD).
  • Download the free Cybersecurity Excellence Builder


Criteria Commentary

The Criteria Commentary provides summaries of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence categories and items.

You can download the Criteria Commentary for free:

Need a refresher or an intro to Excellence?