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For Organizations Early in their
Performance Improvement Journey

Take the First Step: Submit a Lite Application!

What is a Lite Application?

A Lite Application is a simplified or condensed version of the Baldrige application process or criteria. It is designed to define your key systems and begin the process of internal or external assessment. The Lite Application uses the Baldrige Excellence Builder, which addresses Performance Excellence questions at the Basic and Overall level, or “systems” level while introducing the organization to the most important features of Performance Excellence. 


Below is a brief description of the Lite Application and the assessment process

  • Most organizations begin by writing their Organizational Profile (5 pgs), which serves as an introductory section that provides a snapshot of the organization and sets the context for the rest of the application.

  • Next, the organization describes key approaches to Leadership, Strategy, Customer, Measurement, Workforce, and Operations processes. It also includes data summarizing your key Results, which all together, comprise the main components of the Lite application (25 pgs).

  • After submitting these 30 pages of content (Lite Application) outlining the organization's current state, PENW creates a team of 3-5 experienced Examiners to systematically review the application and develop a comprehensive feedback report summarizing strengths and opportunities for improvement. 

  • The resulting Feedback Report is provided to the organization along with an Executive Briefing conducted by the Executive Director and Team Leader. Many organizations use the feedback report as input in strategic and operational planning activities.

  • Both the Lite and the Full Application Assessment processes are identical to the national Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. The only difference is the depth of information provided by the applicant.

Working Together

All PENW applications are reviewed in strict confidence and the assigned assessment team is screened for Conflicts of Interest.

Steps for Submitting a Lite Application:

  • Download the latest version of the Baldrige Excellence Builder.  This document includes all of the questions to respond to in your application. 

  • Review Application Guidelines. You must follow the requirements within the Application Guidelines to be eligible for recognition.

  • Plan at least 3-6 months to prepare the Lite Application; time varies based on experience with the process and resources allocated by the organization.

  • Consider attending PENW Examiner Training or Examiner Experience based on your knowledge of performance excellence principles and assessment process.

  • The PENW Application Eligibility Certification Form is due 90 days prior to application submission. 

  • Lite Applications are accepted on the 1st day of each quarter: January, April, July, and October. 

  • Use the "Apply Now" link below to make a payment or request an invoice. 

  • To submit your application after completing the proper payment, PENW will send a link to a secure folder for uploading your document. PDF format is preferred, Word or Google Documents are also accepted.

Consider Becoming a PENW Member

Organizations that are considering submitting a Lite or Full Application should consider becoming a PENW Member and using one or more of the Pathways to Excellence Programs This series of programs was developed using PENW customer feedback and national regional program best practices to provide proper support to an organization, regardless of where you begin.


It is specifically designed for organizations early in their performance excellence journey to develop the Organizational Profile and provide guidance and support for submitting a Lite Application. This will give you additional knowledge and insight to ensure you fully understand the Framework and produce an application that this reflective of your key systems and processes.

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