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Business Excellence Criteria

Business Excellence has been characterised by a nine generic criteria which are applicable to any organization regardless of size. By using these criteria an organization can evaluate its strengths and weaknesses and identify opportunities for improvement. The criteria are related as shown in the graphic. Business performance cannot only be measured in financial terms. All business impacts people, customers and society in different ways and it is the result of such performance that is key to its excellence. Business performance is the product of five enablers, Leadership, People, Policy and Strategy, Partnerships & Resources and Processes. For organization to demonstrate excellence there has to be a direct relationship between the results achieved and the enablers that caused them, hence the connections between all the criteria. The figures shown in the model relate to the percentages allocated for scoring purposes when assessing organizations for the European Quality Award.

EFQM Excellence Model


1. Leadership

How leaders develop and facilitate the achievement of the mission and vision, develop values required for long term success. How leaders implement these via appropriate actions and behaviours, and are personally involved in ensuring that the organization's management system is developed and implemented. Evidence is needed of how leaders: 

  • visibly demonstrate their commitment to excellence and continuous improvement
  • support improvement and involvement by providing appropriate resources and assistance
  • are involved with customers, suppliers and other external organizations
  • recognise and appreciated people's efforts and achievements.

2. Policy and Strategy

How the organization implements its mission and vision via clear stakeholder focused strategy, supported by relevant policies, plans, objectives, targets and processes. Evidence is needed of how policy and strategy are:

  • based on information which is relevant and comprehensive
  • developed
  • communicated and implemented
  • regularly updated and improved.

3. People

How the organization manages, develops and releases the knowledge and full potential of its people at an individual, team based and organization-wide level. How it plans these activities in order to support its policy and strategy and the effective operation of its processes. Evidence is needed of how:

  • people resources are planned and improved
  • people capabilities are sustained and developed
  • people and teams agree targets and continuously review performance
  • people are involved, empowered and recognised
  • people and the organization have an effective dialogue
  • people are cared for

4. Partnerships & Resources

How the organization plans and manages its external partnerships and internal resources in order to support its policy and strategy and the effective operation of its processes. Evidence is needed of:

  • how financial resources are managed
  • how information resources are managed
  • how supplier relationships and materials are managed
  • how buildings, equipment and other assets are managed
  • how technology is managed.

5-. Processes

How the organization designs, manages and improves its processes in order to support its policy and strategy and fully satisfy, and generate increasing value for, its customers and other stakeholders. Evidence is needed of how processes key to the success of the organization:

  • are identified
  • are systematically managed
  • are reviewed and targets set for improvement
  • are improved using innovation and creativity
  • are changed and the benefits evaluated.


These criteria are concerned with what an organization has achieved and is achieving. An organization uses a number of key parameters to measure its performance. For each of these, excellence is assessed relative to the organization's business/service environment and circumstances, based on information which sets out:-

  • the organization's actual performance
  • the organization's own targets and, wherever possible,
  • the performance of competitors
  • the performance of 'best in class' organizations.

For each of the results criteria, evidence is required of the extent to which they cover the range of the organization's activities and of the relative importance of the parameters presented.

6. Customer Results

What the organization is achieving in relation to  its external customers. Results and the relevance of the measures used should be presented to cover:

  • the customers' perception of the organization's products, services and customer relationships (75%)
  • additional measures relating to the satisfaction of the organization's customers (25%).

7. People Results

What the organization is achieving in relation to its people. Results and the relevance of the measures used should be presented to cover:

  • people's perception of the organization (75%)
  • additional measures relating to people satisfaction (25%).

8. Society Results

What the organization is achieving in relation to local, national and international society as appropriate. Results and the relevance of the measures used should be presented to cover:

  • society's perception of the organisation (25%)
  • additional indicators of the organisation's impact on society (75%).

9. Key Performance Results

What the organisation is achieving in relation to its planned performance. Results and the relevance of the measures used should be presented to cover:

  • financial measures of the organization's performance (50%)
  • additional measures of the organization's performance (50%)


In addition to the nine criteria, there are eight principles characterise excellent organizations. These provide a vision which organizations should strive to realize through continual improvement.

1. Results orientation

Excellence is dependent upon balancing and satisfying the needs of all relevant stakeholders (this includes the people employed, customers, suppliers and society in general as well as those with financial interests in the organization).

2. Customer focus

The customer is the final arbiter of product and service quality. Customer loyalty, retention and market share gain are best optimized through a clear focus on the needs of current and potential customers..

3. Leadership and consistency of purpose

The behaviour of an organization's leaders creates a clarity and unity of purpose within the organization and an environment in which the organization and its people can excel. 

4. Management by  Processes & Facts

Organizations perform more effectively when all inter-related activities are understood and systematically managed and decisions concerning current operations and planned improvements are made using reliable information that includes stakeholder perceptions.

5. People Development & Involvement

The full potential of the organization's people is best released through shared values and a culture of trust and empowerment which encourages the involvement of everyone.

6. Continuous Learning, Innovation & Improvement

Organizational performance is maximized when it is based on the management and sharing of knowledge within a culture of continuous learning, innovation and improvement.

7 Partnership Development

An organization works more effectively when it has mutually beneficial relationships, built on trust, sharing of knowledge and integration, with its partners

8. Public responsibility

The long term interest of the organization and its people are best served by adopting an ethical approach and exceeding the expectations and regulations of the community at large.


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Last amended 24/08/2013
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