Journey to Excellence

By December 2022: Implement an organizational performance excellence framework as evidenced by obtaining a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Site Visit


In 2017, the City started the journey to excellence with the submission of application to Rocky Mountain Performance Excellence. The City received the Foothills Award, which is the second of four levels within the region. In 2018, the City received the Timberline Award, which is the third of four levels within the region. The City is now preparing to submit an application at the national level using the Baldrige framework and criteria.

The Baldrige award is the nation’s highest presidential honor for performance excellence through innovation, improvement, and visionary leadership. Congress created the award in 1987 to enhance the competitiveness and performance of U.S. businesses. Since 1988, only 106 organizations have earned the award named after Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th Secretary of Commerce. Of the award winners, only four municipalities in the United States have received the award. Arvada aspires to be the 5th.


The City selected the Baldrige framework for its journey to excellence based on:

  • Customer/community focus: Pursuing excellence starts with the needs, expectations and satisfaction of the customer - community, businesses and overall community service.
  • International best practice criteria: The Baldrige evaluation process is one of the best, most cost-effective and most comprehensive performance assessments of an organization.
  • The feedback report: The City receives a detailed, individualized written assessment of the organization's strengths and opportunities based on the Baldrige Award application. The feedback report is compiled by a team of Baldrige Examiners who have extensive training in the Baldrige Excellence Framework and are experts in their sector/industry. 


In 2021, the team focused on clarity around performance management with a dedicated Action Initiative Plan. In alignment with the Baldrige Framework and the City Council's Strategic Plan, the organization will dedicate time and resources in 2022 to review lessons learned through the Pandemic and the outcomes generated by newly created Work Systems. The team will make a recommendation to extend the due date of this strategic result to December, 2023.

The review of performance management and related processes revealed that department-specific management systems provide the best data and tools for performance management. Secondary systems requiring manual manipulation of data do not support the advancement of performance management at the department level. As a result of this learning process, the City plans to advance automation of performance management reporting while building internal data assessment skills.